Our Insights

Elmore’s Vision for 2024: A Letter from Susan Elmore

I am writing with gratitude for the achievements and happy memories of 2023 and with anticipation for the year upon us. Last year, the Elmore team connected our clients to their audiences with clarity – successfully and purposefully amplifying their news, stories, and initiatives to earn impactful results. I encourage you to read some of those highlights here.

As we embark on a new year, my goal for 2024 is to provide increased clarity and meaningful context for your audiences.

The last several years have made audiences more discerning; the public want to know how – and why – things are the way they are and the potential impact or benefits to their lives. In other words, audiences now seek significant context in addition to facts.

We have found this applicable across the board, no matter the organization’s type, structure, size, or purpose. For example, when we are promoting the work of green space and parks organizations, the messaging is not simply about adding a particular number or miles of trails; it’s about improving park access and park quality for all.

In the commercial real estate realm, the messaging isn’t simply about bricks and mortar but about sustainability and the human experience in a space.

For educators and family services non-profits, the context supporting a decision is often tied to solving problems directly related to students still recovering from the pandemic or other significant life change.

And for arts organizations, we aren’t simply promoting programming, but how and why the art presented is culturally relevant and important in today’s charged social and political climates.

Context allows your public to understand your vision and to more deeply invest in your mission. In 2024, Elmore will lead with the context to build trust and gain buy-in from your audiences and to impart nuance in your messaging.

I understand 2024 will bring unique challenges and opportunities for all of our companies and organizations. New city leadership, a presidential election, and the constant polarization of values and opinions makes communicating with context more important than ever.

To our clients, we appreciate your continued trust in Elmore, and if we aren’t partnering with you yet, we hope you will let us help you articulate your vision and message to gain the trust and support of your audiences.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Elmore

Communicate from the Inside Out for Maximum Impact

The way your company and executive leadership team communicate with employees and external stakeholders, such as media, community members and industry peers, significantly impacts how these audiences perceive your business.

Elmore can partner with you to create a thoughtful and comprehensive communications strategy for internal and external audiences that will propel you toward your communications goals. Today, we’re diving deeper into employee and executive communications.

What are employee and executive communications?

Simply stated, employee communication is the flow of information to internal audiences — your employees. A comprehensive employee communication strategy involves multiple channels and types of messaging, ranging from culture-shaping communications that tell the stories of your people and programs, business communications that help reach organizational goals, and executive communications that engage employees.

Executive communication extends beyond internal audiences to how visible your C-Suite is with external stakeholders. This might be done through thought leader articles or op-eds in industry publications, speaking engagements, conference panels, social media content or award nominations, to name a few.

What are the benefits of employee and executive communications?

Employee and executive communications have never been more important than they are today. While communication keeps people informed, it can do so much more than that. Internal and external stakeholders want to feel a connection to your business. The right strategy can help build that connection. But there are other benefits, too:

  • Reinforce key messages
  • Showcase storytelling opportunities
  • Enhance alignment with business goals and values
  • Shape company culture
  • Build trust and advocacy
  • Increase engagement and morale
  • Drive desired actions and behaviors
  • Position your C-Suite and company as industry trailblazers

Why might you need an employee and executive communications strategy?

No matter your mission or size, your company can benefit from a deliberate approach to engaging with employees and the thoughtful positioning of your CEO, the primary influencer of your company.

If you are soon undergoing a rebrand, restructure or leadership change, now may be the perfect time to consider your communications strategy. Both internal and external audiences will be eager to hear from the people in charge about the vision for the company and what to expect in the future. A thoughtful rollout of such news, coupled with an adherence to key messages, will inform and increase buy-in from stakeholders.

In other cases, your company may be aiming to drive certain employee behaviors or generate awareness for company initiatives. Outlining the messaging, strategies and means by which you’ll share this information is part of a well-rounded employee communication strategy.

So, what’s Elmore’s approach?

Elmore begins with understanding your external strategy to ensure consistency and cohesion among all communications, no matter the audience. From there, we audit your existing communications efforts, reviewing your communications ecosystem, including channels, messaging and frequency. We’ll learn what your workforce looks like, and how they best consume information. We may survey or speak with employees to better understand their experience. We’ll also review what your leadership team has (or hasn’t) done to promote visibility to key stakeholders.

Then, we create and execute our strategy. This can be an evergreen, ongoing effort, or can happen around a particular initiative or moment of importance for your company. Whatever your needs, Elmore can help develop and implement employee and executive communications plans to exceed your goals.

Contact us to learn more or to get started.

A Guide to Working with Influencers

Every day, people are glued to their phones or tablets, clicking and scrolling through social media platforms as a form of entertainment, a way to read the news, check-in with friends, and more. Within the last decade, traditional marketing has evolved to meet audiences where they spend the most time. Enter influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways for brands to become household names.

Below is Elmore’s tried and tested guide to working with influencers.

Know your audience
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: you must know your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their interests? There are influencer that specialize in every interest category imaginable (e.g., lifestyle, travel, hyperlocal, a particular hobby, parenthood, hacks, etc.), and knowing the general profile of your own audience will determine the type of influencers to partner with.

Research your prospective partners
For many, being an influencer is a full-time job. As such, there are analytics and metrics influencers can provide to illustrate their value. These are data points in addition to their number of followers including average engagement rate, average audience reach, subject focus, location, and more.

Once you have an idea of your target audience, begin researching influencers within your specified areas of interest and compile a list or spreadsheet of the potential influencers you’re interested in reaching out to.

Consider your budget
It is important to mention that most influencers expect to be paid. They have worked hard to build their following and earn the trust of their audience, and again, for many it is their full-time job. Thus, you should expect to pay some amount of money for your partnership. In some cases, influencers may accept a trade (an exchange of products for posted content, without money involved). Provide them with an estimated value of the items that you’re proposing to trade.

Establish your partnerships and develop an agreement
At least a month or so before your event or launch, reach out to your prospective influencers via their website or direct message (DM) to them on their most popular platform. Personalize your message and articulate why you are interested in working with them to promote your initiative or product.

If/once you’ve come to an agreement to work together, develop a contract. Include in the contract details like the number and type of posts required, the date or timeline of the posts, and any specific language or tags to include. Outline what you’re giving in return (the agreed-upon fee or value of trade) and the deadline by which you deliver your payment. This document will keep all parties on accountable.

Create an influencer toolkit
A toolkit will help the influencers best understand your intended message and visuals. Provide your influencers with photos pre-cropped to the dimensions of an Instagram story, Facebook Story or in-feed post along with talking points and hashtags to use as they’re promoting your content.

Check in and provide support
As your event or launch draws nearer, check in with your confirmed influencers to ensure they have the content they need, and if they have any questions. Be sure to keep track of their posts, screenshotting stories which disappear after 24 hours, repost any tagged posts on the organizations social platform, etc.

Evaluate the success
Once the campaign is complete, evaluate its success. Ensure your influencer fulfilled all elements of the agreement. These analytics include story views and engagements, likes on a static post, number of comments, and more. A best practice is to use a unique link or promotional code for the influencer to use when linking out to your website, so you can review the number of clicks or ticket sales generated from that influencer. These KPIs will help you determine the value of the partnership.

If you deem an influencer campaign successful, keep engaged with that person! If there is proven interest in your campaign from their audience, you’ll want to build and maintain that relationship as you consider working with them again in the future.

Influencer marketing can be a useful communications channel to have in your toolkit. Working with an agency who specializes in building these partnerships may help ensure that you understand the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign as a dynamic approach to drive awareness, engage audiences, and create lasting connections. Contact Elmore to learn how we can help you evaluate if influencer marketing is right for your organization.

Developing a Strong Content Strategy

Have you ever considered the numerous channels by which your organization can disseminate information?

These “owned media” opportunities include your social media, website, newsletters, annual reports, marketing materials, internal memos and e-blasts, public notices, presentations, speeches, key messaging documents, talking points, and press releases…to name a few.

Leveraging these platforms to their full potential to tell your stories is a game changer for engaging audiences. Using the considerations below, you can elevate your brand by developing a robust content strategy customized to each of your owned channels.

Know your target audience
The most critical element to developing your content strategy is knowing who you are trying to reach. Work with your team to discover your audience(s) and uncover what is important to them, what type of language does or does not resonate with them, what sensitivities there might be when communicating with them, and where they consume their news. Each will inform where and how we reach your stakeholders.

Craft a clear message
Once you know who you are trying to reach, develop clear, concise, messaging tailored to their needs and wants. The messaging should be timely and relevant to both your audience and your organization. Hopefully, you have a communications framework plan, as the language should align with the messaging strategy developed in your plan.

Keep the big picture in mind
For content development, keeping the big picture in mind means ensuring the story you are telling supports or underscores your mission or core focus. It means staying on brand — using consistent language and tone across platforms — and asking yourself, “how does this story or piece of content support our goals?”

Source supporting resources
The right visuals can be just as impactful as the words you use when telling your story. Collect or source the photography, b-roll, or graphics to give credibility to and help visualize the written content.

Partner with your most knowledgeable subject matter experts to deeply understand the material, and then simplify it into digestible pieces for your audiences. Expert interviews also make great subjects for a blog post or quote for a press release or social media graphic.

Manage the moving parts
You may develop several pieces of content for internal and external communication, all of which need to be timed to go out in a particular order. Coordinating the rollout of content takes planning and attention to detail. It may require cooperation between multiple departments or a client and agency team and often benefits from the guidance of a skilled communications professional to manage the moving parts. By seeing the big picture and the many moving pieces simultaneously, you can coordinate the content to roll out logically and thoughtfully.

Strategic content development is the most effective and controlled way to share your stories with your public. Whether you would like to showcase the good work your organization is doing, solicit feedback from a niche stakeholder group, or announce important news to the public, owned media is the first and best way to share your message, unadulterated.

Developing an effective content strategy with an integrated approach can be daunting, so consider tapping an outside partner to provide an unbiased perspective. They can work with you to determine the strategy and execute the content. To learn more, contact us to find out how Elmore, a trusted leader in content strategy development for more than 30 years, can help you.

The Art of the Pitch

Media pitching is an art, requiring excellence in clarity, research, relationships, timing, and coordination. Our skilled communications professionals have the experience and connections needed to earn you valuable media coverage with the following considerations in mind.

Planning is paramount
What does your organization want to say and who needs to hear it? Laying the groundwork by outlining your goals and defining your target audience(s) is key. For Elmore’s clients, this occurs during a strategic planning session. Also, at this time, we identify organizational milestones and the potential story angles to captivate our clients’ audiences.

Learn your audience
Where does your audience seek information? An arts patron may look to the Houston Chronicle or Arts and Culture Texas for what’s going on with their favorite local arts organizations, while healthcare audiences may read Modern Healthcare or other industry trade publications. Research where your audiences are getting their news. “Media” is a general term with breadth; at Elmore, we focus our efforts on targeted publications to maximize impact where your audiences are found.

Find your angle
Most stories are multi-faceted and have multiple components that may be of interest. By understanding the interests of the journalist you want to engage, you can shape the story angle to what is relevant to them and will entice them to cover your story.

In some circumstances, you may elect to offer an exclusive to one reporter or an embargoed story to one or more reporters in advance of an official announcement. Elmore has the expertise to help you determine whether this is the right strategy for your news and execute accordingly.

Crafting the pitch
The pitch, or initial outreach to a reporter to cover your news, is arguably the most critical element of media outreach. It is an art form itself. It must capture the reporter’s attention quickly and show relevance and timeliness. The pitch includes the news to be shared and describes the specific story angle of most interest.  It always extends an invitation for further dialogue, and usually offers an interview opportunity with a representative from your organization.

Be prepared
With a pitch or as follow-up to a pitch, you may also need to provide supporting materials like a press release, data points, additional images, and/or who will be the voice of the story for an interview.  If the person speaking on behalf of your organization needs to be trained, do this in advance of reaching out to any reporter. Elmore facilitates media training and can be a resource for you.

Follow up
Reporters may or may not reply to a pitch right away. They receive hundreds of story ideas a week, and often have to get buy in from their editor or producer. Follow up strategically and professionally and limit the number of times you reach out. When following up, be thoughtful in your approach and thank them for considering your story.

Be flexible
If a reporter shows interest in the pitch, the goal is to collaborate on a story that satisfies all parties. Sometimes a reporter has a different angle in mind, or, perhaps, rather than devote an entire article to one entity, they want to include multiple examples in one story to show a trend. It’s also possible they choose to use the spokesperson as a subject matter expert on a different story. Flexibility affords you exposure, even if the story looks different than originally imagined.

And while not every pitch will result in a published story, there is great benefit to the pitching process. The pitched reporter now has an awareness of your organization and may be more likely to follow future news or even cover a story in the future.

At Elmore, we pitch media with thoughtfulness and respect. We consider members of the media our partners in sharing stories that are meaningful to the right audiences. We have spent decades building relationships with various media contacts to allow us to share our clients’ stories. Let us know what stories we can help you tell!

Should Your Organization or Brand Join Threads, the Latest Social Channel?

In early July, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, launched Threads, its take on a public conversation and sharing app, ala Twitter. In just a few weeks, Threads has exploded in popularity with 100 million accounts created, with the New York Times dubbing it the “Twitter killer.”

So, should your organization or brand(s) be on Threads? Maybe, but maybe not. Before joining, consider the pros and cons of the platform and strategize with Elmore to determine if it makes sense for your brand to have a presence there.

The pros

  • Because it is a new app, it’s a great place for business to experiment with content. Brands can have some fun testing which types of posts work and which don’t.
  • Threads, like Twitter, is a text-based app and thus, very conversational. Brands don’t have to have the perfect picture or polished video to accompany a post.
  • Threads was created to harken back to the golden age of Twitter, when conversations were engaging, positive, and fun. So far, the space remains that way thanks to Meta’s high community standards.

The cons

  • If your company has high brand standards or a long chain of approval, this platform might not be right for you. Threads is meant to host quick back-and-forths with your followers, and waiting even a day to reply or get approval to post can mean you’ve missed the window of opportunity for relevancy.
  • At this time, Threads has no way of searching by keyword, topic, or hashtag, limiting the number of people who can find and see your post to your existing followers. Thus, your ability to grow your audience on Threads is limited. If you have a very niche audience, Threads might not be the place for your brand, at least not yet.
  • There are no available metrics to assess performance at this time. There is no easy way to answer the question “how are we doing on Threads?”. Posting on Threads in these early days is like planting seeds for future growth. You may not be able to see or evaluate success just yet, but consistency will pay off eventually.
  • Threads is phone-based only. There is no web version or online publishing tools available yet.

Some considerations

  • You currently cannot deactivate your Threads account without deactivating your Instagram account, so it’s important to be sure of your decision to join. You do not want to run out of things to say. Inactivity on a social media platform makes a brand look irrelevant, which has the opposite of our intended effect.
  • If your brand wasn’t already on Twitter, it probably does not make sense to join Threads. Their purpose and function are virtually the same, so if you’ve intentionally chosen not to be on one, it doesn’t make sense to be on the other.
  • Does your brand have an early adopter attitude? Can it not take itself too seriously? Is your brand nimble and responsive? If so, Threads might be a great place for you. Otherwise, it’s ok to take a wait-and-see approach. Threads is new, and its functionality as well as its audience will evolve over time. It is ok to watch the app change and perhaps join in a future iteration.

If you are thinking about joining Threads, consult with Elmore to develop a plan first. We will outline what you want to say, your tone of voice, the frequency of your posts, the timeline and chain of approvals, and develop categories of content to have at the ready. Reach us here. We look forward to strategizing with you about Threads and all other social media platforms.

What to Expect During Your Customized Media Training

There are many reasons to book a media training session with Elmore. Our small-group sessions offer your team a chance to become comfortable in an interview setting, learn best practices for media interviews, hone delivery techniques, and rehearse how to confidently convey key messages before a big press push or public presentation.

Here is what to expect during your media training with Elmore:

A customized experience that is much less intimidating than you might expect! Our trainings are limited to four to six participants, and we go out of our way to make these small groups very comfortable with each other during the time we are together.

A review of key messages. Elmore and your team work collaboratively to identify the key messages an interviewee should convey based on your company’s upcoming news.

Role playing. Elmore will ask team members questions they are likely to receive from reporters. Customized to each participant’s role and expertise within the company, we start with basic questions and work up to those that may be more challenging to answer, because either the question or the answer is complicated or uncomfortable.

Techniques for blocking and bridging. Elmore’s job is to equip your team members to approach interviews with confidence. Blocking and bridging strategies empower the interviewee to take control of the interview and return to a preferred message, regardless of the interviewer’s question.

Opportunities for feedback. We conduct the mock interviews one-on-one. The interviews are recorded and then played back for observations. We’ll ask questions like, “What did you notice?” and “How did you feel?” This review is a chance to offer and receive positive reinforcement from your team members and feedback from Elmore on areas for improvement and areas of success.

Your team will walk away from our media training empowered to conduct interviews with confidence, assuring that your organization is well-represented by articulate and composed spokespeople. And we will walk away honored to have equipped your team to have productive, positive interactions with media.

Promoting Your Public Event Step by Step

So you’re planning a public event? Congratulations! You are doing big things and it’s time to get your supporters involved!

We at Elmore thrive on connecting our clients to their audiences. Read on below for a few considerations we evaluate when developing a communications strategy to promote your event.

First, what type of public event are you holding? Is it a larger event like a grand opening or annual festival? Or is it something hyper-local, like a community meeting or groundbreaking of a local amenity? The type and scale of the event will help guide our strategy and timing for promotion. The sooner the concept and details of the event take shape, the more time we will have to promote. Our planning lead time can be anywhere from three to 12 months, depending on the unique aspects of the event.

Promotion usually means strategically leveraging a combination of earned media, owned media, and paid media to get your event known by the right audiences. “Earned” media are news stories generated from pitching reporters; “owned” media include your website and social media channels; and “paid” media include ads, whether in print, on air, or online. Elmore can assist with your paid digital advertising strategy, and help identify a third-party partner for traditional media buying.

These outreach elements often happen in tandem, though typically, Elmore first focuses on earned media. Being able to engage with press first can add a dynamic layer of excitement and build momentum.

As the event draws nearer, we execute our digital strategy, pushing event details to your already engaged followers with a combined use of website, e-newsletter, and social media channels. We also empower event partners and sponsors to have them amplify social media posts that the event is happening. Additionally, this is the time to consider a further push to a bigger audience through ad buys.

The week of the event, we give the strongest promotional push, coordinating advance interviews and ramping up social media promotion to generate buzz. In the few days preceding the event, we determine the most engaging window of the event and invite reporters, photographers, and videographers to attend and gather footage and interviews.

On the day of the event, Elmore connects with reporters, ensuring they get visuals and interviews they need to put together impactful stories. To ensure media outlets have footage and photos of the event, even if their reporters do not attend, Elmore recommends hiring your own videographer and photographer to document the event. Elmore can then distribute those assets with a recap press release to help generate more mentions, even from outlets who did not attend the event.

Crafting the right promotional plan for your public event is critical; you cannot have a successful public event if your public does not know about it. With decades of experience promoting public gatherings bolstered by strong relationships with the press, Elmore can be your trusted partner to ensure the right audiences learn about, are excited about, and attend your event!

Social Media: The Dos and Don'ts, Part I

In our more than a decade of helping clients of all sizes and types develop and maintain their social media presences, Elmore has learned a thing or two about what brands should do and should not do online. And while every social media strategy is as unique as the client we are serving, we have found there are some universal dos and don’ts which all organizations should consider. If you are ready to take your social media strategy to the next level, check out the first part of our tips below and contact us to get started.

DO: Develop a strategic plan.
At Elmore, we jump at the chance to support our clients through strategic planning. We conduct a thorough audit of your current online presence then convene your marketing team and our digital strategists to determine how you want your organization to be perceived online. A finalized plan will outline those goals, content categories, brand voice, posting guidelines, metrics for determining success, and more. It will serve as a guide for all team members responsible for posting on behalf of your organization.

DO: Establish your organization’s “pillars of storytelling.”
Define the categories of content your organization will share. For instance, a parks organization might have the following content buckets: programming posts, fundraising posts, and parkgoer stories. A B2B company’s pillars of storytelling might be: company updates, “In the News” posts, and product features. Determining these categories and sticking to them will help keep your content focused and authentic.

DO: Determine your organization’s voice.
What do you want your brand to sound like online? Are you playful, fun, and quirky? Are you buttoned up and matter of fact? Whatever your voice is, that is the tone all posts should take. With a well-defined voice, the responsibility of posting on behalf of the organization can be shared without the audience ever knowing the difference.

DON’T: Try to copy any other organization or brand.
Your followers are following you because they want to hear what you have to say and because they appreciate how you say it. Remain authentic by avoiding imitating others. Stay in your lane.

DO: Revisit your plan regularly.
When you plan your social media strategy, we recommend you also plan the cadence for how often to review the effectiveness and measure for success. To see trends, we recommend not reviewing more frequently than quarterly. It is also best practice for the client/agency team to review the goals, pillars of storytelling, and brand voice. If any of these components have changed, they can be discussed amongst the team, revised in the plan, and reflected in the subsequent execution.

Social media is serious business, and an experienced strategist can navigate you through the digital waters. Elmore offers digital marketing and social media services in conjunction with our other firm services to ensure clients have a consistent, fitting, and engaging presence online and off.

Social Media: The Dos and Don'ts, Part II

Welcome back to the continuation of last week’s article on the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media. Read on for more insights and strategies on effectively utilizing the dynamic and ever-expanding possibilities of social media in your media plan.  

In our more than a decade of helping clients of all sizes and types develop and maintain their social media presences, Elmore has learned a thing or two about what does and does not work online. And while every social media strategy is as unique as the client we are serving, we have found there are some universal dos and don’ts which we encourage all organizations to consider. If you are ready to take your social media strategy to the next level, check out the conclusion to our tips series below and contact us to get started.

DON’T: Jump on the latest trends (unless that is part of your plan all along).
Social media trends can be entertaining, but not every trend is going to be appropriate or relevant for your organization to participate in. Before jumping on the bandwagon, ask yourself, “how will participating in this trend help us reach our outlined goals? How can we participate in a way that makes sense to us and is authentic to our voice?” Additionally, trends pass as fast they arrive. Consider if your organization is nimble enough to jump on a trend while it’s still timely. If it takes multiple days and many legal hoops to get clearance, you may have already missed the window of opportunity.

DON’T: Join every social media platform in existence unless you have a strategy first.
Yes, TikTok is huge right now, but does it make sense for your brand to be on it? Before creating a brand account, it’s important to have a strategy in place that answers questions like, “What are our specific goals for this platform? What would our brand voice be on this platform? Do we have the mechanisms in place to post on this platform regularly? Is our target audience even on this platform?” If, after answering these questions, your organization still wants to have a presence on a new platform, Elmore will help you strategize an impactful debut.

DO: Budget for ads and promoted posts.
The reality is, spending money on digital ads has become a critical component to expanding your reach on social media. Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) and others have become “pay to play,” rewarding brands that spend money on the platform by showing their organic posts more often.

DON’T: Discount LinkedIn.
Especially for B2B and nonprofit organizations, LinkedIn is a powerhouse for getting your organization in front of the decision makers and donors you are looking to connect with. The platform has incredible targeting, along with great analytics and lead generation. It may not be new and shiny, but it’s reliable.

Social media is serious business, and an experienced strategist can navigate you through the digital waters. Elmore offers digital marketing and social media services in conjunction with our other firm services to ensure clients have a consistent, fitting, and engaging presence online and off.

Building Trust Through Community Engagement

Community engagement, or establishing and maintaining an honest, intentional, and ongoing relationship with a target audience, is not always easy. Every community is different, which means every community engagement effort requires strategic thinking and a custom plan. Over the past three decades, Elmore has supported clients in managing complex issues with clarity and sensitivity to audiences connected by geographic location or special interest. As engaged representatives of our clients, we work with key stakeholders to unite the goals of an organization with the needs of the community.

So what does a high-performing community outreach effort look like? At a high level, Elmore employs the following process:

  • Look at the big picture. Determine the need to inform, educate or solicit feedback from specific publics about a topic, project, or campaign, and consider how the situation may be sensitive or potentially divisive due to disparate points of view.
  • Dig a little deeper to:
      • fully grasp the situation at hand;
      • conduct research and identify stakeholders and target audiences; and
      • develop a plan and timeline for outreach.
  • Craft messaging tailored to specific audiences, anticipating concerns and questions (especially the hard ones) the public might raise.
  • Implement the plan to communicate regularly with key stakeholders, often other governmental agencies and partner organizations who have a vested interest or involvement in the project, to ensure everyone remains informed and utilizes consistent messaging.
  • Most importantly, train organizational leaders to answer questions authentically, clearly, and with empathy.

While every community engagement campaign is unique, all require thoughtful consideration of audiences, viewpoints, messaging, timing, and troubleshooting. Elmore is honored to be our clients’ trusted partner throughout the process; working together to clearly communicate with, earn, and keep the trust of everyone involved.

Work Example: Harris County Engineering Department 2022 Bond Propositions Public Meetings

Elmore partnered with two communications firms to assist the Harris County Engineering Department (HCED) in a public engagement campaign for the 2022 Harris County Bond Propositions, where Elmore was primarily responsible for developing the messaging. We crafted a key messages document to ensure consistency across communications channels and created training materials with best practices to help county staff respond to community questions. Other responsibilities included drafting the press release announcing the public meetings, writing the script for the virtual meetings, and preparing our client in advance of radio and television interviews, including the Houston Newsmakers segment on KPRC-TV. The input received from residents will be used to help prioritize public safety facilities, roadway infrastructure and greenspace projects.

Work Example: Harris County Flood Control District

While some community engagement projects have tight timelines, others are in the works for years. For instance, Harris County Flood Control District hired us more than a year ago to begin preparing a community outreach campaign to educate reporters, elected officials, and the public on an additional new concept for flood mitigation. The Flood Control District is considering adding deep underground stormwater tunnels to the existing stormwater management system. We spent many months with engineers learning and breaking down the technical concepts to develop educational materials lay audiences could understand. These communications tools were then used to educate reporters and elected officials on the concept of these underground stormwater conveyance channels and to articulate their benefits. Elmore facilitated a virtual public meeting with more than 600 people in attendance, and presentations to stakeholders continue as the Flood Control District pursues the final phase of the study process. We continue our community engagement plan with a tunnel specific website launching soon and will keep the conversation with Harris County residents ongoing through online channels for the next several years.

Work Example: Hemwick Place Asphalt Roadway Reconstruction Project

Consider the award-winning community engagement campaign Elmore completed for Harris County Engineering Department (HCED) in Spring 2021. HCED would lead the Hemwick Place Asphalt Roadway Reconstruction project, repaving approximately two miles of roadway from the service road of Highway 290 into the Hemwick Place neighborhood, all in the path of 84 homes.

Elmore was hired to facilitate a virtual public meeting about the project with the goal of providing impacted residents with more information on the upcoming roadway reconstruction, giving them an opportunity to ask questions about the improvements, and articulating Harris County Precinct 3’s ongoing commitment to improving area neighborhoods.

Utilizing purposeful outreach and thoughtful messaging, and through the planning and facilitating of the successful online public meeting, Elmore guided our client to earn the trust (and ultimately, cooperation) of the 84 impacted households. Genuine communication had been established between Harris County and these residents, providing a positive experience for all parties involved in an otherwise inconvenient situation. This work won Elmore Best of Show at the Houston-area International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awards, and a regional award of merit from the IABC Southern Region, in 2022.

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 complete 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.

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 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 training 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 skills 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.

The Elmore Edition

Issue 18 – 2023

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Issue 17 – 2023

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Issue 16 – 2023

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Issue 15 – 2023

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Issue 14 – 2023

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Issue 13 – 2023

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Issue 12 – 2023

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Issue 11 – 2023

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Issue 10 – 2023

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Issue 9 – Q3 2022

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Issue 8 – Awards

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Issue 7 – Q1 2022

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Issue 6 – Q4 2021

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Issue 5 – Q3 2021

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Issue 4 – Q2 2021

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Issue 3 – Q1 2021

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Issue 2 – Q4 2020

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Issue 1 – Q3 2020

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