Top 10 Posts from 10 Years of Blogging

July 11, 2018

by Karen Kacir

On this day 10 years ago, Curley & Pynn published its first post on this blog.

Since 2008, our industry has seen dramatic changes in the way audiences are consuming and responding to media.  Meanwhile, we’ve maintained focus on helping corporate, government and nonprofit clients communicate with all who have an interest in their success.  And we’ve kept up with the times by constantly reminding ourselves of the tried and true advice from legendary archer Howard Hill, which also inspired the name of this blog.

Thank you for tuning in to Taking Aim since the beginning and sticking with us through the years.  We sincerely appreciate the time you’ve spent indulging our urge to share tips, musings, opinions and the occasional complaint, and hope our writing has been worth reading.

In honor of Taking Aim’s 10th birthday, here’s a roundup of the blog’s 10 most-viewed posts:

  1. YouTube vs. Vimeo – The Faceoff:  In 2011, we explored the differences between two of the top streaming services.
  2. Hate to Pester? Try Humorous Reminders:  A team member detailed how using wit can inspire client respect.
  3. Deathly Journalism:  An oversight at the obituaries desk led to a glowing feature on a convicted murderer.
  4. Censorship is a Good Thing:  How fatherhood informed one team member’s views on self-censorship.
  5. Target Me, Please:  Roger received a mysterious letter and gleaned some insight into targeted communications.
  6. Cracker Jack: It’s All About the Prize:  When Cracker Jack modernized its prize, Heather stepped up to bat.
  7. The CNN School of Journalism:  Dan issued a word of caution on CNN’s citizen journalism program, iReporter.
  8. Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Tape for Smartwater:  In 2011, Smartwater and Jennifer Anniston set out to make a viral video.  They succeeded.
  9. The End of the Internet:  Roger commented on a Wall Street Journal article predicting that the internet would run out of IP addresses.
  10. Black Wednesday:  Heather observed the rise of #altwiki following the Wikipedia blackout of 2012.

Our Takeaways from Cision’s 2018 Global State of the Media Report

April 27, 2018

by Karen Kacir

Cision just published its 2018 Global State of the Media Report, a survey of more than 1,300 journalists’ perceptions of the media and communications industries.  Participants shared their thoughts on how communications professionals can craft pitches and press releases that won’t get ignored, the perceived trustworthiness of PR content and much more.

You can download the full report on Cision’s website.  Here are some highlights:


Tide: A Swift and Clean Response to the #TidePodChallenge

February 9, 2018

by Bailey Morris

You know you have a PR crisis on your hands when the CEO of your organization has to talk about teenagers eating laundry pods on the weekly earnings call.

Nowadays when a brand faces a PR crisis, it’s regular procedure to take to their social media channels and address the issue head-on.  And before Tide tackled all of their competition in their quirky, bait-and-switch Super Bowl ads, they were keeping plenty busy tackling conversations about the “Tide Pod Challenge” on social media.

Like other daft internet challenges before its time, (“The Cinnamon Challenge,” “The Bath Salt Challenge,” etc.) the “Tide Pod Challenge” took the internet by storm, as teens began filming themselves biting into the brand’s laundry detergent pods and spewing soap everywhere – or worse, ingesting it.

We’re all about innovative solutions here at Curley & Pynn, and when we saw Tide’s creative response to the situation at hand, we had to write a blog post about it.

Instead of just posting a tweet that read, “Tide Pods are not meant for consumption.  If consumed please call poison control immediately,” Tide created a brief, funny PSA with New England Patriots’ tight-end Rob Gronkowski and posted it on their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Right now, the tweet has about 98,000 re-tweets and boasts about 10 million views – and that doesn’t even take into account the 286,000 views on YouTube and 164,000 views on Facebook!  They found a way to get their message across that it’s absurd to eat Tide Pods, but doing it in a comical way.

But why the larger amount of views on Twitter?  My theory is that it could be due to the Tide Pod Challenge originating on Twitter, and that’s where Tide knew most of their teen audience was posting about the challenge … but that’s another blog post for another time.

At the end of the day, it’s about remembering that public relations is “people relations.”  Tide can’t control what able-minded individuals do with their product – all they can do is tell them that it’s ludicrous, and that they shouldn’t do it.

So why not have a little fun with it?  After all, 10 million video views is nothing to sneeze at.  Unless you have laundry soap in your nose – then you might need to sneeze.


Reflecting on Leadership

December 11, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

I learned a lot about myself during a recent session of LeadershipFPRA, “Leading and Managing.”   Far from your typical presentation of leadership definitions and management styles, what transpired was an inspiring weekend of self-reflection among like-minded colleagues with shared goals.

One of the most empowering takeaways was realizing that leadership stems from social influence – not authority or power.  Anyone can be a leader in any department at any level of an organization.  This is true at Curley & Pynn, where we each encounter opportunities to be a leader every day.  The key is knowing yourself and how to leverage your strengths to motivate and influence others to achieve common goals.

To help the LeadershipFPRA class better understand ourselves, leadership coaches from The Maue Center kicked off the session with an exploration of our individual strengths and how they can be leveraged to mold us all into great leaders.  Each class member completed a “Strengths Profile” and shared the results in intimate conversations about how these behaviors have shaped our lives and our careers.

As my top strength, growth drives me to constantly seek new opportunities, learn new skills and invite feedback on my performance in the pursuit of personal and professional development.  I feel most energized when I’m performing these activities, which certainly explains a lot … like my desire to be in FPRA and an ambition I’ve experienced since childhood that caused me to take school and extracurricular activities so seriously.  Thanks to our leadership coaches, I now understand how to better employ growth and other strengths to be a more effective leader for my team and our clients.

Learning about strengths and how to see them in other people was invaluable – and just the beginning of a session that plunged even further into emotional intelligence, accountability, time management, managing up and so much more.  The agenda also included time to brainstorm solutions to the barriers holding us back from leadership success, as well as the opportunity to develop individualized leadership development plans.

I’ve never been to group therapy, but I’m sure members of the LeadershipFPRA class would agree that this session sure felt like it.  I drove home with an entirely new perspective, feeling invigorated and truly privileged to have begun this journey with such an outstanding group of colleagues from around the state.  I can’t wait to see what the next session has in store.


Faith’s Farewell

August 18, 2017

by Kacie Escobar 

Curley & Pynn was fortunate to be joined this summer by intern, Faith Fogarty, a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi who “wowed” us with her positive attitude and work ethic.  Read on for Faith’s account of her internship experience.

I had interned at several other places before joining the team at Curley & Pynn.  As I prepared for my first day, I woke up and found the most comfortable shoes I owned.  I was ready to run errands, clean and do other “intern work.”  Little did I know, my experience at Curley & Pynn was going to be so much more.

I was assigned a writing project right off the bat.

“Woah,” I said to myself.  “No one needs coffee or anything from Office Depot???”

On top of providing public relations counsel and marketing communications to several clients, Curley & Pynn puts in plenty of valuable time helping others succeed and grow in this profession.

Being an intern can be overwhelming, especially in an agency where something new is always happening.

One of the most important things I learned this summer was to simply ask questions.  Ask once, ask twice or as many times as you’d like, but don’t be afraid to just ask questions.  I’m sure there were times when I asked a million follow-up questions, but the team never hesitated to answer them.  I was a sponge, soaking up all the information I possibly could.

I learned another important aspect of “adulting” as well:  time management.  I give a great deal of credit to the team at Curley & Pynn because, as I quickly learned, working in an agency environment, having good time-management skills is the key to being successful.  Bouncing from one project to another on completely different subjects and with multiple clients, you must be able to manage time effectively.  Learning this hasn’t only helped me in the PR field, but in everyday life as well. To-do lists are my new best friend.

I strongly recommend the internship program at Curley & Pynn to every college student or recent graduate looking for more experience in the PR industry.  The Curley & Pynn internship program isn’t like most and that’s what I loved about it.

I could write a novel about the valuable experience, connections and knowledge I gained these past couple of months, but I know the work samples I’ve assembled prove it best.  I couldn’t be more grateful for the time and effort this team puts in to creating better PR professionals.


Charlie Needs PR People … Not Salespeople

August 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Today, I received an email encouraging me to apply for a role with the Charlie team in Chicago as a key salesperson for the company’s new product.  Seemingly innocent, everything about this email rubbed me the wrong way.

Having just returned from the 2017 FPRA Annual Conference, PR:  It’s Personal, the power of personalized communication was fresh in my mind.  And this email was anything but personal.

Ironically, Charlie’s success is built on technology that “finds information from 100,000’s of sources” to build one-page profiles about your professional contacts, helping you get to know them without doing all the work.

Perhaps Charlie should have put its technology to the test.

I once researched the Charlie app, but never used it.  In fact, I had not received any previous emails from Charlie since the day I signed up nearly one year ago.  Simple research would have uncovered my lack of engagement and unfamiliarity with the company, along with my lack of experience (or interest) for a senior account executive role in sales.

The advertised position has enough responsibility that it reports directly to the CEO, yet Charlie clearly used an email distribution service to spam everyone on its list without any knowledge of the recipients’ qualifications.  The kicker:  it was sent to the inbox of the email address where I currently work, which, for others, might have sparked an awkward office conversation.

While Charlie’s tactic may eventually achieve the desired outcome, the company could have taken a far more effective approach.  A little research would have gone a long way to personalize this outreach and, as a result, reach the right target audience with the right message in the right place at the right time.

Before it can recruit the right salespeople, Charlie may want to consider recruiting someone to drive a more personalized approach to its PR.


Conflict Abounds.

February 27, 2017

by Roger Pynn

If there’s one thing that’s certain, conflict is everywhere these days.  But it doesn’t stop at the borders of the District of Columbia.

My friend Elise Mitchell, APR, CEO of Mitchell Communications Group and of Dentsu Aegis Public Relations Network has a fascinating blog focused on leadership, and in her most recent post she addresses a leader’s role in conflict resolution.

Every day we are seeing people through the lens of the media, many running from conflict.  To the contrary, she suggests, it may be better to approach conflict the way a firefighter takes on flames … running into the danger.  She says, First, let’s clear up a common misconception: Having conflict on your team doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader. Conflict is just part of a leader’s journey, and you have to accept that, not run from it.”

Conflict is as predictable as the sunrise.  In our business, navigating conflict is essential.  God put us here to create relationships, and if we run from conflict we’re likely to be short-lived for the profession.

In her new book Leading Through the Turn (which metaphorically takes insight from what she’s learned as a motorcycle enthusiast), Elise suggests leaders ask themselves these questions:  1) Where do you want to go? 2) How do you plan to get there? and, 3) Are you enjoying the journey.  It was question #3 that made me wish I had met Elise a long time ago.


%d bloggers like this: