The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Melanie Randall: Inspiring Others to Live and Dance Strong

Founder of Live and Dance Strong, and Owner of Dancewear House, Melanie Randall.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a loss, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Melanie Randall, decided to take one of the most difficult times in her life, and turn it into something beautiful as a way to process her grief.

Five years ago, Melanie’s father, Richard J. Randall, passed away and she set out to start an event that would help in her healing process. The result was Live and Dance Strong, a fundraiser that serves as a wonderful opportunity for choreographers and dancers alike to come together and deliver a unique dance experience.

Randall says, “Each year the show is different, and we have begun to touch on other people’s pain and grieving process. Cancer has affected so many people. I never dreamed that by starting Live and Dance Strong I would bring hope and empowerment to so many other young women who have lost someone—it’s been very special.”

This year, the event brought their total donations to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to more than $30,000 since its inception and for the first time, they paid a special tribute to cancer survivors.

Planning for Live and Dance Strong starts in early winter, and around March Melanie begins to send letters to local businesses, requesting sponsorships and donations for the show. In May, she sends out choreographer applications to studios in the area.

They recently added a concert element to the planning process, by hosting a concert at their home on the lake in an effort to raise awareness and funding within the community. Melanie adds that social media has also made the event easier to put together, saying, “Facebook has made it easy for us to have an online presence, enabling us to connect with choreographers and sponsors we may not have met any other way.”

Even after growing up dancing for Keltie Collins, Andrei Bossov and Genie O’Brien, she never imagined that she would have a career in dance. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate with a degree in English that she considered buying Dancewear House in Hallowell, but after six and a half years, it was clearly the right choice. She says, “I wasn’t really sure that an English degree would prepare me for running a business, but my years in college certainly did.”

Melanie (center) with her Mom, Mary Elizabeth Randall (left), and her fiancé, Scott Lowery (right) following this year’s Live and Dance Strong event.

Most days, you will find Melanie helping young girls find their way on a similar career path. She says, “I spend most of my days with dancers’ feet in my face,” as the primary person that handles Pointe shoe fittings.

So what is her secret to happiness and success?

Randall says, “Follow your dreams—find something in life that you’re passionate about, and keep it close to you, especially when life gets hard. We all have the ability to take a negative situation and make it into a positive one, so don’t ever give up! One person has all of the potential in the world to touch someone’s life and change their own.”

To learn how you can get involved with Live and Dance Strong, please visit, liveanddancestrong.org, or like the Dancewear House on Facebook.

Creating a Catalyst for Change

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Founder and Creative Director of Katalyst, Kyle Poissonnier

It is one of the most recognized quotes from Gandhi, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Kyle Poissonnier, brings the idea to fruition with the launch of his new Portland-based brand, Katalyst.

Poissonnier first garnered media attention five years ago when he took a thesis project from an entrepreneur class and made it a reality. The brand Elykssor (pronounced elixir) was formed. Essentially, Kyle says, “Someone asked me what I wanted to do. I said I liked clothes, started, and learned as I went.”

It wasn’t until his fourth year in business that the brand began to see any real traction, and so he went back to the drawing board to focus on the direction he wanted to take—enter Katalyst. Kyle says, “I’m taking all of my experiences—wins and losses—into Katalyst. With Elykssor, I found myself doing so many different things. Katalyst encompasses all of them.”

So what is Katalyst? Kyle says that it is based on the idea that “every person in the world affects us in some way,” and that this brand embodies that, by acting as a catalyst for change and enabling people to accomplish their goals as a symbol for confidence and positivity.

Katalyst is a brand that plans to pay-it-forward by developing ‘Katalyst Kollaborative’ communities. While the brand will be developing and selling a variety of clothing, ranging from fitness gear to everyday wear, they will also be providing custom-designed wear for fundraising opportunities.

Kyle says, “I remember when I was a kid the fundraiser stuff was all candy bars and magazine subscriptions—what we offer are custom shirts that are fun to wear, to sell and to bring a community together.”

For example, if a high school athletic boosters program needed to raise money, they would contact Kyle and his team, and they would design a Katalyst-branded shirt with the high school’s logo that could be sold to raise money. In return, that school is added to the Katalyst Kollaboration community.

Last year, the Skowhegan freshman class sold their custom shirts and raised more than $2,500. Kyle presented the shirts to the class, and spoke with the students about pursuing their dreams by sharing his own success story.

At 28, Kyle is the youngest inductee to his alma mater, Husson University, Hall of Fame for his professional success. He has also been featured on a TED Talk and MSNBC’s “Rediscover” for his accomplishment of launching soon to be two successful lifestyle clothing brands.

For all of his success, Poissonnier is humble stating, “I don’t feel like I have an impressive resume—I feel like I have impressive friends and people that have helped me get any type of positive recognition. All of this has happened because photographers, videographers and friends in general have wanted to help me out.”

The support from his friends and other Maine people that believe in the sense of community that encapsulates the state has been incredibly helpful in the creation of his official launch party for Katalyst: State of the State on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the State Theater in Portland.

The event will become an annual party to celebrate the “state” of Maine—the music scene, the businesses, and all that Maine has to offer.

To learn more about Kyle and the Katalyst community, visit their Facebook page today at www.facebook.com/bethekatalyst, or follow Kyle on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kylepoissonnier and Twitter, www.twitter.com/bethekatalyst and www.twitter.com/Kyle_Katalyst.

“Hello Charlie” – 6 Tips for Public Speaking

Charlie’s Angels
Image courtesy of www.tv.yahoo.com

Years ago, when I was a recent performing arts graduate, I took part in a nationwide audition for the remake of Charlie’s Angels. Armed with the bravado and naiveté of youth, I made it to the callbacks, which consisted of an interview and screen test. The audition was also covered by a local reporter.

Facing the three-judge panel, I was able to make it through the basic questions of name, age, and height. And then I was blindsided by, “So why do you want to audition for Charlie’s Angels?” Looking back, this does seem like a pretty obvious question, but in the stress of the moment the wheels came off my interview as my eyes widened and a shocked snort of laughter escaped my lips. In the seconds it took for the panel to put a line through my name, my mind raced through several possible answers – all of which were quickly discounted. I then realized my fatal mistake – I wasn’t prepared.

#1 Prepare for questions

I spent all of my time learning the monologue and never considered the possibility of questions – even the obvious ones. I should have made a list of questions or asked a friend to interview me or a least considered that I may have to say something that wasn’t a part of the monologue.

As I gave myself an imaginary forehead slap, my inner dialogue went into hyper-drive. “You idiot, stop fumbling, just say something. NO, not that – say something intelligent!”

Leading to my next lesson in public speaking.

#2 Never give in to negative self-talk

Judging yourself while trying to present is not only distracting, it’s a sure way to ruin any conversation, interview or speech. Negativity causes your body and your mind to tighten, leading to an inability to speak or think clearly, and excessive displays of nervous habits.

When I’m nervous, I stutter and say “uh” a lot. My hands often take on a life of their own and tend to gesture wildly as if to leave my body or flag down a taxi. All of these habits are distracting and take away from any message I’m trying to deliver. Nervous habits are many times so unconscious that you may not even be aware of them. I wasn’t, that is until a director pointed them out, making this tip #3.

Jim Egerton and Juli Settlemire in ACAT’s Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane.

#3 Practice in front of people

You’re going to be presenting in front of people anyway, so gather a few friends together and review your presentation. It helps hone your message, and develop a comfort level with your material and being in front of people.

In the case of my audition, I had the three-judge panel to my right and a large camera with a blinking red light to my left. As the judges nodded for me to present my monologue I wasn’t exactly sure if I should be looking at them or the increasingly hypnotic lens of the camera. In the end, the camera won out and as I stared helplessly into its vortex of distraction, tatters of my monologue hiccuped their way out of my mouth. Leading to my #4, #5, and #6 tips.

#4 Film yourself

I recommend filming and reviewing your presentation. There’s something about having a record of your speech that adds an extra element of importance, stress and distraction, making it a great warm up for the actual presentation.

#5 Research and visit the venue whenever possible

Seeing the venue helps you to visualize where you and your audience will be. It gives you a context for your preparation and helps with the rehearsal process. Now, whenever I have a speech, I set up my kitchen in a mock-up of the room and practice.

#6 Don’t assume – prepare

I have a B.A. in performing arts, I’ve taken post-graduate improvisation classes, I’m used to being in front of people in very stressful situations. I assumed that I could handle whatever this audition threw at me – I was WRONG.

NMC Business Manager, Juli Settlemire

Now I work at Nancy Marshall Communications and can fully appreciate the importance of messaging and media training. If my epic audition failure taught me anything, it’s that drive and talent only get you so far – you need to properly prepare for opportunities. Keep polishing and adapting your speech for each audience and each situation. And never hesitate to call in expert advice. You’ll find a new confidence in presenting yourself and your ideas in professional and social situations.

As for Charlie’s Angels, you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t make it past callbacks. However, I was featured on the nightly news; apparently the reporter really liked my shocked guffaw.

Contributed by Juli Settlemire, NMC Business Manager

Kylie Keene: From Spokester to Tour Correspondent

Is this week’s Monday Maine Maven the next big name in entertainment media? Kylie Keene is well on her way!

You may recognize Kylie as the Young & Free Maine Spokester, an outreach program by Maine’s credit unions that allowed Keene to serve as the face and voice of the 18-25 year old crowd in Maine. In this role, Kylie helped that demographic make sense of banking and money through the use of videos and interviews, and attending events throughout the state.

Keene says, “I was so thrilled to be chosen as the Young & Free Maine Spokester. I was able to apply the skills I had learned in school, and build new ones throughout the year.”

These skills will come in handy as she embarks on a new journey as the Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent. For those of you that don’t know, 1D is short for One Direction…yes, the multi-million dollar recording artists, and every teenage girl’s dream.

How did Kylie get the gig? She says, “A friend shared the position with me on Facebook, saying I was the first person that came to mind when she read the job description. I read the details, and when I learned I could blog, make videos and share stories while enjoying live music and traveling the country, I knew I had to apply!”

In her new position, Kylie is responsible for connecting with fans and sharing the live concert experience with them, even if they can’t make it to a show—sharing stories from the concerts, delicious snack recipes, opportunities for fans to score tickets to concerts, and much more.

Keene adds, “There’s also a great mobile app fans can download that shares exclusive video content, and cool stuff like voicemails from One Direction and a cyber photo booth where fans can create images of themselves with the bands.”

This opportunity serves as a great stepping stone for Kylie in a career as a multimedia journalist. She developed an interest in the field after shadowing a reporter at a Portland news station in high school. Kylie says, “After seeing the fast-paced, ever-changing environments that journalists worked in, and the new people they met on stories each day, I knew I wanted to pursue a field that would offer the same opportunities.”

Who inspires Ms. Keene? While she admires the work of Ann Curry and Barbara Walters, she says, “I am most influenced and inspired by my peers who are currently working in the field; those I graduated with, or worked with as a news intern. I am so proud of my friends who continue to work hard as journalists, and I admire their talent and drive.”

If Kylie’s job sounds like a good fit for you, or someone you know, her advice is to “find mentors and learn from their expertise,” and “to surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, support you, and motivate you to become the best version of yourself.” She adds, “If you really want to do something, and you believe you can do it, then you will.”

To follow Kylie’s summer as the Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent you can check out her blog at, http://nabisco1dvip.tumblr.com/.

 

Social Networking Does Not Replace In-Person Networking

Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications

From time to time, I meet with young professionals who are starting out in their careers and need to make connections. Some of them have the idea that they can use LinkedIn and Facebook exclusively to make connections without actually meeting people face to face.  I discourage them from relying solely on their computers for networking. Instead, I advise them to join chambers of commerce, boards of trustees, and other civic groups to meet people in person.

Online social networking is a great way to initially connect with people, but it’s no substitute for developing relationships over the long term. I recommend that you always seek out opportunities to meet with people face-to-face. It’s great to use LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or other social networks before, during, or after your in-person interaction but the goal should always be to get together and do something in person. Social networks are a great way to keep track of people in between your in-person meetings.

You can’t truly get to know a person when both of you are behind your computer or smart phone screen. The best (and the worst) of people comes out during face-to-face interactions. I worry about young people who think they have ‘friends’ based on the number of connections they have on Facebook. These might be people who know your name and know what you look like, but until you’ve spent time with a person, you can’t really decide whether they are your friend or not.

My advice is to seek out the people you want to get to know either for personal or professional reasons, and invite them to lunch, or for drinks, or to a baseball game, or to go skiing or biking or hiking.  You may meet these people in a variety of settings but professional networking groups such as chambers of commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis and even BNI (Business Networking International) are good places to start.

There’s nothing like a campfire to pull together a group of people as
true friends. In May, we had a group of French students who were
visiting my son Jamie’s school over to our house a potluck dinner and
a campfire. We sang, told stories, and had a wonderful time together.
This is where true friendships are made.

There are so many fun things to do with old and new friends that will strengthen your relationship, but you need to make an effort to get these things on your calendar and extend your circle of influence.  Once you get together and enjoy these times together, you can post photos of yourselves on Facebook and other social networks, and share stories about what you did.

It’s easy to spend most of your time with your family and old friends, but for professional growth and development, you should make an effort to make new contacts and expand your circle of friends.

 

Your Website is the Centerpiece of Your Marketing Program

When you are setting a table for a formal dinner party, you place something beautiful in the center of the table like candles, flowers or a bowl of colorful fruit. This centerpiece ties everything on the table together.

This infographic comes from our good friends at the Caliber Group in Arizona. Both our agencies are members of the Alliance of Marketing Communications Agencies. Thanks to the Caliber Group for sharing! www.calibergroup.com

Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing program. It helps you connect with your targeted audiences and ties all of your marketing efforts together. It contains all the information about your product, service, place, organization or brand that people need in order to connect with you or do business with you. Visitors come to your site to get more information, to evaluate your products and services and to assess your brand. By looking at your site, they decide whether they want to connect with your brand….or not.

Your website is the focal point of your brand, and the foundation of your marketing program. Every aspect of your marketing should point back to your website, including press releases, ads, business cards, brochures, flyers, rack cards, banners, direct mail and social media.

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

When people go to your website, they will immediately get a sense of your brand. If your website looks amateurish, people will think your business is amateurish.  If it is beautiful and full of useful information that draws people in and keeps them there for a while, then your website will build your brand and convey an image of professionalism.

It’s important to be sure that the centerpiece on your table and the centerpiece of your marketing program are consistent with the image you want to convey to your guests, whether they are coming for dinner at your home or coming to learn more about your organization online.

Almost Home Rescue: Where Volunteers Make A Difference

Almost Home Rescue Director/President, Bonnie Martinolich with her three dogs at home.

Just about everyone in the NMC office has a pet that they brag about, posting pictures on their office walls, desks and more! As animal lovers, we can appreciate the work of nonprofit organizations such as Almost Home Rescue and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Bonnie Martinolich.

Martinolich serves as the director and president of Almost Home Rescue (AHR). AHR is unique in that they are a nonprofit corporation, made up entirely of volunteers without a single paid staff member. A part of her work includes managing their Facebook page and she says, “We only have one very basic rule: we never post negative stories about cruelty and neglect.”

In a world filled with violence and negative images surrounding animal cruelty, it is important to AHR that they emphasize the passion of volunteers for positive outcomes and as Bonnie adds, “We want parents to feel comfortable with having their children view our Facebook page, and for people to understand the good that comes from volunteers and adopters working with AHR.”

On June 15, 2013, hundreds of people showed up for Amy Buxton’s Underdog Jog. Almost Home Rescue was a benefactor of the race and volunteered as course marshals.

The passion of volunteers displayed on their social media sites is what brings in most of their new volunteers. Bonnie says, “They are a friend who had a friend who adopted an AHR dog, or is a foster parent, and they want to do the same.”

With mobile accessibility to online sites increasing daily, it is only natural that they would look there first when they begin a search for new four-legged family members. This is why sites like Facebook, Petfinder and AHR’s website are essential for AHR.

Another key element to the success of AHR is volunteers. The rescue organization doesn’t have a shelter of their own; they simply transport dogs to foster families and partner rescue organizations, so visibility of their program is critical.  Bonnie adds, “Our foster program is the heart of what we do, and allows us to continue our rescue effort.”

This past weekend, they were one of the benefactors of the Underdog Jog, a fundraiser 5K held in memory of their late volunteer, Amy Buxton.  AHR not only had multiple volunteers that donated their time as course marshals, but they also brought their rescue van, full of adoptable dogs to the race, mingling with the crowd and talking about what they do within the community.

AHR relies on volunteers to raise awareness of their program.

To join their community of animal lovers you can contact them by emailing, info_ahr@yahoo.com, or donate on their website, www.almosthomerescue.net.

 

Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs’ New Album Keeps You Dancing

Sam Shain, front man of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs

In a recent webinar, the host suggested a modified version of the Pareto principle was applicable to social media, saying that 80% of your content development should be personal items that make you relatable to your audience and that sliding in the sales and marketing pitches in the remaining 20% is the key to social media success.

If that’s the case, then this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Sam Shain of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs, is doing social media very well!

Shain grew up in Hallowell and credits its “charm and strong community” for keeping him here. Sam also adds, “I’ve been going downtown to listen to music since I was a little kid—Hallowell has an outstanding scene for such a small city!”

If you’ve been downtown yourself, then you have most likely popped into the Liberal Cup, Higher Grounds, The Wharf, Hoxter’s, Easy Street Lounge or one of the many other venues that host live music on a regular basis. The scene has come a long way since Sam first started booking gigs. He says, “I used to make events for gigs, but I rarely use that feature anymore.”

Why not? Facebook.

Shain says, “My Facebook page is a great outlet when it comes to getting the word out and posting my schedule.” Another thing Shain does on his Facebook page is connect with his fans (over 1,000 of them) by asking them questions, and getting their feedback on his show and music. He says, “More activity equals more awareness, so I try to keep it light in my posts and have fun.”

Sam Shain during an interview at WBLM discussing the band’s latest album, A Song We Know.

So, what’s next for Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs? They are working their way into the Portland music scene and are currently pushing their latest album, A Song We Know. It is currently on sale at all of their shows and Musicians First Choice in Augusta, and will soon be available on iTunes and in Bull Moose.

Shain says, “With any luck, we’ll have a 2014 release to follow up on the success of A Song We Know. In the meantime, we are going to keep gigging it up and keep all of the awesome people that come to our shows dancing.”

To learn more about Sam Shain and the band, like their Facebook page at facebook.com/samshainmusic.

Should You Trade Google Alerts For Newsle?

NMC Account Executive Anna McDermott

Newsle is yet another of the latest social media platforms that is trending right now and the intrepid folks at NMC are here to tell you whether or not you should pay any attention to it. You should. It’s pretty cool and you really don’t have to do anything with it other than sign in. Newsle will then track your friends and email you as soon as they’re in the news (Newsle = news + people).

It’s an easy way to monitor your own brand and the brands of your friends and clients, and its algorithm for finding your contacts in the news is pretty brilliant – people think it’s far more accurate than having a Google alert.

When I signed in, I linked my Gmail, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to my Newsle profile and instantly anyone I’m connected to who has been in the news in the last few years showed up on my Home screen with links to the articles. You can also follow anyone on Newsle – like the President or Justin Bieber.

You can choose how often Newsle emails you with updates (1-7 days per week) and whenever your friends are in the news, you’ll know. The more someone is in the news, the higher their Newsle rank is – Barack Obama has a 94, our own Nancy Marshall has a 28. Because your rank is dependent on the prominence of the news source you are in and how often you are in the news, your number could be seen as a positive or negative, so I wouldn’t necessarily place too much importance on it.

Go ahead, sign up for Newsle – you may find it replaces many of your Google alerts and its interface is really pleasant to use.

Contributed by: Anna McDermott

 

The Art of Brand Communication

Portland Museum of Art Brand Strategy Coordinator, Caitlin Brooke

When you think of a museum, what comes to mind? Do you envision a forward-thinking, branding machine that brings art to life on your phone, through an artist-inspired cocktail, or by offering Free Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.? That’s the exact image Portland Museum of Art (PMA) Brand Strategy Coordinator, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Caitlin Brooke, hopes to conjure when you think of PMA.

After graduating from Cony High School, Caitlin attended the University of New Hampshire where she received  dual undergraduate degrees in art history and communication, and an MBA in marketing. A summer internship with PMA’s PR department was her first taste of the career path she would choose, but not before spending three years in Boston working as an associate for an investment firm.

Brooke says, “I absolutely loved developing my professional identity in Boston and being thrown into the fast-paced and demanding world of corporate finance. My role evolved from investor relations to marketing, and I began to take the reins in redesigning the firm’s marketing materials and communications plan.”

At the PMA’s Winter Bash Brooke’s job was to sit and draw the guests as they enjoyed the evening.

By 2010 Brooke decided to leave Boston and do some soul-searching saying, “I wanted to eventually establish myself in Maine, so I took a break and traveled the country before beginning my search for jobs in Portland.” Why Maine? Her reason is simple stating, “The cultural vitality of the city had always enticed me and it’s the perfect location—access to the water for surfing and the mountains for skiing!”

This vital culture of Portland is the driving force behind the success of Brooke’s work with PMA. She says, “It’s about being in the know; having relationships with every department and PMA staffer so they think to call me when something cool is happening in the galleries, on TV, or across the street; it’s about embracing social media as a part of our roles.”

In 2012, the institution officially began to integrate social media into staffers’ professional roles. With this change came the need to create a social media policy and social media team who create content, take photos, Tweet and post on behalf of the museum covering all facets of the institution, and giving dynamic perspectives of what is happening on the PMA campus.

Stop by the PMA Café for an artist inspired cocktail created byAurora Provisions.

This new branding initiative plays a major role in Brooke’s daily routine. She starts her day by scrolling through social media feeds and emailing herself potentially relevant content. She adds, “I need to scope the scene and see what people are talking about. A big part of my job is connecting PMA’s exhibitions, programs and collections to what’s happening in the ‘real’ world, which in my opinion helps pull together the bigger picture of why art matters.”

2012 was a major year of rebranding for PMA, when they gathered national and international traction for their exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. Brooke says, “Homer was an American artistic genius, and also a hermit with a fantastic moustache and a studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough.”

PMA used this attention as an opportunity to launch their new logo and to overhaul their brand identity. Brooke says, “Prior to 2012, the museum had an undefined strategy for social media. It was almost a marketing afterthought, but because of all the media attention, we were able to really throw our new look out into the public arena and have a lot of people see it.”

A lot of people have been seeing a new side of PMA, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is having fun. Caitlin says, “There is no other form of communication that can convey the energy of an organization like social media, so don’t take yourself too seriously!” While social media is a part of business, Brooke says that it is a part of building relationships, too, adding, “People like to see the behind-the-scenes, real parts of an organization. If something makes you and your coworkers laugh, more than likely other people will see the humor in it too.”

To learn more about the Portland Museum of Art, visit www.portlandmuseum.org, or like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest events and exhibits.