Tag Archives: PR tips

Eighty Days of Red Kettle

All PR professionals have that one client project that seems to take over everything.

It means long hours at the office, lack of sleep (which leads to copious amounts of caffeine), around the clock emails and being on your feet for hours at a time.

For those of us who work on The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit account, our crunch time is Red Kettle season. This Christmas season’s fundraising campaign aimed to raise more than $8 million dollars in 80 days…



To achieve our goals in that timeframe, events needed to be planned and attended, media materials written and distributed, and interviews coordinated.  And that’s just scratching the surface.

With such a huge task it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the stress, but somehow we always manage to have fun with it. Here are some of our favorite moments from this past season as we reflect on our 80 day PR campaign.

“This was my fourth Red Kettle Campaign and I continue to find myself amazed every January with the mysterious moment each year when “the holidays being a long way off” suddenly shifts to “the holidays are here” and our entire team is off and running . . . and then it’s over in a flash. Armed with the Red Kettle plans we strategize year ‘round, we navigate the frenzy of announcements, events and the occasional Krugerrand donation, adjusting our approach with each new opportunity.”

Pat Adanti-Joy, vice president

Roary and PAWS are always big hits at Red Kettle events. Peek-a-boo is a fan favorite and Andrea and Pat never pass up an opportunity to pose with the beloved team mascots.

PAJ ---- All at Royal Park

The team posing with The Salvation Army gingerbread house at Royal Park Hotel. Visitors were invited to sponsor “mittens” to help provide warm clothing items for families and their children served by The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.

“I was hired at the very start of the Red Kettle campaign. I had little time to get to know The Salvation Army before diving head-first into its most busy time of the year. But now, looking back at those 80 days, I know I could not have asked for a better and more exciting start to my professional PR career. I especially enjoyed working at events while taking photos for The Salvation Army’s social media pages. It was so much fun speaking with event attendees and hearing how The Salvation Army has impacted their life.”

Mary Parkinson, assistant account executive


Mary Parkinson (right) snapping a photo of WXYZ’s Glenda Lewis (middle) and Major Russ Sjögren (left), general secretary and metro Detroit area commander for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division for The Army’s social media page.

“This is my fourth Red Kettle season so it’s difficult to choose a favorite Salvation Army event. There are so many! I love being involved with the annual Royal Park Hotel gingerbread house event. The side benefit of coordinating this mini PR campaign? You get to eat amazing, delicious desserts prepared by executive pastry chef, Mark Slessor.”

Andrea Kenski, senior account executive

AK ---- _CBRD with Brooke Allen

Selfies are a must for Celebrity Bell Ringing Day 2015. Andrea found time amidst the fun and snapped one with WWJ Newsradio 950’s Brooke Allen and volunteers from The Salvation Army of Warren. Brooke and other local celebs from television, radio and print media helped raise more than $6,000 in two hours!

AK ----_SR Santa PAWS

We get to meet tons of celebrities this time of year! Detroit Tigers mascot, Santa PAWS joined the Red Kettle action by recording a #RingOrSing video encouraging metro Detroiters to sign up as Salvation Army volunteer bell ringers.

“I had mentally prepared to be crazy busy during the campaign. What I hadn’t planned for was the amount of fun we would have during the season. My favorite memory comes from Red Wings for Red Kettles. I grew up a Red Wings fan and have spent countless nights at The Joe cheering them on. So, meeting Riley Sheahan, Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendenning  while they had fun competing to raise money for The Salvation Army was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Sasha Reeves, assistant account executive


The Red Kettle Campaign is truly a learning experience. With its disproportionate shape, carrying a heavy kettle stand is not an easy task. So we adapt.

SR----Red Wings photo

We celebrated 10 years of partnership between The Salvation Army and the Detroit Red Wings. Each year Red Wings players and staff compete for bragging rights to see which group can raise the most money as part of Red Wings for Red Kettles. Pat was on location with Head Coach Jeff Blashill and General Manager Ken Holland ringing bells with Major Russ Sjögren. Meanwhile, Sasha contained her inner fan girl as she joined Riley Sheahan, Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendenning.

What’s your “Red Kettle” project? Share it in the comments.

NAIAS Survival Checklist: Must-Haves For Working The Event

There’s lots of great articles out there with tips on attending the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), but what if you’re not an attendee but working it for a client? Our Franco auto team is no stranger to the behemoth auto exhibit, so we asked them what they have on their must-bring lists for 2016.

Here you have it.

NAIAS Checklist

□ Comfortable shoes/Dr. Scholl’s – COBO Center spans 723,000 square feet, and you’ll probably cover all of it. Twice.

□ Extra pair of shoes – it can help alleviate the pain on your feet, or at least spread it out

Detroit People Mover tokens – it really is the most convenient way to get around the city, and who knows –  you might just get pampered by an exhibitor.

□ Selfie stick – to get that coveted reveal photo over the heads of the seven-foot man sitting in front of you.

□ Bible – filled with all your brand’s messaging, Q&A documents, transportation schedules, runs of show, etc.

Map of the NAIAS show floor – moving from exhibit to exhibit is key for getting a good spot at press conferences and special events.

□ Phone charging battery packs – so you can charge while you’re on the go.

□ Clothes with pockets – to house your fancy map and gadgets.

□ Contact info – for everyone. Co-workers, media, support staff, your hotel, cabs, etc.

Added by others:

□ GoPro – @k5shaw via Twitter


Missing something? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it!





What “The Karate Kid” can teach you about public relations

As a child of the 80s, I often relate movies, music and other pop culture references to my daily life. Case in point: During my bi-weekly discussion with our intern, Sarah, we were going through her weekly public relations tasks. My brain scanned the vast 80s trivia knowledge and it dawned on me. I was Mr. Miyagi and she was Daniel-san. This was my chance to impart my useless 80s knowledge as a valuable teaching moment. There is a lot that can be learned about the art of public relations by applying the same principles as “The Karate Kid.”

Public Relations - Karate Kid

Newspapers, books, and “The Karate Kid”? These are all tools PR pros can use to master the craft of public relations.

Wax on, Wax off
Basic media relations knowledge can be learned through media monitoring and clipping placements. By repeating these tasks on a daily basis, you begin to learn about different media outlets, reporter’s names and their beats. So, when it comes time to pitch a reporter about a certain topic, you know who is most likely to cover it. Public relations professionals also can learn about the value of earned media through clipping and placement reports.

“Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything”
Something can be said about the value of patience, concentration and perseverance. Public relations professionals work hard developing and implementing strategic communication plans. A public relations campaign cannot be executed haphazardly. A successful plan is accomplished through careful and thoughtful planning, then carried out with hard work and discipline.

Crane technique
Mr. Miyagi tells his protégé, “Better learn balance. Balance is key.” A good public relations professional knows and understands balance. It’s so important that we’ve chosen it as one of three critical values that drive our work every day. Deadlines, client communications and workload can be balanced through excellent time management skills.

Don’t “sweep the leg”
During the final scene of the movie, Johnny’s sensai instructs him to “sweep the leg” of Daniel-san, and take him out of the competition. This is the exact opposite of what public relations professionals do. A main component of public relations is relationship building, whether it’s with the media or your client’s audience. It’s all about building trust.

My parting thought to public relations students and professionals? Just as Mr. Miyagi says to Daniel-san, “Don’t forget to breathe…important.”

What else can “The Karate Kid” teach you about public relations? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

Andrea Kenski is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092 or kenski@franco.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl and connect on LinkedIn.

4 ways to benefit from networking in PR, online or in person

Have you noticed that networking is no longer confined to a roomful of professionals in suits anymore? It can happen in almost any environment, and very often occurs online. In the PR world, and here at Franco Public Relations Group, we connect regularly on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Photo by Aidan Jones | Networking sometimes begins with a virtual handshake. Learn how to build relationships online and in person that will benefit you personally and professionally.

Whether I’m attending an important work event or invested in a PR chat on Twitter, I’ve noticed that an outgoing personality and the ability to small talk with the best of them can go far. Still, there are so many reasons to take time out for networking – both online and off. Here are a few to consider:

Expand your circle – Networking allows you to meet a variety of professionals both within and surrounding your profession who you might not have encountered otherwise. At Franco we assist clients with media relations, events and everything in between, so if I meet an amazing new Detroit caterer during an event, I might introduce myself, ask a few questions and take a card in case an opportunity might arise in the future when we’re in need of that service.

Increase your opportunities – Making a point of seeking individuals who offer new opportunities to volunteer in your field can only help you hone your professional skills. A few years ago, I answered an online request to help my friends at The Henry Ford when they were in need of PR volunteers for the first Maker Faire. That’s where I first met Marie Stawasz, who later connected with me here at Franco when she was seeking an internship. She saw a tweet I sent out to my personal Twitter network. Marie started at Franco as an intern and is now a full-time employee. Some might say it all started thanks to the magic of networking.

Change your career – It’s a natural fit to connect that who-you-know aspect of your valuable business connections with career advancement. By consciously building your own contacts, you can earn an edge over the competition when it comes to getting that interview. I made a career change from journalism to public relations at a time when unemployment in Detroit was high. I gave my notice without a safety net and contacted everyone I knew in the media and PR industry to tell them I was interested in making a change. Thankfully, my contacts responded. While making the switch wasn’t easy, I didn’t spend a day on unemployment, and I attribute that to proactive networking efforts.

Build your business – Networking may not always come naturally, but when it’s done right, it can ultimately win new business. Remember whether you’re attending events or connecting on Twitter and Facebook, this is not time for the hard sell. You’re there to learn, engage and discuss relevant subjects at hand. Build relationships. Share some free advice if you’re comfortable doing so. That’s the sort of thing that will be appreciated and remembered at a later date. If you’re nervous about the specific how-to’s that go along with networking, check out Bill Crimmins’ post in GeekWire.

What do you feel are the benefits of networking, and how has it changed for you over the years?

Stephanie Angelyn Casola is connector and a senior account executive at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at casola@franco.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.