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Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Look at an Up-and-Comer: Elise Konerza



Elise Konerza is the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition, she is a public relations and marketing intern at Jungle Red Salon.

1. Tell me what you do in your current role as an intern at Jungle Red Salon.

Elise Konerza
My current role as a public relations intern at Jungle Red Salon, Spa and Gallery in downtown Minneapolis has been a great experience so far. As a fairly new intern, I have already been collaborating with the team in announcing news and events to Minneapolis media and writing for the salon's blog. 

Jungle Red Salon is not only a full-service salon that carries organic products, but is also an art gallery. The first Wednesday of each month, the salon highlights one artist and one musician at Jungle Red for their Rhythm and Red event. Anyone is invited to this free event to enjoy music, art, wine, hors d'oeuvres and to network. The artist's work hangs in the salon's gallery for one month. Other projects include maintaining relationships with Loring Park, Nicollet and downtown businesses, and putting together a high-end fashion show for three Minneapolis boutiques in March. I've really enjoyed the adjustment from Mankato to Minneapolis. There is just something about the hustle and bustle of this creative city that sparks an artistic perspective.

2. What have been some of the highlights of your tenure as PRSSA president at Minnesota State University, Mankato?

As PRSSA president at MSU, I really tried to be a resource for my peers. I wanted to be able to provide real-world opportunities and experiences for members to engage in. My most proud highlight has been working alongside four dedicated MSU PRSSA members in creating a comprehensive anti-bully campaign from the ground up for the annual national PRSSA Bateman Competition. I absolutely loved seeing our ideas come to fruition, garnering recognition, generating media impressions and being able to make an impact in the Mankato community.

I've also had the privilege of working with the BackPack Food Program in North Mankato on the Birthday project. Still in the works, getting ready for kickoff in March, this campaign encourages people to bring back that feeling of their best birthday ever. Pledge your birthday, let the world know, and ask for donations on your big day. Efforts help the BackPack Food Program meet their objective of feeding 1,200 Blue Earth County school children by 2015. We've already had four birthday pledges and one couple pledge their wedding gift registry before it's even been launched! This campaign has given members a taste of website creation, social media engagement and tracking, business relationship management, community outreach, media outreach, marketing timelines and campaign launches. 

3. What story are you most proud of that you have worked on at The Reporter and why?

I am most proud of a story I wrote about teaching diversity to K-12 students. Kuma Takamura from the Mankato Area Diversity Council created a program to introduce diversity to students at each grade level in a different context. I had the privilege of talking with Takamura about the implications and necessities of teaching diversity in a societal structure that's always criticized and changing. The Prejudice Reduction Workshop's goal is to familiarize youth with respect, period. By encouraging tolerance and curiosity over xenophobia, even I took away a lesson or two from Takamura. After receiving a personal thank you from Takamura, the publishing of this story gave him a steady volunteer interest to keep the program going. It's amazing to see the power and impact of media and being able to be a resource for stories such as this.

4. What advice would you give to other students looking to break into public relations?

I strongly advise getting your feet wet in every form of media possible. The job description of a public relations professional is always changing. No longer are you expected to be an expert in just press releases, but you are required to have knowledge on community engagement, social media, marketing and much more.

College provides you with the tools and abilities to try out your curiosity in media relations, public relations or journalism, or all three. In college I was able to be a media relations and public relations resource, and interplay that with journalism in all the jobs and positions I held. That experience has led me to see how media interacts with each other and how strong of an influence public relations has with journalism and the importance of maintaining relationships within. It's true what they say, what you put into it is what you'll get out of it!

5. What kind of job are you looking for when you graduate?

I am open to any industry in a corporate, agency, profit, or nonprofit setting. I am looking for a job in which I can be an asset, work as a team and continually grow my knowledge and skills. Analytics has been a recent interest of mine in targeting social media and marketing efforts. I've always had a passion for being environmentally conscientious and would enjoy volunteering or working with an organization which exemplifies sustainability.
    
Follow Elise on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


-- Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC / Skogrand PR Solutions, LLC

Boutique Twin Cities PR firm celebrates 20 years in business

This year marks the 20-year anniversary for Twin Cities-based boutique public relations firm LIN PR + Associates, which celebrated its achievement on Nov. 14. The firm is comprised of independent consultants, Lynn Nelson (principal and lead strategist), Kate Burnevik (account executive and digital strategist), Brant Skogrand (social media and SEO director), Bruce Armstrong (graphic designer) and Susan Bonne (copywriter).

“We viewed the anniversary as an opportunity to not only celebrate our own achievements, but also to thank our clients and friends who’ve been strong supporters of our business over the years,” said Lynn Nelson. “Some of our clients have been with us for the entire 20 years, and Fredrikson & Byron is one of them.”

The firm’s most notable clients include, Minneapolis-based law firm Fredrikson & Byron, Minnesota nonprofit RESOURCE, Inc., the American Craft Council, a national nonprofit for the arts based in Northeast Minneapolis, and Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, a trade/networking group for women executives in health care.

And although LIN PR is a smaller operation, the group is no stranger to the rewards that come from doing pro bono work. Nelson and her associates have provided pro bono public relations services to several Twin Cities goodwill organizations, including Heading Home Hennepin, SheTaxi.com, PipJazz Foundation, and ARC Greater Twin Cities, where Nelson has been a board and committee member for many years.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Job - The City of Brooklyn Park - Communications Specialist

The City of Brooklyn Park - Communications Specialist

Job - Uptown Association - Digital Intern

Uptown Association - Digital Intern

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kondes hired by Preston Kelly



Preston Kelly has announced the arrival of Leah Kondes, public relations supervisor, to its growing team. Kondes will coordinate public relations efforts for Preston Kelly and its clients, primarily the newly-acquired InSinkErator. She will also utilize her extensive business development experience to contribute to new business efforts at the agency.  

After a brief foray on the client side as the marketing director at a leading Twin Cities accounting firm, Kondes is excited to be returning to agency life. She spent more than 15 years at public relations firm Weber Shandwick in various roles, including client service, marketing and business development.

"Our growth is taking us in new directions," notes Preston Kelly chief executive officer Chuck Kelly. "Leah's experience and knowledge will enable us to deliver an even broader offering across the entire range of our client base. We're very excited to have her."

Kondes is actively involved in a number of local nonprofits including the membership committee for Minnesota PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), the advisory council for People Incorporated and the board of the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Schermer adds four notable B2B digital marketing experts

Former Atomic Playpen VP and digital guru Paul Frett has joined Schermer as VP of Experience and Engagement http://bit.ly/16vFfmi  along with Sr. Copywriter Sara Daugherty http://www.schermer.co/2013/10/sara-daugherty/

This is on top of the additions earlier this year of Scott Miller, former Digital and UX Creative Director at UnitedHealth Group and Group Creative Director at Gage. http://www.schermer.co/2012/04/scott-miller/ And Jen Alstead, formerly Director of Project Management at Bolin and before that, Gage. http://www.schermer.co/2013/06/jen-alstead/

Monday, December 09, 2013

Xata Corp. changes name to XRS Corp

In August 2012, the company changed its name from Xata Corp. to XRS Corp., which helped mark its transformation from a hardware and software company to a mobile application company.
The company and its agency partners — Bellmont Partners Public Relations and Rumpza Consulting — also recently won two Platinum MarCom Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for their work on the 2012 rebranding initiative from Xata Corp. to XRS Corp.

Campbell Mithun signs lease to move

In a decision prioritizing employee needs and progressive workspace planning, Minneapolis ad agency Campbell Mithun announced it has signed a lease to be anchor tenant in the 510 Marquette building and will work with Julie Snow Architects to design the new space.  Campbell Mithun will occupy approximately 65,000 square feet on the 10th-13th floors of the building, as well as the rooftop and penthouse. Targeted completion date: fourth quarter 2014.
 
“A move like this accelerates transformation and invites reappraisal of what Campbell Mithun is capable of,” said Rob Buchner, CEO of the agency. “Our aim is to design a workspace that sets a new bar in the creative community — locally, for sure, but for the industry as a whole. This is our ambition.”
 
Campbell Mithun employees gathered for a sneak peek of their future home on a demolished-for-build-out floor of the building; leaders from the agency spoke about the agency’s vision for its design.  Video highlights:
·         Rob Buchner, CEO, comments re strategic importance of move (:30): http://bit.ly/19aGExP
·         Steve Arndt, CFO, comments re approach to design priorities (:30):  http://bit.ly/1iO1R6V
·         B-roll footage of staff viewing the space (1:00): http://bit.ly/IVRFZy
 
Julie Snow added: “Physical space has the power to transform daily work life. We will approach this project to empower how Campbell Mithun works as an agency -- facilitating modern collaboration, creativity and flexibility – while creating a space that enlivens the building’s compelling historic aesthetic. We’re honored to help bring it to life.” 
 
“This space just happens to be ‘due North’ of our present offices,” continued Buchner, “and we’ll be occupying the 13th floor, which would make Ray Mithun smile.”  Founder Ray Mithun often challenged employees to help clients find “which way is North?” and embraced the number 13 to inspire personal risk taking by his employees.
 
Downtown development mojo
Originally constructed in 1921 for the Federal Reserve, the 510 Marquette building sits on the burgeoning end of downtown Minneapolis on the light-rail line at the convergence of residential and business districts experiencing substantial development. 
“We were looking for space in the center of commerce, within the city’s transportation infrastructure, to build out with our employees in mind,” said agency CFO Steve Arndt. “We found all that – and discovered an urban corridor, from the center of the city to the river, that’s infused with development energy. That’s energy that’s good for people and good for business.”
 
Among the development projects happening in Campbell Mithun’s new neighborhood: the planned redesign of Nicollet Mall -- which will be led by New York-based James Corner Field Operations with a design team that includes Julie Snow Architects. Other development projects nearby include Excel Energy’s new headquarters; the Nic on 5th and Soo Line Building residential towers; and the recently renovated 5th Street Towers.
 
“Not only are Julie and her team keenly aware of all that’s happening in this part of downtown,” continued Arndt, “but they demonstrated their understanding of how Campbell Mithun’s new home must, first and foremost, functionally support the way we now produce our best work.  We’re eager to get started.”
 
Progressive planning for historic space
Julie Snow Architects will collaborate with Campbell Mithun to bring a modern, urban feel to the historic building by using progressive space-planning strategies, a future-oriented architectural design and locally sourced materials. Functionally, the space will be designed to enable multidisciplinary collaboration and offer flexibility via a balance of individual workspaces and common areas that support collaboration and creativity.
 
The agency will retain some of the building’s original character – exposed brick and open ceiling architecture – and develop an open, creative feel not typical for space in the central business district and with connecting skyways.
 
Also atypical is the whitish, silvery brick discovered under layers of plaster; the brick is original, uncommon for Minneapolis, and will become a key interior feature. The building also has an unusual amount of natural light for a downtown office space due to it having windows on three sides (all to be enlarged).
 
Campbell Mithun: At home on the 13th floor
Occupying the 13th floor of a building will be a homecoming of sorts for the agency, which has been located downtown for 80 years. Ray Mithun founded the agency on the 13th floor of the Northwestern Bank building in 1933 because, due to superstition, renting the 13th floor was less expensive. “If 13 is unlucky for someone, it must be lucky for someone else,” Mithun said. “We decided, at the start, to be ‘someone else.’”
 
Since its founding, the agency has embraced the number 13 as an important part of its culture. Ralph Campbell and Raymond Mithun had 13 letters in their names, “courage” remains an agency tenet symbolized by the number 13 and Campbell Mithun’s current internship is called Lucky 13.

“Were we looking for a 13th floor? Of course not,” said Buchner. “Time has certainly been kind to Campbell Mithun as we’ve opted for courageous thinking over superstition for the past 80 years.”

Friday, December 06, 2013

Gage Adds Three to Growing Team

Gage, a Minneapolis-based behavioral marketing agency, announced today it has added three new employees to its growing team. Isaac Sorensen has joined the agency as senior engagement coordinator, while Firoz Ahmed and Griffin Talbot have been added as senior developers.

Isaac Sorensen has been hired as senior engagement coordinator on the Marketing Bridge team. He will help manage client relationships, communications and projects for a wide variety of accounts, including Time Warner Cable Business Class, Hyland Software and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Prior to joining Gage, Sorensen was the public relations and social media account manager at Go Buy Local, a multi-channel marketing start-up, where he managed internal and client marketing and PR strategies.

Joining the technology team as a senior developer is Firoz Ahmed. Ahmed is a Microsoft Certified Application Developer, and will focus much of his time developing and maintaining applications for Microsoft ExpertZone. Ahmed comes to Gage from Bluestem Brands, Inc., where he developed and maintained software solutions for multiple clients. He was also responsible for architecting, designing and developing all major applications related to the PayCheck Direct brand within BlueStem Brands.

Gage has also added Griffin Talbot as a senior developer. Talbot brings 10 years of web development experience to his new role, where he will be tasked with maintaining websites for clients such as SmartHQ, UHC Specialty RX and AMEX Travel. Previously, Talbot was a web developer at Three Deep Marketing, where his client roster included Wonka and Carmex.

“Our business is built upon the needs of our clients, and the only way we can achieve that success is by bringing in the best possible talent in the industry,” said Tom Belle, president and CEO of Gage. “The addition of these three talented people further expands our capabilities and makes sure the needs of our clients stay our number-one priority.”

AMERY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER SELECTS HABERMAN

Amery Regional Medical Center (ARMC), a Western Wisconsin healthcare system, has selected Haberman to help revitalize its brand, including developing and positioning a new marketing campaign.
            “With Haberman’s help, Amery Regional Medical Center will be able to authentically communicate who we are — to differentiate ourselves in this competitive marketplace,” said Ronda Knutsondirector, marketing/community relations, Amery Regional Medical Center. “The agency’s compelling storytelling approach and deep experience in the health care market makes it a perfect choice for our branding.”
            “ARMC is a pioneer in western Wisconsin healthcare— from the work it does in its Wound Healing Center to its Behavioral Health Center — and everything in between,” said Brian Wachtler, partner and president, Haberman. “Amery’s mission meshes nicely with our agency’s focus on improving the health of local communities.”

Job - Minnesota State Senate - Digital Internship

Minnesota State Senate - Digital Internship

Quantum spot introduces new brand mantra

According to Quantum Fishing, the performance fishing gear arm of Zebco Brands, you can’t make high performance fishing gear without snapping a few rods. At least that’s the message of a new Quantum Fishing television commercial created by Minneapolis marketing agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB).

The spot (which can be viewed here) takes viewers insides Quantum’s multi-million dollar research and development facility in Tulsa, where rods and reels are tormented to their limits to simulate years of use. Machines imitate thousands of casts by repeatedly punching reels, graphite rods are snapped in a protective glass booth, and handles are spun 24 hours a day to ensure that the gears don’t wear down.
 
The spot crescendos with the repeated visual mantra of “Tinker, build, fish, repeat.”
The Quantum Performance Tuned Series (PT) is the focus of the commercial. The PT umbrella represents Quantum’s most advanced fishing technology, including the lightest, sleekest, smoothest reels and rods the company has developed.
 
“We wanted to reenergize the PT brand in 2014,” said Bob Bagby, VP of Marketing at Zebco Brands. “Success is not an end point at Quantum. We are constantly improving our reels and rods before serious anglers put them to the true test, and we wanted a spot that captures our drive for endless innovation.”
GdB has been proud to partner with Zebco Brands as agency-of-record for over 11 years, a rarity in today’s marketing world.