About Rod Hughes

I'm a writer, bibliophile, witty wordsmith and generally a commentator on the world around me. Professionally, I am vice president of a Pennsylvania-based public relations agency that helps businesses get their messages out into the world in a positive, effective way. All commentary within this blog is my own and unrelated to my employment endeavors. If this blog prompts deep thought, debate, laughter or a viral rash of some kind then I will consider my life just a tad more fulfilled.

Philadelphia Agency Adds Partner, Rebrands As Kimball Hughes Public Relations

PrintKimball Communications, a boutique Philadelphia public relations agency specializing in insurance, real estate, law, trade associations and other niche industry communications, today announces it has officially rebranded as Kimball Hughes Public Relations. The rebrand follows the naming of agency Vice President Rod Hughes as a partner in 2016.

“Since Rod joined our agency five years ago, we have doubled in size, expanded the industry expertise we offer clients and, most importantly, enhanced our reputation as a results-driven public relations agency,” said Gary Kimball, agency president and founder. “This name change reflects not only our new partnership, but also the leading role Rod will play in our futurenews I know will be welcomed by everyone who works with us.”

Hughes joined the agency in 2012 after five years leading the communications division of a full-service marketing agency. Kimball founded the agency in 1995 in Easton, Pa., after serving in a series of senior corporate public relations roles. In addition to Kimball and Hughes, the agency’s account managers are all former journalists.

In the first half of 2017, Kimball Hughes Public Relations added eight new clients, including two non-profit charity organizations, a museum, two national legal trade associations, a mutual insurance company, a venture capital firm and a partner and practice group leader at one of Philadelphia’s leading law firms.

The agency will maintain its existing web, email, and postal addresses as well as its social media presences and phone number.

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Roxana Pita-Romero Joins Kimball Communications

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Roxana Pita-Romero joins Kimball Communications.

Featured in the Sept. 25, 2017 O’Dwyer’s and the Sept. 27, 2017 edition of Bulldog Reporter, details of Roxana Pita-Romero joining the agency is making news.

Joining the agency with two and one half years of financial public relations service experience, Roxana will support the agency’s account managers who handle our legal, insurance and trade association clients.

Roxana is our newest Public Relations Associate. She can be reached at rpitaromero@kimballpr.com and by phone at (610) 559-7585 x 105.

Welcome Roxana!

We’re Hiring

Kimball-Hughes-Recruitment-Banner-croppedWe’re not looking for someone who just wants a job. Instead we want someone interested in growing his or her public relations career with us over the long term … someone willing to commit to us as much as we are hoping to commit to them.

We also happen to think Kimball Communications is a pretty great place to work. Why? First, we have amazing people contributing to our team-centric, respectful and often humorous office culture. Our PR pros also do amazing work for our clients, who themselves are pretty outstanding to work with as well. Those clients are leaders in the areas of insurance, law, real estate, trade associations, non-profits, manufacturing and healthcare, among others.

Our office is convenient to Philadelphia – just one-half hour from the heart of Center City. Every day we each look forward to doing great work with good people who appreciate that egos are checked at the door. We think we’ve got that whole work-life balance thing down to a science with flexible schedules, work from home opportunities, generous paid time off as well as holidays, performance bonuses based on profitability and much more. (Oh, did I mention snacks?)

What we are looking for in return is commitment. Commitment to doing the best job possible. Commitment to being a team player who knows this is a relationship business and acts accordingly. Commitment to succeeding rather than worrying about taking credit. Commitment to being as flexible with us in meeting agency and client goals as we are in making that whole work-life thing balance out. And, of course, commitment to developing, managing and successfully executing communications strategies and tactics for our clients with skill and integrity.

To paraphrase Liam Neeson, what we’re looking for is a very particular set of skills – skills acquired over time spent working as a journalist or a public relations professional. We are not looking for specialists in marketing, advertising, or digital media services.

So we’re looking for a PR pro whose career is defined by the following:

  • Professional experience:
    • At least three years of experience working as a reporter or editor for a non-college affiliated news organization; or
    • At least three years at a public relations agency where your primary responsibility was providing public relations services; or
    • Not less than three years in an in-house role managing communications (internal and external) for a large business or non-profit
  • Education:
    • A bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations or communications.
  • Skills:
    • A proven track record of securing placements in both consumer and trade media.
    • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
    • Above average talent as a writer of multiple genres.
    • Extensive, first-hand knowledge of building media lists and pitching reporters.
    • Detailed knowledge of social media channels and related dashboards to manage content on behalf of clients.

Core responsibilities for the PR Manager role include:

  • Serve as a daily contact for clients
  • Assist in developing client PR strategies and thought leadership plans
  • Write, edit and distribute press releases, media alerts, bylined articles and blog posts
  • Conduct outreach to trade, mainstream, broadcast and online media outlets
  • Develop and pitch story ideas to secure placements for our clients
  • Draft monthly reports for clients and work with our media relations coordinator to collect and share client clips
  • Manage select social media platforms on behalf of the agency and clients
  • Work with our team to develop social media strategy and provide guidance to clients on all social media services
  • Meet all deadlines!

If you are as committed as we are to being part of a fun, talented and successful public relations team then we can’t wait to meet you.

Be sure to send an original cover letter that makes a persuasive case for your selection for this role, along with your resume to the attention of Rod Hughes at rhughes@kimballpr.com. The subject line must read: PR Manager Application. Also please be sure to include up to three professional writing samples and not less than three professional references.

 

The art of the pitch or how to land a great job

We’re hiring at Kimball Communications.

There was a time when a sentence like that, posted anywhere online about any agency would send a flood of résumés rushing in. To some degree it’s still true.

The fact of the matter is while I’ve seen a lot of résumés lately, what’s been missing is the persuasive argument to hire one candidate over others. I understand that for many professions, the cover letter is a dying art. But not in public relations. Not when one of the key facets of the job is to daily build a fact-based, persuasive argument on behalf of clients to present to key audiences. I call it the art of the pitch.

So we’ll take our time searching for our next, great co-worker and colleague. We’ll look for that persuasive pitch, that mix of talent and personality clients recognize and quickly say “I want to work with him/her.”

Meanwhile, if you are an experienced public relations professional, if you’ve managed clients in an agency setting, and if you are an outstanding writer, think about pitching me on why you would be the next great contributor to our team. Some things to consider about us before applying:Snacks

  • We have lots of great snacks.
  • We’re a smart, friendly bunch who check our egos at the door.
  • We put a premium on outstanding soft skills, a welcoming demeanor and a healthy sense of humor.
  • Rarely a day passes where one team member or another hasn’t cracked the rest of us up with laughter – a great release when you are working against tight deadlines and appropriately high client expectations.
  • We pride ourselves on doing genuinely outstanding work.
  • We’re looking for someone to grow with, not someone looking for just “the next job.”
  • Our client and employee turnover is ridiculously low by agency standards.
  • We’re a team of leaders rather than a team needing to be led.

So check out our ad for the specific skills and requirements of this Public Relations Manager role in our Blue Bell, Pa. office. And then pitch me on why you should be the next PR Manager at Kimball Communications.

-Rod Hughes

IICF’s new Philadelphia chapter announces 1st fundraiser

According to PropertyCasualty360, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation‘s new Philadelphia Chapter will hold its inaugural fundraiser event on March 30 at Fado Irish Pub on Locust Street in the City of Brotherly Love. Proceeds will benefit Cradles to Crayons. Details, as well as how to obtain tickets to the event, can be found in the PropertyCasualty360 article from Feb. 28, 2017.

Top international minds to address the power of diverse thought, innovation at Women in Insurance Global Conference

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) will host an international audience of 650 attendees in New York for its third Women in Insurance Global Conference, June 7-9, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Discussing meaningful topics of diversity and inclusion, the Women in Insurance Global Conference will explore the global impact of innovation, specifically the advantages and power of diverse thought on issues of innovation, and the importance of a fully inclusive work environment.

wigc-header_pngToday’s industry leaders are confronting issues related to gender, generation and a more globally dispersed and culturally unique workforce. They are also transforming challenges into opportunities for an ever more inclusive workplace. The Women in Insurance Global Conference will host acclaimed keynote speakers, dynamic panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions that address a range of today’s most relevant diversity and inclusion topics.

Notable speakers will discuss global industry innovation and the business case for diversity, including keynote speakers:

  • Victoria Budson, Founder and Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program – Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
  • Dawn Frasier-Bohnert, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer – Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Ivy Kusinga, SVP, Chief Culture Officer – Chubb
  • Morris Tooker, Chief Underwriting Officer – The Hartford
  • Bo Young Lee, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader – Marsh
  • Yuhan Li, Founder – Yidu Cloud
  • Jennifer Brown, Founder, President & CEO – Jennifer Brown Consulting

During the three-day event, IICF will announce the winners of its Inclusion Champion Award, bestowed at each Women in Insurance Global Conference. The award recognizes those within the insurance industry who have championed the cause of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and who are personally committed to community service. This year, both a woman and a man will be honored as Inclusion Champions. Nominations are being accepted via IICF’s website.

“From the start, the Women in Insurance Global Conference has exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance and the commitment and passion of those individuals who contribute to it,” explained William E. Ross, CEO of IICF. “Each year we have an eager gathering of attendees – men and women – committed to making our industry stronger through greater inclusiveness and diversity of thought.”

Early registration for the conference runs until April 12, and interested attendees can register up to and including the start of the conference.

For additional information, please contact Betsy Myatt at emyatt@iicf.com.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is a unique nonprofit that unites the collective strengths of the insurance industry to help communities and enrich lives through grants, volunteer service and leadership. Established in 1994, IICF has contributed $25.3 million in community grants, along with more than 240,500 volunteer hours, to hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations, reinvesting in local communities where funds are raised. IICF is a registered nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at www.iicf.org.

Twitter danger for realtors: provocation, provocation, provocation

Twitter is not a toy, and certainly not something to be used in haste. Just ask Tony Brust, who until last Monday was a real estate agent in Illinois.

On Jan. 31, Brust took to social media to criticize recent political commentary from well-known comedian Patton Oswald. The war of tweets became heated, and in what can only be called a complete lapse of judgement, Brust tweeted a reference to Oswald’s wife, Michelle McNamara, who died unexpectedly in April 2016, saying “I’m a psychic and I am channeling his wife’s opinions.” Oswald and many of his followers took offense, and the debate went – as they say – viral. Inundated, Brust deleted his Twitter account.

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An image of Tony Brust’s tweet about Patton Oswald’s wife was shared and reshared despite Brust deleting his account.

Brust was fired that day. His employer, Michael Maloof, told the Chicago Tribune, “We were made aware that this had gone on and we parted company.” As of Feb. 6, all of Brust’s social media accounts and his personal website were unpublished. Even his Zillow profile was removed.

The social media lesson here is simple: Don’t be a jerk. Name calling and offensive comments negate the merits of any argument you might be making. And, most importantly, Twitter is not a conversation. It is a permanent digital record subject to review and interpretation by anyone with an Internet connection.

If your livelihood depends on the public choosing you as a professional product or service provider, Twitter debates on any topic – including politics – should be avoided. For real estate professionals specifically, these online spats serve only to expose your reputation to unnecessary risk and can significantly damage your business. What you might think of as a witty comeback can take on a life of its own in ways you cannot imagine – and there are real-life consequences.

If you doubt this, Google “Tony Brust AND real estate.” You won’t find anything about Brust’s advocacy for clients, big sales or his real estate career highlights. What you will find on that first page of your Google search – the holy grail of search and a key to online reputation management – are references to Brust, his infamous tweet and dozens of news articles about the whole affair. And this new reputation – one wholly indifferent to his past real estate career – will follow Brust for a long time.

But it isn’t just heated political commentary that can cause real estate professionals harm. Far too many Realtors post their listings on personal Twitter or Facebook pages – separate from their “business” social media accounts. And under Article 12, Standard of Practice 12-5 of the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, this is advertising. And if the agent in question hasn’t clearly included information identifying him or herself as a real estate professional and the company for which he or she works, that is a violation of said Code of Ethics.

Social media is a powerful tool for Realtors. It can also be a damaging weapon if not handled with care. Brokerages’ must have clear social media policies and include social media in their crisis communications plans.  Agents would do well to learn a lot more about the platforms they use as well as various social media communications’ best practices to avoid unintended problems.

You wouldn’t try to sell a house without studying real estate and being trained. The same commitment and effort is needed when using social media to promote your business.