Get to know Rod Hughes, President and Principal

Public relations is all about relationships—the people behind the stories. That’s why we’re offering this blog series all about our team members. This isn’t about our professional accomplishments but who we are as people. We hope you have as much fun reading along as we do interviewing each other.

1. What got you interested in public relations?

I spent just shy of a decade as a reporter and editor before switching to what my journalism colleagues and I had jokingly referred to as “the dark side,” meaning public relations. I ended up doing some initial freelance PR work and loved it. Later, I handled PR for several practice groups at a large global law firm before moving to a full-service agency. It turned out the dark side wasn’t so dark and my journalism training and experiences seemed to help a lot in what became my second act. I’ve never looked back.

2. Tell us about your favorite movie and what appeals most to you about it?

I have several favorites, but one stand-out is a Robin Williams movie called “What Dreams May Come.” The theme is a bit dark – death and the afterlife – but much of the cinematography is beautiful. Despite what appears to be a gloomy story, the movie focuses on the connections to, and importance of, relationships among family and friends, and how those relationships make all the difference when we look back on the totality of our lives. This, and the fact that Williams is reunited in heaven with his beloved dog from years ago places it among several favorites for me.

3. What was the last, best book you read and what about it spoke to you?

I love Russell Baker’s book, “Growing Up.” He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist for The New York Times, and the book details … well, growing up in Depression-era America. It’s a rich, non-fiction character drama told with humor and insight by Baker about his childhood. I loved the writing, the humor found in the absurdity and stresses of life, and the pleasure taken in small, everyday things. What spoke to me was Baker’s style of telling a great story that didn’t involve great things — no heads of state, no decisions that impact millions. Rather, the stories of aunts and uncles, childhood friends, and the adults who helped shape and mold a poor kid living in New Jersey into a successful, well-respected writer.

4. Tell us about a meaningful hobby or “outside of work” commitment that is important to you?

About 10 years ago I bought a home on 2.5+ acres of heavily wooded land. To my continued astonishment, what started out as necessary maintenance has turned into a hobby of novice forestry. If you told me 15 years ago I would enjoy the peace and solitude of cleaning up thousands of leaves or taking a chain saw to a dead tree I would never have believed it. However, it’s a great opportunity to clear your head while focusing on a basic task.

5. Share a fun fact about you.

As a 40th birthday gift, a few friends purchased a small souvenir plot of land in Glencoe, Scotland for me. According to the documentation, I can legally use the title Lord. My friends and I find this funny because in addition to this new title my legal name consists of a first and two middle names as well as my family name. I’m also the third, named after my father and grandfather of the same name. Going by Rod saves a lot of time.

Resolve to Rebuild in 2022

If 2020 was the year of the pivot, 2022 will be the year we rebuild. One of the primary ways businesses and nonprofits will do so is, in part, through raising the profiles and awareness of their brands, services and products.

Kimball Hughes Public Relations reached out to hundreds of for- and non-profit entities across the U.S. to get their take on 2022. We asked about opportunities and obstacles as well as about some of the fundamental tools and resources these entities use to connect with their audiences.

Opportunities & Challenges

One third of respondents reported that being seen as experts would be their top priority to achieving business or organizational goals in 2022. Maintaining or expanding awareness of their reputation among their key audiences came in second at 28.6 percent. Sales, product or service awareness and adding new products or services as tactics to improve performance in 2022 as paled in comparison.

The biggest challenge to growth in 2022 was seen as lack of brand or organizational awareness (72.7 percent). Limited marketing budgets ranked second as a challenge at 54.5 percent, while economic uncertainty and competition tied for third as other major obstacles in the new year.

The Road Ahead

To maximize the potential for raising brand awareness in the new year, securing media recognition and generating content will be essential.

Only 20 percent of the organizations we surveyed reported that being quoted or included in the media as a high priority. Fifty percent said it was one among many priorities, and 15 percent reported they were indifferent to seeing their brand represented in a reputable or industry-specific third-party content provider.

For those creating and publishing their own, non-social media content, nearly 23 percent say they do so daily.  Forty one percent produce their own website, blog or video content weekly, while another 23 percent do so monthly. Just over 13 percent report leaving content development, as a strategy to expand their reach and reputations, to “when time permits.”

Make a New Year’s Resolution

If you’re resolved to grow or expand your reputation or reach in 2022 — or you know of someone thinking about doing so — Kimball Hughes PR can help. Reach out to us today at info@kimballpr.com or call (610) 559-7585 and ask for a free consultation.

Get to know Kate Glaviano, Public Relations Associate

Public relations is all about relationships—the people behind the stories. That’s why we’re offering this blog series all about our team members. This isn’t about our professional accomplishments but who we are as people. We hope you have as much fun reading along as we do interviewing each other.

1. What got you interested in public relations?

As a student at DePaul University, the communications classes I took, along with community involvement, fostered a passion within me for all kinds of media and their ever-changing landscapes. It wasn’t long before I realized how much is involved behind the scenes regarding media relations and creating truly effective communication. I think I knew pretty quickly this was something I wanted to be a part of, and a career in public relations became my path.

2. Tell us about your favorite movie and what appeals most to you about it?

I enjoy tragic films, your typical “almost was” story. One such movie I’ve watched several times is One Day with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. I enjoy movies that are realistic to the point where you could put yourself in a character’s shoes. If the story is told right, you find yourself feeling what the characters are supposed to be feeling.

3. What was the last, best book you read and what about it spoke to you?

The last, best book I read was Body Counts by Sean Strub. When I read it for the first time, I couldn’t put it down and when I finished, I immediately started over. It was just too good for one reading. Strub’s ability to authentically tell his story spoke volumes to me and gave a huge amount of perspective of the time. 

4. Tell us about a meaningful hobby or “outside of work” commitment that is important to you?

Music is a necessary hobby for me. I play a few instruments and like to mess around and free my brain whenever possible. I have found music is a great way to get the creative juices flowing when writers block sets in or when I need a moment to think.

5. Share a fun fact about you.

I became a retired chef at 22. I worked in restaurants throughout college and became competitive, wanting to learn as much as possible about food and the restaurant industry. Before diving into my career in public relations, I was the chef de cuisine in a Chicago Michelin recognized restaurant.

Reputation is What Others Think You are

An important factor influencing an organization’s reputation is how it is represented in the media. With this in mind, Kimball Hughes PR recently ran an independent survey of business professionals to get their perspective on how media coverage of their organization reflected on their reputation and, ultimately, their brand.

What we found was broad dissatisfaction among respondents with how their brands are perceived and represented through the media.

Among two significant reputational goals — having a regular presence in news media and being clearly differentiated from their competition in those media — a clear majority of those surveyed (more than 60 percent) did not believe these goals were met.

If these findings are any indication, brands hoping to benefit from any post-COVID economic boom have significant work to do in working with the media.

Survey results:

My organization’s reputation, as it is communicated in the media, social media and other public venues, represents our stated mission, vision and values.

  • 9% Strongly agree
  • 45% Agree
  • 18% Neutral
  • 27% Disagree
  • 0% Strongly disagree

Senior leadership is regularly quoted in news and trend stories about our industry.

  • 0% Strongly agree
  • 18% Agree
  • 18% Neutral
  • 27% Disagree
  • 36% Strongly disagree

If I conducted a Google News search today of topics most important to my industry, I would find my organization quoted or written about in recent news from legitimate, third-party business or trade media outlets or sites.

  • 9% Strongly agree
  • 9% Agree
  • 18% Neutral
  • 9% Disagree
  • 54% Strongly disagree

Our brand reputation, as communicated by the media, adequately differentiates our organization from competitors in the markets we serve.

  • 0% Strongly agree
  • 18% Agree
  • 9% Neutral
  • 36% Disagree
  • 36% Strongly disagree

Worried about your brand’s reputation? Contact Kimball Hughes PR for a free, no obligation SWOT Analysis of your brand’s reputation within the media that provides top line, practical and actionable advice on what you can do to make improvements.

Get to know Hari Rajagopalan, PR Associate

Public relations is all about relationships—the people behind the stories. That’s why we’re offering this blog series all about our team members. This isn’t about our professional accomplishments but who we are as people. We hope you have as much fun reading along as we do interviewing each other.

  1. What got you interested in public relations?

I got interested in public relations in college while taking a class on crises. The class talked about some famous crises from the last few decades, like the Tylenol recall in the 80s or the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and I thought it was pretty interesting to see where these companies went wrong and what they did right in managing their reputation post-crisis.

  1. Tell us about your favorite movie and what appeals most to you about it?

My favorite movie is probably Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. I love comedies in general, and I really enjoyed watching the characters explore Chicago while crazy things happened around them. 

  1. What was the last, best book you read and what about it spoke to you?

I recently read Andre Agassi’s biography Open and really enjoyed that. Agassi’s story overcoming a number of personal and professional challenges to become one of the greatest tennis players of all time was exciting to follow.

  1. Tell us about a meaningful hobby or “outside of work” commitment that is important to you and why.

I play a lot of tennis and basketball outside of work. I’ve played both recreationally since I was young and sports in general have always been important to me because they’ve been a way for me to connect with friends and family.

  1. Share a fun fact about you.

I’m fluent in Spanish and can read Ancient Greek and Latin.

Empowering motorcoach companies to get social

let's work together to spread awareness, secure a better future for the motorcoach industry and get back to business.
Graphic provided in UMA’s social media toolkit

Recently, we had the pleasure of working with the United Motorcoach Association on a quick-start social media toolkit for their members. We were tasked with an interesting challenge: help the industry speak with one voice as they asked for support from the Federal governement in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic — and help motorcoach operators new to social media adopt this tool for their future marketing efforts.

You can read more on the solution we helped UMA create in this article.

Download our Communications Checklist

KHPR Download

For businesses, there is a right and wrong way to communicate during a crisis as tragic and widespread as the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know the wrong approach when we see it — but how do we do the right thing? We hope our Communications Checklist points you in the right direction

Click here to download the KHPR Communications Checklist.

(It’s free to download and we’re won’t make you sign up for anything — that link takes you directly to a PDF download.)

If you need further guidance during this trying time, please rest assured that our team is fully operational and ready to support you. Reach out at info@kimballpr.com for general inquiries, or connect with the Kimball Hughes PR team on LinkedIn.

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.

 

Insurance, insights, and acrobats: RIMS 2017

The annual RIMS conference is always a worthwhile annual reunion for the insurance industry. It’s an enormous event that gathers carriers, brokers, and tech companies to network and (dare I say) have a good bit of fun! For those who’ve been, they know: the RIMS parties are something else. This year’s event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center here in Philadelphia treated attendees to acrobats in the main atrium, a champagne fairy, a Billy Idol concert and remarks from Michael J. Fox.

But the conference isn’t short on substance, either. There were valuable educational sessions, tasty meals and inspiring speakers. It also gathers the insurance and business media to meet in one place. From a public relations perspective, that is an incredible opportunity. It is the time to connect key reporters and industry thought leaders to engage in constructive conversations about risk and insurance.

We used the opportunity to say “hi” to old friends on the media side and introduce them to clients as future resources. We also facilitated some on-site interviews to make sure our clients got in front of the RIMS audience – a key group for anyone looking to get their message across to broker, carriers, and more.

In the case of one of our attending clients Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance, we also got the opportunity to see things from the exhibitor perspective as we captured social media content for them. Check out this video of a critical loss control tool they are using with their customers demonstrated at their exhibit booth.

Social media was a key component of the conference, down to the #RIMS2017 hashtag displayed boldly in giant letters in the entrance to the convention center. Screens throughout the convention center compiled tweets with the hashtag, and people were quick to pose for photos as the “I” in RIMS (like we did).

Sam_Eileen at RIMS2017_2

The RIMS conference may be primarily an education and networking opportunity for the insurance pros involved, but for us insurance PR pros, these opportunities to connect with reporters and create social media content were just as important. Thanks to the RIMS organization for a valuable conference. See you in San Antonio!

Eileen Coyne joins Kimball Communications

Kimball Communications is proud to announce Eileen Coyne has joined the Philadelphia agency as its newest public relations manager, as noted in O’Dwyers and the Philadelphia Business Journal today.

Coyne will be tasked with developing and executing client strategies and tactics, and leading certain PR accounts for the agency.

She joins Kimball Communications after having served most recently as an account manager with marketing and PR firm IMRE,  which is headquartered in Baltimore. Before that she was a senior communications coordinator for Nationwide Insurance.

After graduating from Loyola University Maryland with a degree in Communications, Coyne began her career as a journalist working with several prestigious business trade publications in Washington, D.C. and Ohio before making the transition to a career in public relations.

She can be reached by email at ecoyne@kimballpr.com or at the office at (610) 559-7585