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 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!

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!

State of the Chapter – Fall 2014

We’ve got a few great updates for you this month, including new board members and our very first online event!

Chapter update

The board and I have been quieter than usual over the past several weeks because we have been hard at work on fleshing out what it really means to deliver on the IABC-LA “lite” plan that we shared in our last update. As a reminder, this “lite” plan puts a focus on sustainability and building a chapter that can deliver long term value to our membership.

One area where we’re going “lite” is our member events. Instead of focusing solely on time-intensive in-person events, we are moving to online events as a way to address our geographically diverse membership. We’re excited about the potential of online events to help us engage with one other.

First online event on November 18

Starting this month we’re kicking off our new “Learning Lounge” series of online member events. Several times a year, we’ll gather together from our homes and offices to learn from experts in our field, share best practices and build relationships with colleagues across Southern California.

You’re invited to our first Learning Lounge on Tuesday, November 18 from noon to 1PM. Grab some lunch and join us from the comfort of your office or home for a lively chat about “Hot Topics in Communication.”

Register for free via GoToWebinar (IABC members only).
Can’t click the link? Copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1846924810286651394

We’ll be facilitating a conversation about the trends and issues that are on YOUR mind, as well as sharing ideas and best practices with one another. Social, mobile, gamification – we’ll go wherever the conversation takes us. It will be a great, fun way to learn something new, get inspired or just enjoy getting to meet other communication professionals.

New board members

I’m thrilled to welcome several new members to our chapter board. Please join me in welcoming Nick, Leslie and Vinca. We do still have openings for additional volunteer board members, so if you’re interested in any of the positions below, please let me know.

  • President – Mike Spasoff, HealthNet
  • Past President – Nicole Maury, The Project Curator
  • VP Events – Dustin Alipour, Psychoanalytic Center of CA
  • VP Communications – Nick Duggan, Citrix
  • VP Social Media – Leslie Dodson, Kaiser Permanente
  • VP Member Engagement – Vinca Russell, Amgen
  • VP Finance – open
  • VP Webmaster – open

Together these board members bring exciting new viewpoints and vitally important fresh energy to build the new IABC-LA.

We’re also always looking for event and membership volunteers to help with the month-to-month work of running the chapter.  To those of you who have already contacted us with interest about volunteering – THANK YOU! As our new VP of Member Engagement, Vinca will be reaching out to you soon. If you’re interested in volunteering, please send us an email.

Thank you for your membership in IABC, and your involvement in the Los Angeles chapter. Don’t forget, please do join us for the Learning Lounge on November 18. After that, enjoy your holidays and we’ll look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Best regards,
Mike Spasoff

Robin McCasland, IEB Chair Provides Outstanding IABC Transparency and Profession’s Global Trends

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Robin McCasland, International Board Chair for IABC visited Los Angeles chapter members at RGP’s offices in downtown Los Angeles.  Our chapter members were treated to two outstanding presentations, both substantive in transparency about IABC headquarters and in content in “Who We Are, Where We Are, and What’s Next?”  

“Communicators have evolved into facilitators of the conversation,” said McCasland.  Robin also stated the take-notice fact that communicators, especially in the present glare of 24/7 media exposure, are now being viewed as professionals with highly skilled expertise in the same context doctors and lawyers are viewed professionally in respective careers.

Before Robin pulled us deep into the GPS of exactly what’s happening with communications’ professional and global trends. McCasland invited us into a transparent GPS operations-view of IABC Headquarters. IABC is now 70 countries/9 regions strong! With highest membership in the U.S. and Canada, the organization is expanding even further into Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, Middle East and Russia!

Photo Apr 22, 7 06 49 PM Photo Apr 22, 7 15 42 PM Photo Apr 22, 8 34 22 PM

Robin worked closely with Ann Lazurus, Interim Executive Director of  IABC, as well as several other “razor-focused” IABC execs dedicated to refreshing IABC and addressing multiple “thorny” issues.  Task forces were created. Issues addressed include an extremely expensive headquarters’ lease to attracting new staff to eliminating or reducing extraordinary budget expenses.

IABC’s ancient website and ABC professional certification are being updated…Gold Quills process has been transformed  and much more. IABC headquarters may transition to a virtual office, be moved locally or completely relocated. Members have positively praised new staff for their customer service and member focus! For Robin’s inside look at headquarters, please access YouTube audio links:

Around the World with IABC
Communications Trends
IABC International Update

On global trends and the profession, Robin provided facts and figures in her Prezi presentation which are “waking up” other industries, viewing communications professionals as extremely necessary in today’s business world. See 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer.

McCasland stated, “Running a communications department today is like running a political campaign.” Social media, workplace environment, clients’ new power in shaping engaged information…and are you ready to respond to a crisis in five minutes? In the current climate as a pro communicator, you need to be. Stories are now told in visual images to evoke an emotional response to get customers or employees to take action.

Moving forward, IABC is looking at how the industry can create consistent standards in certification as a professional communicator both domestically and globally. The org is also exploring the value in creating courses and education for recent young college grads heading into business environments, yet without tools such as Ethics and Strategic Comms.

Huge thanks to Robin McCasland, FRSA, who took on a tremendous amount of responsibility as IABC’s IEB Chair when many would have backed away…and for giving the L.A. Chapter incredibly valuable information to support the chapter and our careers.

Big thanks to Vivien Hughes, Managing Director, Marketing, Communications & Media, and Chris Paik-Phong, Sr. Operations Manager, RGP (Resources Global Professionals), for allowing us to use the cool event space! She’s invited us to use it again at a later date.

RGP Logo - Full Color - Lo-Res JPEG Format

Thanks to Dustin Alipour, VP, Events for catering help, and to Mike Spasoff, President-Elect for photos and tech help.  And appreciative thanks to attendees for supporting these events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murder Mystery Luncheon

We brought back by popular demand, a murder mystery luncheon.

What’s this? I just found out that one of our members is going to be ‘knocked off’ at our Holiday Party…

A secret source told me that he’s working The Dinner Detective actors, and not only will we have a fun ‘whodunit’ to solve, but corporate communications and IABC- LA Chapter shenanigans will come into play.

The Board has put in a lot of work to create an event that will be great for networking, great for your appetite and great for the spirit (lots of laughs and camaraderie).

Please join us if you can.

 

We’ve kept the price low (below cost, as we’re supplementing with Chapter funds and sponsorships), so it’s an excellent opportunity to experience a murder mystery for very little cost. We encourage you to bring family or friends along!

 Event Cost and registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2488077908

Here are details:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Culver’s Club at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

6161 West Centinela Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230

 

Networking Reception: 1:00 – 1:30PM
The “Murders” Begin: 1:30 – 3:00PM

IABC-LA June Gala 2011 with Father Greg Boyle at The Oviatt

June 15, 2011…IABC-LA welcomed members to the chapter’s end of the year celebration in the spirit of true kinship in a lavish 1920’s art deco setting at The Oviatt Building Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles.  Past Chapter President, Christie Ly produced an outstanding event.  We stepped into the historical past of L.A. while hearing keynote speaker, Father Greg Boyle, founder of HomeBoy Industries http://www.homeboy-industries.org who has gained significant respect for his model program for at-risk inner city youth. Paula Cassin, continuing as L.A. Chapter President for the 2011-2012, and Father Greg both spoke about the importance of kinship and connection, not only within the business side of things, but within our community.

The evening had that magical quality when guests rode up the detailed wood-paneled elevator to arrive in another world within the Oviatt Penthouse suite.  After cocktails and roaming around the suite to see autographed headshots of Errol Flynn and Leslie Howard, Parisian-inspired 20’s décor and artworks… guests mingled and chatted before going out to the beautiful large private patio underneath L.A. skyscrapers for the June Gala festivities.

Rebecca Mikkelsen, Social Media Chair  extraordinaire (2010-2011) welcomed Dana Edler, Communications Specialist, JPL, Acquisitions Division, to her first IABC event. Dana is taking on the Membership Chair position this year and we welcome Dana to the board.

For some light-hearted dinner conversation, T.J. Stevko of Mercer, Paromita Ghosh, chapter volunteer Geoff Thomas (with new haircut!), Dana and I talked about our favorite news sources, earthquake preparedness and the end of the world(!) which did not come months ago … T.J. had the best marketing shenanigans story …“we’ll  take care of your pets for a fee if the world comes to an end for you.”!

Pamela Corante-Hansen, Membership Chair (2010-2011) treated guests to an engaging and humorous five-minute version of the L.A. Conservancy’s two hour tour of facts, anecdotes and historical information of  The Oviatt.  Pamela is a volunteer docent with The L.A. Conservancy. She brought Mr. Oviatt and his building’s history to life!

Paula Cassin noted once again, the collegial quality of the L.A. Chapter, thanked board members and chairs for their outstanding efforts, welcomed new board members and discussed the highlights of the past year.

On a more serious note as the L.A. sunset created a once again magical setting, Christie introduced Father Greg Boyle.   Father Greg spoke of the seeds of HomeBoy Industries, the determination to have communities understand the importance of support even in the face of severe disdain for the most at-risk youth.  While Father Greg’s guests, former street gang members Robert and Jose joined us for dinner and festivities, Father Greg told stories of young men named Bandit and Puppet. Tattooed and formerly discarded youth truly make it through HomeBoy Industries yet some are not as fortunate.  Father Greg writes about kinship in his book “Tattoos on the Heart” and how he gets rival gang members to work alongside each other for the promise of jobs not jail time.  “I’m so tired of being tired” is the standard reply Father Greg receives when he asks a gang member why he or she finally decides to walk through HomeBoy’s doors.  The chapter thanks Father Greg for his bounteous work and has made a donation to HomeBoy Industries.  After a standing ovation for Father Greg, Christie and Paula announced each attendee to receive a gift back with a HomeBoy mug and an autographed copy of the book personalized to each attendee. Wow.

Paula reiterated the theme of “kinship”.   Chapter members not only enjoy tremendous connections business-wise, but we have made lifelong friends as well.

In the continued spirit of kinship, Paula Cassin presented the John F. Cartwright “Sunshine” Award to Events Board Member, Myra Jolivet, who received the award for her overall enthusiasm, infectious goodwill towards others and all-around volunteer efforts.  Myra’s smile is the warmest and her talents are boundless in bringing fresh ideas to events (like the Holiday Murder Mystery event last December.)

Throughout the event, chapter sponsor Ed Carreon snapped professional grade pics. Finally, Chris Cabrera and Myra presented Paula with our heartfelt thanks for her outstanding leadership as president over the past year.

The June Gala event was a shining example of a beautiful kinship of the past, present and future.

Please check out the two-part video under “Past Events”.

Melcrum’s “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?”

May 10, 2011…IABC-LA held an exclusive event “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?” for 25 participants presented by Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Research Forum.  Melcrum is an internal communications company dedicated to offering domestic and global clients comprehensive body of knowledge of best practices, toolkits and research on every level of internal communication.  Jeff Hostler, Melcrum Vice President Research and Content, presented some eye-opening research such as “people don’t leave companies, people leave managers of companies.”  Jeff was accompanied by Melcrum’s Key Accounts Executive, Mike Dombo. Mike briefly described  Melcrum’s Black Belt Program which sets the standard for internal comms globally and the basis for research data presented during the evening.

IABC-LA Social Media Chair dynamo, Rebecca Mikkelsen, introduced Jeff Hostler who led us through a discussion starting with the post-recessional environment. Companies must rebuild trust and re-engineer respective employee value propositions.  Later, Jeff covered corporate structure and management style, roles and responsibilities, partnerships, technology, research and measurement and more with an emphasis on outcomes, not just outputs.
 
• Companies must take into account how four cross-generational groups of employees must interact and communicate with each other…and then think globally, culturally as well.

• The great challenge of evolving internal communications, no longer just a function “sitting on the side of the desk.”  Developing processes to support trust and transparency as well as sustainability is a key factor.

•  Building 10% more trust equates to 36% more pay increases for employees.  Now that’s positive!

Jeff also discussed partnerships and the importance of ensuring consistency across channels and stakeholders, as well how execs can foster trust without just pushing info out. 

On the topic of technology, Jeff purposely did not discuss social media in-depth, yet stressed connecting with local IT to collaborate on defined goals.  Too many internal comms departments put the FaceBook horse before the business strategies cart, without first evaluating whether specific social media is applicable.  Business priorities must lead over choosing tech methods. That said, too many companies also negated employees’ social media use by banning use during work hours, only to discover employees have smart phones in their purses and pockets to access social media anyway. 

Jeff also covered research and measurement and again, emphasized how important it was to measure outcomes not output.  It is internal comms responsibility to prove the value of a specific suggested strategy, which does require extra work time.  It’s not enough to know that 4,000 employees actually read an email (output)…how did they act on it (outcome)?   Company internal comms mistake survey answers from employees who state they understand a company’s business goals, yet that’s not a measurement…how do the actions of the employees support the business goals?

There were some excellent feedback and suggestions from our savvy participants providing terrific takeaways for everyone.  Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison described a truly innovative employee resource group at SCE supporting SCE’s employee value proposition.
 
Big Thanks to the incomparable Gail Herring and Toyota for hosting the event.  Gail also serves on the chapter board as Treasurer.  Participants were also very appreciative to meet and hear experts Jeff Hostler and Mike Dombo of Melcrum, and to partner with Melcrum on senior internal communications events.

Please see video posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/b54ZNZ9X5cI