PR Industry Trends

Leading with Courage

Leading with courage in today’s unsettled environment is not for the faint of heart. Whether you identify as alt-left or-right, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat communicating your point of view can feel like walking through a minefield.

The recent horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted responses from all over the globe.  Former President Barack Obama and Pope Francis took to Twitter. The celebrity world leveraged their influence by responding “Enough is Enough.” Everyday people used their social platforms to vent, seek perspective and to gain some sense of peace.

I’m trying to gain my peace by writing this. As communicators, the words and images we select for ourselves, our companies and our clients are critical. As I look back at what has been one of the worst weeks in America in a long time, I am struck by how powerful and persuasive clear communications can be. I’m also amazed at how it can all go miserably wrong.

First, let’s take a quick look at this past week’s communication disasters.

President Trump came under intense criticism for his overall response to the events in Charlottesville.  His response was almost a…

PR Industry Trends

Four Things You Need to Know about the U.S. Wine Industry

The U.S. wine landscape continues to evolve dramatically. Whether packaging or product, there’s a lot happening. Here are four themes you should be following in the U.S. wine industry today.

1.Who is Drinking Wine.

According to Euromonitor’s Wine in the U.S. (June 2017, subscription only), the wine category saw total volume growth of 2% (and is projected to continue growing at the same rate), driven by aging boomers on one end and “demanding millennials” on the other.

They’re two very different groups – and millennials are forcing change upon the industry. As Euromonitor asserts, they’re frugal consumers – demanding quality at an affordable price point – and tech-savvy.

To continue growing the category, the focus needs to be on “selling wine in the style, packaging and price points to meet the evolving needs of our consumer,”  says Stephanie Gallo, VP of marketing at E&J Gallo, in an excellent interview with the U.K.’s The Drinks Business. “Millennials are fueling the growth of the wine category, and their behavior is dramatically different than their predecessors. As a winery, we’re witnessing a paradigm shift in how and when people learn about and enjoy wine.”

2. Bubbles are Big.

Sparking wine continues to be

Employee Engagement

Two Interns’ Views on Getting Engaged… No, We’re Not Talking About Marriage

Note: This post was co-authored by Padilla interns Kayla McMahon and Megan Finkbeiner

We’re Kayla and Megan, two interns in Padilla’s Richmond office. We joined Padilla in the beginning of June as newbies to the working world, and recently attended an employee engagement briefing, presented by Gallup, called: “The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Your Employees.” We learned the importance of employee engagement and found that our own workplace expectations aligned with several of Gallup’s findings.

Below, we’ve listed our thoughts on four key takeaways from the briefing to give you a peek into the mind of a job-hunting millennial.

1) Workplace expectations are changing from valuing a paycheck to feeling a sense of purpose.


Megan: The seminar began with a simple question: “What makes a good job?” The responses were as expected — communication, room for growth, transparency, stability, etc. After sharing our answers, one attendee made a point that ultimately set the stage for the rest of the briefing: not one person mentioned salary or benefits. According to the Gallup rep who led the briefing, this isn’t a rare finding among…

PR Industry Trends

How to Become a Smarter Consumer of Nutrition Information

We are constantly being inundated with information about what we should or shouldn’t be eating to look and feel our best. It seems that every time I am on the playground I pick up on a conversation discussing the latest program that requires complete elimination of entire food groups for a month. And, just last night, I counted 11 documentaries on Netflix related to food, nutrition and health. How do you know what to believe?

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) recently conducted its 12th Annual Food and Health survey. The survey revealed that eight in 10 (78 percent) of respondents say that they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat/avoid. More than half of those respondents (56 percent) say the conflicting information makes them doubt the choices they make. About one in four consumers (28 percent) say they rely on friends and family for nutrition and food safety information, which tops other sources including conversations with registered dietitians, health-focused websites, and the news.

I conducted an informal survey of my co-workers in the New York office and across the Food + Beverage Practice here at…

Digital Marketing

Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat TV

Gone are the days of only using Snapchat to send embarrassing photos/videos to friends (that you hope disappear faster than they can screenshot them.) Now the platform is stepping up to prove its relevancy and expand capabilities in hopes of keeping users entertained and engaged in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Jimmy Fallon GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Snapchat’s “shows” have existed on the platform for just over a year and allow TV networks and news outlets to condense long-form broadcast/print news into short-form videos streamed directly in the app. According to a Snap Inc. spokeswoman, “shows are an extension of traditional TV, not a replacement for it. Shows can help TV networks reach a new audience who many not be watching their linear programs. Building a core, loyal audience for our TV partners is critical to building their brand equity and a long-term, sustainable model for producing mobile TV.”

If you aren’t a Snapchat user, or haven’t yet discovered these “shows”, listen up, because this is where you can get up to speed on the latest innovations with this not-just-social network.

  • Snapchat shows are meant to be short-form videos that cater to smaller attention spans


PR Industry Trends

The Legal Grass is Always Greener

Look, 2016 was a weird year. And, as if the universe wanted to prolong our agony, it was actually 1 second longer than usual. From Brexit to clowns lurking in the woods (okay, seriously though guys, what was that?) to bruising campaigns for presidential candidates, it was a tumultuous one.

However, there were a few bright spots. For many, one of those bright spots came in the form of cannabis. 2016 was a landmark year for marijuana, when nine states voted on measures to legalize marijuana (five for recreational, four for medical). Eight of them passed.

According to TIME, “more than half of the states in the U.S. now have comprehensive medical marijuana laws and roughly one fifth of the population lives in a place where adults 21 and older can legally consume weed for fun.”

Now, almost a year after the measures passed and the chaos of 2016 is a distant memory, I decided to ruminate on how the entrance of cannabis into the mainstream is affecting brand and consumer culture.

Brands have to be marketing ninjas 

Now that cannabis products can be sold legally in

PR Industry Trends

What’s Hot In Nutrition: As Seen At SNEB’s Annual Conference

Co-authored by Erin DeSimone, MS, RD, LDN, FAND, a senior vice president and group lead at FoodMinds in Chicago, and Laurie Hainley, RD, an account executive at FoodMinds in Washington, D.C.

The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) Annual Conference is the premier event for nutrition education professionals in the U.S. Through dynamic discussions, stimulating presentations, and hands-on training, this yearly meeting helps nutrition educators stay on top of current research and best practices for creating healthier communities, food systems and behaviors.

We spotted five “hot” trends in nutrition education for 2017:

1. Interest in Nutrition Intervention is Skyrocketing

The 2017 SNEB Annual Conference had one of the highest attendance rates in their 50-year history. This indicates that impactful nutrition education and intervention is a top priority for stakeholders today.

  • 750+ attendees came to this year’s SNEB conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Attendees represented diverse areas of work – including academia, the government, the community, and the industry – showing a vested, cross-sector interest in nutrition efforts.

2. Collaborative Political & Societal Interventions are Required

A complex set of forces are influencing consumers’ food purchasing behavior and collective efforts to navigate this…

Consumer Marketing

3 Tips for Building Relationships with Freelancers

The traditional media landscape has decreased over the last few years and the trend shows no signs of slowing. In 2015, the number of journalists in the newspaper industry declined 38 percent, leaving employed journalists doing more with less resources and making it increasingly difficult to place stories in media outlets.

The newsroom shrinkage is driving a growing pool of unemployed writing talent.  A sizeable number of journalists are either unemployed, under-employed or working in a different field. Many have turned to freelancer and contributor roles. In 2017, PR professionals see expanded use of freelancers (or contributors) within media outlets. Establishing working relationships with freelancers is imperative for story placement.

Here are three tips to help build a solid relationship with a freelancer:

  • As a freelancer, writers are focused on building their portfolio, proving experience and viability across a variety of formats (digital, magazine, newspaper) and genres (news, lifestyle, feature). They are actively networking and looking to build connections that can lead to future work. Reach out to freelancers with information about events that are open to the media and where they might meet editors and make
  • Digital Marketing

    5 Ways to Heat Up Your Brand’s Instagram Engagement This Summer

    Credit: Sporteluxe

    These days, people don’t take a summer vacation from social, Instagram especially. Often the opposite is sad, but true in the days of constant connectivity and curation. Have you seen the amount of ‘grams from every boat, pool and beach people can get their ridiculous inflatable floats to?

    So brands, if you think you can chill out this summer like you would by the pool, think again. Now is the time to heat things up!

    Here’s five simple ways to start …

  • Refresh your hashtags – just like you would for your summer wardrobe, things need to be swapped out. Take a look at what’s still relevant and don’t be afraid to tap into other hashtags, i.e. if your food-focused, it does not mean you can’t leverage more lifestyle hashtags for discovery. And remember, you can have up to 30. That’s right, 30 — so there’s room for testing out a few new ones.
  • More meaningful seek and respond – we’ve all done it, thumbed through a feed as we like most of the posts having to do with our product, but how about developing more than just a short summer
  • Digital Marketing

    Game of Thrones: How HBO Fuels the Fire on Social

    Winter finally arrives this weekend in the much-anticipated seventh season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Even if you’re not a Thrones fan (shame), chances are you’ve heard of the world’s most popular show. Its complex character personas and layered plots rife with shock value have earned it a hungry cult following. Even during the show’s off-season, the internet can’t stop talking about it.

    HBO’s social media strategy has certainly helped online buzz surrounding Thrones spread like wildfire. Read on for a few examples of HBO’s brilliant social stunts.

  • A Facebook Live teaser quite literally consisting of fire and ice. Instead of the show’s usual spring debut, HBO announced in January that the season premiere would be delayed to accommodate the arrival of winter weather while shooting. To announce the series’ premiere date, HBO conducted a Facebook Live broadcast, using fire to melt a block of ice containing the date, asking users to comment “FIRE” or “DRACARYS” to reveal it. Though there were some technical difficulties with execution of the stunt, more than 162,000 people stuck around for reveal. And,