Tag Archives: iPhone

50 in the D: The Glory Days

V150130 Tamagotchi

I’m a 90s kid. I spent arguably the best decade of my life rocking pink and yellow overalls with scrunchies and Tamagotchi in hand. It’s safe to say I had no idea 25 years ago, that I’d be sitting at a desk inside Detroit’s most iconic building today, working with some of the Motor City’s most well-regarded brands and for the state’s oldest independent public relations firm. Long before I could fathom what the words public relations meant, the team at Anthony M. Franco, Inc. was committed to excellence and offering clients the most strategic and innovative services in communications.

While a lot has changed in those 25 years, public relations remains a powerful tool for building your brand, raising awareness and connecting with your audiences. So, let’s take a look at how the legacy Franco Public Relations Group developed while my Tamagotchi slowly turned into an iPhone.

As in our last “50 in the D” entry, I’ve included pop culture and historical events to provide perspective on the timeline:

  • 1990 – Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and Anthony M. Franco, Inc. became a subsidiary of Ross Roy Communications, bringing the agency into a new era.
  • 1993 – Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States of America, and Dan Ponder joined by colleagues Chuck Regan, George Sepetys and Stephen Friedman, lead the management buyout of Anthony M. Franco, Inc. from Ross Roy Group.
  • 1997 – Everyone’s favorite baby face Beatle was knighted Sir Paul McCartney, and Lisa Vallee-Smith became a partial owner of Franco Public Relations Group. Vallee-Smith later left Franco to open the Airfoil Group.
  • 2000 – While the rest of the world was living in the shadow of Y2K, Dan Ponder became a full owner of Franco Public Relations Group.
  • 2000 – Franco Public Relations Group played an extra-large role in winning the bid for Super Bowl XL.
  • 2002 –Nickelback topped the charts with “How you remind me” and Franco Public Relations Group acquired PR Associates.
  • 2007 – Tina Kozak joined the Franco Public Relations Group team as account manager, and Carrie Underwood won a Grammy for best new artist. Plus, Apple revolutionized the cell phone industry with the introduction of the original iPhone.
  • 2013 – NBC announced TV Hall of Famer Jay Leno would be leaving the Tonight Show. Meanwhile, Maria Leonhauser retired and Tina Kozak became Franco’s youngest president.
  • 2014 – Ellen DeGeneres stirred up a selfie phenomenon with the infamous impromptu group photo at The Oscars, and Franco Public Relations Group celebrated 50 years of business in Detroit with 20 percent revenue and  employment growth.
  • 2015 – Franco Public Relations Group kicked off the start of a new half-century and look forward to reaching 100.

Have a Franco memory from the 90s and millennium you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below, and stay tuned for another “50 in the D” entry highlighting Franco today.

Marie Stawasz is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5201 or stawasz@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @MarieStawasz.

Tools a PR pro can’t live without – a Franco perspective

A PR pro’s job can be hectic and fast paced. Working in this industry, we have to learn and master many tools of the trade to do our job effectively.

In this case, my definition of a tool is anything and everything I use to get the job done, from my notepad and pen to my car and cell phone.

You might be surprised to learn that some of a PR pro’s most important tools can be found in the junk drawer at home. For example, I might use a pair of scissors to cut the hardcopy of a story about Arbor Hospice (client) out of the pages of the Detroit News and I’ll probably reach for a glue stick next to adhere the story and masthead to a piece of white paper, completing the clip. A little old-fashioned with the internet but it’s important because stories aren’t always posted on the web and not all papers have a digital edition.

Some of the more unique tools PR pros use includes media monitoring services such as News Power Online and Critical Mention. Subscribing to these services allows us Franconians to monitor TV, radio, print and digital media from across the globe for mentions of our clients. Not only do these services keep an eye on media near and far they also allow us to pinpoint, clip and download audio and video copies to save in our files or share with clients. This tool comes in handy when a client is mentioned by an out of market media outlet or a client requests a copy of a specific segment.

When I asked a few of my Franco colleagues what tools they can’t live without and this is what they had to say:

For Vice President Tina Sullivan, it’s her tasks list in Microsoft Outlook. “My schedule is constantly changing and having a dynamic task list allows me to move dates and tasks around as often as necessary. Being able to update on the fly keeps me on top of my everyday to-do’s.”

Account Executive Andrea Kenski relies on her iPhone and the Evernote app to help stay organized. “This free app has saved my life when it comes to remembering things, but what I like most is that it saves documents, ideas and images across my electronic devices, including my iPhone, iPad and computer.”

There are still more tools vital to the completion of our day-to-day tasks, such as a rolodex (I know, it’s old fashioned), dictionary and thesaurus, email and even Facebook and Twitter for monitoring current trends and connecting with audiences. But a PR pro’s most important tool comes from within. Creativity is what drives progress and innovation in our line of work. By opening our minds to new ideas and opportunities, we are able to develop and implement strategies that break the mold.

On a side note, I thought this discussion warranted an honorable mention for the office coffee maker. Many of us would be lost without our morning cup of Joe.

What are some tools that you couldn’t live without?

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com. Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.

Joe Ferlito’s series of unusual PR experiences: Part 5

Are you hearing what I’m hearing?

“We listen to our clients, understand their needs and create communications programs that support their business goals.” – Franco’s vision.

Listening is something we consciously do. However, hearing or perceiving sound, is another matter. A recent unusual PR experience tested our hearing and led to a great team-building exercise.

I helped a client produce an educational webcast. Despite several rounds of testing, we encountered a high-pitch audio feedback during portions of the live webcast. The weird thing was, only some of us could hear it.

We troubleshot the issue and eventually solved the problem, but we were confused why the sound was only audible to some – until we realized that the frequency range of human hearing varies with age. The people who could hear the feedback were younger than those who could not.

As a millennial, I naturally turned to my smart phone for an app to test the theory. I downloaded the “Age of Ears” app for iPhone and the theory held true. The people who couldn’t hear the feedback had a lower threshold of audio frequency.

After client projects, the Franco team gets together to discuss best practices. While discussing the webcast I explained how age impacts hearing. Nobody believed me.

So I pulled out the app and proceeded with a spontaneous team-building exercise. I explained that the app will play a sound that gets progressively higher pitched and asked everyone to raise their hand when they could no longer hear the sound.

Hands began flying up, oldest to youngest; jaws dropping in disbelief along the way.

Some people can hear higher pitched sounds than others. Generally speaking, younger ears can hear a broader range of sound than those that are older. Image courtesy of Mihut84.

Still don’t believe me? Try it yourself with a few friends or colleagues and share the results in our comments section.

We all learned something that day at Franco and it turned into a fun team-building exercise that I’ll never forget.

Joe Ferlito is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.