Tag Archives: PR

Connecting with Franco

“You can only know where you’re going, if you know where you’ve been.” That saying can have different meanings for people in all walks of life, but it also holds true for those embarking on the job and internship search. As any recent hire from our office will tell you, the job market is all about connecting with businesses and networking with other professionals in the field. And there’s no better way to get to know a company than to immerse yourself in their daily routines and connect with the people who already work there. After all, you can’t know which direction you want to take in your career if you haven’t explored it in the past. Luckily for those entering the job market, there are a multitude of ways to find out more about a potential workplace and find the right career path.

Tour our office with a student group

Touring an office with a large student group, whether it’s classmates or fellow PRSSA members, is a great way to get to know a company, their clients, and of course connecting with employees working in various industries.

My first visit to Franco was on a tour of agencies in Detroit with Michigan State’s PRSSA group. The tour gave me great benchmarks for what agencies in the city were looking for in potential candidates. While I didn’t have the experience Franco was looking for at the time, I was able to build my experience and keep the agency in mind when I started my job search after graduation.

These group tours are often the easiest for companies to accommodate and give you maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time. What’s key about these group opportunities is making sure you stand out. Bring your resume, introduce yourself to the presenters and guides after the tour and don’t forget to thank the busy professionals taking time out of their day to show you around.

Senior Account Executive Andrea Kenski talks about a recent Salvation Army campaign with students from Eastern Michigan University PRSSA

Franco Senior Account Executive Andrea Kenski talks about a recent Salvation Army campaign with students from Eastern Michigan University PRSSA

Shadow one of our employees

While job shadows can often be the most difficult for companies to accommodate, they can be a great source for building a strong relationship with an employee at a company you’re interested in. It is also the best way to get an understanding of a company’s culture and the services the agency offers to its clients.

In college, it was my job shadow experiences that helped me gain an understanding of the difference between corporate communications, and working at a public relations agency vs. an advertising agency. I not only had the opportunity to start connecting with people, that to this day I’ve maintained relationships with, but it helped me decide what type of communications internships I wanted to pursue further while in school.

One-on-one meetings

Like most people in the communications industry, I LOVE coffee. And I love nothing more than to share my experiences from school and professional life over a good latte. Whether our allegiance is to the green and white or the maize and blue (or any other school around Michigan), my colleagues all come from different backgrounds and have unique life experiences to share with students new to college or even recent graduates. We love to share our lessons learned, where we’ve been, and how we’ve gotten to where we are today.

Connecting with us at a job fair or networking event

As a company trying to attract top talent from schools around Michigan and beyond, we want students to know who we are, just as much as they want us to know them. A great way to get to know more about a company and the people representing it, is to stop by our booth space at a career fair. Whether you’re a freshman or a graduating senior, it makes our job much easier when we’re able to put a face to a name. Make sure you’ve brushed up on your elevator pitch and don’t be afraid to ask questions and check out these three tips for acing job fairs. And, trust me, we do remember you when you make an effort to get to know us!

Franco Account Executive Erica Swoish connecting with PRSSA students across Michigan at a recent career fair

Franco Account Executive Erica Swoish shows off some client swag at a recent career fair for PRSSA students across Michigan

If you’re interested in visiting us, meeting one of our Franco team members, or just taking a peek around the office, let us know! You can call our main line or reach out to me directly for details.

Erica Swoish is an account executive and the student relations coordinator at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5014 or swoish@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @eswoish.

 

Frozen Fish Fiasco, Team STAHLS’ and Tales of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick

I grew up playing hockey, but after trading in my skates for office life, I never thought I’d play a meaningful game again. Turns out, I was wrong.

I emerged from hockey retirement and laced up my skates to support Team STAHLS’ as we faced off against the Detroit Red Wings Alumni team for a charity game. It was arguably the biggest game during the Frozen Fish Fiasco weekend benefiting Clark Park, the home of the only regulation-sized outdoor ice hockey rink in metro Detroit.

STAHLS’ is the leading international manufacturer, distributor and direct supplier of garment decoration equipment and materials – from small businesses and entrepreneurs to pro sports leagues, including the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB – so it wasn’t a surprise that they enlisted Mark Wells, gold medal winner from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team as head coach for Team STAHLS’.

If anyone could coach us to a win against the heavily-favored Red Wings, it was him. We held four team practices, where Coach Wells channeled his inner Herb Brooks to help get us in shape and ready for the game, but none of us could prepare for playing outdoors on a sunny 50 degree day with the Ambassador Bridge in the background. The 50-minute game went by quickly and all of us savored every minute playing against retired professionals that we grew up watching in the big leagues – Darren McCarty, Mickey Redmond and Peter Klima to name a few.

Ferlito and Redmond STAHLs' vs. Red Wings Alumni

It was truly a surreal experience and the STAHLS’ team hung in there with the pros. We lost 9-8, but it was a close game throughout. I scored a goal and an assist, and I may or may not have been the reason why Darren McCarty decided to “fight” the Team STAHLS’ bench.

Darren McCarty jumps into STAHLS' bench at Frozen Fish Fiasco

Since Darren jumped over the boards right onto me, I guess that makes it a goal, an assist and a fight – a Gordie Howe hat trick.

Ferlito nd McCarty STAHLs' vs Detroit Red Wings Alumni

Good news! Darren didn’t hold anything against me and was gracious enough to stick around for a photo after the game.

If you missed the game, you can catch the highlights on Fox Sports Detroit. A list of upcoming show times can be found here.

And if you are feeling generous, donations can be made to support Clark Park at http://frozenfishfiasco.com/.

 

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

 

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…

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

MP

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

xtkmj

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.

Franco Hat Day

Hat n. a shaped covering for the head that often has a brim and a rounded or flat top

<it’s National Hat Day, so we wore hats>

Hat Day

 

Ashley Dupuy, Designer

AD

 

Joe Ferlito, Account Manager

“No surprise here. Franco’s ‘outdoors guy’ is wearing a hunting hat. This is my favorite hunting hat that’s not orange or camo.”

JF

 

Alex Fulbright, Digital Marketing Specialist

“I’ve got crazy love for this city. That Detroit buzz everyone talks about – it’s  real.”

AF

Detroit Hustles Harder

 

Christian Harper, Public Relations Coordinator

“I love winter hats! This hat came from Bed, Bath & Beyond… random right? My bestfriend’s little sister bought it while she was here visiting from Florida and I loved it, so I went and got one to match!”

CH

 

Andrea Kenski, Senior Account Executive

“When I wear my old English D hat, it reminds me of my favorite childhood memories involving my dad and of course, the Detroit Tigers. As a child, my father would take me and my brothers to games at Tigers Stadium. As an adult, my Father’s Day gift to him was Tigers baseball tickets for him and his daughter. Go Tigers!”

AK

 

Sarah Kornacki, Assistant Account Executive

“My hat is a homemade creation by my sister Frances, modeled after the hat worn by Princess Anna in Disney’s “Frozen”. Mostly, people don’t question it, but sometimes I get compliments from little children who recognize the design.”

SK SKSK1

 

John Mozena, Account Director

“While I’ve got a number of Red Cross hats, this is the only one clean enough to wear to the Franco office. The others all have soot and water stains and other crud on them from doing local fire response as a Red Cross disaster team leader.”

JM

 

Sasha Reeves, Assistant Account Executive

“I love my hat because it represents two of my favorite things – Detroit and CMU. Fire up, Chips!”

SRSR

Marie Stawasz, Senior Account Executive

“I like beer, and I like Jolly Pumpkin.”

MS

 

Who wore it best? Cast your vote in the comments.

Media Tips for Small Businesses

While marketing and public relations can be beneficial to businesses of all sizes, sometimes smaller businesses and startups aren’t quite sure where to start. We’ve all been there and you have to start somewhere, right?

Joe

Franco account manager, Joe Ferlito holds the microphone during a television interview with NextEnergy President and CEO, Jean Redfield.

Recently NextEnergy – one of the nation’s leading accelerators of advanced energy and transportation technologies, businesses and industries – reached out to me to contribute a guest blog offering tips about getting started with media relations for small businesses.

The full blog can be found here.

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

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!

 

 

 

 

Franco News: Fortunate and Horn Promoted, Reeves Brought-on Full-time

Ann Marie Fortunate Promoted to Account Supervisor

ann_marie

With a strong background in manufacturing and technology, Fortunate has been an asset to the agency’s B2B team. In her new role, she will continue serving the B2B markets with an emphasis on media relations and marketing strategy.

 

Dan Horn Promoted to Senior Account Executive

Dan Horn

Horn also serves on the agency’s B2B team, supporting clients in the automotive, technology and professional service industries. As a senior account executive, he will continue his work with various B2B clients providing media relations, marketing support and social media.

 

 

 

Sasha Reeves Transitions to Assistant Account Executive

Sasha Reeves After joining Franco as a PR Coordinator in March, Reeves takes on the new role of assistant account executive. She brings strong media relations, event planning and graphic design support to a variety of consumer and nonprofit clients. Prior to joining Franco, Sasha served as the public relations and marketing development intern at Special Olympics Michigan in Mount Pleasant.

Field of Dreams Is Not A Good PR Case Study: Consider Events

“If you build it, he will come.” Obviously a great premise for a Hollywood blockbuster.

Who wasn’t captivated by Kevin Costner’s tenacity in building a ball field, inspired by the ghosts of baseball past who assured him by merely converting his Iowa corn fields into a diamond that his deceased father would return to right their strained relationship.

The closing scene featuring miles and miles of headlights making their way toward the fantastical field is one of the all-time cinematic greats.

“If you build it, he will come” may have been sufficient to make 1989’s Field of Dreams a success, but it’s not good practice in the world of public relations.  Blockbuster PR requires careful strategy and attention to detail, with no “i” too small to dot and no “t” too small to cross. Let’s use event planning as a case in point.

So you’ve decided to host a gathering . . . Events can be key to achieving many public relations goals, and in the right instances bigger really can be better. But simply dreaming up a spectacular, pull-out-all-the-stops extravaganza will not guarantee success if you don’t back it up with the proper strategy and attention to detail that will do justice to your idea.

What are you going to do . . . So you’ve got this great concept. Then what? What will your guests experience upon arrival? How will you engage them throughout? Is this gathering for work or play? What is it you want them to leave with? Carefully considering these questions and more – and making sure all event elements work in harmony – will make even the simplest plans perfection.

2015 Grand Prixmiere, Belle Isle Conservancy Benefit sponsored by Price Waterhouse Cooper and Chevrolet (Joe Wilssens photo)

2015 Grand Prixmiere, Belle Isle Conservancy Benefit sponsored by Price Waterhouse Cooper and Chevrolet (Joe Wilssens photo)

It IS who you know . . . Attracting the right crowd to meet your promotional goals can be harder than you think. First and foremost is to make sure the event you’re planning truly appeals to your target audience. But even with that aligned, simply assembling a massive invite list in the hopes of attracting “enough” people is not a good approach. Think about the groups, organizations or communities with the pockets of people you want at your gathering and focus your invite efforts there.

It’s not just once and done . . . Unlike the throngs who simply showed up for Costner, it takes work to draw a crowd for any event. It’s generally not enough to issue an invite and call it a day. It usually takes working multiple avenues and multiple contacts to attract attendees. Make sure your guests save-the-date with advance notice, followed by a hard copy and/or electronic invitation and supported by social media appeals. Add in news releases and calendar listings for good promotional measure and the chance that you’ll have an elbow room-only event will grow exponentially.

Only one chance to make a first impression . . . Be creative and complete with your invitation. Make sure your design is eye-catching and communicates your event’s personality. Is this a serious or lighthearted gathering? One look at your invite should convey which it is. And without weighing down the design in text, be sure to clearly highlight the who, what, when, where so your guests can readily find ALL the pertinent details.

By putting a bit of forethought into your next event, or any PR initiative for that matter, you can enjoy blockbuster results. And they will come!

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is a vice president at Franco Public Relations Group, supporting the agency’s nonprofit clients, which includes event planning. You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com.

9 Moments From TEDxDetroit That Will Make You Want To TEDx Everyday

Just one week ago Detroit entrepreneurs, musicians, comedians, nerds, artists and doers congregated at the Fox Theater for TEDxDetroit 2015 to share their new ideas, inventions and points-of-view. It was a day filled with explosions, standing ovations and tears.

I was lucky enough to get asked to help my fellow Franconians, Stephanie Casola and Marie Stawaz with the PR efforts the day-off the event. Picture backstage access, VIP seating and face time with speakers.

So to commemorate my first-ever TEDxDetroit, enjoy these moments from the show – crowd favorites, most-shocking and some inspiring. If you weren’t able to attend, or if you’d like to re-watch any talks, TEDxDetroit plans on posting links on their website sometime in November.

1. Charles Gibson aka “The Exploder” from the Michigan Science Center causally BLEW THINGS UP during his talk.

2. Detroit Director, Stephen McGee showed off some of his new toys.  

3.  Organization for Bat Conservation‘s, Rob Miles surprised us with a different kind of flying object. 

4. Music performances by Alicia Michilli, Tunde Olaniran and Ahya Simone and Shelby 5 kept the TEDxDetroit crowd pumped up.  

 

 

5. Detroit native, Aaron Foley made some great points about old Detroit vs. the new Detroit and how we need to come together as one.

6. Speed painting pair, Dave Santia and Sarah Kay created a Beatles portrait, in front of the TEDxDetroit live audience in just SEVEN MINUTES.

7. Sixteen-year-old high school senior and inventor of the “Wheelchair Stroller”, Alden Kane had the crowd on their feet during his on-stage interview with TEDxDetroit board member, Charlie Wollborg.

8. Comedian, writer and professor Amer Zahr did a bit about what it’s like to be an Arab American.

9. Franco Account Manager, Stephanie Casola was recognized on stage for her PR work surrounding TEDxDetroit, but was too busy coordinating media interviews to hear any of it!

Overall, you could say I was “over the moon” with the TEDxDetroit experience.

Alexandria Fulbright and Stephanie Casola at TEDxDetroit

Franco’s Alexandria Fulbright and Stephanie Casola explore the TEDxDetroit labs at Hockeytown Cafe.

 

Did I leave out your favorite TEDxDetroit moment? Call me out in the comments!

Alex Fulbright is a digital marketing specialist at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5085 or fulbright@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandriaFul and connect on LinkedIn.