Exponent Takes Home National PRWeek Award for USA Swimming
Exponent was honored for work on behalf of USA Swimming at last night’s PRWeek Awards reception in New York.
One of the highest accolades in the communications industry, the PRWeek Awards celebrate the 39 best corporate, agency, nonprofit and education campaigns in the United States. A panel of judges that includes senior-level public relations professionals and in-house marketing leaders evaluate entries on their creativity and effectiveness.
Exponent took home a PRWeek Award in the Best in Arts, Entertainment, Sports & Media category for the Swim United campaign, which leveraged the summer Olympic games to convince more parents (and kids) to take the plunge and join a swim team. The content-driven campaign featured a video that showcased the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming team’s journey from childhood to Rio, demonstrating the positive impact that joining a swim team had on their lives. The agency also sent personalized Olympic team swim caps to influencers and media across the country, driving coverage ranging from CNN Headline News to Conan O’Brien. Swim United helped increase swim team membership and drive engagement for USA Swimming during the post-Olympics timeframe.
“This recognition is a reflection of the innovative thinking and partnership that is valued at Exponent,” said Tom Lindell, managing director of Exponent. “We are thankful to PRWeek for awarding us with this honor.”
Distrust and Anxiety Make This Golden Age of Food Taste So Wrong
By Bernice Neumann, Practice Leader, Food and Nutrition
America is a nation of food adventurers with rapidly evolving taste preferences and growing culinary sophistication. We have unmatched access to the latest data on sustainable sourcing, exotic ingredients, nutrition studies and ethical farming practices. This golden age of food should be exciting and inspiring, right? Instead, it has produced unmatched worry. Today, 55 percent of consumers distrust the food system, according to a Sanford Bernstein survey. And food-related angst, warnings and phobias are only rapidly expanding.
Marketers today need to work harder to make connections and build brand trust, which are essential for reassuring consumers that companies are responsible, and food supplies are safe. Here are marketing approaches that make connections and build or regain trust:
Use empathy to better understand consumers and their communities
With an influx of information and the power of social media, all the predictable food buying patterns we used to rely on are out. Consumers more often value discovery, diversity and curiosity. And they engage with communities that share their passions. To understand your consumers, get to really know them. Use empathy-driven approaches to learn about their hearts and minds. Conduct in-home research and interviews that start by asking “What do you really need?” Study the micro communities that share your values and behaviors to build trust. People remember and share experiences—how we made them feel—not just logos or marketing taglines. The brand that screams the loudest no longer commands the most attention; the one that offers something genuinely useful and helps you feel included, does.
Bring consumers into your journey
The need for transparency is not new, but it’s becoming essential. Today’s consumers want to know and understand the people and values behind a brand. Bringing them closer to the source, whether it’s the farm where food is grown or the person who crafts the product, helps build trust. Technology also allows us to share stories in ways never before imagined. Video and live experiences through social platforms, like Facebook Live, or Instagram stories or products like Spectacles by Snap Inc., create innovative storytelling opportunities. Consider how you can use technology to create unique brand experiences and provide consumers with a peek behind the curtain.
Define and live by a higher purpose
Consumers are savvy, and they look at the whole brand when making decisions. Marketers should ground their strategy in the core strengths, values and beliefs of their business, whether that’s sustainability, use of water, fair trade or other worthy activities. Connect the product story to this purpose, from the origin story to the ingredients to the packaging. All efforts should be authentic and tell a story that is important to the company and its customers.
Use evidence to help people make better choices
We live in a tricky time when the motives of scientists and scientific organizations making recommendations about our food supply and its safety are under scrutiny. At the same time, food and nutrition bloggers, dietitians and even celebrity doctors, have expanded their influence over consumer behaviors and food buying decisions. Brands that lean on respected influencers can help consumers make more-informed choices by ensuring published content includes facts and evidence and puts this data into perspective, based on what people need. Aligning with influencers who utilize research that’s been peer reviewed and evidence from respected organizations goes a long way in building trust.
Think like a startup
Disruption is happening all around us as consumer preferences change or evolve at lightning speed, new technologies bring never-before-seen products to market, or companies launch and market in new ways. We see smaller companies or new players now leading industry innovation by responding to very specific consumer needs. Marketers can adapt a more disruptive mindset and act like a start-up in numerous ways, including actively listening to consumers in the social space to find opportunities to engage. They can also get closer to consumers by selling to them directly, being more involved in local communities, and participating in more event or tasting activities. These actions make a brand more approachable and authentic, which also builds trust.
When people buy into your story, purpose and values, they will be more eager to connect and share. Creating a dialogue where consumers can ask questions and be informed also builds trust. It’s important to have conversations when consumers want them, being empathetic and treating them with intelligence.
BERNICE NEUMANN WINS PR NEWS' TOP WOMEN IN PR AWARD
Today, Bernice Neumann, Exponent's consumer packaged goods practice leader, was named a Top Woman in PR by PR News. Each year, PR News recognizes more than 50 influential women who drive the agenda for the industry and in their companies, and who make bold advances in managing crises, developing brand messages and building brand reputations. Neumann was recognized at an awards ceremony on January 24 in New York City.
Neumann was honored for her many achievements at the agency. In her 14 years at Exponent, she has built client relationships and created innovative ideas for established brands such as Florida’s Natural, Land O’Lakes, Kozy Shack Pudding, The Hershey Company, the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA) and numerous General Mills and Pillsbury products. She has grown the agency’s food practice group, which has helped Exponent experience ten consecutive years of double-digit growth.
Exponent PR Named Public Relations Agency of Record for Blu Dot
Exponent PR was named the new public relations agency of record for Blu Dot, a Minneapolis-based, award-winning designer and maker of modern home furnishings.
The company will soon celebrate 20 years in the industry and is partnering with Exponent to help prepare for this milestone. Exponent will engage media and modern influencers for Blu Dot and will also support the brand's retail expansion in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.
"Our goal is to bring good design to as many people as possible, and Exponent understands how to reach influencers to help bring our brand to life," said John Christakos, Blu Dot CEO. "Exponent's collaborative work style matches up well with how we like to do things at Blu Dot."
Everything that Blu Dot makes and sells is designed in their studio in Minneapolis, from its iconic and best-selling Real Good chairs and Stash desks to the expanding array of home accessories. Blu Dot's work has been featured in leading publications including Elle Décor, House Beautiful and The New York Times, as well as on the sets of popular television shows and movies.
This new business news comes after the announcement of other new partnerships with Florida's Natural® Brand Orange Juice, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association and Wells Enterprises. The agency is on track to achieve its eleventh consecutive year of growth.
EXPONENT ONCE AGAIN NAMED A TOP PLACE TO WORK BY PR NEWS
Exponent was again named as a Top Place to Work in PR by PR News. This list is a collection of agencies, nonprofits and corporations that offer the all-around best workplace culture, as judged by a panel of blue-chip public relations executives and PR News staff. Exponent has received this recognition for three consecutive years, and will be recognized at the annual PR News Top Places to Work in PR luncheon, held in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6.
Exponent’s optimal work environment and benefits have led to its continued recognition as a top place to work within the public relations industry. With perks that include unique employee recognition programs and celebrations, shiatsu massages, a rooftop patio that hosts yoga classes and concerts, innovative professional development, and much more, Exponent’s culture nurtures creativity as the agency continues to experience steady growth year-over-year.
“Our agency thrives by fostering a one-of-a-kind culture where diverse talent can thrive,” said Tom Lindell, managing director, Exponent. “We know this attracts the best talent while building belief in our clients’ brands.”
For more information on the Top Places to Work in PR, visit: http://bit.ly/2flhao0