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

 

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Enjoy the beauty of Maine’s summer

This is the view from my home office window.  How do I choose between my 'to do' list and enjoying the outdoors during our brief Maine summer?

This is the view from my home office window. How do I choose between my ‘to do’ list and enjoying the outdoors during our brief Maine summer?

I confess: I was born into a moderately obsessive family. Some people would say I am driven. I have a hard time truly relaxing and shutting down my mind. As I write today, I am looking out my window at a beautiful mountain range, and there’s a cool breeze blowing. I know I have work to do, but I am also mindful that Maine’s summers are short, and sometimes it’s better to take some time outdoors to put a fresh perspective on your work and your life.

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to live and work in Maine. I live in inland Maine which is flush with dense forestland, abundant wildlife, clear rivers and lakes, and plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy. I am into road biking as well as mountain biking. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, golf and camping. I’ve always thought of Maine as one of the world’s top destinations for outdoor recreation and inland Maine is full of opportunities.

Our coast is dramatic and inspirational, too. I have sailed the waters of Penobscot Bay on small sailboats as well as 100+ foot schooners and there’s nothing like the smell of the salt air and the views of lighthouses, seals and the famous rocky coast of Maine. My favorite windjammer captain, Kip Files of the Victory Chimes, is known to say, “Penobscot Bay in Maine is the second most beautiful sailing grounds in the world. We’re still looking for the most beautiful.”

Whether you sail aboard a Maine windjammer, shop or eat in the Old Port in Portland, walk on the dramatic rocks of Pemaquid Point, stroll along the quaint streets of Camden, or hike the trails where the mountains meet the sea in Acadia National Park, you will always come away feeling inspired by Maine’s beauty.

So I’m writing this as much to remind myself as to tell you that summer in Maine is short. Although I feel like a slave to my “to do” list most of the time, I need to remind myself to get out there and enjoy this beautiful state that I feel so blessed to call my home.

The Fantasy Life that Lives in My Head

I have a fantasy about my life. The fantasy resides in my head, and it visits me from time to time when I least expect it. I have never written about it, and I rarely speak about it, perhaps because it’s not my reality, and it probably will never be. But I thought I would go out on a limb and share it with you here today. I am wondering if you have similar fantasies about your life, or if I am abnormal? (If that statement doesn’t leave me wide open, I don’t know what does!)

My inner drive to create a perfect life for myself is extinguished every day by….well…..everyday life.

My fantasy is about living a totally organized life. In my fantasy, my car would always be clean and free of old napkins and paper wrappers from the straws I get at Dunkin Donuts when I buy decaf iced coffee. I would have the things in my car that I needed for that day only, but nothing left in the car from last week or the week before, or even from yesterday.

My desktop would be mostly clear, except for the papers I am working on right now. The papers would be stored in pretty file folders marked with neatly printed file labels.  I would have lots of new #2 yellow pencils that would always be sharpened (I really love sharp number two yellow pencils.)  My email inbox would be up-to-date and sorted into logically labeled folders so I knew what I had to keep and what I had to follow up on.

I have a slight obsession with blank journal books, pink ones in particular. I have many of them. In my fantasy life, I would write in them every day.

I have a slight obsession with blank journal books, pink ones in particular. I have many of them. In my fantasy life, I would write in them every day.

In my organized life, I would exercise every morning at 5:30 a.m. and burn enough calories so I wouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight.  The exercise would be vigorous enough so I would think clearly throughout the day, and I would feel good because I had accomplished something while most people were still sleeping.

I would be caught up on all my reading, including the novels friends had recommended or loaned to me, and the marketing/PR books that keep me up-to-speed on the latest and greatest techniques in my life’s profession.

I would play cribbage with my husband on a regular basis, and once in a while we would get together with friends for a cribbage game and a couple of glasses of wine, but never more.  I would play Scrabble with my mom at her house while drinking tea and listening to her old stories about the ‘good old days’ when my Dad was still alive. I would not roll my eyes and tell her I had heard that one ten times already.

My husband and I would host elegant dinner parties once a month at our home, and invite interesting guests. I would try new recipes from the magazines I subscribe to (or from the alluring photos and recipes I regularly print out from Pinterest and Facebook), and produce beautifully presented and delicious meals to serve and share with old and new friends.  They would be so inspired by my cooking that they would post photos on Facebook and comment about how beautiful and delicious it was.

In summer, I would go to the beach on a sunny day, spread out a big towel, lie down, read a novel, and get a tan. I would also go camping in remote places, having a campfire with s’mores each evening. I would swim long distances in lakes and the ocean, keeping the same rhythm and pace I had when I competed in Triathlons when I was 23 years old.

I would have time to volunteer for organizations that help those less fortunate than me. I would have enough money in the bank to comfortably pay for my two sons’ college tuition and some left over to make charitable donations to organizations I believe in.  My retirement account would be flush as well, so I wouldn’t have to continue working past 65.

Each spring I would ride my bike on the roads and trails around my house in order to stay in shape for the Trek Across Maine, which I would ride every June. I would have biking friends who I would meet up with on a weekly basis for a really long, hilly ride.

In winter, I would go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing several times a week with friends, and take photos that I would post in my scrapbooks with little stories about each of my outings.  I would go alpine skiing all over the country and enjoy the après-ski scene at the mountains and in the towns near the ski resorts.  (Confession:  sometimes I go skiing just to earn the après-ski!)

In my organized life, I would always have a freshly-done manicure and pedicure.

My house would be free of clutter and my laundry and dishes would always be clean.

My business be thriving and I would travel around the world for speaking engagements about the value of personal branding and building long-lasting relationships.

I would have a to-do list that could always be completed within a day or two, so no tasks would hang over my head and plague me.

This is my fantasy.

My actual life has remnants of these things, but I don’t think I’ll ever see the day that I will live like this one hundred percent. But when I really think about it, I can’t complain.

I am blessed. Damn blessed, as a matter of fact.

I have a wonderful husband who is attentive to what I do and say. I have two sons who are smart, caring, compassionate and athletically gifted. I have a family that cares about me.  I had a father who is gone now, but thankfully he left me with the confidence that I could do whatever I set my mind to doing. My parents provided me with a great upbringing, including a great education.

I have a business that is thriving and employees that work really hard for our wonderful clients.  I have a yellow lab and a thriving garden, and all kinds of sporting equipment so I can enjoy all the outdoor adventures that keep me healthy and fit.  I have a beautiful home and really great friends.  I am in good health and have gotten a lot healthier in the past year thanks to finding a new health care clinic in Yarmouth.

So my fantasy can be just that: a fantasy.  But I am thankful for my reality, and I will continue to count my blessings every day.

Em Robertson Makes her Mark with Mprint

Owner and Designer of Mprint, Em Robertson
Modeling the Mprint Honolulu Transit Pendant

New York City, Boston, California, Canada and Presque Isle are some of the places this week’s Monday Maine Maven has called home. Em Robertson is the owner and designer of Mprint jewelry, a Maine-based accessories company.

Robertson says her love for the world of design and fashion was cultivated at a young age. She says, “My mother was a retail fashion buyer and would tell me about her buying trips in New York City. That really opened the doors to the business side of the fashion industry to me.”

The Presque Isle native says that she is “extremely proud” that she grew up a country girl adding, “I think it is one of the main reasons I am so driven and hard-working. Yes, it is really far up north, freezing, and it isn’t filled with endless things to do, but it is a great community that is full of hard-working and supportive people.”

Em’s parents wanted their children to experience different cultures, so Em and her family would travel four to five times a year—trips that she credits for her development of “the travel itch” at a very young age.

However, when it came to making a career choice for herself, Em wasn’t quite sure that fashion was the perfect fit. She stayed local, attending the University of Maine at Orono to study business marketing. During her junior year, she interned in New York City with Macy’s corporate marketing division and she says, “It confirmed the idea that I wanted to continue my education in fashion.”

After graduating, Em spent her summer applying to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and moved to Los Angeles. She says, “I felt like it was a place I needed to conquer. Being involved in such a creative culture and community of talented people made the transition much easier.”

Robertson says, “I had a lot of learning experiences in Hollywood,” but ultimately, she decided to move back to Maine to launch her jewelry collection.

Just a sampling of the jewelry you can find at www.mprintjewelry.com

The launch of Mprint has been incredibly successful on local, national and international levels, with her jewelry being featured in online stores, magazines and various noteworthy fashion blogs. One of her necklaces even made an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America worn by correspondent Rachel Smith.

The success of the launch is credited to Em’s strong public relations background and the use of social media. She says, “I wrote everyone I knew to start spreading the word and tried to get as much information and product to top editors, stylists and boutique owners to build awareness of the brand.” She adds, “I think Facebook creates an unreal buzz for designers—people can express to their peers what they like, and it opens doors for other people to like the product. The accessibility to this kind of online marketing for a start-up company like Mprint is beyond beneficial.”

According to Em, social media, Instagram in particular, is a great tool for inspiration, too. Em says, “I definitely draw inspiration for my collection pieces by immersing myself in social media sites, but my go-to is Instagram. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative person, but I just feel like seeing an image speaks so much louder than words.” Other sources that inspire are local consignment shops, family heirlooms, street style and nature.

Em Robertson says that social media serves as a vital part of her branding strategy for Mprint.

What’s next for Mprint? Em says, “I’m constantly thinking about ways to expand Mprint, and to grow as a socially responsible brand.” This is why they will be introducing a new hair accessories collaboration in their Fall ’13 collection with a design-driven nonprofit social enterprise that supports women-owned businesses in Rwanda.

You will also find them at one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplace tradeshows, AccessoriesTheShow, in New York City next month.

To learn more about Em and Mprint you may check out her website, www.mprintjewelry.com, like them on Facebook, facebook.com/Mprintjewelry or follow @Mprintjewelry on Twitter.

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.

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/.

 

Great Success for Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls

Today marks the conclusion of the 2nd annual Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. The 10-day camp ran June 17-21 and 24-28 on Maranacook Lake in Readfield, Maine. The camp is designed for girls 8-12 as a place to develop self confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls’ campers (red) and staff (blue) on opening day.

Each year, the curriculum for the camp is designed by Olympian Julia Clukey and KV YMCA camp director, Johanna King. The camp features a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, nature walks, field sports, arts and crafts, theater and music.

As a part of the support for the camp, the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association, and organization that has partnered with Julia Clukey as their responsibility spokesperson, donates scholarships each year to provide the opportunity for underprivileged girls to attend summer. In total, the association has donated $7,000 in scholarships for the camp.

For more information, visit www.clukeyluge.com/camp.

 

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.

 

Trek Across Maine 2013

With friends, family members and employees participating in the Trek Across Maine this weekend, we are saddened by the tragic accident this morning. We wish everyone a safe ride on the remainder of the Trek.

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.