12 / 04 / 2013
More than just another gallery show
8 / 19 / 2013
“Do you have a second?” I’m asked this question a lot throughout the day. Granted, the person asking never really needs a “second” because what can really be accomplished in that amount of time? Not much, right? But in doing some research recently, my theory was proven wrong.
In our digital world, a lot of information is being shared fast, really fast. In fact, here are some statistics that show just how much is happening every second:
Every second! These numbers are daunting to me, as I try to understand the digital revolution. But then I think about my own habits, what I do digitally every day (every second of the day), and it all starts to make a little more sense. Whether I’m discussing a rich media ad campaign with coworkers or uploading my son’s first day of school photos to Facebook, I’m now asking the question, “What am I doing today that isn’t digital?”
When you send your next Tweet or post a photo to Instagram, keep these stats in mind, realizing you too are part of this communications revolution.
2013 digital statistics from MistMedia, Dublin, Ireland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slb5x5fixk4
6 / 14 / 2013
It hasn’t been a good month for the NSA. With all of the back and forth, miscommunication and anger, the directors have hopefully learned that a clear, well-communicated message is better than reactively scrambling and hoping for the best. Even if they haven’t, we can learn a few things by how they’ve handled the situation.
Put Lipstick on the Pig
One approach to clear communication is to include visuals that accompany your message. The NSA released an “informative” PowerPoint presentation that was, well…not very informative.
All we learned from the presentation is that lots of logos on a slide combined with excessive amounts of text and diagrammed bubbles will only lead to confusion and ridicule. Of course, good design can go a long way to making visual communications effective.
The Medium is the Message
If you want to convince people that you aren’t spying on them, it’s probably best to avoid looking like you’ve been spying on them. For example: a senator called out a journalist for a tweet that was sent during a hearing that was still in session. That was probably a bad idea. “No, we’re not spying on you! Especially not you person who tweeted a thing!”
Stick. To. Your. Story.
The best way to ensure that your audience doesn’t hear your message is to keep changing it.
“We weren’t spying!”
“Spying isn’t bad!”
“What we did isn’t unconstitutional!”
“It was for your safety!”
No matter where the truth may lie, continuing to change your message can make it more difficult to educate your audience and will send another message: it’s possible that we messed up big.
So whether you’re preparing your next advertising campaign or responding to your own crisis (let’s hope it’s not domestic spying), remember to have a message and a strategy prepared before you start talking.
2 / 15 / 2013
As communicators, we need to keep broad audiences in mind. This includes the disability community. And this was the topic at Wednesday’s PRSA Hoosier Chapter luncheon, “How to Connect with Diverse Audiences.” I was eager to attend in the hopes of gaining takeaways to apply to my client work, especially the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities.
Here are a few takeaways I found especially interesting.
1. Twitter has a hashtag for everything
Until Tuesday, I didn’t know there was an unofficial official Twitter hashtag for all accessibility-related posts – #A11Y. The “A” and “Y” are for the first and last letters of accessibility and the “11” for all those letters in between.
2. Photo-heavy social media shows little love for assistive technology
It’s difficult for assistive technology such as screen readers – software applications that attempt to identify and interpret what’s being displayed on the screen into sound – to interpret the written message within a photo. This tells us that Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are not your best communication channels if your audience has visual impairments.
3. Closed-captioning is regrettably expensive
Closed-captioning is essential when communicating with persons who have hearing disabilities. Unfortunately, a nationwide shortage of live translators is driving up the cost of closed-captioning. Keep in mind when planning an event or webinar that requires live translations. Speaker Wade Wingler from Easter Seals Crossroads did offer an alternative option: YouTube allows users to upload a video and manually written captions. Then, the site automatically aligns the captions to the audio. More on that here.
4. Question your newly designed websites: Compliant vs. Usable
Can your website be easily read and understood by screen readers or people with visual or hearing impairments? Web developers should use a standardized checklist to remember to maintain accessibility. Michael Burton from Courseload reminded us about WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines), which is an internationally shared standardization of accessible web content.
Want more of my takeaways? Just ask in the comments section.
5 / 07 / 2012
Media training is one of the many services we offer at Borshoff. In these sessions, we teach valuable information to prepare people for giving rock-star interviews. We provide an in-depth look at today’s media landscape, the do’s and don’ts when caught in a crisis, and tools to ensure you come across calm and collected on camera, radio or in a print article.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you have the opportunity to conduct a media interview:
These will ensure you give a great interview and don’t leave thinking, “I wish I had remembered to…”
4 / 04 / 2012
Last week I visited the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial while I was in Washington, D.C., attending the National Association of Black Journalists’ conference on health. The monument was simple but beautiful, with the major focal point a chiseled image of Dr. King emerging from a stone inscribed, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
I had time to reflect on Dr. King’s crusade for civil rights and the way he delivered his message. As a communicator, I’m always interested in both the substance and the style, because sometimes the substance gets lost if the style distracts.
I think Dr. King had it right. His style was one of peace, dignity and unwavering faith that good would conquer evil. Dr. King didn’t try to out-shout those who disagreed with him. He pointed out injustices, but he also believed that two wrongs would never make a right. He rose above.
In our age of commentators talking over each other and politicians personally attacking each other, it’s refreshing to go back and read the speeches of a man who changed history by having a vision and eloquently sharing it. Go back and read Dr. King’s speeches and you’ll see what I mean.
One of my favorite King quotes is, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Consider your words and your tone in everything you communicate. There’s an old country saying where I grew up: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Our words can be vinegar if we’re not careful, and vinegar rarely changes the world in a positive way.
3 / 12 / 2012
Facebook has been around for several years now. But for many companies, it’s the newest tactic in their communications toolkit. And just as they were getting used to it, along comes the new timeline to shake things up.
The following five tips offer suggestions that are general, as well as timeline-specific, to help you keep fans engaged.
What about you? Have you had success keeping your Facebook fans engaged that you would like to share with us?
12 / 07 / 2011
Last week, the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities held their annual convention – a gathering of more than 400 advocates and individuals with disabilities around the state focusing on “Celebrating Community.” For me, the conference was more than the incredible keynotes by Glen Hiemstra, Aaron Bishop and Ceasar MacDowell. It went beyond the engaging workshops focused on building an inclusive, livable community.
I was captivated by the stenographer.
During each presentation, the stenographer diligently captured the spoken words and projected them onto a large screen for anyone to read. This observation took me back to COMM 101 – the transportation of a message between the sender and the receiver. Throughout the conference, I observed so many different methods of message delivery:
11 / 11 / 2011
By Allison Eckstein, senior account director
Once a year, Lacy Leadership Association offers a course called Leadership Education and Development (LEAD), and this year I had the opportunity to attend. The class meets for six weeks on Fridays and includes other supervisors, managers and business owners who are interested in becoming more effective leaders. LEAD was an amazing experience for many reasons.
9 / 07 / 2011
By Emily Collins, account manager
The University of Notre Dame recently partnered with Borshoff to develop the UpRight! campaign, which promotes aerial lift safety awareness for universities, colleges and high schools. The integrated campaign included the development of several key pieces, including a central website that offers a video introduction to aerial lift safety considerations, as well as video segments and tips on four key areas of lift safety: the Right Setup, Right Training, Right Weather Information and Right Safety Contact.
The website also features a downloadable fact sheet and posters, including one that encourages schools to input their official adopted wind limit, to post in areas where aerial lifts will be used. The UpRight! campaign launched on August 26.
Check out some of the campaign elements: (more…)
8 / 26 / 2011
By Susan Matthews, APR, principal
Dan Gillmor, an editor at The Guardian, argues that the ghostwritten op-ed is “an unacceptable deception.” I beg to differ.
If you follow two simple rules, there is no deception.
That said, sometimes the actual writing is best left to professional writers. When? When the bylined author does not have time to craft a clear, persuasive piece. Or, when writing is not the opinion leader’s strength.
To me, it’s that simple.