Show, Don’t Tell Day

by KGBTexas Admin on March 31, 2015

Do you remember Show and Tell day at school? Someone always forgot their item and struggled to keep from talking during Show and Tell time. The policy was if you don’t have something to show, you don’t have anything to talk about.

show and tell

Photo source: Jupiterimages/ Images

Why should it be any different as grown ups? My theme for the year is “Show them, don’t tell them” when it comes to advising clients on media relations. You can’t expect any audience – from social media fans, journalists or even your employees to share your story (much less believe it) if you don’t offer stats and visuals to prove it.

Had a successful year? Great!
• How do you quantify that?
• What were sales?
• What’s the impact to the economy?
• Did you create any invaluable project or service?
• Did you create new jobs?

You’re a good corporate donor? Fantastic!
• How much did you donate?
• To whom? Why?
• What was the impact of your gifts?
• What are your charitable pillars?
• How does a nonprofit apply for funding?

Volunteering’s important to your company? Awesome!
• How many hours did your employees donate?
• How many hours did your leaders donate?
• What type of activities will you support?
• How does a nonprofit request volunteers?

It all boils down to one question. Why should the public care?

Today’s consumers are hyperconnected, sniff out advertising easily and trust their peers’ recommendations above all others. With a swipe of a smart phone, they can research your “story”, and can take down your communications plan by publishing content that contradicts your message. The only way to excite them is to show results that will inspire their support of your company as a brand ambassador.

Lesson: Don’t take a seat on the circle rug without your teddy bear in hand. Otherwise, you won’t be welcomed to speak.

-Melissa Vela-Williamson



The Internet is Forever

by KGBTexas Admin on March 24, 2015

We were all schock-ed to hear about the recent scandals that brought down Rep. Aaron Schock. Well, maybe not shocked after hearing the details of the scandal, but all things considered, one of the biggest lessons to be learned is the one his former press secretary Benjamin Cole learned this February.

Cole posted some racially charged social media posts that I’ll spare you the outrage of reading. While some may argue that this is a case for free speech, it’s also important to remember, especially as a government employee or person in a position of influence, that the Internet is forever and your social media rants will not be kind to you in the future.

We live in an interesting time in our society; kids are growing up with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat and many other social media channels. I’m really glad these social media channels didn’t exist when I was in high school and that I had the confines of pen and paper to share my every thought. That generation will eventually run for office, with their every waking thought, whether it’s what they had for breakfast, or an unfiltered, controversial post, published online for the world to see.

Benjamin Cole, like many adults, let his thoughts flow freely online and it ultimately cost him his job. Sure we have free speech, but remember that society can also judge us for what we say and how we act.

Let this incident serve as another reminder that the Internet is forever and your online social commentary will follow you.

-Laura Elizabeth Morales-Welch


Authentic Advertising

by KGBTexas Admin on March 20, 2015

I’m the worst liar. Always have been. Unless it comes to throwing my husband a surprise birthday party. Even still, I was sure he could see right through me at every turn.

In advertising, brands become successful by fostering strong relationships with their customers, built on a foundation of trust proven over time. Thus generating the desire to reach into their pocketbooks and purchase a piece of that brand.

The brand’s hard-earned credibility is on the line if there’s any doubt to the authenticity in that relationship. It’s human nature to believe you’re being told the truth. And any doubt in that transparency could cause long-term damage to a brand’s reputation.

Growing up, I was a dancer and now in my adult life I’ve moved on to running. I’ve competed in both so naturally I’ve accumulated a hefty active wear wardrobe. This week I saw a Facebook friend, and fellow dancer, complain about an ad campaign from Fabletics, and it piqued my interest.

Fabletics, co-founded by Kate Hudson, sells women’s workout clothes and they created the following email to promote their dance attire.


Additional promotional images include:


I don’t know if these images look appealing to the rest of you, but to a former dancer, these images are so painful that it’s hard to believe they’re real. It looks as though Fabletics felt it was more important to hire a pretty model to sell clothes than casting someone who has been trained in the sport.

Brands: Know who your audience is. Anyone who’s spent time perfecting pirouettes and rond de jambes can instantly spot these glaring, technical faux pas. And because of this simple marketing email, people weren’t shy to express their feelings on Twitter.



Here’s another example from well-known clothing brand, Free People.




YIKES! While Free People’s video ( appears to target the more casual dancer, even this audience segment aspires to feel like and look like the professionals.

While both the Fabletics and Free People examples happened last summer, they’re still circulating the Internet proving some mistakes live on.

These two are on the low end of the ‘what not to do’ spectrum. One brand on the opposite side that is doing a great job resonating with its audience is Under Armour. Their Will What I Want campaign features 10 inspiring athletes as spokeswomen.


Compared to these women, my athleticism is average. But boy do I look up to them and wish in my next life I could come back as one. Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater principal dancer, is known in the industry as being a badass. So when she sells active wear, you listen.

what i want

Comparing this image and video to Fabletics and Free People, you can see who’s striving to make an authentic connection with their audience and who’s not. Under Armour took the time to invest in their campaign and in turn you’ll invest with them.

Never try and slip something past your customers. They will know the difference and unfortunately your sales will reflect the effort.

-Kristin Johnson


Make a Perfect Pitch

by KGBTexas Admin on March 11, 2015


When Twitter rolled out a few years ago, there was an outcry. “What can you say in 140 characters?”

Who would have ever thought that word count would be a luxury? But I’ve heard from a couple of reporters and editors lately that 140 characters is too long. “If the subject line on your e-mail doesn’t engage me instantly,” they say, “I’ll probably never see the rest of the message.”

That’s the double-edged nature of modern communications:

• You have dozens of avenues of communications to reach the media, and
• you’re competing with thousands of others who have the same avenues.

So, faced with the fact you may only have three or four seconds to make your pitch, how do you make the most of them? How do you cut through all that chatter to get your message to a reporter? That’s easy. Just pick the right reporter.

A brilliantly written press release, announcing a remarkable new restaurant, is not going to interest a healthcare writer. Pitching a story to the wrong person is worse than a waste of time. It’s a waste of reputation.

Editors and reporters want to like your pitch. They’re always looking for relevant leads or unique angles. You may be the conduit to a great story. But, like a dazzling pair of shoes, a bad fit is a bad fit, no matter how well crafted. It’s pointless to pitch a story to an outlet or an editor certain to reject it simply because it’s a subject they don’t cover.

Clients often argue, “Why not pitch our story to everyone? Someone might pick it up and there’s no harm done if they don’t.”

Actually, there is. As the public relations contact listed at the top of the press release, your name is on the line. Every time you make an irrelevant pitch it sends an editor or reporter two messages:

• Your outlet is not important enough for me to research, and
• this story isn’t significant enough for me to invest my time in it.

When you, or your agency, gets a reputation of spray-and-pray media relations, it’s even easier for editors to hit the “delete” button. “Waste my time once, shame on you. Waste my time twice, shame on me.”

The best way to decide if you’re pitching to the right person or outlet is to put yourself in their position and ask the question: “If I had 100 pitches to choose from, would I open this one?”

A well-polished press release, delivered to the right hands has a very good chance of getting your client some coverage. But always consider your topic, consider your outlet, and most of all, consider your reputation when pitching.

- Randy Lankford


Are You a Business Partner or Just a “Yes” Machine?

by KGBTexas Admin on March 3, 2015


In the time I’ve spent on both the agency and the client side of the communications business, I’ve found it is important to reflect upon what type of business partner you truly are. It’s easy to just say “yes,” to avoid conflict and make people happy, without truly reflecting on the outcome or end goal. After all, we all want to be liked, right? It’s harder to challenge a client’s decision or break the that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it chain by saying, “no.”


But, in the end, you engage in a business partnership to either:

a.) Get help in reaching your business goals or,

b.) Help an organization in reaching its business goals.

Regardless of which side of the equation you sit on, it’s important to understand your role in order to create an effective partnership able to meet, and hopefully exceed, the defined business goals.

A business leader wants a partner that will communicate freely and respectfully, while bringing creative solutions and effective outcomes to their challenges. And as the partner who is responsible for ultimately providing those positive business solutions, we want transparency through honest communication, respect and trust.

So how do we get there … together?

Communicate. Talk openly and frequently. Learn your partner’s preferred channels and styles of communication. Listen openly to opinions and recommendations, in order to support each other.

Trust. Engage in a partnership that is open and honest. Make the environment in which you communicate a safe one. Listen with respect and speak with sincerity. Accept opinions and ask questions. Be accountable.

Be creative. Be bold enough to view challenges through a different lens. Think. Find hidden trends; take a different path and value innovation in order to find success. If you don’t reach the desired outcome, try again.

These three characteristics are hard to achieve if you are just a “yes” machine. Be bold, keep it real, and celebrate success, no matter how big or small.

- Jill Byrd