Accountability as a Business Practice

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of trust and accountability. Friendships and intimate relationships thrive when each person feels heard and held. Connections flourish when expectations are established and met over and over again.
 
We believe the same is true in our professional relationships with our clients and colleagues. We want these relationships to be long-term and prosperous, made possible by sincere connection and confidence in us. When you are seeking a consultant, and especially in the case of a communications adviser who must understand your business and how you want your business to show up in the world, you need them to be an extension of your team. To achieve this, it requires compete trust in that relationship. For us, that trust is earned, in large part, by our commitment to accountability.

Best-selling author and lecturer Bob Proctor famously said, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” We are kept accountable by account management best practices including bringing detailed agendas to our meetings, delivering consistently on action items, and developing recap reports comparing our results to the goals we outlined together in prior strategic planning sessions and the resulting framework plan. Regular check-ins allow us to apprise our clients of campaign progress and fine-tune our strategies based on our clients’ updates.
 
Active listening is another way we remain accountable in our relationships day-in and day-out. By taking the time to listen empathetically, repeat what has been said and provide opportunity for clarification, we ensure everyone leaves a conversation or meeting on the same page, with the same expectations. By asking the right questions, we gain the context needed to do our work effectively.
 
These accountability measures are a key part of our success and result in a deepened trust in the client-agency relationship. As you seek opinions and guidance on a sensitive matter; as you impart confidential information before it is made public; and as you trust communications consultants to act as your representatives in meetings or with media, you want to have the utmost confidence in your partner. The trust imparted to us is a signal that we have earned the confidence of our partners. The most important indicator of our clients’ faith in our expertise and guidance is when they embrace and follow our strategic communications recommendations, and together we build a partnership that lasts for many years.
 
Having mutual trust is paramount, and accountability is the conduit by which we nurture that trust to accomplish communications goals together. If you are one of our partners, we are honored to have the opportunity to serve as a trusted member of your team. If you are not, we would love the opportunity to earn your trust.  

Big Buzz Begins with Two Smart Meetings – Why a Strategic Plan is the First Step to Communications

In our last e-newsletter, we mentioned the strategic planning session as the first tool we use when building a foundation of strategies and tactics to meet your communications milestones. Held on a semi-annual basis (or another agreed-upon interval), the session is used to identify your organization’s big picture goals and upcoming milestones. From that discussion our team goes on to create a tailored communications strategy to support both.

The benefits of the strategic planning process cannot be overstated. The session itself facilitates a dynamic conversation about your organization’s initiatives with members of your team and ours. Using interactive exercises, we drill down to how we can support those initiatives through communications strategies and tactics. It is a time to think big, let creativity flow, actively listen, and have a productive dialogue with everyone at the table.

The resulting strategic communications plan, which we develop in the weeks following the meeting then refine and finalize with your team, provides a roadmap for all of us to reference as we set forth to accomplish the shared communications goals. This is the guiding document which outlines your communications objectives and exactly by what means we will accomplish them. We are methodical and intentional about our craft and believe deeply in the importance of committing our plan to paper. The plan outlines a “flexible framework,” meaning it serves as our guide and keeps us all focused on shared objectives but also allows for flexibility and nimbleness if your circumstances or priorities change. In our regular weekly or biweekly client/agency team meetings, the document is regularly referenced.

Importantly, the plan outlines benchmarks against which our success can be measured and evaluated. At the next scheduled planning session, in most cases, six months later, we showcase our results against the goals, strategies and tactics outlined in the document. This accountability gives you assurance that we are being good stewards of your resources (time, money, trust, expectations) and an excellent communications partner.

No matter which of our services you need to help get you to your goals, the first step is always to engage in the strategic planning process with us. We promise it’s painless and has an incredible ROI.

The Many Hats of a PR Pro

Public Relations is so much more than writing press releases! (We’re really good at that, by the way.) PR is all about telling our clients’ stories in the most positive, engaging, and strategic ways possible.

But first things first.  At the start of any client relationship (and in regular intervals from then on) we strive to understand the heart of our client’s goals and how they envision success. To achieve that insight, our process includes strategic planning sessions with our clients to establish objectives and then build a foundation of strategies and tactics to meet those communications milestones.

From there, it is time to hit the ground running using a customized combination of tactics from our PR “tool box” – all in coordination with an organization’s established brand, voice, and goals.

Media Relations:

Often considered the “backbone” of traditional public relations, media relations is an evolving discipline. Elmore PR works with you to develop a media relations strategy, brainstorming the kinds of stories you want to share, researching the best reporters and outlets to tell those stories, and developing an implementation timeline to achieve the greatest results. We draft press releases and articles, secure images to supplement a story, pitch reporters, and facilitate interviews.

When it’s time for those interviews, preparation goes a long way to ensuring a success. Elmore PR offers media training to build confidence when you’re speaking to reporters or other audiences. We educate our clients on what to expect in an interview, how to use talking points and bridge statements, and other presentation skills to ensure you effectively deliver your message.

Should the need arise for our existing clients, Elmore PR also offers crisis and reputation management, helping frame the context of difficult situations to ensure truthful and straightforward messaging.

Digital Marketing Services:

Social media and online sources are increasingly the primary resources people turn to for news and information. Maintaining a compelling, current, and consistent online presence is essential. Elmore PR works with our clients to develop sound strategies for your digital platforms.

Whether drafting copy and blogs for your website or building a robust social media strategy, we are skilled at conceiving a tone and voice appropriate for both the platform and your organization to keep your followers interested and invested in your business.

Social media influencers are here to stay, and we know how to engage with them in smart, relevant ways for our clients.  We’ll work with you to develop an influencer strategy, including pitches and contract negotiations, as another effective avenue for connecting you with targeted audiences.

Community Outreach:

When an organization wishes to connect more directly with an audience, Elmore PR can facilitate community outreach opportunities which connect our clients with their community – leading conversations which shine the light on complex ideas and help turn adversaries into advocates.

We also can expertly manage public meeting coordination and presentation development. Meeting coordination can include everything from researching and booking the venue and distributing invitations to producing collateral materials and staffing the event.  We’ll develop your presentation, write the script, and coach your presenters to communicate key points clearly and effectively.

Under the community outreach umbrella, we assist in such behind-the-scenes activities such as stakeholder and mailing list management, tracking of public comments, and vendor management.

Account Management and Strategic Counsel:

The team at Elmore PR takes a careful and thoughtful approach to developing our plans, but also tracking our results. Through the use of concept documents, productive agendas, well-managed meetings, and action-focused notes, we build long-term and goal-oriented plans with the steps needed to achieve them. Along the way, we track and report on our results as well as capture key learnings to factor into our process for future implementation.

We also offer meeting facilitation to our clients tackling their own internal objectives. And, of course, our senior counsel services can guide clients through even the stickiest situations.

So what can we do for YOU next? If you’d like to learn more about new ways Elmore PR can help you tell your story, email us at info@elmorepr.com.

The Strategy and Success of Being Supportive

“We are an extension of your team.” This is a phrase our clients hear us say often. It encompasses Elmore PR’s fourth core value: being supportive. In the client/agency relationship, being supportive means seamlessly supplementing an already strong client team by providing our leadership, strategy, and public relations expertise to promote your mission and initiatives.

Our guiding tenet is to connect our expertise to our clients’ objectives to deliver results which move the needle of public perception. Through our services including strategic planning, media relations, marketing, social media strategy, and community relations, we support our clients with intentional listening and clarity. As your strategic partner, Elmore PR is diligent to embrace the tone, culture, and priorities of your organization as we communicate on your behalf.

We are successful in supporting our clients because of the supportive environment we curate internally. Camaraderie and internal support are a major part of Elmore PR company culture and are essential to operating a successful firm.

Personal coaching and mentoring are a high priority. While given autonomy to lead their client teams how they best see fit, our colleagues have the full ear and support of company leadership. Additionally, between trainings offered by our management team and courses and webinars our colleagues seek out themselves, each team member is supported in their professional development and encouraged to continually expand their skillset and expertise. And through use of the DiSC assessment, we determine how each team member prefers to be communicated with, managed, and supported. We regularly review these results as a team to make our internal communications as effective as possible.

Finally, Elmore PR embodies a supportive spirit by being intentional about working for organizations which are supportive of our community. Our clients are known for being change-makers. We are passionate about partnering with organizations whose big-picture thinking enacts transformational change in Houston’s parks, arts, business, and nonprofit circles.

Just like our clients, Elmore PR is nimble, creative, and curious. We love what we do and who we work for. It is our highest priority that you feel the full weight of our support through our aptitude, passion, and professionalism.

Seeking Clarity

 

 

Just like active listening and curiosity, practicing clarity is a tool with which we cut through verbal clutter to understand and be better understood. Seeking and projecting clarity gets us from A to B efficiently. It is fundamental to ensuring we start on the same page as we work with each other and our clients to accomplish their goals.

As communications professionals, we seek and practice clarity daily. Before we can relay a client’s goals, thoughts, and messaging to an audience, we must distill them into clear, understandable points. Through our signature strategic planning sessions and regular client meetings, and by asking the right questions and actively listening, the Elmore PR team is empowered to attain and communicate with clarity on behalf of our clients.

Clarity of thought and speech requires patience, focus and deliberateness. We can all practice clear communication by:

  • Eliminating distractions;
  • Planning, outlining and being prepared;
  • Being succinct;
  • Being intentional with word choice and syntax;
  • Sharply editing one’s own writing;
  • Tailoring messaging and delivery to the recipient’s preferred mode of communication;
  • If you are presenting a new idea, practice your presentation;
  • Considering and preparing for questions that may arise; and
  • Communicating confidently.

These skills can be applied in both our professional and personal lives to reach and deepen understanding. As the saying goes, “when life gets blurry, adjust your focus.” For many of us, the world feels incredibly blurry right now. By seeking clarity, we can adjust our focus to better understand ourselves and one another.

 

This One Habit is Key to Great Communication: Are You Curious?

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein

Curiosity is a core value at Elmore PR. It is the discipline we use to accelerate our understanding of our colleagues, our clients, and their audiences.

In our inaugural e-newsletter, we shared that empathetic listening fosters connection. But that’s only part of the equation. Being curious, or asking the right questions, is just as essential in getting to the heart of a client’s goals.

Current and potential clients often come to us with challenges they hope strategic communications will help solve. That is our sweet spot! But before Elmore PR can develop a communications plan and shape messaging, we must have a deeper understanding of the issues and goals at hand. It is imperative we ask questions, and the right ones.

To get to the “why,” we are insistent upon learning:

  • What is at the heart of the request/statement/observation?
  • What is the desired outcome?
  • Who benefits from this campaign/product/service/information?
  • What might the objections be and from whom?
  • What assumptions are we making and what are they based on?
  • Are there sensitivities (political, cultural, business, personal) to consider?
  • Who are the other players involved (internally or externally) who have a stake in the initiative?

Practicing curiosity ensures that from the get-go, we are fully informed, with the big picture guiding us as we apply our experience to strategy, and strategy to tactics.

We are intentional about building a team comprised of exceptional communicators, of course, but also of curious thinkers. All the inquisitive people we have the pleasure of working or doing business with:

  • They assess every circumstance by studying the way things are, the way things are not, and asking themselves “why”?
  • Collaborate well. They genuinely value the opportunity to engage with and learn from others with unique perspectives.
  • Are creative. They are not content with the status quo and see challenges as opportunities to solve problems in new ways.
  • Can read a room. They have a keen ability to distinguish when to ask questions, when to speak up and demonstrate their expertise, and when to listen.
  • Are always learning, reading, and absorbing the world around them. They know they do not know everything and have an insatiable appetite to expand their understanding of a wide range of topics.

Curiosity begets innovation. And innovation is critical for survival, especially for businesses trying to make it during a global pandemic. By reassessing, questioning, and digging deeper as appropriate, Elmore PR offers communications strategies which are agile, flexible and responsive to the changing needs of our clients and their audiences.

If you are curious about Elmore PR and how we can support your communications needs, please get in touch at jennie@elmorepr.com or via our contact page.

 

Working from Home 101

It has officially been a full month of working from home due to COVID-19. While we greatly miss seeing our coworkers at the office and attending in-person meetings with clients, we have used this time to adjust to the “new-normal” and develop good habits while we are working from our homes.

One important component to working from home is finding your perfect new space to work. Keeping an organized space away from distractions is key! You’ll see a few of our team’s remote offices below.

We’ve also put together a few tips that have made adapting to the working from home transition a little easier. Read on to learn more about these tips that you can incorporate into your #WFH routine!

 

Abby’s tips:

Develop a morning routine that you look forward to! Each morning, I make an effort to get up an hour before I start working to enjoy my coffee and mentally prepare for the workday. It’s nice to not have to immediately start working when the alarm goes off.

Be sure to take short breaks throughout the day. When I am feeling depleted creatively, I like to do a short 15-minute walk around the block or a quick 10-minute video workout. Everyone needs a recharge!

Find a refreshing beverage. My roommate has started making “spa water” – aka water infused with fresh fruits and veggies – every afternoon. I look forward to it every day and it helps keep me away from the gallon of Goldfish.

 

 

Nataly’s tip:

Working from home can come with many distractions, so I’ve found it helpful to stick to a routine that’s as close to my pre-COVID-19 days as possible. Having a schedule gives me a sense of normalcy during this uncertain time.

 

Lenny’s tips:

Set a timer reminding yourself to take periodic breaks. Grab a snack, doodle, walk your dog. Doing quick 3-min meditations on Headspace helps me release tension and refocus on work.

Be it a slow internet, standing in line to pick up prescriptions, or wiping down all of our groceries—everything in life is just taking much longer to accomplish. Don’t judge yourself if you seem unable to produce the same level of output. These are strange days and each of us is dealing with new challenges physically, financially and mentally. Set realistic goals for each day, communicate with your team, and breath.

 

 

Taylor’s tip:

 Find alternative ways to communicate with your coworkers. While we are normally in the office together, we are used to discussing projects and asking each other questions multiple times throughout the day. While it can seem a little isolating working at home instead of desks right across from each other, there are tools to make quick communication easy. Send instant messages periodically, check in via text, or simply give someone a quick call! Communication is key, even when we are no longer working in the same physical space.

 

Julia’s tip:

Pick a place in your living space that won’t distract you when you’re working, and try to keep a regular schedule as if you were going into the office. Don’t start and stop work at all different hours every day!

 

 

Lisa’s tips:

I don’t do the working in PJs or sweatpants thing – I need to feel like I am at work and part of that is looking professional (at least casual Friday level) – especially in case of an unexpected video call.

I take my lunch away from my desk – it’s good to have a few minutes away from work – even when it’s at home – to refresh with a change of scenery and no email alerts.

I open all the windows I can – natural light and fresh air helps keep me happy!

 

Amy’s tip:

Check in regularly on your co-workers and see how they’re doing. This will help you have a more thoughtful perspective and could change how you approach certain tasks and situations.

 

Jennie’s tip:

My WFH tip is about to do lists. I have always loved making action item lists at work, but now I find it even more important to keep me focused and on task for both home and work items. Every night, I write out my to-dos for the next day. I start on post-it notes to capture all the tasks, then enter them into my planner in two columns, one for work and one for home, and in priority order. If something doesn’t get done, it’s incorporated into the next day’s list; usually it falls at the top unless it is something I’d like to do, but don’t need to do.

 

2020: A Year to Celebrate!

Anyone else feel like January was at least 100 days long?! While it felt like a long month, January was filled with lots of excitement here at Elmore PR, and we certainly kicked off the new year (and decade) on a great note!

On the first day of the new year, Elmore PR made the move to a brand-new office space! As the saying goes, new year new us, right? While we have loved our time in the wonderful duplex on West Saulnier, it was time for a fresh start in a new space.

Our new office, located within Origin Cowork, has introduced us to several new friends who also office out of this coworking space. Additionally, our new office has tons of meeting rooms and places to gather and socialize, which has helped add even more camaraderie to our team. Needless to say…we love it!

 

 

 

If January was any indication of how the remaining months of the year will be, then we have a lot to look forward to! Follow along here and on our social channels as we highlight other exciting milestones on the horizon for 2020 – get ready…we have a LOT to celebrate! #EPRCelebrates2020

Let’s Celebrate 2019!

As the year comes to a close, we’re taking some time to reflect on a few of our team’s 2019 accomplishments. 2019 was an exciting year for Elmore Public Relations, and between client milestones and company achievements, we have a lot to celebrate!  We invite you to pull up a chair and pour a glass of bubbly as we look back on a few of our highlights from the past year.

  1. A big part of what makes our team so special is our employees, and in 2019 we gained three fantastic new team members! This year we welcomed Julia Bernstein, Jennifer Brandino, and Murphie Mendez to the Elmore PR team, and we have loved having them on board. (On that note, we are looking to expand our team in 2020! Learn more about available opportunities here.)
  2. Our terrific summer intern, Trinady, returned for a second year at Elmore PR! We love the opportunity to educate and offer hands-on experience to college students interested in communications and public relations, and it was a pleasure working with Trinady for the second summer in a row. (Fun Fact: Trinady went on to interview Jimmy Fallon during her fall semester at University of Texas. Check out the interview here. You go girl!)
  3. We are also so fortunate to work with the best and brightest clients, and we gained several wonderful new ones this year. Over the course of the year, we began working with Kidney Cancer Association, SpawGlass, Vita Living, TUYA, UT Health’s Own Every Piece Initiative, and several new projects with Harris County Flood Control District. We have enjoyed learning about and working with each of these organizations, and we are grateful for the new friendships we have made with each of you.
  4. In June, we attended one of our favorite events: The 34th Annual Excalibur Awards Presented by PRSA Houston. This year, we were honored to receive the following awards:
  • Gold award in the Editorials/Op-Ed Columns category: “Bridging the Green Gaps: Bayou Greenways 2020”
  • Silver award in the Marketing Consumer Products and Services category: “Marketing the Nutcracker Market: Reaching Social Media-Savvy Consumers”
  • Bronze award in the Community Relations category: “Charting the Waters – Publicizing Flood Mitigation Strategies in Greater Houston”

We are so proud of our team for all their hard work on these projects, and thanks to PRSA Houston for hosting another fabulous event.

  1. We celebrated our 27th Anniversary in August! Wow – we can’t believe we’ve been working in Houston for nearly three decades! We have had the time of our lives working with various organizations and companies across Houston and beyond. We are thrilled to be entering our 28th year in business, and we look forward to seeing what exciting things next year has in store!

It has been a fantastic year (and decade!) at Elmore PR, and we appreciate each of the wonderful people that we are so privileged to work with. We look forward to entering 2020 with you – cheers!