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A Business Approach to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint and Living Well

15 Apr

I’d like to start off by saying how lucky, and thankful I am to work in an environment with such an extraordinary and innovative group of individuals. Each person brings something unique to the table, allowing for us to continually learn from each other and our diversified, yet collective interests.  Now to the point… I think it’s safe to say the most IT guys stick to computers and other nerdy, tech things 🙂 Well, at Young & Laramore we are proud to not only call our IT guy, our IT guy, but also our new appointed CeVO, Chief Environmental Office. Aaron Kohn has big plans for how we, as a company, can reduce our carbon footprint, and live well. He kicked off the week with a stellar presentation of all the little and big, ec0-friendly changes happening around the office. I hope that you each will take something away from this and eventually share this with bosses, co-workers, friends and family.

Here are just a few things we’re doing at Y&L to help make our community and work environment a better place:

  • BIKES: Our agency supplies 4 bikes that employees can ride around throughout the day. Whether you are off to lunch, a client meeting or just want to get some fresh air, the bikes are available for anyone to use at anytime. Tuesday I spent my lunch hour biking down the Cultural Trail to the canal; it was perfect. Aaron has also added some bike racks outside, as he hopes to have 50% of the agency biking or walking to work by mid-summer. Lofty goal, but totally possible.
  • FUN FACT: Over the past year, Y&L has done over 5 tons of recycling, everything from paper, cardboard, metal, plastic and even electronics. Are you giving your employees places to recycle? Are you encouraging it?
  • NEW INITIATIVE: Trash cans will be removed from individual desks and be replaced with blue recycling bins, encouraging people to think twice before throwing stuff away. This is part of a goal to reduce our unrecyclable waste to less than 10% of our total waste, and maybe even reach 7 tons of recycling this next year.
  • COMPOST & GARDENS: We are adding a compost bin in the kitchen. Why? Because we are planting a community garden to eventually provide free, healthy, organic vegetables for all. Right now we have four raised beds filled with a mushroom compost mix, but we hope to try and high yield vegetables such as tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, beans and herbs in the coming year.
  • CONSUMPTION: We are also working to reduce consumption, and have signed up for an online portal that tracks our consumption, utility rates and plots its against local weather data. More to come on specific goals in this area, but you catch my drift.

Is your business on board? What other fun things would you add to the list to help reduce your company’s carbon footprint?

Kick off presentation (awesome display by Aaron)


Radiant Shopping Bag Designs

30 Jun

The team over here at Y&L did a killer job on these new shopping bags for Silver in the City. I have a tremendous amount of interest in package design and visual arts, therefore I enjoy sharing designs that catch my eye.

The combination of the wooden texture, bright colors and designs, and the nifty phrases that run alongside the edges make these new shopping bags pop! The distinct patterns on the outside give a subtle hint as to what you might find inside. Best of all, re-purpose the bag as wrapping paper! 

The Power (and Potential) of a Pitch

12 Nov

Today, I had the privilege of attending the Hoosier PRSA Meet the Media luncheon. Our guests of honor included Indianapolis Star editors Jenny Green, Steve Berta and reporter Cathy Kightlinger. As a media relations professional, it is imperative to jump at the chance to meet members of the media, especially local contacts in your area. Our Q&A session provided me with valuable insight on how the Indianapolis Star, like many newspapers, views and works with public relations professionals. Here are just a few of the takeaways:

  • Journalists are engaging in Twitter and other social media sites to monitor trends. Be sure you are providing new and pertinent material, not just contributing noise to what is already out there.
  • Be patient. When you send a pitch, don’t follow-up 5 minutes later with a phone call. Give them a day or two.
  • Journalists are not there to publicize your clients, they capture moments and report on news. Make sure what you are offering is newsworthy and pay attention to the 7 C’s (completeness, conciseness, consideration, concreteness, clarity, courtesy, and correctness)
  • Give as many details as possible, it makes their job much easier!
  • If you are offering up an exclusive, provide information in enough time and stay true to your word. Offer up interviews and keep them updated!

After the Q&A, I had the chance to ask Cathy what makes the perfect pitch. Her response, “provide all the details in an e-mail with names spelled correctly. My inbox gets blasted w/ e-mails daily so follow-up phone calls the next day are encouraged.” She also stresses the importance of doing your research and personalizing your pitch based on what they write or have previously written.  It might sound easy, but it takes practice and diligence.

In PR, especially media relations, it is important to pitch (and yes, I’m aware some say this word is dead) journalists who will benefit from your information. How are you tailoring your pitch to meet the needs of the journalist, the publication, and it’s readers? Being respectful of journalist’s time and interests is fundamental for building mutually beneficial relationships. Position yourself as a reliable, easy to work with and thoughtful communicator. You’d be pleasantly surprised at the results.

**Check out the HoosierPRSA blog for more info. Also, huge thanks to Ed Kanis, journalism teacher at Butler University, for teaching me the fundamentals of PR Techniques.

Agency Life

20 Jul

Oh the agency life…

I haven’t been in the PR field for long, but my work at an agency has given me a concrete understanding of what to expect in my PR endeavors. Agency life is exceptionally eventful; never a dull moment here in the office. However, I have come to learn there are particular skills you must possess/acquire in order to succeed at an agency. Obviously, I don’t know many since I just graduated, but here are a few I have discovered over the past 10 months.

In order to help young PR professionals like myself, please share your advice/suggestions for what it takes to thrive in an agency setting.

Multi-task: You may be working on 4-5 accounts at a time; each one requiring just as much attention as the others. Being able to effectively allocate enough time to each account is essential to meeting clients’ needs and exceeding expectations. The ability to jump from working on one client to another certainly comes in handy when opportunities arise! But always pick up right where you left off- this isn’t the time for unfinished business.

Delegate: Know exactly what it is you CAN do and exactly what it is others can do for you. Utilize your interns and work with other account executives to bounce off ideas, proof-read, calculate ROI, and find new opportunities. Agency life is a team sport- it takes a posse!

Think on your feet: The flair to provide quick and meticulous responses at the drop of a hat comes from a true understanding of your client’s business. Do your research, stay up with current trends and know what you are talking about. Most people don’t have time for bullshit, so cut to the chase and get to point- fast!

Organization (especially when pitching): Plain and simple, keep the inbox clean! The more organized you are, the fewer mistakes you make. Create e-mail folders for each of your clients that specifies what actions need to be taken (i.e. follow up, Google alerts, new pitches, internal information, etc.). I personally still enjoy writing things down, so pick up the pen and paper and record things the old fashion way too! Same goes when using your planner, have an electronic and tangible copy of everything.

Work with a sense of Urgency: Deadlines don’t wait for you so don’t let an opportunity pass you by. PR is not an 8-5 job, make yourself available and respond quickly to opportunities. Wouldn’t you want a reporter to do the same?

Commitment: Give it your all! All relationships, no matter what, evolve from a committed and trusting foundation. An exceptional PR professional knows the importance of strong dedication to his/her company, clients and the industry. Don’t you want to be exceptional?

Thoughts, comments and suggestions are always welcome! Tweet this