Great times at IABCLA’s Spring Mixer

Thank you to all who attended IABCLA’s Spring Mixer at The Cat & Fiddle Restaurant & Pub in Hollywood on June 4! Attendees enjoyed sliders, chips, pints, and great conversation at the longtime British themed bar. 

“It was a pleasure hosting and getting to know the guests,” said Tery Amaya, the chapter’s vice president of networking who planned the gathering. “We hope to see everyone again at our upcoming happenings this summer and fall.”

Please stay up-to-date by continuing to visit this site and by following us on social media:

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A Look Back at IABCLA’s Recent Case Study Event

The IW Group’s Lauren Alvermann, Eljay Feuerman, and Annie Zhao present at “IABCLA Case Study: How to Entice a New Audience to a Traditional Treasure.”

IABCLA held a professional development event — “IABCLA Case Study: How to Entice a New Audience to a Traditional Treasure” — in partnership with the IW Group on April 11 at IW’s office in West LA. 

The agency’s Lauren Alvermann, Eljay Feuerman, and Annie Zhao presented their successful campaign for the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden Magical Lantern Art Festival held between October 2018 and January 2019. The arboretum was filled with dozens of enormous glowing lanterns that included dragons, pandas, and flowers. Guests also enjoyed live performances by dancers and acrobats and sampled delicious cuisine. The venue is a 127 acre arboretum, botanical garden, and historical site in Arcadia. 

Attendees of the case study learned about IW’s integrated advertising and public relations initiative — videos were shot, radio spots were recorded, ads were placed, articles were written, signs were installed, and influencers were asked to influence. The result? The happening sold 153,000 tickets, garnered 133 million media impressions, and received 277,000 social media imprints — all of this far exceeded initial goals. 

“Congratulations to the IW Group!” said IABCLA’s Vice President Jenny Matkovich. “On behalf of the chapter, I want to thank them for sharing their amazing work and for being such gracious hosts. We look forward to collaborating with the firm again, and we wish them continued success as they begin preparations for next year’s festival.” 

IABCLA and USC IABC Hold “Vibrant” Mentoring Event

IABCLA and the IABC chapter at the University of Southern California (USC) partnered on a 360 “speed mentoring” function on March 18 at the campus. Twenty students and ten mentors were on hand — the students are pursuing master’s degrees at Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the mentors included IABCLA board members. 

The “speed mentoring” format allowed the students to seek advice from multiple people. They queried the professionals on various topics, including career paths in the communications field, qualities recruiters seek in candidates, and the current landscape for comms roles in Southern California. 

Grant Wright, CEO at (W)right On Communications, was one of the mentors. He enjoyed taking part, and he described his conversations with this next generation of communicators as “vibrant and engaging.”

Vinisha Kothari, head of the USC IABC chapter, coordinated the event. She was also pleased by the success of the gathering and that meaningful connections were formed. 

“Thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen, especially our wonderful mentors who volunteered their evening to share their wisdom,” she said. “When I became president of the USC IABC chapter, I knew my priority would be to set up a mentorship program — I was introduced to IABC through a mentor who has been instrumental to my success in my career and education, and I wanted to make sure other students had similar opportunities.”  

IABCLA Hosts “Thought-provoking” Exchange at Dine & Discuss

IABCLA’s Dine & Discuss in February.

Our chapter held its first Dine & Discuss of the year on February 27 at TOMGEORGE in Downtown LA. Julie Wright, president and founder of (W)right On Communications, Inc., lead the discussion on “PR in the Digital Age.”

Attendance was capped at 10 people; we keep the number small in order to facilitate a discussion in which everybody can participate. There were folks who were newer to the communications industry, as well as those who had been in the field for some time, and all with diverse career experiences – Julie said this mix led to a “thought-provoking” conversation. 

The group talked about issues from fake news and distrust in media to technology trends like content marketing, visual storytelling, and data-driven communications. There was general agreement around the notion that a compelling concept and story are at the heart of all successful campaigns and initiatives. Regardless of technology trends and changes in media consumption, well-crafted stories and well-researched messages that speak to target audiences are what drives successful communication.

One of the best moments of the evening came when a guest brought up this intriguing idea: what if we communicate less? For instance, what if you could only send five business emails a day? Who would you send them to and what would you say? Also, he mentioned Banksy, the street artist, as someone whose work speaks in a sparse, yet powerful way. 

Julie was intrigued by the concept of being discrete and sparing in her digital communication. The next day at her company, she talked to colleagues more in person rather than through messaging. When Julie did email, she held onto her feedback longer than usual – she found that often issues had already been resolved by the time she weighed in. 

Board member Ephraim Freed noted the counterintuitive nature of this suggestion: “As communicators, we assume everybody needs more communication, but often when you talk to your audiences you find out something different than what you assume.” 

New ways of thinking are just one of the many positives to come from Dine & Discuss, and that’s why it’s one of our most successful programs. Look for this and other upcoming events on our website, as well as social media – our group is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Instagram. We also send out regular emails to our members and supporters notifying them of activity. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list, please reach out to Grant Skakun: grant.skakun@eucrest.com

IABCLA Hosts Holiday Mixer

IABCLA board members and guests at the chapter’s holiday mixer.

Thank you to all who attended IABCLA’s holiday mixer on November 29 at Pearl’s Rooftop in West Hollywood! The happening was attended by chapter regulars, as well as several new faces.

As part of the function, the chapter gathered socks that were donated to our homeless neighbors in LA. Please contact board member Tery Amaya if you’d like to add to the collection. She can be reached through LinkedIn.

The board is now working on a variety of programs for 2019, including other mixers, Coffee Connections, and professional development events. We will, of course, share more details as they become available.

We appreciate all of your support this year, and we wish you and your loved ones the very best this holiday season!

IABCLA Discusses “Communicating Big Changes” 

Panelists at IABCLA’s professional development event, “Communicating Big Changes.”

Thank you to all who attended IABCLA’s professional development event, Communicating Big Changes, on November 8 in Santa Monica!

Experts in branding, internal comms, marketing, and community-building shared their experiences communicating to their stakeholders, and thereby enabling understanding, engagement — and success.

The panelists were:
David Gordon Schmidt, communication director at Strategic Outreach
Jenny Matkovich, marketing director at MarketCast Group
Jose Zavala, director of employer branding, communications and training at
Twentieth Century Fox
Ephraim Freed, employee experience manager at Regent LP, moderated

IABCLA’s next happening will be a holiday mixer on November 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pearl’s Rooftop in West Hollywood. Click here to sign up!

Join IABC in October and Save!

The IABCLA board at a chapter mixer in May 2018.

October is IABC membership month! Join now and you’ll receive 10 percent off. Some of the many benefits include networking, professional development, and educational opportunities.

Eli Natinsky, the chapter’s vice president of operations, reflected on his time with IABCLA in a recent blog post. It’s a personal account on the advantages of belonging. 

To learn more, go to the membership section of the IABCLA site. You can also email: la-membership@iabc.com.

We hope you’ll take part!

IABCLA Discusses Writing Skills at September Coffee Connection

Grant Skakun led a conversation about writing at September’s Coffee Connection.

IABCLA met for its Coffee Connection meeting on September 8 at Ambrose Cafe in Pasadena. Grant Skakun, IABCLA director of newsletters and instructor at Eucrest Writing, led a conversation about clear and effective writing with fellow board members, IABCLA members, and communications professionals.

Topics discussed included analyzing the audience before writing, achieving the purpose for writing, following a writing process, structuring key messages, using professional word choice, following style guides, and improving writing performance.

Coffee Connections are fun and engaging opportunities to network with colleagues, discuss topics related to our field, and enjoy coffee and pastries. Check the IABCLA calendar for our next meeting.

 

Creating Engaging Content with Facebook’s Newest Update

 

We hosted our first event of 2018 on February 21! Julie Wright, president and founder of (W)right on Communications, moderated our Dine & Discuss focused on the newest Facebook algorithm changes and how that impacts brand strategy.

If you don’t already know, the Facebook algorithm, nicknamed the “friends and family update,” favors content from your friends rather than from businesses. This change pushes for businesses to pay for boosted content in order to still be seen. Although paid boosted content can be very valuable, Julie advises that there’s still a great opportunity to be seen through organic content – that is if you are creating the right kind. In order to still reach audiences amidst the algorithm change it is crucial to create content that fosters engagement, meaning content that encourages comments, conversation and sharing.

Julie shared seven tips on how to do that:

1. Avoid yes or no questions: Julie says to think of social media as a cocktail party. Asking yes or no questions at a cocktail party leaves room for a one word answer and doesn’t allow for the conversation to flourish. Instead, try to ask questions that encourage a longer response and more engagement.

2. Focus on nostalgia: This is great for unique content creation. For example, take part in #ThrowbackThursdays or #FlashbackFridays.

3. Focus on storytelling: Posts that tell a story are more engaging and interesting.

4. Feature real people: Whether this means using user generated content or posting about your company’s employees, showcasing real people and real emotions creates engaging content.

5. Use Facebook Live: Facebook Live achieves 6x the interaction than organic content. Followers are notified when a buisness goes live, encouraging more viewers to watch and engage with the video. Furthermore, the video can live on as a post on your page allowing followers to watch the video long after it was recorded. Julie advises to still prep before going live: decide on an introduction, have a focus for the video and end with a call to action.

6. See First option on Facebook: Facebook users have the ability to check off a “see first” option for a Facebook page. This guarantees that your page’s content will have priority for showing in their newsfeeds. Julie says not to be afraid to ask your followers to check off this option for your page! For example: “If you want all the latest news on our upcoming event, make sure to check off the “see first” option on our page….” More information on how to set it up is here.

7. Turn on the Audience Optimization setting: Facebook allows you to improve your organic visibility on posts by turning on this function in your settings. This allows you to target your posts to specific segments of your page’s audience based on their interests! An easy and effective tool. More information on how to use the function is here.

We want to thank Julie for the invaluable insight and to all those who could make it last night! We all enjoyed great food and even better conversations. To those who couldn’t make it, we hope the above tips will help get your social media strategy focused in the right direction!

Join us at our next IABCLA event: Coffee Connection on March 3!

Event Recap: Nine & Dine Discussion About Ethics in the Age of Alternative Facts

Six LA communicators gathered around the dinner table in Venice March 31 to share experiences and challenge each other on how ethics play a role in our professional lives. As one diner said, “we have a balancing act inside us.”

The discussion focused mostly on internal communications, reviewing ethical issues inherent in leadership, as well as corporate culture, change management and organizational strategy. The group’s discussion continually circled around the idea that internal communicators, especially, play a variety of roles all at once. While they help executives and organizational leaders drive change, they also are like the nerve networks of the human body, bringing signals in from all the extremities to inform the central brain.

Cheryl Farrell (Internal Communications Manager at RAND Corporation), who facilitated the conversation, posed a “lightning round” where individuals posed solutions to a short case study. Six participants contributed six unique solutions.

IABCLA’s new VP for Communications, Ephraim Freed, summed up the discussion at the end of the night saying: “internal communicators are advisers to executives, champions of employees and bastions of truth and ethics.”

IABCLA members and those interested in IABC can look out for our next Nine & Dine event, which will focus on the topic of diversity and take place in downtown Los Angeles.