How Smart Companies Build Relationships with Millennial Audiences in 2016 (hint: CSR)

December 21, 2015

By Alison Hanby, Business Wire

Company reputation is key when trying to attract Millennial interest in your brand.

yay-2080879-digital (1)

Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S., and when it comes to supporting corporations, they pay attention to the transparency, authenticity, and reputation of the companies and brands they associate with.

As Millennials rise in the workforce and obtain greater buying power, they look for like-minded companies to partner with. Are you making it easy for them to choose your organization?

Here are 6 ways companies of all sizes can capture Millennial attention through Corporate Social Responsibility:

  1. Promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) What is CSR? CSR encompasses how a company contributes to society and protects the environment; a company’s stewardship and transparency; and even how a company improves quality of life for their employees and the community they serve. Your company’s CSR program sends an important message to stakeholders and impacts consumer behavior, investor behavior and a company’s perceived value in the marketplace.
  1. Define Your Organization’s Purpose – Of course the top goal of most organizations is revenue, but that is not the same as your organization’s purpose. Today’s companies need to find a way to connect with these audiences.  For your first step in promoting your CSR programming you should start by showcasing the impact your business will have on the lives and welfare of those you serve. A clearly defined company purpose will encourage brand loyalty and promote authenticity, as well as attract and retain employees.
Mill life goals

Rutgers Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012

In a recent Rutgers University Study approximately 40% of Millennials interviewed noted it was “very important” to them to have a job where “they can make an impact on causes or issues that are important.” Define your purpose and shout it from the rooftops. Weave it into your news releases, brand content, website and more.

  1. Be Local – When looking to build your own CSR program, start by looking in your own backyard! Participation in your local community allows you to make smaller contributions that create big results. Stories of your authentic local participation will spread and word of mouth accolades will positively impact your company reputation, attracting Millennial consumers and employees, while balancing consideration for the shareholder.
  1. Be global The next step in a strong CSR program is to showcase the impact of your company and organization’s CSR promise on the world. Take a minute to define how your company decisions are bettering the world at large.
  1. Promote Your Good Works! Once you have defined your CSR programming, the next step is to promote it widely. Many companies not only designate a specific section of their online newsrooms to highlighting their CSR efforts, they utilize news releases to promote and amplify their good works and the impact they are generating on the world at large.

Leverage all the tools at your disposal to promote your good works. Company websites, social media and news releases are a perfect way to tout your corporate environment or your community involvement. Millennials are tech-savvy multitaskers switching from computer to tablet to smart phone in the blink of an eye, so why not launch an informative attack from all fronts?

  1. Involve your Millennial employees
    and give them the opportunity to lead, or at least inform your efforts. Your reputation depends on it. By embracing this new generation of employees and understanding how they think and behave, you will attract the Millennial customers and successfully grow your business.

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One suggestion is to offer a millennial employee the opportunity to take the reins on one of your social media pages for a week.  The freedom and responsibility to express your company’s purpose will increase loyalty, empower, and involve. It will help to cultivate your cause as well as contribute to that employee’s sense of connection to your purpose.  He/she may even share on a personal page, immediately amplifying your message and brand.

Today’s Millennials have access to more information and resources than ever before. When they search for good works, is your company information going to visible? Take the time to build your CSR program, to not only increase interest in your business, but to attract the buyers of the future.

Interested in learning more about promoting your CSR programming? Let us know.  Liked this post? Click here to share it on Twitter!


Corporate strategy, content and philanthropy top discussions at the World Business Forum

December 2, 2015

By Zach Wallens, Specialist, Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting Services

Whether you’re an account executive at a boutique PR firm or a senior investor relations officer (IRO) for a Fortune 500 company, storytelling is likely among your most fundamental job functions. All companies, regardless of their industry, have long communicated stories to customers, investors, internal stakeholders and media. As we adopt various digital technologies, the platforms on which these narratives are consumed continues to change. To thrive in this evolving environment, we can often learn from those who are truly innovators –business leaders, entertainers or, sometimes, people whose profession falls somewhere in between.Panel-7-Herminia-IbarraEarlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the World Business Forum in New York, where, for two days, thousands of executives from around the globe gathered to absorb knowledge from some of the world’s most renowned innovators. With a lineup of speakers that included Herminia Ibarram the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s Vice President, Global Marketing Solutions, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, the conference certainly provided the audience with thought-provoking business ideas, stories and laughs. The theme of this year’s conference was storytelling – specifically, how and why companies should disseminate their unique, compelling stories.

The event hosted by World of Business Ideas (WOBI), and its speakers lectured about wide-ranging topics, and some, in particular, are of definite interest to Business Wire clients. Here are the top business trends and strategies discussed during the conference:

  1. Brands must communicate their stories using several platforms and multimedia is no longer optional

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. news releases. blogs, email campaigns. In today’s business world, nearly all PR and marketing professionals are familiar with these storytelling channels. However, there is a distinct difference between distributing content via various platforms, and having high audience engagement. According to Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, successful brands don’t just tell their stories, they show them to consumers.Panel-9-Carolyn-Everson“Billions of photos are shared and uploaded, now we’re seeing an explosion of video. Eight billion video views a day on Facebook alone. Every time we estimate video growth, we under estimate it,” Everson said. “Brands love to tell their stories through sight, sound and motion.”

Because mobile devices and apps are such an integral part of consumers’ lives and purchasing decisions, companies must also consider how they can integrate these platforms with their core products, Everson said, noting that Facebook now adheres to a “mobile first” philosophy.

Kevin Spacey echoed many of Everson’s points, particularly her message about businesses needing to convey their stories using new platforms. He also stated producing the best content is still the most important.Panel-13-Kevin-Spacey

“What is it that really elevates these companies to be able to hover above the competition? I tell you, it is the story they are able to communicate, and when we tell better stories, our businesses have a better chance to provide a memorable experience and achieve success,” said Spacey, an Academy Award winner and star of Netflix’s first original show, House of Cards.

“The good news is,” Spacey continued, “with the emergence of new tools and new technology, I think there has actually never been a better moment to make vivid stories that stand out from the crowd.

“The storytellers who thrive are the ones who understand how to use these platforms to elevate their stories.”

Storytelling and content creation were two of the major topics throughout the conference, but other presenters, each from a different industry, spoke more about developing a corporate culture, collaboration and philanthropy.

  1. To build a successful, innovative company, it’s imperative that executives invest in their employees and promote a collaborative work environment.

Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, stated that for organizations to achieve sustainable success, companies must invest in their employees, through salary raises, wellness programs and affordable health benefits.Panel-11-Mark-BertoliniAccording to Bertolini, human capital is a company’s scarcest resource, and the ability to maintain engaged, front-line employees is vital to success within any industry. This sentiment was reiterated by Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Jobs, Isaacson said, once told him that the team at Apple was the most important product he ever built.

Isaacson further discussed the lessons he gained writing about the world’s most celebrated innovators, and he centered on the necessity for leaders to encourage collaboration among employees. “Innovation relies on collaboration,” he said. “It takes teams of people, rubbing up against each other, to make true imagination into real innovation.”Panel-12-Walter-Isaacson (1)Several of the speakers, including Richard Branson, said that successful business leaders hire employees who are better than themselves. The Virgin Group founder also wasn’t shy about his hatred of ties, his belief that employees’ dressing comfortably spurs creativity, and that Virgin’s corporate culture is an important part of its achievements.

“All a company is, is a group of people,” Branson said. “What sets Virgin Atlantic off against British Airways is the people on the plane, it’s their attitude. So we try to find leaders from other companies who genuinely love people.”

  1. To meet climate change and global development goals, the business community must get more involved.

Branson and Everson each spoke extensively about the philanthropic endeavors of Virgin and Facebook, respectively. The business community, Branson said, has made significant progress in its aim to curtail climate change and develop impoverished countries, but much more is still required.Panel-10-Sir-Richard-Bronson“If business people can join with politicians and social workers and adopt programs, and we’ll have enormous fun overcoming those problems, I really do think we can overcome most of the problems of this world so that our children and grandchildren can have as wonderful life as we’ve all had,” he said.

Everson cited Facebook’s internet.org, an initiative to provide internet access to the more than four billion people without it. Solving this problem, she said, would advance education, healthcare and business in developing nations.

“We believe connectivity is also a human right,” Everson said. “Because we can’t leave four billion people behind as we all continue to have access to information at our fingertips.”

You can see why Business Wire was thrilled to be a media sponsor for this event. These business tips and strategies were the main takeaways from the World Business Forum. Most interesting was that even with speakers from highly different industries and backgrounds, many shared similar opinions regarding the importance of storytelling and of embracing new content platforms. This advice holds especially true for PR and IR professionals, who must regularly communicate their companies’ stories, in press releases, videos and/or social posts. Brands are constantly telling stories to a wide array of audiences, and as the event’s speakers stressed, multimedia distributed over multiple platforms is essential for an effective communications strategy.

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Note:  Scribed images courtesy of @LudicCreatives. To learn more about visual scribing, rich pictures and infographics, visit their website at www.ludiccreatives.com.


“Every Business Has an Audience” is a Key Takeaway from SXW2O

March 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

The venue was large and had already been entertained by the great Al Roker by the time Jim Weiss (CEO, W2O Group) and Cathy Baron Tamraz (CEO, Business Wire) stepped on stage. They had their hands full with a standing room-only audience and only saying something fundamentally mind blowing would turn it around. Fortunately for the crowd, that’s exactly what happened.

Cathy and Jim at SXW2O event

During the session, Cathy was asked how a newswire service could support a startup or organization that journalists weren’t actively looking for information on. “If you have a business, you have an audience,” she told the crowd. “Safe is not going to win the game.”

More news is being created and consumed now than ever in the history of modern man, she continued, adding that there are trade papers, journalists, online publications and consumers looking for relevant company news every day. You don’t have to be a big name brand to get noticed; you just have to have a good product or piece of news. In a world so cluttered with content, it was refreshing to hear someone say what every successful large and small organization knows to be true. You don’t have to be big to get noticed — you just have to appeal to your core audience.

Apple WatchTo reiterate the point that smaller companies can greatly benefit with a newswire service, Cathy cited her own company’s history. When Business Wire first launched over 50 years ago, they were distributing news for companies like Hewlett-Packard, companies that were being run out of garages. This hasn’t changed much. From startup launches to the introduction of the Apple watch, Business Wire continues to distribute market moving news across a wide range of industries.

Jim Weiss chimed in, adding that startups need to get into the practice of issuing releases. It is important to start building and archiving a digital trail for your company during its earliest stages. The digital revolution also created a wide variety of options for the format of your distributed information.

Both Jim and Cathy agreed that multimedia was not just beneficial to a news release, but a requirement in modern news consumption programming. Modern communicators like Hasbro, Intel, Cigna and more are leveraging multimedia assets like News and Picture Capsules that allow users to play a game while learning about the brand and product. IntelBy incorporating interactive multimedia within the news story, audiences spend far more time on the news announcement than they would had it just been a simple text release.  Text-only news releases engage readers for seconds, while interactive-based releases are showing engagement results between 4-10 minutes – rates that are unheard of in the current communications and content marketing space.

The next topic covered was the importance of measurement in the communication space.  Measurability is the single greatest tool in identifying how a release is impacting the market and the company goals alike. Advents, such as NUVI, create an ability to not only see where your news release is being picked up but who is engaging with it and how – reading, sharing or advocating. Being able to distinguish the public reaction of your release gives you the opportunity to take control over your campaign like never before.

nuvi report

The lineup at this year’s SXW2O was fantastic, and the reason why is because the speakers were inspiring. There is a great feeling to knowing that you can make an impact especially when the message is coming from people who make an impact every day, like Jim Weiss and Cathy Baron Tamraz. The question now is who are you trying to activate with your news, and how can Business Wire help you distribute it?

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends impacting today’s communications programming. Join our mailing list today!

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The Role of Data in Today’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Programs

November 10, 2014

By Matt VanTassel, Global Disclosure Services, Business Wire Matt VanTassel

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a Sustainability Practice Network discussion at Baruch College here in New York. The topic, Under the Hood: Corporate Sustainability 2014 was a broad-based discussion of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) programs including their development, implementation and the data that is derived from them.

As someone still learning the intricacies of ESG, it was reassuring to note that this topic, or better,  this idea, is truly still a work in progress. Why? Because today’s corporations are implementing ESG-based programs differently across industries, and the data that is created is being used in a multitude of ways.

Citi’s Assistant Vice President of Sustainability, Davida Heller laid out an impressive array of information on Citi’s programs and how they weigh social and environmental concerns when making investments. Citi tracks risks associated with anything from social discussions to environmental risks, for clients and their internal initiatives. You can review their numerous programs and stances on each topic here.

As a former Bloomberger, I always like to know what’s brewing at Bloomberg. While the company has a long-standing environmental policy (their forks are made out of potatoes!), there is also a department and functions that cater to culling and analyzing this data. Senior ESG Analyst Su Gao provided interesting statistics on how ESG-related data is being consumed by Bloomberg terminal users. There has been a nice uptick in data usage (48%), confirming that analysts and investors are looking beyond balance sheets and cash flow statements when making opinions and investment decisions.  ({ESG } on the terminal)

Domini’s Tessie Petion, lead research analyst for the Funds’ social and environmental standards, introduced a novel point that not all data is relevant for each investment and Social Responsible Investing (SRI) can (and should) have very focused concerns (such as treatment of animals or energy usage, etc.). SRI data is also being consumed beyond the typical ESG investor. One example of this is the use of SRI data when analyzing CEO pay packages (Say-on-Pay rules under the Dodd-Frank Act).

Turner Construction’s VP & Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Deane gave an interesting narrative on how he made the business case for Turner’s decision to ‘go green’. As of today, 50% of the buildings constructed by Turner are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and they had 364 LEED-certified projects and 261 LEED-registered projects completed or under way as of May 2014.

One of the most compelling takeaways from this discussion came from Lorraine Smith, Senior Director at SustainAbility. She explained that it is extremely difficult for companies to quantify the environmental cost of their business. To better visualize this difficulty, she asked the audience about the food we ate that day and how much it cost us out-of-pocket. She then asked us what it would cost the environment to provide us that same amount of food. For example, she mentioned Greek yogurt, while delicious, creates a serious environmental repercussion in the form of acid whey.  Acid whey as it turns out is a very difficult to recycle byproduct of making and consuming this yogurt.

Professor David Rosenberg, Director, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity  added, “Nothing should be more important to today’s corporate leaders than understanding the impact their businesses have on the environment and on the communities that sustain them.  As speakers at our event demonstrated, to be good stewards of the planet and good partners to their various stakeholders, corporations first need good data.  That is why exploring the potential for better reporting on sustainability is central to our mission of promoting corporate integrity,” commented Professor David Rosenberg, Director, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity.

As ESG initiatives become more and more prevalent in corporations, the amount of data generated continues to grow. How the data is measured or interpreted and then utilized to build successful ESG programming continues to be the largest hurdle for both the companies and their investors.  Companies who take the time to analyze their data will be able to build the groundwork for successful ESG programs.

Interested in reading additional corporate social responsibility related news?  Follow us: @BWCSRNews and @BW_CSR.

 


Original Berkshire Hathaway Pennants on Sale to Benefit Douglas County Nebraska CASA

May 1, 2014

This is a big week for Business Wire as our team heads to our parent company, Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. For the last seven years, Business Wire has used attendance at the annual conference as a platform to raise funds for CASA, a charitable organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children within the court system via trained citizen volunteers.   This year is no different.

Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants

Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants

For 2014, Business Wire is raising money by selling original Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennants, available for $7 each or two for $10.

“For seven years we have proudly participated at the Berkshire annual meeting while helping out with a worthy cause like CASA. In the spirit of this year’s baseball theme we will take our metaphorical seventh-inning stretch by contributing to charity,” said Cathy Baron Tamraz, chairwoman and chief executive officer of Business Wire.

Douglas County Nebraska CASA was established in 1998 at the urging of area judges. CASA was created under the premise that there must be an advocate for children within the court system–someone who will fight and keep the child’s best interests at heart. It is the CASA volunteer that helps judges make good decisions on behalf of these abused children.

“What a great opportunity to raise awareness while generating much-needed funds to support advocates for children within the court system. Every dollar that Business Wire raises ultimately helps transform a child’s future,” said Kimberly Thomas, Executive Director of CASA for Douglas County.

The pennants are available at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha or can be purchased online: http://bit.ly/BRKPennant

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The Press Release Then and Now: How We Arrived At Where We Are Today

January 27, 2014

By: Hannah Kelly, Business Wire, Paris

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most important milestones in the history of public relations – Ivy Lee’s management of the 1913-1914 Colorado Coal Strike aftermath.

The term ‘Public Relations’ first appeared in the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature, and the original press release, which we can credit to Ivy Lee, was published in 1906 – following the tragic loss of 50 lives in the Pennsylvanian Railroad Crash.

Equally, Lee’s Declaration of Principles, also released in 1906, was a turning point for public relations, as it communicated the responsibility of those working in PR, not only to the client but also to the public. This declaration ensured that Lee’s work was subsequently accepted not in the form of advertising, but as news, as accurate information, as matter “of value and interest to the public”. This was, and still is, the founding principle of wire services such as Business Wire, Associated Press, AFP and more.

So with all of these important events taking place before 1914, what exactly was it about the Colorado Coal Strike that is now so crucial to the history of public relations?

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

Firstly, the strike needed publicity management due to its hotly controversial nature – on-strike miners and their families were killed by state militia, and the mining union blamed the Rockefeller family and their coal mining business for the deaths.

Lee used, to his advantage, the establishment and acceptance of his Declaration of Principles as the basis for the management of the Colorado Coal Strike aftermath.  He drafted and mailed an array of bulletins to media outlets and workers alike, addressing the issue with candor (as well as successfully keeping the Rockefeller name free from reputational damage). This has become known as one of the most successful and influential PR campaigns – an experience that demonstrated, for the first time, the importance of publicity and public relations to the American nation.

It should be noted that doubts do exist regarding the authenticity of this campaign, whether certain facts were distorted, and if this was the case, as to whether this was intentional or not. However, despite any uncertainties, we must concede that this campaign achieved its goals : to promote the facts of the event and to share news with the public, whilst recognising its responsibility to both the public and the client, the Rockefeller’s.

Many years later, the standard of PR established in Lee’s Declaration of Principles has evolved significantly. It is now so well integrated into modern society that we no longer even question it. PR is an essential part of business life – and it would be unthinkable to run a company nowadays without openness and honesty to the public. It is for this reason that Business Wire works so hard to ensure the authenticity of all press releases, and adheres to such stringent security regulations. We agree with Lee’s rules: “Accuracy, Authenticity, and Interest”.


Business Wire Establishes New Standards for SEO with the 2014 Guide for Press Release Optimization

January 8, 2014

As we enter into 2014,  we are still receiving a lot of questions about how SEO should be used with a press release. One of the biggest misnomers we hear is that you cannot use any links in a release and that keyword research is not applicable anymore.  In an effort to clear up some of the confusion with SEO best practices for researching, writing and distributing a press release, Business Wire has put out a new guidance report titled “A Guide to Press Release Optimization.” The download is available for free and will answer all of the questions regarding press releases and SEO for 2014.

Business Wire PR and SEO in 2014The press release guidance report shows the major changes that have occurred with the press release including updates from Google that have redefined how the release is written. Additionally the report discusses best practices moving forward including future SEO and social trends in 2014. The guide is structured chronologically as a reference that will walk you through all of the steps of a press release from research and planning, through writing content, and into final distribution and measurement.

The idea is to have a standard that professionals in the communications industry can use as a guide when developing a press release for the New Year. All of the ten tips include examples and strategies including many free tools that are available to all professionals.

Tips include:

  • How to research and learn the behaviors of key constituents
  • Complete overview of the latest algorithms, and how to benefit from these updates
  • Recommended  press release layout improvements
  • How to properly use links
  • What you need to know about press release keywords and key phrases
  • The importance of high quality content
  • The role multimedia plays in increasing discovery and action in 2014
  • How to use social media strategically
  • Using a responsive design webpage for mobile
  • How to choose the proper news distribution method

The report can be downloaded, for free at http://go.businesswire.com/guide-to-press-release-optimization. Click this link to share it with your Twitter followers:  http://ctt.ec/4v0K3

Google Hummingbird

Need more incentive to download our report?  Business Wire will select, at random, 18 people who downloaded our guide to receive a hummingbird of their own!

We want to hear your comments. Let us know what you think of this guidance report and follow us on twitter @businesswire.


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