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offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Boston

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.

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.

Boston Strong

We were so touched by the singing of the national anthem at the Bruins gameon Wednesday night when the iconic René Rancourt started to sing “Oh say, can you see,” then let the crowd take over. It was obvious then and now how we, as a nation, feel that we are all in this together.

The events that are unfolding today are surreal, and our hearts go out to all of our friends, family and those we have not yet met, as we hunt down the criminals who have taken this proud city down.

My family’s roots are in Boston….my father was born in Malden and my mother was born in Newton, and everyone on the NMC team has friends and family members there as well.

So we join together in hope that the forces of good will rise above the forces of evil.

United We Tweet

NMC Account Assistant, Erika Bush

“Maine Olympian Joan Benoit Samuelson is running in today’s Boston Marathon, marking the 30th anniversary of her record-breaking win in 1983…” plays on the local radio station on my drive into work.

Marathon Monday!

I joked with my Mom on the ride in about Maine and Massachusetts having their own holiday, and later in the office explained why Patriot’s Day is a big deal—reminiscing on the reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord that I attended as a kid each April vacation.

Being the huge fan of social media that I am, I kept dibs on the marathon via Twitter most of the day and I was happy to hear that Samuelson had finished the marathon within 30 minutes of her original pace—newsworthy, I thought. However, we all know how the day ended.

The marathon bombings in Boston on Monday marked the first incident of their kind in the new age of social media and exemplified the crucial role social media plays in a time of crisis.

Breaking news and support were expressed using the #BostonMarathon and #PrayForBoston hash-tags.

Twitter stole the show, breaking the news to me when a single Tweet, “Explosion at the finish line rocks the Boston Marathon,” appeared in my stream. Then on Facebook, our local news affiliate posted a similar status update as a developing story.

Within minutes a hashtag had been created, #bostonmarathon, for people to track the latest updates, and reporters began using it as a way to rebuke false stories and to give the public news as it happened. Within 30 minutes, support began pouring in from around the country and world using #prayforboston.

In the midst of the chaos PR professionals and various CEOs suggested that any prescheduled Tweets be canceled, and that the focus should be on the victims and their families. No more business for the remainder of the day.

Former Bostonians and other influencers reached out with messages of support.

Meanwhile, Google simultaneously launched Google Person Finder for the Boston Marathon while the Red Cross promoted their Safe and Well site to help reunite and connect family members to marathon participants.

Newscasters everywhere began to ask people to not call each other, but rather to text, update a Facebook status or even Tweet their loved ones to let them know they were OK. Law enforcement also embraced social media, asking for people to send any and all images they had from the finish line via text, Facebook and Tweet as a way to gather evidence.

Within a few hours Twitter began to fill with nods to random acts of kindness. Bostonians were offering meals to runners and opening their homes to strangers, and humanity was shown through posts using the #bostonhelp hashtag. Restaurants offered free meals and hotels offered free stays—Brooklyn Academy of Music displayed their love for Boston, projecting a Martin Luther King quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” on the side of a campus building.

Looking for a place to crash? Hungry? #bostonhelp is a great resource.

This support continued well into Tuesday when the Chicago Tribune posted an advertisement bringing the two cities together; various states also showed their support by creating banners and images to convey a united front of love and support for the Boston community.

Even the longstanding rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees ceased to exist when the Yankees announced via Twitter that they had put up a sign on their stadium stating, “United We Stand,” with the Yankees and Red Sox emblem on either side. They continued to honor Boston on Tuesday night with a moment of silence, and by playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the third, a treasured tradition at Fenway Park.

While the whole story is still unknown, and many of the details are still developing, the message is clear—social media connects us all. Twitter was a shining star in light of Monday’s horrific events, and three hashtags were able to provide information and support to a city and country in need.

Contributed by Erika Bush

 

 

All of us at Nancy Marshall Communications are profoundly saddened by tragedy that took place on Monday. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were lost, as well as those whose bodies were maimed and injured. We are in awe of the way city officials, residents and visitors came together to support one another, especially emergency and medical personnel. As much as an event like this is unimaginably horrible, it also brings out the best of our collective humanity in its aftermath. May this kind of senseless violence and tragedy never happen again.

—Nancy Marshall, Principal, Nancy Marshall Communications

Bases Loaded and Going for the Grand Slam

Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich

The Love Gun is just one of the many aliases of this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich. Categorizing just what she does is hard to do because…well, she does just about everything. Chahanovich is the social media guru behind the upcoming dating app, FriendFlirt; works for Fenway Park (possible new public address announcer); writes for the Yawkey Way Report; works as a nanny; co-hosts a radio show; and writes for multiple blogs on dating advice and baseball.

How does she juggle it all? Jessica credits her grandmother saying, “She has Alzheimer’s, and she told me to make sure that I do everything I want to do while I still have the ability to enjoy it all. I took her advice literally and it inspires me each day to keep trying as many fun and new things as possible.”

Chahanovich has many interests, but her major passion is the major leagues. Her love of the Red Sox is prominent on her Twitter page, where she often receives and shares exclusive news and sneak peeks with her followers. Jessica broke every teenage girl’s heart when Justin Bieber recently started following her posts. Her response, “I think it’s pretty hilarious—the kid must really like baseball. I have no idea how he would have stumbled upon me otherwise, unless he’s looking for a new online dating site!”

Jessica’s alter ego, The Love Gun.

One of Jessica’s latest venture has been working as The Love Gun for the upcoming online dating app, FriendFlirt. Chahanovich says, “It’s going to take the creepiness and anonymous feeling out of online dating. It makes it real by using your current social media accounts to find people you might know, or should know, to go on dates with—no outside sites and memberships.” She adds that the first 10,000 people that sign up will receive a free membership.

As the designated Love Gun, she is responsible for their social media posts and blog. Man Candy Monday, Foxy Lady Friday and a weekly post with relationship advice and dating tips are the weekly features. Jessica is also hosting a podcast show with the Big Sauce Radio Show team. The show will include online dating horror stories from fans and weekly competitions for Best 6 Pack, Best Pedicure and more.

Jessica at her home away from home, Fenway Park.

When she’s not blogging for FriendFlirt, Chahanovich is blogging about her love of baseball. Her latest topic has been about the audition process she is going through to become a public address announcer for Fenway Park, where she already works as a quality control team member. She is currently a finalist, and waiting to see if she makes it to the next round of auditions in Fort Meyers, Florida to announce a spring training game.

Chahanovich’s love for baseball has also landed her a gig writing for the Yawkey Way Report. On their blog, she contributes her thoughts on baseball news related to the Red Sox and their players. Her wit and sense of humor shine through and you almost feel like you’re sitting at a bar, discussing the latest over a burger and beer.

While Jessica isn’t quite sure what she loves the most, she hopes that her sentiment will inspire others to pursue their own happiness. She says, “I love to share my passion with people who don’t have it, or better yet, simply haven’t discovered it yet.”

To keep up with Jessica you may follow her on Twitter @RedSoxChach, like FriendFlirt’s Facebook page, read the FriendFlirt blog, read her Red Sox blog, or check her out on the Yawkey Way Report.

Connecting Growers One Seed at a Time

Ellen Schoenthaler, marketing liaison at Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

This time of year many of us seem to long for warmer weather, and to me, warmer weather means fresh produce and farmer’s markets. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Ellen Schoenthaler, marketing liaison at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, only makes me miss summer more as we discuss their 200+ page catalog.

That’s right, 200 pages of their award-winning seeds for fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and so much more, including their new Salanova lettuce. Ellen says the online version is gaining popularity, but even though Johnny’s offers quick-references online regarding cut flowers and tools and supplies, she says, “Our customers really do rely on receiving a printed copy of the catalog to use in their growing operations and to reference throughout the season.”

Johnny’s is a unique company in Maine because it is 100% employee owned as of June 2012. The project began in 2006 when Johnny’s Selected Seeds founder, Rob Johnston and his wife, Janika Eckhart began selling shares to an Employee Stock Ownership Trust. This gives the business an advantage and a competitive edge.  As Ellen says, “It allows us to continue to work, today and into the future, a community with our customers.” This sort of valued relationship between business and consumer can be hard to find.

Schoenthaler and the rest of the marketing team understand the need for customer interaction and have adapted to an online model which gives them faster and easier access to their consumers. She says, “We make our sites as interactive and customer-centric as possible—we want our social media sites to be a place where our community of growers can connect with one another and our company.”

The process is complex, but Ellen says, “The open exchange of information is a really rich learning experience for us.”  Schoenthaler has worked on many different sides of the public relations and marketing industry, but she believes that the overall goal of any campaign or social media outlet is to connect with your audience.

Throughout all of her experience Ellen says the universal trait is “generating unique, informative and timely information for your customer.” The entire reason she got involved in public relations was because she wanted to work in a field that would not only allow her to connect with people, but as Ellen says, “to interact with the public and to be able to present an idea or campaign that I stand behind.”

Ellen has a strong interest in “locally grown” campaigns and after living in Tennessee, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, she says Maine is by far her favorite. Her work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds and living in Maine are a perfect combination of these passions—“I think Maine has a great sense of the importance of buying local. Whether it’s products or food, the state truly supports local small businesses and that is really important.”

To connect with Ellen you may add her on LinkedIn or email her at eschoenthaler@johnnyseeds.com.