OWC client becomes the voice of reason as retailers get hacked

media-highlightsSee how OWC worked the data breach stories that dominated news cycles for the past 18 months. Starting with Target and Neiman Marcus, OWC positioned Oberthur Technologies, the maker of chip cards, as the security expert and educator of everyone who has a credit card on how to protect themselves.

As a result, OT and its chip (or EMV) cards have been featured in more than 50 major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg TV and more. This coverage has supported OT’s double digit sales growth in the United States. In the past year, OT sold chip cards to 80 percent of the top U.S. issuers (banks).

Check out OT’s latest media highlights reel.

Spring cleaning your communications

Header image spring cleaning2Each quarter provides an opportunity to evaluate what your company is doing well and where you can improve. The transition from Q1 to Q2 is particularly key as tactics and strategies implemented at the beginning of the year face a critical milestone. A strong communications program is the foundation for reaching all of your objectives. It may be time for an audit of your brand’s marketing, PR, public affairs, social media and overall communications efforts.

To enter the second quarter with momentum:

  1. Review your crisis communications plan. It should be short and actionable. Who are the contacts? Are cell numbers correct? What if you can’t use email? Have you envisioned all the risks and “what if” scenarios and prepared? If your data were to be hacked, who are the audiences that must be addressed and in what order? Crises are newsworthy events, and when customer, client and employee private information is at risk, it’s critical to have a response plan in place. The risks of ducking are greater than the risks of engaging. The goal is always to get pertinent information out quickly and accurately. Each crisis requires creative and quick decisions, so develop a response team and know your roles.
  2. Know in advance what reporters are planning to write. The advertising departments at trade publications and other media develop editorial calendars that highlight key sections for the year. Use them to pitch articles about your company. Suggest Q&As, story ideas and guest columns.
  3. Maximize your tradeshow investment. Tradeshows and conferences are a major investment. Make sure your media strategy takes advantage of speaking opportunities, including panel discussions. Don’t just buy a booth — present your expertise. Executives get new business when they speak publicly. Take every opportunity to distribute news releases, conduct press conferences and secure in-person briefings with confirmed media and local reporters. Reach out even to reporters not attending the show. The show gives you a news hook.
  4. Refresh your website. Update your company website with conferences and tradeshows you attended in the past year, and flesh out your “About Us” section with awards and nominations you received. Bios should be updated with new titles and achievements, and new hires should be added. A few fresh case studies would help. Put your best foot forward by showing your online audience what you’ve accomplished. Add logos of new clients and testimonials.
  5. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should evolve. If not much has changed in the way you measure success in recent years, take a second look at your current KPIs. Make sure they are aligned with the growth of the company and your new goals.
  6. Don’t forget about social media. Update your brand’s social media profile pictures, bios and messaging. A new profile page banner image is an easy instant facelift.

Do you use an exclamation point? How about two?

01CULTURALSTUDIES-articleLarge-v2As writers, we are old school when it comes to punctuation.  We don’t use an exclamation point unless we’re exclaiming, and we certainly don’t use two.  But the rules are changing.  The New York Times, which says “our punctuation is on steroids,” details a world where periods are aggressive and commas are geriatric.  There’s been much debate in our office, but we continue to look to “The Associated Press Stylebook” for updates to the journalistic standard.  What about you?  Where do you take your cues?

This New York Times article details the predicament: When Your Punctuation Says It All (!)

8 things you must know before you get on stage

The agency is preparing for The Montgomery Summit next week, where 150 companies will present to investors and salons with panelists will talk tech.  We go to conferences to learn something and meet people.  But we learn even more when we’re the speaker.  An invitation to speak about your own experience focuses your mind on what you know.  Your willingness to share earns you recognition and credibility.  The fact is, speaking is for everyone.  If we follow a few simple rules, we’ll shine and maybe even be invited to do it again.

  1. Tell your audience what they don’t know.  Surprise them with facts, reality and experience.
  2. Skip the joke, the anecdote, the roundabout beginning.  Plunge right into your topic.
  3. You do have a topic, right?  One topic, not three?  Recall how bored you were when the last speaker wandered from point to point and the sound of silverware rattling got so loud?
  4. Practice what you’ll say.  Not as much as your golf swing or your backhand, of course.  But at least as much as you would before pitching an important potential colleague, client or investor.  Because that’s what audiences are.
  5. Get a third-party critique of your talk.  If you can keep the attention of an eight-year old, you’re already a hit.
  6. Nervousness cures overconfidence.
  7. Enthusiasm is contagious.  Have some.
  8. Remember that speaking is giving, not taking.  Ego has nothing to do with it, and that’s why it feels good to share what you know.

Consider starting with a panel

A good way to start speaking is to be part of a panel.  Your fellow panelists are experts, too.  Questions will be directed to your specialized knowledge, and panels take some of the pressure off standing up alone.  Panels are made up of good people to share an evening, and you may find much in common.

What makes an attractive candidate for speaking engagements?

Beyond solid knowledge in his or her field, good speakers are well prepared, on time and willing to help.  They know it’s not about them, it’s about everyone in the room.

How do you secure speaking opportunities? 

It’s best to have help, unless you like pitching yourself.  Conferences book up to a year in advance, so organization is required.  There are short-notice slots that most people are unlikely to be aware of.  The mix of speakers is always important, and your potential contribution might not be obvious to you.

Your job as the speaker is to make your host, panel or conference look good, and to leave the audience knowing something they didn’t know before.


Tara Joshi, an idol on and off the stage

Tara JoshiCongratulations to former Olmstead Williams Communications’ summer intern, Tara Joshi, freshman at Dartmouth College and finalist in Dartmouth Idol.

“Although we didn’t know about Tara’s wonderful voice when we hired her, we did know she was a rock star in communications. Dartmouth is lucky to have her,” says Tracy Williams, founder and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications, “we are expecting a visit and perhaps a performance over her Spring break.”

Read the full article:

Student Spotlight: Tara Joshi ’18, Dartmouth Idol Finalist

How Relevant is News Media in 2015? (infographic)

Constantly expanding digital readership makes news stories published by credible third parties more important than ever to brands, businesses and causes. That makes our PR firm want to celebrate.

Check out the infographic we developed below — ‘How Relevant is News Media in 2015?’ — or view and share it online.

Austin Beutner, the new publisher of the Los Angeles Times, gave a speech earlier this month at Town Hall Los Angeles in which he claimed that on any given Sunday, 4 million people see the articles on the newspaper’s front page — more than four times their print circulation. That’s exciting news to me, because it means that despite stagnating subscriptions, the number of people who interact with the news media is on the rise. I think it makes our work more relevant than ever.

To put this in historical context, the Sunday print circulation of the LA Times — or the number of hard-copy papers they print — is currently about 955,500, a figure that has remained fairly constant for the past five years. Ten years ago, when the majority of us still received our news from traditional media, the Sunday circulation was almost 1.4 million. Today, millions more see the paper as digital readership expands.

Online access to news already trumps print circulation, and content viewed through mobile apps on smartphones and tablets has shown tremendous growth, with mobile-exclusive users increasing 85 percent in the past year. Does the larger overall readership footprint mean PR firms can tell clients their services are actually four times more valuable? Maybe.

We think The Fourth Estate is alive and well. News is still news, and facts are still facts. It’s how we get them that’s changing. So, many happy returns, Los Angeles Times. Keep on rocking, Washington Post. And may your mastheads always fly high, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Olmstead Williams Communications embraces the changes, and we can’t wait to see what’s next. Happy New Year!

2015 eNewsletter Infographic001-7

OWC welcomes new associate

Roxanna EkeOlmstead Williams Communications welcomes Roxanna Eke, associate, to the team.

Eke brings a diverse five-year background in all forms of communications, from writing and appearing on camera as the talent to creating the content and design for email blasts, blogs, social media and infographics.

Read the full bio:

Roxanna Eke

Measuring social media conversations

For the first time ever, social media allows you to measure the impact of conversations on your business, something not so easy to quantify in the real world. It’s critical to understand what works in your social media — so you can do more of it — and what doesn’t — so you can stop doing it — as you build one-to-one relationships that engage customers, prospects and media while driving revenue.

Analytics are the key to learning how to best allocate time and resources, but social media data can be overwhelming. Here are four tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Set your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators.) Set a goal for each social media platform such as number of fans/followers, number of active fan/followers or website traffic driven from posts. Then, look at your analytics with that goal in mind. Did you reach your goal? How did you do it? If you didn’t hit the targets, what went wrong? Are you posting at a time when your fans aren’t active online? Are you using the platform the way it was intended?

Although the "People Reached" may be a much larger number, shares show which posts really resonate with your audience.

Although the “People Reached” may be a much larger number, shares show which posts really resonate with your audience.

Tip #2: Start Small. Try to focus on just one aspect of engagement, like “Content Shares” which is the number of times your fans and followers repost your content. Although the “People Reached” may be a much larger number, shares show which posts really resonate with your audience. Compare previous, current and future shares and adjust your content accordingly to encourage future engagement.

Tip #3: Own your brand. You should analyze what’s working for your competitors as well. When do they post? How do they interact with their community? You can learn from the competition without copying content or strategy. Keep a unique identity with content and the voice of your brand.

Tip #4: Experiment and practice. Know that you probably won’t achieve your goal overnight regardless how dedicated you are to pouring through analytics. Understanding how to best manage your social media channels takes time and testing. Try different strategies and use the data to measure your success. Just because something works for a competitor doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Diving into your analytics but having some problems? Give us a call and we’ll steer you in the right direction.

Tracy Williams featured in Executive Style

Olmstead Williams Communications Tracy WilliamsOlmstead Williams Communications CEO Tracy Williams was featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s Executive Style for here innovative way of combining appropriate business attire with work out clothing.

Williams often meets with clients during workouts, making the gym an extension of her office – and her exercise clothes an extension of her work wardrobe.

Read the full article below:

Executive Style

OWC finalists for two PRSA-LA PRism Awards

ShelfFor the fourth year in a row, OWC is honored to be a finalist for the PRSA-LA PRism Awards.

The firm is being recognized in two categories – Reputation/Brand Management, Corporate/Business for its ongoing work to maintain and grow Big Four firm EY’s market position in the West, and Ongoing Product or Service Program, Business-to-Business for helping Oberthur Technologies lead the conversation about protecting consumers in the wake of major data breaches at Target and other retailers. Winners will be announced at the awards show on November 19.

Will we be adding another to our shelf? We hope so.

Read the full article:

Olmstead Williams Communications Named Finalist for 2014 PRSA-Los Angeles PRism Awards