12
The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015 class

The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015 class

Today I had a fascinating round table discussion with members of our Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015  class. Since I only had a brief time to meet with them before they headed out on their “Technology Day” I shared the latest Equalman Socialnomics video. These videos are always professionally done and the fast-paced, statistic-packed video served as a great conversation starter for my question:

How has your business (or you personally) been positively or negatively impacted by social media?  

Here is a quick sample of the leaders’  answers:

1- Smart Phone Stress: Are we ever “off?”- One leader said, “I now feel like I have to work from the deer stand.” With smart phones he asked, “when can we manage to turn it off? When do you stop and decompress?”  The same man said that he deliberately left his phone behind when he went to Ireland for nine days and when he returned he had 1,600 emails to return. “I paid for it,” he said of his time “unplugged.” Others commented that if they are up at 3 AM texting they expect others to do the same. Our work cycle has moved toward 24-7.

2- Power-full: Representatives (and customers) of the power board mentioned how handy it is now to gain real time information about power outages. One class member and customer said how very appreciative she was of the regular updates from our power board versus other places she had lived.

3- Increasing student enrollment: A representative from the Gatton College of Pharmacy mentioned how she deliberately engaged students before they attend the school on Facebook. She welcomed them as “members of the class of 2018″and gave them a sense of belonging and engagement. After this type of outreach, enrollment numbers went up.

4- Everyone’s a publisher: Conversation was lively concerning the “double edged sword”; the ability to publish but also the ability to move quickly and not take time to check the facts as in certain well publicized recent news stories.

5- Checking out future workers and colleagues: The leaders cited the ability to go onto LinkedIn and quickly assess people to see their resume, their connections and more.

6- Not EVERYone is online: Two leaders who work in the highly regulated financial services industry two  said they are extremely limited as to what they can and can not do digitally. “Everything must be recorded” said one leader. “Even our instant messages have to be recorded.”

7- Go Paperless (Really): One Human Resources director said she really enjoys the elimination of paper work in both the job application process and recruiting thanks to the digital workplace. “An applicant now never touches a piece of paper until they come to work for us,” she said.

How have you as a leader been impacted by social media and our digital society for good or for bad? I would love to hear your story.

 

 

Continue Reading

10

MythbustersRecently I had the opportunity to speak with a class of incoming freshmen at Milligan College about careers in public relations. My presentation was called PR Mythbusters.

Myth #1– PR presents many glamorous job opportunities (a la Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.)

Reality:  PR is all about your client and making THEM look good!

Myth #2- PR is about press conferences and press releases.

Reality: While it is true that we create these kinds of events for clients there is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes planning work that goes into what you see on the visible, front end. To be good in PR students must excel at written and verbal communications.

Myth #3- Publicity is only needed when bad things happen.

Reality: Publicity is a two edged sword. Sometimes it can be used to address crises as in a well-thought out crisis communications plan. Other times it can be used for much good as in our recent Socktober campaign with Kid President that brought in over a thousand pairs of new socks for the homeless in our community.

Myth #4– Any publicity is good publicity

Reality: Although Hollywood stars may ascribe to this,  there are times when some of the greatest accomplishments of a public relations professional include keeping a client out of the limelight.

Myth #5– Anyone can do it

Reality: It takes a well trained, well thought out team to execute a top PR plan including strategy and tactics. Our current Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot PR committee incorporated last season’s Biggest Loser top five finalist Jennifer Messer as grand marshal. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher (and Science Hill High School grad) Daniel Norris is also helping spread the word of the popular Thanksgiving Day Family Fun Run/walk.

Myth #6– Social Media is just for fun

Reality: Social Media, particularly LinkedIn, can be a great connecting tool that will build professional bridges now and in the future. Futhermore using social media well can help build clients personal and professional brands.

What are some PR Myths or reality questions that you may have?

Here is the SlideShare Presentation

Continue Reading

6

Those of you who’ve been following my posts know that  I was inspired by Kid President Robby Novak’s YouTube video calling on local communities to collect new socks for the homeless during “Socktober.” The results are in and it was a resounding success!  With some fantastic team work we soared past our goal of 750 pairs of new socks, actually getting 1053 pairs!

With the help of a number of  local businesses and the Johnson City Morning Rotary Club, we collected new socks in all sizes and for both genders. This week we gave the warm, new and often colorful socks, to United Way of Washington County, TN for distribution to the United Way agencies that serve the homeless.

Socktober sponsors turn in socks to United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany.

Socktober sponsors turn in socks to Washington County TN United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany.

“We would like to thank all of the coordinators and participants of this year’s Socktober campaign. The socks will be given to our agencies that provide direct services to children and homeless families in our community. This campaign is another expression of the very caring spirit that is in this great community” said United Way of Washington County’s President and CEO Lester Lattany.

Johnson City Schools Homeless coordinator Bonnie White said the sock donations are vital necessities. “These new socks are very much needed,” White said. “Many children come to school with shoes that are too small or too large and they get blisters on their feet from not having any socks at all.”

United Way of Washington County TN and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel with  over 1,000 pairs of new socks for the homeless.

United Way of Washington County TN and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel with over 1,000 pairs of new socks for the homeless.

MarketingMel along with Summit Leadership Foundation, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Appearances Hair Salon and the Johnson City Morning Rotary (at Johnson City Country Club) were Socktober sponsors. This year many great drop off locations participated including: Appearances Hair Salon, Cumberland Marketing, Exalt Academy of Cosmetology, First Tennessee Bank, Johnson City Country Club, Spine & Sports Chiropractic, Summit Leadership Foundation, Tri-City Community Bank and Princeton Arts Center. Additional businesses that heard about the campaign and asked to be a part were Chick-Fil-A Crossings and Robinson’s Animal Hospital.

A great big THANK YOU to all who took part. If you’re reading this blog, did your community take part in #Socktober?

 

 

Continue Reading

6
Students in MarketingMel's "Gettting Professional With LinkedIn" workshop at Milligan College.

Students in MarketingMel’s “Gettting Professional With LinkedIn” workshop at Milligan College.

LinkedIn is one social media platform woefully underused by college students. Recently I was invited to present a LinkedIn workshop to a group of Milligan College Juniors and Seniors. The students who attended came on their own time so the classroom was full of soon-to-be graduates who were eager to learn.  It was a two-part session with the first hour sharing information and questions about LinkedIn and the second being hands-on creation of individual student profiles. Students brought their laptops.  Each student brought their resume to class in order to have it handy for the LinkedIn profile creation. First we extensively reviewed the demographics of LinkedIn which leans heavily male 25-54. Income levels skew $100,000+ and the typical LinkedIn user checks in around 8 AM and 5pm, before and after work. Clearly, these are the business professionals who will be making the hiring decisions for these students in the future. Here are a few of the tips I shared with the college students.

  1. Professional Photo: Probably one of the most critical elements of LinkedIn is the good, professional head shot. The school provided a professional photographer. Then each student had a professional head shot made to upload for their profile creation during the hands-on portion.
  2. Professional attire: All students were advised to look professional for the photo. In other words wear clothes appropriate for a job interview.
  3. Use LinkedIn to find potential job leads: LinkedIn has an excellent internal search engine specifically for jobs. We used this as an example in class to look for “marketing jobs in Johnson City, TN” as an example.
  4. Join Groups and ask pertinent questions: I showed the students how I used an actual LinkedIn group, the Public Relations and Communications Job Community, to crowdsource in helping me prepare for the talk with them. We received 25 very helpful comments on using LinkedIn to find a job that I shared with the class.
  5. Updates: Post regular updates on LinkedIn that will be of use to your business audience.
  6. Get references: When we went to the hands-on portion of the workshop I invited students to connect with ten people, then seek out a written reference and  give someone they know a written reference. (In LinkedIn as in life, what goes around comes around.)

What tips would you share from your LinkedIn experiences? What recommendations would you make to help seniors in college as they prepare to enter the workforce? Do you have a need for a similar workshop at your college, university or place of business? If so, please contact me via this web site.

View the prezi created by MarketingMel intern Alex Quillin for the workshop:

 

Continue Reading

11

The buzz over socks just keeps on building! Nationally, #Socktober founder Kid President has teamed with Grover on his campaign to bring socks to the homeless (and who wouldn’t want the power of Sesame Street backing their cause?)

Kid President and Grover

#Socktober founder Kid President with Grover

Locally, our efforts garnered the attention of two TV stations: WCYB-TV 5:30 News (story transcript here) and WJHL-TV’s DayTime Tri-Cities.  Many thanks to Ron Scalf of Out ‘N About Magazine for helping us spread the word in print! More and more people and businesses are jumping in to help us bring socks to the homeless. Once we gather all of the socks we will donate them to United Way of Washington County, TN so that they can give them to their agencies who work directly with the homeless in our community.

WCYB-TV videographer Tim Culbertson and Mary Ellen MIller of MarketingMel show off some of the #Socktober sock donations.

WCYB-TV videographer Tim Culbertson and Mary Ellen MIller of MarketingMel show off some of the #Socktober sock donations.

Bonnie White, Johnson City Schools Homeless coordinator told us that,”These socks are so appreciated. Many of these students go to school with blisters on their feet because their shoes are too large or too small and they are wearing them with no socks.  We really appreciate and will use these new socks.”

And who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Chick-Fil-A Crossings is now on board with this great offer: Mondays in October drop off three new pair of socks and get a coupon for a free Grilled Chick-fil-A Sandwich. 

In addition to MarketingMel, the following businesses are sponsors for the second year in a row: Appearances Hair Salon, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Summit Leadership Foundation. This year the Johnson City Morning Rotary also joined as a lead sponsor.

Here are the drop off locations with links to each. We’ve expanded with drop off sites adding locations in both Kingsport and Bristol this year. Let’s hope we get LOTS of socks! Last year we got over 500 pair and this year our goal is more than 750 new pair of socks. Remember, we have over 700 homeless students in the Johnson City school system alone and they’ve got family members, so we need all sizes, all colors, all kinds of new socks. Thank you!

Appearances Hair Salon

Cumberland Marketing

Exalt Academy of Cosmetology

First Tennessee Bank– Crossings, Peoples and North Roan Street locations

Johnson City Morning Rotary at Johnson City Country Club

Spine & Sports Chiropractic

Summit Leadership Foundation

Tri-City Community Bank

Princeton Arts Center

Robinson Animal Hospital

Chick-fil-A, Crossings 

Continue Reading

4
One of more than a dozen sock baskets that will be placed around town for #Socktober collections.

One of more than a dozen sock baskets that will be placed around town for #Socktober collections. (That’s Lucky supervising!)

 

For the second year in a row, October becomes “Socktober” in order to bring new socks in all sizes to the homeless in the local community. Last year I was inspired when I saw Kid President calling on folks in local communities around the country to help the homeless in this video.

MarketingMel is teaming up with several local businesses to collect new socks in all sizes that will be given to United Way of Washington County, TN for distribution to agencies that serve the homeless.

“Now that the weather is turning cooler, everyone can relate to needing a nice, warm pair of socks,” said Miller. “YouTube’s Kid President promotes a nationwide campaign to donate socks to the homeless in local communities. Thanks to the generous support of people and businesses in our community we surpassed our goal last year of 500 pairs of new socks and this year our goal is 750 pairs. That’s enough for every homeless child in the Johnson City schools plus some extras for their family members.”

Johnson City Schools Homeless coordinator Bonnie White said the sock donations are vital necessities. “With more than 700 homeless children in the Johnson City schools alone, socks of all sizes are very appreciated,” White said.

MarketingMel along with Summit Leadership Foundation, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Appearances Hair Salon and the Johnson City Morning Rotary (at Johnson City Country Club) are Socktober sponsors. This year many great drop off locations are participating including: Appearances Hair Salon, Cumberland Marketing, Exalt Academy of Cosmetology, First Tennessee Bank, Johnson City Country Club, Spine & Sports Chiropractic, Summit Leadership Foundation, Tri-City Community Bank and Princeton Arts Center.

Even if you don’t live in our area you could help start a #Socktober drive in your local community! When you do, be sure to stay connected on social media by using the hashtag #Socktober. Thank you!

Continue Reading

8
Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel, and Dr. Stephen Marshall of ETSU award the new scholarship to Alex Quillin.

Mary Ellen Miller and Dr. Stephen Marshall of ETSU award the new MarketingMel PR scholarship to Alex Quillin.

As any of you who reads this blog regularly knows I am a HUGE believer in supporting the next generation of Public Relations professionals. Last week I had the opportunity to take that support to the next level by teaming with the newly created Mass Communications department at ETSU to establish and award its first scholarship: The MarketingMel Public Relations Scholarship. I am delighted to announce that my new intern, Alex Quillin, is the first recipient of this award! Alex is one of the most level headed 19 year olds I have ever met with a strong entrepreneurial bent and a bright future ahead of her. She is as smart as she is beautiful, carrying a 3.8 GPA and already a junior in semester hours. Dr. Stephen Marshall, one of MarketingMel’s advisory board members, is the newly named department chair. He joined me on campus for the ceremony announcing Alex’s scholarship. To read the full story on the ETSU web site and to see what great jobs the previous four interns have moved on to, please click here.

 

Continue Reading

8
Amanda Boone from Summit Leadership Foundation joined me for the Communications seminar.

Amanda Boone from Summit Leadership Foundation joined me for the Communications seminar.

Last week I attended a day-long workshop titled “Communications Skills for Women.” Put on by Fred Pryor it was a great brush-up on tips we all know but need to be reminded of from time to time. Although the workshop was billed “for women” these tips will also resonate with my male blog readers. Some of these tips I actually gleaned from my classmates over lunch that day (the great part of workshops and seminars is often the people you meet there!) Which do you agree with and what would you add to this list?

  1. Phone Interview Tip: When on the phone with an employee ask them to repeat back what you have said. Do not just ask “Do you have any questions” because of course their answer will be know. Asking them to repeat bak what you have said engages them.
  2. Ask for what you want/Be specific: Assertiveness is about gaining a sense of self control.  It is a choice that you and you alone can make. We need to ask for what we want and to be specific in our requests.
  3. Put a time limit on interrupters: In my case this would be social media. If I don’t limit myself when I’m working on social media the next thing I know a half hour has gone by. What are your interrupters? Are they people in the office or habits that you have?
  4. Let go: Wow! I had my own personal nirvana with this just recently. I found out that a person whom I had given business to had said some negative things about me. I stewed about that for far too long. Finally at the suggestion of a friend I “let it go.” Boy, did I feel better! I will know not to do business with that person again but I can certainly be cordial to him.
  5. We need to respect ourselves and others: We teach people how to treat us. Do you allow people to interrupt you? We actually practiced this as a class exercise. Best to challenge interruptions by setting boundaries. “I know you have so much to contrite. When I’m through in five minutes I will give you the floor.”   And finally:
  6. Saying “no” is saying yes to myself! How many of us have gritted our teeth and said “yes” to something only to regret it later. I really like the concept of all of us having to make some “me” time. “No” can be a difficult word  to use but it can be learned!
  7. Bonus tip – Check your “BRA” : Whenever you get angry, check your “BRA.” B – Breathing; breathe through your diaphragm and count to three. R- Relax, and A – Attitude. Just thinking about checking my bra is bound to diffuse the tension!

Which of these tips resonates with you and why?

 

Continue Reading