One last crisis lesson that we hope is being practiced in the disaster areas is the need for patience. That applies to those in need as well as the organizations and government units helping in recovery. As Linda Rutherford, CCO of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, noted in her recent article about her brand’s booking-related crisis last summer when nearly 2,000 flights were cancelled, the volume of inquiries during a crisis can be enormous.
In an agency, you are empowered to carve your destiny: Many corporations struggle with agility. On the other hand, in an agency the slate is truly tabula rasa. You can carve your destiny and build the type of business you find inspiring, fun and motivational. Agencies also mandate keeping ahead of trends and understanding the bigger picture, including becoming an expert on the happenings of their clients’ competitors. As a former corporate communications executive, my niche was in healthcare. Now I have an opportunity within an agency to expand my knowledge and create something that is my own – a new practice group that can develop creative communication solutions for a variety of businesses. An agency is a fantastic platform to grow, create and innovate. That was a key driver behind my decision to make the switch.
I turned to a close friend in the recruiting world to seek advice. My friend quipped that if I wanted frustration, I should consider staying in a corporate environment, but if I wanted anxiety, I should join a public relations firm.
Jokes aside, there are pros and cons to corporate and agency settings. It’s important to understand the differences to be successful in both.
After making the leap from the corporate world to the agency side, I have several insights to share. Any PR pro considering making a similar move should consider the following to transition seamlessly.
1. Remember that you’re not a PR expert, you are a business expert: Just as in a corporation, you must understand the barriers and drivers for your clients and know their business intimately. You should keep ahead of industry trends, analyze data from articles, speak to thought leaders and other key influencers to gain a thorough understanding of your client’s business and provide strategic counsel that truly creates value.
2. You can better help agencies understand how corporations work: Corporations can sometimes be stifled by the length of time it takes to make decisions. This is due chiefly to matrix structures that require sign-off from a variety of functions. In healthcare, medical affairs, regulatory and legal teams can take a long time to assess, agree and finalize responses to promotional materials or even scientific exchange. Being in an agency warrants patience and understanding of the complexities these group interactions entail. By knowing the processes, offering to help a client when necessary and understanding the holistic landscape for approvals, agencies can benefit from having former in-house professionals on their teams.
3. In an agency, you are empowered to carve your destiny: Many corporations struggle with agility. On the other hand, in an agency the slate is truly tabula rasa. You can carve your destiny and build the type of business you find inspiring, fun and motivational. Agencies also mandate keeping ahead of trends and understanding the bigger picture, including becoming an expert on the happenings of their clients’ competitors. As a former corporate communications executive, my niche was in healthcare. Now I have an opportunity within an agency to expand my knowledge and create something that is my own—a new practice group that can develop creative communication solutions for a variety of businesses. An agency is a fantastic platform to grow, create and innovate. That was a key driver behind my decision to make the switch.
4. For the recent graduate: As it’s the time of year when new graduates are seeking employment, I add a bit of advice for them. It’s important to consider two points as you embark on a career in communications. First, if you want to get solid, generalist experience and become knowledgeable about a variety of skills within our function, agencies are well suited for you to learn broadly and develop skills. On the other hand, if you are singularly passionate about a specific industry it makes sense to join a company within that sector and grow through the ranks. No matter which path you pursue, you must develop prolific reading and analytical skills, identify a mentor who can drive and challenge you, write with passion and precision and learn to network masterfully.
Srikant Ramaswami is EVP, global and emerging markets, healthcare, rbb communications.
Contact him at: Srikant.Ramaswami@rbbcommunications.com
2016 PR net fee income 1 (A-Z)
2016 PR net fee income 1 (Z-A)
2015 PR net fee income (A-Z)
2015 PR net fee income (Z-A)
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S. Fla. staff ↓
Monthly retainer fee range (A-Z)
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|Rank||2016 PR Net Fee Income 1||2015 PR Net Fee Income||S. Fla. Staff||Monthly Retainer Fee Range|
1111 Brickell Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
|$14.2 million||$14.1 million||90||NA|
355 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables, FL 33134
|$9.59 million||$9.34 million||56||$7,500 – $50,000|
55 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
|$4.38 million||$3.66 million||26||$5,000 – $25,000|
220 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables, FL 33134
|$3.19 million||$3.44 million||18||$5,000 – $20,000|
210 S. Andrews Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
|$3.08 million||$2.78 million||49||$5,000 – $25,000|
The growing family to convince is my sister, brother-in-law, a ridiculously cute three-year-old girl, and a baby girl who will be here before the end of the year. Their family car is a three-row crossover that fills up when you’re trying to carry mom, dad, the kid in a car seat, and two adult friends to breakfast, or those same folks plus a dog. Minivans are a better bet than similarly sized and priced crossovers for their lower floor height, additional cargo space before folding down any seats, and space for second- and third-row passengers. What stops many (including my sister) from going Odyssey and Sienna instead of Pilot or Highlander is the image associated with minivan drivers.
Improved Acceleration from an Updated Engine and New Transmissions
With the 2018 Odyssey in mind, that image certainly has nothing to do with minivans being slow. All Odysseys get a power boost for 2018—the minivan’s 3.5-liter V-6 now makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic is standard on the LX, EX, and EX-L trims, and a new 10-speed automatic comes on the more expensive Touring and Elite trims. We hear the 2018 Odyssey’s nine-speed has been updated and improved since Honda and Acura first started using it on other products, and we look forward to testing that for ourselves, especially after a long-term 2016 Honda Pilot Elite needed to get its nine-speed transmission replaced under warranty. The well-tuned 10-speed automatic on our loaded 2018 Odyssey Elite tester shifted smoothly, though drivers can chirp the tires with an overeager initial application of the throttle from a stop. On the track, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said the transmission seems well matched to the engine.
With the updated engine and 10-speed automatic, the 2018 Odyssey sped from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds. That’s a full second quicker than a 2015 Odyssey Elite we tested, and just two-tenths of a second slower than a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring we’ve tested, though two higher-trim and heavier Pacifica Limiteds reached 60 mph in 7.5 and 7.7 seconds. Multiple editors noticed a strong engine note from the Odyssey’s V-6, though the engine sound is only intrusive (or sporty, depending on your perspective) at wide-open throttle; otherwise the Odyssey feels quiet but not luxury-car quiet.
The 2018 Odyssey complements improved acceleration with slightly better EPA-rated fuel economy—not a bad combination. Moving from the 2017 model’s 19/27 mpg city/highway to 19/28 mpg on the 2018 Odyssey with either transmission is an insignificant improvement, but it’s about even with the Chrysler Pacifica (18-19/28 mpg) and front-drive Toyota Sienna (19/27 mpg), and well ahead of the Kia Sedona (from 17/22 mpg to 18/25 mpg depending on trim). Fuel economy might not be at the top of your list, but a more efficient minivan such as the more expensive Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid means fewer stops at the gas station.
Space and Interior Flexibility
If you’re considering a minivan, interior space and ease of access are likely high on your priority list. As with every minivan, available second-row power-sliding doors are incredibly helpful, making life easier for kids and preventing big doors from slamming into the adjacent car in the mall parking lot. Where the Odyssey and other minivans destroy the other crossovers is in cargo space behind the second and third rows. The Odyssey still has a decent amount of space in a deep well at the back if all three rows are full of passengers. When they’re not, one long pull of a strap is all it takes to fold the third-row seats in that cavernous space when you need more cargo space.
Even the 2018 Odyssey’s third-row seats will seat adults of average height, thanks to third-row legroom that’s more generous than that of the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, or Kia Sedona. Honda also claims the third row has best-in-class visibility, plus rear side windows that reach lower (relative to the height of third-row passengers’ eyes) than other minivans. That’s a helpful advantage I experienced while I poked around the minivan, but it’s only meaningful if you plan on actually using the third row a lot. While shuttling adults and kids around town, editor-in-chief Ed Loh was impressed by the Odyssey’s space, noting that both rows offered enough room and that second-row comfort was rated very high. My sister had a similar experience recently when she rented a Chrysler Pacifica to drive around a mix of adults and kids. The Odyssey is one of the most spacious family vehicles available today, but some three-row crossover owners will be just as delighted by the spaciousness of the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna, too.
Instead of offering second-row seats that fold into the floor like the Chrysler Pacifica (Stow ‘n Go), the 2018 Honda Odyssey includes Magic Slide second-row seats on all but the base LX trim. The Magic Slide seats move back and forth like you’d expect, but they also move from side to side. The feature is useful if you don’t mind the Odyssey becoming a seven- and not eight-passenger minivan, and you’ll need a place to store the second-row middle seat. That’s a real inconvenience, but taking out the seat is something you’ll probably only have to do once after you bring home the Odyssey from a dealership. Once that middle seat has been stuffed in a closet or a corner of the garage, you’re left with two captain’s chairs that each have armrests, and the ability to easily slide those seats from one side to the other up to 12.9 inches. This sounds like a lot of trouble just to achieve the seven-passenger layout of some other minivans, but the flexible seats can make it easier to get into the third row if one second-row seat has been moved toward the center of the car. With one second-row captain’s chair moved to the center and pushed forward, the driver can more easily reach a kid secured in a child seat. And if your situation ever changes such that you do need eight-passenger seating, the Odyssey (in EX and above) can accommodate.
Handling, Braking, and Safety
On the track, the 2018 Odyssey Elite minivan completed the figure-eight course in [irrelevant] seconds at [insignificant] g, and … OK, OK, it finished it in 29.1 seconds at 0.56 g, not a very good performance among minivans. Testing director Kim Reynolds said the Odyssey’s stability control was “very heavy handed, severely limiting power while cornering.” In the real world, that might not be a bad thing for a vehicle where safety is so important. Reynolds also noted the Odyssey was “very well behaved” and pointed out a behavior we noticed on the road, too—the car’s considerable but smooth body motions. When loaded with six people, Loh said the Odyssey felt “very stable yet surprisingly nimble.”
Our loaded 4,562-pound tester came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, a respectable but not class-leading performance. We’ve tested 2017 Chrysler Pacificas coming to a stop in 122-131 feet, and our long-term 2016 Kia Sedona SX finished the test in 118 feet. The 2018 Odyssey hasn’t been safety-tested yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but Honda expects top scores from both organizations. That’s good because the Pacifica, Sedona, and Sienna all have five-star overall safety ratings from the NHTSA. As for IIHS ratings, the Pacifica is a 2017 Top Safety Pick+, and the Sedona is a 2017 Top Safety Pick. On the 2018 Odyssey EX and above, the standard Honda Sensing active safety tech includes a system that can apply the brakes if it senses a collision ahead, another feature that can keep the car in its lane, and an adaptive cruise control system we wish had stop-and-go functionality (the Odyssey’s version of the tech disengages below 22 mph).
CabinTalk and the Odyssey’s Interior
Inside, the 2018 Odyssey’s interior takes a step forward with a modern instrument cluster that features a 7.0-inch screen at its center. An 8.0-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is standard on the 2018 Odyssey EX and above. Our Elite tester had a $47,410 as-tested price, which means it included everything Honda offers on the Odyssey. That includes heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, LED headlights, leather seats, an entertainment system with a 10.2-inch screen and a How Much Farther function, attractive 19-inch wheels, a full suite of active safety tech, front and rear parking sensors, the helpful HondaVAC vacuum (in a 2017 Odyssey, I used the feature to vacuum spilled french fries from the front seat footwell), as well as two new-to-Honda features named CabinWatch and CabinTalk.
CabinWatch (included on Touring and Elite) uses a camera placed near the entertainment system to look back to the second and third rows, and it even has night vision. CabinTalk (included on EX-L with nav and the entertainment system, Touring, and Elite) sends the driver and front passenger’s voice through the rear speakers (and entertainment-system headphones) to get everyone’s attention. Once everyone is listening, they can send destination suggestions to the driver—such as where to stop for lunch—via the CabinControl app that’s available on the EX trim and above. On the app, users can suggest navigation destinations to the driver (who can accept or reject them), control the entertainment system if your Odyssey has one, change rear climate control settings, or add songs to a social playlist. The system worked fine for us and could be cool to have on road trips, though we could see the CabinTalk feature being most useful on a regular basis.
Even with all these features, technology, and top-of-the-class interior space, the 2018 Odyssey is no luxury minivan. For that type of minivan experience, if you don’t mind low fuel economy, check out the Kia Sedona SXL. A former Big Test comparison winner, the Sedona SXL has Nappa leather seats in a couple two-tone color combinations including one with dark burgundy, second-row seats with retractable footrests, 19-inch chrome wheels, a very useful multi-camera parking aid, and a dual-panel moonroof.
After checking out the 2018 Odyssey in person and learning about all the features and standard equipment, my sister was surprised that the loaded Elite model was only $47,610. There really is a lot of value in the Odyssey’s lineup, especially when compared to SUVs that won’t have the same flexible and spacious interior. If you’re looking for the sweet spot in the Odyssey’s lineup, avoid the base LX model if you can afford upgrading. The 2018 Odyssey LX is still just as spacious as the other models, but it lacks power-sliding doors (like base models of the Kia, Chrysler, and Toyota) and the Honda Sensing active safety tech. In addition to the bigger central screen on the dash you get with the EX, the EX-L adds a power liftgate, an acoustic windshield that might make the interior a tad quieter, and a few other upgrades. As we mentioned above, we hope the nine-speed automatic in every trim but the 10-speed-equipped Touring and Elite has been improved since Honda and Acura started using it in other models.
One of those other models is the Pilot, a crossover that might appeal more to my sister and brother-in-law, as well as to the increasing number of buyers eschewing cars for crossovers of all shapes and sizes. Because even after seeing all the Odyssey had to offer and experiencing the ease of access and spaciousness of a minivan, my sister—for now—is solidly in the large group of buyers avoiding minivans. For those who want or don’t mind a minivan, the Odyssey is one of the most spacious around, with a highly functional interior that shines best if you can find a place in the garage for that middle second-row seat. Once you do, you’ll be driving one of the most well-rounded players in the shrinking minivan segment.
|2018 Honda Odyssey Elite|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$47,610|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 8-pass, 4-door van|
|ENGINE||3.5L/280-hp/262-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,562 lb (55/45%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||203.2 x 78.5 x 69.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.4 sec @ 91.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||124 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.74 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||29.1 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/28/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||177/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87 lb/mile|
8 networking tips to strengthen reporter relationships
Media coverage offers a prime opportunity to grow relationships and expand your circle of influence, but you have to strike—thoughtfully and strategically—while the iron’s hot.
Here are eight networking tips to stretch your reach, create new allies and maximize your coverage:
1. Send a handwritten thank-you note to the blogger, editor or journalist who wrote about you
Putting a handwritten thank-you message in a writer’s mailbox immediately separates you from 99 percent of other communicators. Just get out a pen, write something thoughtful and add a stamp.
Thank-you notes are a networker’s secret weapon.
2. Ask your community to thank the blogger, editor or journalist
Having a few friends send a quick note to the writer is always an unexpected, pleasant surprise.
It shows you have connections who are paying attention. It’s also a good way to connect people who may become valuable contacts in the future.
3. Connect with the writer on LinkedIn
A LinkedIn connection request can be another form of thank-you message.
It’s also an easy way to create a more enduring connection so you can stay in touch and gin up goodwill.
4. Add the writer to your list
Another way to keep track of writers in social media is to add them to your Twitter lists and Facebook groups.
5. Invite the writer to your next event
Do you have an event of your own scheduled? Invite the writer to attend. This will build a better connection and might lead to a bit of press for your event.
Are you going to an upcoming event? Invite the writer to join you. Maybe you can meet up for coffee beforehand or a beer after.
Inviting others to meet you at an event is a great way to create more personal connections and solidify your reputation as a reliable source.
6. Send the article to other journalists, outlets and bloggers
Don’t be afraid to reach beyond the original writer. Seek out other bloggers and members of the press who write about the topics covered in your piece. They may be interested in writing something similar for their audience or consider you as a source for another topic.
Once you have press, getting more of it is easier. The goal is to create a snowball effect. Here are a few places to find more members of the press:
When you share links with reporters, mention how well the story performed—including the number of shares.
7. Send the article to bloggers who write roundups
Bloggers who write roundups are always looking for relevant content. If the article fits their beat, send a quick message suggesting they include it.
8. Email the link to top sales prospects
Here’s how to use media coverage to lift sales:
- If you already have leads in your pipeline, you may be looking for reasons to reach out to them. A press mention is a perfect tool for that.
- If there are organizations out there you’d like to connect with, a press mention is a good way to reach out. Just find the relevant person on LinkedIn or ask a mutual connection for an introduction.
A short, simple email with a link to the article is a smart way to get on someone’s radar and build your credibility. If you want to know whether an email recipient clicked the link you sent, use a URL shortener like bit.ly. This lets you track the link. If clicks = 0, the recipient didn’t read it. If clicks = 1, he or she did.
Thoughtful, gracious networking that builds personal relationships and establishes genuine connections pays big dividends in the present, and it also lays the groundwork for more coverage down the road.
10 digital tools recommended by social media pros
So, for anyone who’s also feeling in a bit of a relationship slump, let the following 10 tools help you break free too.
1. Feedly. I was one of those people who clung to Google Reader, holding out hope until it smacked me with a breakup notification. I was forced to play the field. I reluctantly gave Feedly a chance, and now I realize what I had before: nothing. Feedly enables me to embrace my passion for organization. I can create folders for various topics and then add content to them, so everything is easily accessible. My inner journalism major digs the clean “magazine” view, which displays large images with articles.
2. Offerpop. I’ve planned dozens of social media promotions for clients, so I’ve tried out quite a few different apps. Offerpop offers a wide range of products across social platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, even Tumblr and Vine—and it’s not lacking in options for promotions, from Pinterest contests to Facebook and Twitter sweepstakes. Maybe most important: It’s easy to get along with. We can draft customized content for each promotion, and the text instructions and image dimensions are out there for everyone to see. So, our graphic designer can easily come up with visuals and drop them in, no coding needed.
3. PromoJam. Though it doesn’t have quite the number of promotion options as Offerpop, PromoJam is significantly more affordable (about $30 each month for a basic account), so it works well for one-off Facebook promotions and for clients with limited budgets. The interface is user-friendly and requires no coding, so customizable promotions can be set up quickly. I’ll also give them kudos for customer service. I had an issue a couple of weeks ago setting up a promotion on a client’s Facebook page, and they were enthusiastic about helping to fix it.
4. GroupHigh. I was not a fan of GroupHigh a couple of years ago, but since its makeover it is growing on me again. I work closely with food bloggers on behalf of clients almost every day, so a database of bloggers sounds like it’d be a stellar fit for me. It is, to a point. GroupHigh is a useful tool for identifying topic-specific bloggers in various locations. It is also very helpful for quickly finding bloggers’ social media stats and information, which I often include in proposals and in reports for clients. What it isn’t is a substitute for creating genuine, strong relationships with bloggers and for really getting to know them. A food blogger does not want to know that you found them through a search on GroupHigh. They want you to read their blog, connect on social media, and get to know them before shooting off a blind invitation to get together.
5. Followerwonk. Just who are your Twitter followers? Scrolling through to find information about followers—and search for new users to follow— quickly becomes exhausting. Followerwonk enables you to see where Twitter followers are located, analyze Twitter profiles, and search for keywords in Twitter bios. It also has a simple display that organizes data into basic graphs and charts that are easy to understand and use. One other function I find useful for clients: Comparing the social graph of one Twitter account to as many as two others, such as those of competitors, friends, or industry leaders.
6. Sprout Social. People at the roundtable were raving about Sprout Social. I like that it focuses on a team approach, as there are usually multiple people managing social media within an agency. Also, all the functions to manage and monitor engagement across platforms are quite attractive.
7. Canva. Looks really do matter. Visual social media content has been on the rise since 2012, when Pinterest and Instagram saw a huge surge in popularity. Some predicted 2014 would be the year visual content truly takes over in social media, and that seems accurate. Think of Canva as an affordable personal stylist to help you stand out at the overcrowded social media party. This free app enables users to create basic design pieces in a snap, such as graphics for blogs and social media. It clearly makes the distinction between itself and pro tools such as Photoshop or InDesign. Instead, Canva simply helps with content layout, and it may be helpful to those who don’t always have access to a graphic designer and just need to create simple, attractive graphic content.
8. Pulse. This app aims to simplify our news experience by delivering news direct from influencers (identified through LinkedIn) that interests us most, all in one place. Basically, it’s a personalized newsfeed.
9. Camtasia. Shorter is better when it comes to video these days, and this tool makes it a snap to edit or combine short videos. I’d like to try this out for projects that don’t require—or don’t have the budget for—professional video but still have to look somewhat polished.
10. LinkedIn tags. Did you know you could tag your LinkedIn contacts? Similar to Twitter lists (another one of my go-to tools), you can assign tags to your LinkedIn connections, such as “Clients” or “Social Media Roundtable Participants,” for easy access.
I’d love to know about some of your favorite tools and resources, too, so please share them in the comments section.
Hana Bieliauskas is an account manager in the Columbus, Ohio, office of CMA, a national public relations agency based in Kansas City, Mo. Follow her on Twitter @hanab08. A version of this story originally appeared on the author’s blog, Follow My Footnotes.
A Great Teacher
Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.
The journey of water as it flows upon the earth can be a mirror of our own paths through life. Water begins its residence on earth as it falls from the sky or melts from ice and streams down a mountain into a tributary or stream. In the same way, we come into the world and begin our lives on earth. Like a river that flows within the confines of its banks, we are born with certain defining characteristics that govern our identity. We are born in a specific time and place, within a specific family, and with certain gifts and challenges. Within these parameters, we move through life, encountering many twists, turns, and obstacles along the way just as a river flows.
Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility. When a river breaks at a waterfall, it gains energy and moves on, as we encounter our own waterfalls, we may fall hard but we always keep moving on. Water can inspire us to not become rigid with fear or cling to what’s familiar. Water is brave and does not waste time clinging to its past, but flows onward without looking back. At the same time, when there is a hole to be filled, water does not run away from it in fear of the dark; instead, water humbly and bravely fills the empty space. In the same way, we can face the dark moments of our life rather than run away from them.
Eventually, a river will empty into the sea. Water does not hold back from joining with a larger body, nor does it fear a loss of identity or control. It gracefully and humbly tumbles into the vastness by contributing its energy and merging without resistance. Each time we move beyond our individual egos to become part of something bigger, we can try our best to follow the lead of the river.