All posts by All Points Public Relations

The All Points PR Team Writes Letters to Healthcare Workers and COVID-19 Patients

While we remain socially distant in the All Points office, we stand together in our mission to support our community through our quarterly Positive Impact program. Our Lead Office Manager Kate Leve spearheaded the project, connecting us with an organization that allowed us to make a positive impact on healthcare heroes and COVID-19 patients.

Due to social distancing restrictions, our team explored digital opportunities to extend our philanthropic efforts. In Q1, we wrote letters to healthcare workers and COVID patients through Notes for Support to send thoughtful and encouraging messages to those most deeply affected by COVID-19.

Notes for Support, a student-run non-profit, helps encourage personal connections through the power of words, sent the old-fashioned way—and yes, that means snail mail. On Friday, January 19, we took some time to write heartfelt letters to be distributed to hospitals across the country. The APPR team wrote 98 letters in total.

Through this quarter’s Positive Impact program, we aim to thank those who have been tirelessly working on the frontlines and send words of encouragement to patients fighting the virus. Your organization can join us in our mission and send a message here.

Check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office, and click here to learn more about the Positive Impact program.

APPR Seminar: The Guide to UTM Codes

The All Points PR team held our monthly seminar, hosted by digital marketing lead Katie Rada, on integrating UTM codes into our social and content tactics. Katie is one of our expert sources of all things analytics and will be leading the charge with transitioning clients over to this tactic.

Hear more from Katie about why we are integrating UTM links with our clients:

As an integrated agency, there’s a lot of moving parts that come together to produce positive results for our clients. Marketing analytics help us to maximize our strategy’s effectiveness and optimize content and paid social efficiency.

A UTM code is a simple string of values that you can attach to the end of a custom URL to track a source, medium or campaign name. As a visitor clicks a link, data is captured, providing details on how a person landed on the webpage.

The most popular UTM builder is Google Analytics. To build a tag, simply fill in your values to generate the link to include in your campaign. Once created, it’s helpful to convert to a short link such as bit.ly for ease of use and sharing.

UTM Best Practices:

  • Use consistent naming conventions. From capital letters to spacing, consistency is critical.
  • Keep a list of all UTM values used to share internally or with the client.
  • Use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from, how your channels and campaigns are performing, and even which links your visitors are clicking to land on your site.

Implementing UTM codes ensures we can properly attribute strong points of each campaign or initiative to their source. This practice will only create more value for our clients as we plan to utilize UTM links across social and content tactics.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

President’s Point: How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Conferences

With conferences shifting to a virtual format, there are new ways to branch out and connect with industry leaders from across the country.

Of course, attending a conference from your couch is much different than a large conference hall surrounded by your peers. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of virtual conferences.

1. Turn Off All Distractions

While you may think you’re an expert multitasker, try to limit disruptions. In order to get the most out of a virtual event, you have to give your undivided attention. Set your phone on silent, move to a quiet space and consider taking notes by hand.

2. Make a Game Plan

Just as you would before a big game, go in with a solid strategy to accomplish your goal of attending. Maximize your time and learning by selecting topics and sessions in advance. The point being: do your homework.

One advantage of a virtual conference is sessions are typically recorded and available for later viewing. You no longer have to decide between two sessions scheduled for the same time, and instead attend both at your own convenience.

3. Network Virtually

A large part of attending conferences are the networking opportunities. While we aren’t physically together, virtual conferences still offer opportunities to network.

If you attend a seminar where a speaker captures your attention, follow up with a message on LinkedIn. Utilize the Zoom or Google Meet chat functions to ask questions and connect with other attendees during the presentation. Post about your attendance on social media and engage with others using the conference hashtag. Since you aren’t physically seen, you have to be proactive to be heard.

4. Participate in Roundtables

Virtual roundtables are a great way to learn, share and network within the industry. When opportunities arise to voice your thoughts, make sure you’re not muted and are ready to share something educational, but not promotional. This isn’t time to be a company salesperson but a time to act as an industry leader.

5. Recharge In-between Sessions

Let’s face it—staring at a screen for extended periods of time is tough. Make time in between sessions to recharge by going for a walk, grab a snack or follow up with someone you just met. Taking 5 minutes to refuel can set the rest of the day up for success.

We’ll be physically back at conferences soon enough, but for now, we can appreciate the convenience of a lower cost and time spent traveling.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points PR Lands Press Coverage for Salon Suite Franchise

All Points PR landed press coverage with Franchise Journal for client Phenix Salon Suites. The article featured a franchisee who shared their experience on becoming a franchisee for the first time and why she chose this particular salon suite concept. Coverage ran in print.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Franchise-Journal-February-4-2021.pdf

All Points PR Coordinates Trade Coverage for Mexican Food Franchise

All Points PR coordinated trade coverage with Restaurant Development and Design for client QDOBA. Insights from Chief Development Officer Tim Welsh were featured in the publication’s cover story about how restaurants are designing for flexibility now and later. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/restaurant-development-design-min-min-compressed.pdf

All Points PR Lands National Coverage for Health Care Staffing Franchise

All Points PR landed national coverage with Inc. for client ATC Healthcare. The article, which discussed President Joe Biden’s vaccine plans, featured a quote from ATC Healthcare CEO David Savitsky regarding the operations and logistics of the initiative. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Inc_Vaccine-Jan-21.pdf

All Points PR Coordinates TV Segment for Early Childhood Education Franchise

All Points PR coordinated a TV segment with KXAS-TV’s Texas Today for client Childrens Lighthouse. The segment featured a local franchisee who expanded upon the concept and shared ways to work with children on new year’s resolutions. Coverage ran on air and online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Texas-Today-Dec.-31-2020.pdf

APPR Seminar: New Organizational Practices to Set Your Team Up for Success

The All Points PR team kicked off the new year with our January seminar discussing clear processes and systems to set us up for success. This topic truly excites Senior Director Bailey Hewitt and COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks, who led the charge.

Both Lauren and Bailey highlighted how these organizational changes allow for more transparency across the agency. Collectively, there are many moving parts, and having easy access to information boosts our productivity and benefits our clients.

Here are the ways our agency freshened up organizational methods for the new year:

  • Continuing monthly computer checks as a proactive approach to avoid major computer malfunctions
  • Transitioning file storage to Dropbox Smart Sync, so the entire agency has access to files without taking up too much hard drive space
  • Reviewing Monday.com dashboards for an all-encompassing view of daily tasks, deadlines and upcoming priorities
  • Reporting improvements for lead ad tracking and email performance
  • Maintaining “Inbox 0,” a reminder to immediately file emails away rather than storing them in your inbox

Now more than ever, technology is how we are interconnected. It’s important to take the time to familiarize your staff with both new and old procedures to ease the transition and avoid confusion. This seminar was crucial to starting the new year off on the right foot.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

3 Learnings from PR in an Election Year

An election year always serves as a great opportunity for the public relations industry to learn and grow. Considering that 2020 was an election year unlike any other, it’s especially important for PR professionals to take some time to reflect on the timeframe and refine approaches. Here are three big takeaways to consider during an election year. 

Be Prepared

Prepare, prepare, prepare. You must be well prepared in the months before an election to ensure your brand or your client is still heard as the election approaches. Election coverage hits its peak in September and October, and as we know, it will dominate headlines at least until the results are finalized. You should be thinking about six months ahead on what angles you can pitch earlier in the year so that coverage is secured and running in the third and fourth quarters. Do your research, hold frequent brainstorming sessions and prepare strong angles and news hooks that will break through the clutter of dedicated election news coverage. The earlier you prepare, the better you will understand the editorial calendars and how to best execute your pitch. In addition, it will also give you more time to reinforce your relationships with key media contacts.

Remember – just because the election is dominating headlines doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance for your story to be heard. It all comes down to media relations preparedness.

Give Context

It’s important to continue your due diligence as the election is happening. Is there a tasteful way of inserting your brand or client in the current news cycle? Maybe there are opportunities for you to be a part of the election coverage in a way that deals with the issues but is also appropriate. Read up on the daily political stories and understand what specific news outlets are covering. Scan headlines from unbiased sources to ensure you’re receiving ample information while considering the viewpoints from each side on the biggest issues. This kind of research can help you discover an angle that can be an “in” for your brand or client. Think about a side of the story that hasn’t been told yet, or ways that you can provide more context to your brand’s involvement. Then, work with the appropriate executives or spokespeople to fine-tune these angles to insert yourselves into the conversation in a tasteful way.

Pivot

Always pivot. In normal years, you would likely pursue national coverage opportunities at any point in the year. During an election year, however, you’ll either want to begin your pitching months in advance as discussed, or focus on local and trade publications as election coverage hits its peak. It can be difficult to insert your brand into breaking national news coverage when the election is upon us, so pivot your strategy to focus your energy on trade and local outlets that would be more interested in community news such as upcoming openings, charity events, etc. This is your best bet when it comes to optimizing your outreach and results as the election news cycle peaks.

From a PR perspective, there are no shortage of opportunities to learn from an election year. As election years come and go, keeping these three tips in mind will help your team or your agency continue to spread the word and be a part of the conversation.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points PR Coordinates Press Coverage for Staffing Franchise

All Points PR coordinated press coverage with the Franklin County Free Press for client Spherion. The article featured the expertise of local franchisee Gary Hayes, who anticipates an economic rebound ahead and growth in the job market. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Franklin-County-Free-Press-Dec.-10-2020.pdf

All Points PR Lands Social Media Influencer Visit for Brunch Franchise

All Points PR landed a social media influencer visit with @uchemedia for client Daily Jam. The influencer visited Daily Jam in Tempe and shared a video as well has highlights on his story showcasing the wide variety of breakfast and brunch dishes the concept offers. The coverage was shared with nearly 100,000 followers.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/@uchemedia-Dec.-28-2020.pdf

All Points PR Secures TV Segment for Strength-Driven Interval Training Franchise

All Points PR secured a TV segment with ABC 10’s KAKE-TV for client MADabolic. The segment highlighted the rise in business applications in the state of Kansas and shared the soft opening of a new MADabolic gym opening in Wichita. Coverage ran on air and online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/KAKE-TV-December-17-2020.pdf

All Points PR Lands National Coverage with Entrepreneur Magazine for Pilates Franchise

All Points PR landed national coverage with Entrepreneur magazine for client BODYBAR Pilates. In a roundup article titled “15 Ways Franchises Became Stronger This Year,” Director of Marketing Brittney Watson shared how the franchise worked to execute an initiative to provide online fitness classes during the pandemic. Coverage ran online and in print.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Entrepreneur-Magazine-Online-December-10-2020.pdf

All Points PR Lands TV Segment for Boutique Fitness Franchise

All Points PR landed a TV segment with FOX 10 Arizona Morning for client Jabz. The news station visited a local studio in north Scottsdale where franchisee Kim Pinzini shared tips on how to burn calories and shed off the extra pounds during the holiday season. Coverage ran on air and online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FOX-10-Dec-17-2020.pdf

All Points PR Coordinates TV Segment for Children’s Art Franchise

All Points PR coordinated a TV segment with KNBN-TV for client Young Rembrandts, which featured more about the franchise’s art classes for children and how the franchise is helping to keep kids entertained during COVID-19 and the holiday season. Coverage ran on air and online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/KNBN-TV-Dec.-15-2020.pdf

All Points PR Secures Press Coverage for Boutique Fitness Franchise

All Points PR secured press coverage with Franchise Dictionary Magazine for client Jabz. The article featured Jabz franchisee Josette Rosene and shared her transition from a sales career to becoming a Jabz trainer and eventually a franchisee. Coverage ran online and in print.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FDM-December-Issue-2020.pdf

All Points PR Secures National Coverage with Entrepreneur Magazine for Brunch Franchise

All Points PR secured national coverage with Entrepreneur magazine for client Daily Jam. In a roundup article titled “15 Ways Franchises Became Stronger This Year,” Daily Jam President Berekk Blackwell shared how the franchise started two ghost kitchen concepts during the pandemic. Coverage ran in print.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Entrepreneur-Magazine-December-Issue-2020.pdf

COO’s Corner: 5 Resolutions for Business Leaders to Consider in 2021

Resolution season is well underway. After the year we’ve all had, our goals and areas of focus may be a little different in 2021. Here are five suggested resolutions for those in leadership positions to keep in mind as we all prepare for a successful year ahead!

Establish a mentorship program

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Relationships are extremely powerful, and there’s nothing like the relationship between a mentor and a mentee. Mentors are especially great to establish for new hires to help them learn the ropes, develop those crucial relationships and fine-tune their skills, but also consider how these principles can be applied to your team long term. Of course, organizations already have informal mentorships as employees look to each other for guidance. However, if your team doesn’t have a formal mentorship program in place, consider creating a structure where identified mentors and mentees meet regularly and tackle set goals and objectives. Established mentoring programs directly contribute to the development of a better trained and more-engaged workforce over time.

Encourage development opportunities – and remember to pursue your own

As a leader, you understand the importance of continued learning and development opportunities. I consistently encourage my team to pursue the opportunities that interest them most, whether they be classes, conferences, workshops or anything in between. At the same time, however, don’t forget to attend to your own professional development! No matter how long you’ve been in the game, there’s always room to learn and grow. For example, All Points PR Senior Director Bailey Hewitt and I each recently earned a Leadership Certificate from Northwestern University’s Professional Development Program last year. In 2021, I not only encourage my own team to refine their skills and explore new opportunities, but I’m also seeking out my own continued education. As you would envision for your team, never stop growing and improving upon your craft as well.

Fine-tune your team’s Zoom etiquette

In the spirit of self-improvement, now might be a good time for your team to brush up on Zoom etiquette and best practices. One way you can lead this initiative is by setting up mock calls with your team, individually or in groups. It can be easy for team members to behave more casually during internal meetings via Zoom. If you frame these mock calls in a different setting, such as if they were on a call with a client or key stakeholder, this will allow you to better observe their behaviors. Note areas of success and improvement among each team member during these calls and present your findings afterward. 

Strive to maintain balance

This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s so important that you maintain balance in your life to avoid burnout. With many of us working from home, the lines can become quite blurry when it comes to leaving work mode and entering at-home mode, and vice versa. Strive to create a balance between your life in and out of the workplace by setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them. And, don’t forget to take breaks! Step away from the computer and do something for yourself during lunchtime, whether it’s getting some fresh air or reading a book. Finally, we’ve left a challenging year behind, but there’s still plenty of stressful issues and uncertainties in today’s world. Know when it’s time to put down your phone, turn off the TV and focus on you – not the news.

 Be ready to roll with the punches

If there’s one lesson I’ve taken away from 2020, it’s that you need to be ready to roll with the punches. Expect the unexpected and know that not everything in life goes as planned. You’ve adapted, faced your own adversities and overcome barriers before – trust that you’re prepared to deal with the new year ahead and any obstacles you may face. Resolve to handle them as best as you can, because all you can do is try your best.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points Matches Holiday Gift Exchange Purchases to Benefit Local Food Pantry

On Friday, December 18, the All Points PR team gathered virtually over Zoom for our annual holiday party.

The festivities kicked off with an end-of-year highlights video put together by COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks. From the International Franchise Association (IFA) Convention in February to virtual happy hours, “twin day” and office game nights, there were a ton of fun photos and moments to look back on together!

Then, President Jamie Izaks hosted the third annual APPR Awards alongside Lauren, honoring individual and team accomplishments throughout the office over the past year. An employee secret gift exchange and a Murder Mystery Zoom Party, presented by The Murder Mystery Company, followed the awards. The mystery was centered around a holiday train-ride theme, and each All Points team member was assigned a wacky character to play as the murder mystery unfolded. Many members dressed in costume to take it to the next level!

In the spirit of giving, All Points matched the value of the employee secret gift exchange to benefit a local food pantry. APPR donated $400 to the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines, a not-for-profit organization serving Des Plaines, Illinois residents with groceries and clothing during a time of need. They were the runner up in our PRo Community Project, an initiative providing pro bono integrated public relations services to Chicagoland nonprofits.

The holiday party served as a wonderful time for the team to celebrate with one another and gear up for the new year ahead. And, reflecting on the team’s unwavering commitment to positively impact the communities in which we live and work, All Points is proud to extend our support a time when it’s needed most.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

COO’s Corner: How to Start the New Year Successfully

The new year is finally upon us, and as I’m sure many of you would agree, it couldn’t have come soon enough. 2020 was a unique time to say the least, and with more promising days now in sight, there’s never been a better time to ensure you’re feeling fresh, focused and ready to take on 2021. Here are three things you can do to start off the new year successfully.

Evaluate your goals – and keep them in a safe place

The new year is often considered a clean slate. It’s “resolution season,” and many feel the pressure to set fresh, sometimes lofty goals in order to start the year off “right.” However, it’s important that you don’t leave behind the goals you set over the past year – ones that you’re still working on. For example, if your goal was to run a marathon last year and it just didn’t happen, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed or it’s time to move on. Not every goal has a clear timeline, and it’s okay if you haven’t accomplished everything you’ve set out to yet – especially in a year like 2020.

I highly recommend evaluating your goals, old and new, and focus on the ones that will only better yourself in the weeks, months and years ahead. And, don’t forget to keep them in a safe place! Meaning, ensure you physically write down your goals somewhere that’s easily accessible. Try jotting them down in a planner, journal – even the notes app on your phone will work. When your goals are kept in sight, you’re better equipped to take smaller actions each and every day that will help you crush them in the long run.

Take stock

In addition to taking a closer look at your goals and what you want to accomplish, don’t forget to reflect on the things you already did! Rather than focusing on how challenging the past year was and holding on to negativity, celebrate the wins, big and small, that you achieved despite the roadblocks.

Start the new year by appreciating the good change in your life. Think – what went well for me last year? What improvements did I make? What relationships did I build? What did I remove from or add into my life that’s now making me happier? I’m sure you’ll remember more good things that happened than you’re giving the year credit for.

Prioritize your mental health and wellness 

While physical health and fitness are a typical focus during the new year, don’t forget to tend to your mental health and wellness, too. There are plenty of little things you can to do get started. Limit your screen time, get some fresh air or start a journal. Make sure you’re allowing yourself time to pause, reflect and better understand your thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and understand that it’s okay to take a step back and focus on YOU. Every single one of us has faced our fair share of challenges that have been physically and mentally draining, and you can’t pour from an empty cup. Putting your mental health first and optimizing your well-being will only benefit you and your growth in the months ahead.

Wishing you all a healthy, safe and happy start to the new year!

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

NIFA Q4 Recap: Navigating the New Year

On Tuesday, December 15, the Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA) hosted its Q4 virtual event, “Navigating the New Year,” sponsored by All Points Public Relations and Marks & Klein. It was an informative event, and we’d like to thank all those who could attend for their thoughtful participation.

The event kicked off with insights from U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), a local congressman with deep connections to the franchising industry. Representing Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs that comprise Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, Rep. Krishnamoorthi discussed the business forecast for the region amid recovery, touching specifically on franchising in 2021.

Managing Partners Tom Wells and Scott Pressly with 10 Point Capital then took the virtual stage to offer their perspectives on the state of the franchising industry and what’s to come. The 10 Point Capital team brings over 75 years of experience in the franchise industry, including experience in investing in and operating both franchisors and franchisees. The team has invested in over 40 franchise transactions, has been franchisees for seven concepts and has worked for four franchisors. Its brand portfolio includes Phenix Salon Suites, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux and Slim Chickens.

If  you would like to view the discussion from the NIFA Q4 event, click here to download the video recording, and click here to download the presentation deck.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Tom Wells and Scott Pressly for making this event possible. Your insights, strong connections and extensive knowledge of the franchising community fueled a valuable discussion as we set the stage for franchising in 2021 and beyond.

It’s important that we continue to foster these connections and share best practices in the new year. We encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning several wonderful 2021 events and hope to see everyone in person in the near future. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

The NIFA wishes you a safe and healthy holiday season! 

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

All Points PR Coordinates National Story for Pilates Franchise

All Points PR coordinated a national story with Authority Magazine for client BODYBAR Pilates. The article featured a Q&A with BODYBAR CEO Matt McCollum, which covered talking points such as three things you need to shake up your industry, and more. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Authority-Magazine-October-20-2020.pdf

All Points PR Coordinates Press Coverage for Fitness Franchise

All Points PR coordinated press coverage with Franchise Dictionary Magazine for client MADabolic. The coverage featured a MADabolic franchisee, her struggle with athletics as a child due to asthma and her empowering mission to help others challenge themselves through her MADabolic gym, which she owns with her husband. Coverage ran online and in print.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Franchise-Dictionary-Magazine-October-Issue-print.pdf

All Points PR Secures Press Coverage for Mexican Food Franchise

All Points PR secured press coverage with QSR magazine for client Taco John’s. The coverage featured insights from Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel about how the brand is tackling COVID challenges, noting Taco John’s continued positive growth amid pandemic conditions. The coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/QSR-Magazine-October-6-2020.pdf

All Points PR Lands Influencer Coverage for Burger Franchise

All Points PR landed influencer coverage with @cuisinewithdean, a Portland-based influencer, for client Killer Burger. @cuisinewithdean visited a local Killer Burger restaurant to try out the brand’s LTO, the Jose Mendoza burger, for Killer Burger’s 10-year anniversary. A photo of the burger was shared on Instagram with nearly 10,000 followers.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/@cuisinewithdean-October-2-2020.pdf

All Points PR Coordinates Press Coverage for Fitness Franchise

All Points PR coordinated press coverage with the Atlanta Journal Constitution for client MADabolic. The article highlighted the weight loss journey of a MADabolic franchisee in Chamblee, GA and how she came to discover and invest in the concept. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/AJC-September-28-2020.pdf

Developing Your PR Plan for the New Year in 4 Steps

It’s that time again – planning season is here, and at All Points, we’re leading the charge with our clients to generate fresh ideas and strategies for 2021. Whether you’re planning within an agency setting for multiple clients or fleshing out ideas for a single business, there are four key steps that are essential to any PR plan.

Step #1: Brainstorming

Great ideas start with a good old brainstorming session. Zero in on what the company or client objectives are and think of creative ways to get to that point. In the spirit of collaboration, don’t limit yourselves to one small brainstorming group. Bring other members across departments into your sessions – whether or not they’re tied to the specific work or client, they will have great ideas to share. Brainstorming requires more than only grouping up with those you commonly work with, so take the initiative to open up the group to fresh perspectives. 

Step #2: Paper Edits

Next comes the paper edit phase. This is an important time to take a step back, reflect on your ideas and put them onto paper. Add context and build out your thoughts into complete sentences and paragraphs so you can start to form more concrete plans. Your ideas should be original, unique to the year (not recycled) and catered to the objectives of your company or client. 

Step #3: Strategy Design

This is where you bring your ideas to life through carefully-selected words and images. It’s all about putting together a strategy for a presentation that you believe in. When you firmly believe and are confident in your plan, it becomes much easier to earn the buy-in from key stakeholders. In PR, words alone don’t do your plan justice – you need to have visuals to support the direction that you’re headed in. Take the ideas you’ve formed and create something you can show your stakeholders, so they can visualize what your plan will look like. This is especially important in integrated planning.

Step #4: Presentation

Now that you’ve solidified your ideas within a visual presentation – it’s time to show them off. At All Points, many of our presentations carry a theme. This planning season, we’re thrilled to share with our clients a Blueprint theme as we lay the foundation for the first half of the year. Better known as idea generators in our agency, we shared a custom Blueprint, or fresh set of ideas, with our clients. These collaborative discussions with our clients included a thorough presentation of ideas that we outlined specifically for their franchise brands during the first six months of 2021.  However you’ve decided to design your presentation, the critical component is that it’s well thought-out, practiced, and that you have the energy to knock it out of the park. You’ve put time into the brainstorm, writing it out and coordinating the ideas, so now is not the time to phone it in. Back your ideas with energy and excitement to earn the trust of top company management or your clients. Most importantly, keep it a two-way street that’s open for feedback and collaboration.

The stage is set, and here at All Points, we’re ready to start the new year off stronger than ever before.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points Partners with Kidz Express for Q4 Positive Impact Program

The All Points PR team is back with another activity booklet for our Q4 Positive Impact program!

This time around, the team is partnering with Kidz Express, an education, mentorship and youth employment organization in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood, to create a branded activity booklet. The winner of our second annual PRo Community Project, the All Points team is thrilled to be working with Kidz Express this holiday season and help give back to the local community.

Similar to the All Points Positive Impact Activity Booklet created in Q2, the Kidz Express Activity Booklet will be packed with tons of fun games and activities. We know these challenging times have hit especially hard for our nation’s youth. As we put the pages of the booklets together, from brain games and coloring pages to “how to” crafts, we hope to put smiles on the kids’ faces and encourage some much-needed fun.

Stay tuned for more of our work with Kidz Express by following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Click here to learn more about the All Points PRo Community Project.

What the All Points PR Team is Thankful for This Holiday Season

While the holiday season looks quite different this time around, the All Points PR team took some time to reflect on what we’re truly thankful for during such an unexpected and challenging year. Whether personal or professional, our team has plenty of things to give thanks for. Check it out below:

Marin: I’m thankful for YouTube tutorials for teaching me every new hobby I’ve wanted to learn throughout quarantine.

Anastasia: I’m thankful for my All Points work family. After graduating at home this past May, things were looking pretty uncertain and dark for many graduates like me in the class of 2020. Having the privilege of working with this amazing team every day is what gets me up in the morning. Being able to do what I’m most passionate about and having so many other people support and inspire me daily has been the biggest gift in 2020.

The other thing that I’m grateful for is having time to sit down and enjoy dinner together with my family. Before the pandemic, my family would rarely be on a similar schedule so that we could coordinate eating dinner together. Now that things have altered a bit in our schedules and social lives, we are making more time for each other and enjoying quality time almost every evening. It’s been our silver lining throughout this crazy year.

Lauren: I’m thankful for the swerve. The swerve that my journey took in 2020 brought two dogs into our home and also gave my family a lot of time to be together.  

Gautier: I’m thankful for friends, family and colleagues who have been a great resource and support system through a challenging and whirlwind year! 

Alex H: I’m thankful for my friends, family and coworkers who support me through even the most sleep-deprived days!

Katie Lynn: I’m most thankful for a healthy family and good friends to lean on (even virtually) during tough times. Also, I’m very thankful for my new role at All Points and for joining such a kind and welcoming team. During quarantine, and now as we approach winter, I’m super thankful for good books and new shows to watch!

Amanda: I’m thankful for the health of my family and friends, my rediscovered passion for running, my car, amazing coworkers, fantastic music releases and shows that have helped distract from such a crazy year, and the technology that keeps me connected to my loved ones every day.

Kate: I’m thankful for all the time I got to spend with my family (socially distant and mask covered of course) and having them live so close. My health and the health of my loved ones continues to be something I’m incredibly grateful for. This year has been filled with ups and downs, leaving me especially thankful for the little things.

Maddy: I’m thankful for my family and friends. They have been a wonderful support system as we all learn to stay connected virtually during the turbulence of 2020.

Cole: I’m thankful for my loving family and friends. Their support has helped so much throughout my life. I’m also thankful for my coworkers. They help turn any bad day into a good one and are the reason I’m able to be successful at my job.

Jamie: In a year when we could all have faced greater challenges, I’m thankful for the health of my entire family, friends, the All Points team and our clients. I’m also thankful for the resilience of the human spirit – it’s been a roller coaster, but we’ve all found places inside us to persist.  

Emily S: I’m most thankful for my family. Although this past year has been challenging, I could always count on my family to be there for me and be supportive of the decisions I made. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them!

Jonathan: Although 2020 wasn’t exactly the year we imagined, I’m extremely thankful for the year our agency has had. I’m proud of us for all that we have overcome and for coming out stronger on the other side! I’m beyond thankful for my family and friends. Lastly, I’m thankful that sports are back in action.

Rachel: I’m thankful for supportive friends, family and coworkers.

Katie: I’m thankful for my health, the ability to still spend time with friends and family and the technology that keeps us together even when we’re not able to be with each other.

Nicole: I owe everything to my friends for keeping me sane this year. Our FaceTimes with one another are some of my more memorable moments from this year. I’ve also been lucky enough to start a podcast with a few of my friends this year which has helped me grow creatively by honing my graphic design and video editing skills. I’m also thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to grow professionally at All Points which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my coworkers and Lauren and Jamie.

Alex S: I’m thankful for finding a positive support system in my family, my friends and my colleagues. This year has been full of ups and downs, but having people who are consistently cheering me on through the roller coaster is something I’m especially grateful for!

Spencer: I’m thankful that when Netflix releases a new series, they drop all the episodes at once. HBO Max, Hulu and Amazon Prime can all learn something from the OG streaming service.

Emily M: I’m thankful for my family, my home, my car and all of my crafting supplies!

Joey: I’m thankful to be surrounded by optimistic friends, family and coworkers who encourage me to look on the bright side of life. Their positive affirmations and energy always resonate with me, but having a positive circle was especially important this year. 

Bailey: As we’ve all been limited in our ability to socialize this year, I’m extra thankful to live so close to my family and to work with a team of people I enjoy talking to and being around.

Morgan: I’m thankful for my friends and family, my big comfy couch in the living room and Uber Eats.

Jessica: I’m thankful for my family, friends and good health.  

Tess: I’m thankful for my coworkers. When I relocated from Michigan to Illinois, I didn’t know anyone. From my first day at work, I felt welcomed and accepted by my colleagues, which I’m forever grateful for.

Tracey: In a year that has been unlike any other, I’m thankful for my amazing husband, my two pups and having family who lives so close by. I’m also incredibly thankful for the baby boy I have growing inside me who we will get to meet at the end of this year. We will never forget 2020 and I’m thankful that my main reason for that will be our little boy.

Sandy: Though this year has been difficult, I’m thankful for the all of the positives that came from it. I’m thankful it led me to All Points where I have amazing colleagues who have been very welcoming and supportive. I’m excited to continue to grow with All Points! 

Mackenzie: I’m thankful for my family (especially my adorable baby nephew, Cohen!), lifelong friends, my job and for the technology that’s kept our world connected over the past year. 

President’s Point: Beware of Blunders

PR doesn’t always go according to plan. This is especially true if your team doesn’t put enough time into weighing all of the potential outcomes.

With careful preparation and consideration to the execution of a campaign, it becomes much easier to anticipate the outcome. Even if you couldn’t possibly imagine a poor response, you must be prepared for any situation – otherwise, you just might end up with a PR nightmare on your hands.

Fortunately for us, unfortunately for those who suffered through them, there are plenty of well-meaning campaigns that we can learn from. Here are a few with important learnings for us all.

Blunder #1: Build-A-Bear Workshop’s “Pay Your Age” Day

In July 2018, Build-A-Bear Workshop held a special Pay Your Age event to kick off its new celebration of birthdays. The concept is as simple as it sounds – the sale for a plush toy equals the age of your child. The event created a frenzy at American malls when more people showed up than expected, leading to massively long lines and tons of media attention. Eventually, the retailer had to start distributing vouchers, closing stores and turning disappointed customers away. 

The Lesson

Don’t underestimate the traction of an event, especially one with a heavily discounted offer. While the idea of the event was good, it lacked the proper forethought and operational execution, which resulted in unhappy customers. Always have a backup plan, consider as many contingencies as possible and create a way to make it up to stakeholders in the event things go south.

Blunder #2: Neymar and Messi Mastercard Campaign to Feed Starving Children

In 2018, Mastercard announced on Twitter that it would donate 10,000 meals to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for children in Latin America and the Caribbean each time professional soccer players Lionel Messi or Neymar scored a goal. While the company likely expected a universally positive reaction, the pledge quickly backfired on social media. Some branded the event as a “horrible” and “morally wrong” PR stunt that meant the fate of starving children rested in the performance of two soccer stars.

The Lesson

As one Twitter user put it, “Don’t let the fate of starving children rest on multimillionaire footballers.” If your company has the means to donate money or contribute to a good cause, don’t create any fancy hoops or stipulations for publicity – especially when child hunger is involved.

Blunder #3: McDonald’s #MeetTheFarmers Campaign

In 2012, McDonald’s rolled out a 24-hour Twitter campaign to share positive supplier stories. The campaign used the hashtag #MeetThe Farmers and was intended to focus on the brand’s organic potato farmers so that people would think “healthy” when they thought of McDonald’s. As the campaign failed to gain traction, McDonald’s introduced a second hashtag, #McDStories, which caused the campaign to blow up and turn into a channel for customers to share negative stories about the brand. 

The Lesson

Any social media campaign, especially one that encourages the use of hashtags, opens two-way communication between a brand and its customers. Social media can be very unpredictable, so don’t underestimate its reach and have a crisis plan to anticipate negative feedback, especially in the event that your hashtags get hijacked.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

 

Account Lead Nicole Odziewa Shares National Pitching Tips During APPR’s Monthly Seminar

It’s that time again – another All Points PR monthly seminar has come and gone, and we’re here to share some highlights! Account Lead Nicole Odziewa led our recent October seminar, “A Guide to Pitching National Reporters,” which also included additional presentations from COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks and Senior Director Bailey Hewitt.

Before launching into Nicole’s helpful guide to national pitching, Lauren and Bailey delivered timely updates to the team regarding Zoom best practices and 2021 agency planning. At All Points, we pride ourselves on our continuous efforts to improve our craft, as well as our thorough approach to planning with purpose. We’re gearing up for some exciting changes as we work to unveil our brand new 2021 agency campaign – but those plans are under wraps for now!

Following the updates from Lauren and Bailey, Nicole took the stage to cover all angles of national pitching, from finding the right contacts to customizing your pitch to the reporter. One of the biggest takeaways Nicole shared is the importance of using our resources. Social media is a key tool for national pitching and provides a wealth of opportunities to learn more about the reporter, what subjects they’re tackling and to find out if they’re looking for sources.

Our agency covers all the points when it comes to elevating our clients’ brand recognition and including them in national conversations. Nicole’s savvy approach to national pitching serves as a great example for the agency as we ramp up our efforts to align with today’s fast-moving news cycle.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office and stay up-to-date on our latest seminars.

COO’s Corner: National Emotional Wellness Month

October is Emotional Wellness Month, and in a year like 2020, it’s more important than ever to take stock of our stress levels and attend to our emotional health. Not to mention, as the days become shorter (and seasonal affective disorder can set in), the election grows closer and the news cycle churns out one unsettling story after another, many of us are feeling unsure about what the future holds.

While emotional health and mental health are terms often used interchangeably, emotional health “focuses on being in tune with our emotions, vulnerability and authenticity” according to licensed psychologist Juli Fraga, PsyD. We must remember that emotional health is a vital aspect of our overall health. People who focus on improving their emotional health can feel more in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and how they’re able to cope with life’s challenges.

There are plenty ways to improve or maintain good emotional health – many are small adjustments you can incorporate into your daily routine. Here are a few to consider:

Pause and reflect

Whether you’re feeling like you’re in a slump or running a mile a minute, it’s important to take some time to align with your emotions. Pause, take a deep breath, and evaluate how you’ve been feeling. Then, write it all down. Think about why you’re feeling this way – are there any external factors that you can address? While there will always be things out of your control that will impact how you feel, you have the power to choose how you react – and to focus on the things you can change.

Strive for balance

Without a healthy balance between work, play, activity and rest, you’ll soon find yourself running on empty. And, with many individuals working remotely at home during the pandemic, those lines can become blurred real fast. Set yourself up with the appropriate boundaries to ensure you’re striving for balance each and every day. Start by taking a walk during your lunch break or settling in for bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally would (no phones or screens allowed!).

Focus on the positives

It can be easier said than done, but there’s nothing like the power of positivity. Focus on the good things in your life – one way to do this is by keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three to five things you’re thankful for, or reflect on some good things that occurred during your day. These can be as simple as waking up without hitting snooze or seeing a dog on your walk.

Connect with others

Social distancing has left many people starved for human interaction, but thanks to technology, we’re never truly “alone.” Though it can be difficult to avoid “Zoom fatigue” as we navigate this new normal, there are other ways to connect with your loved ones if you want to save the video chats for work. Even a simple phone call to catch up and talk about how you’re feeling with a friend can serve as a better alternative if you find video chats to be overstimulating. Or, if you’re in need of a fun distraction, you can download a digital multi-player game to kill some time and still have that much-needed interaction.

Remember – being emotionally healthy doesn’t equate to feeling happy all the time. Your emotional wellness rests on being aware of your emotions and having the capability to deal with them, whether they are positive or negative. Most importantly, be gentle and forgiving with yourself, because all you can do is try your best. Consider the ways in which you can best approach good emotional health – you’re worth it!

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

APPR September Seminar Led by Leadership Coach and Northwestern Professor Alyssa Dickman

The All Points PR team recently welcomed Alyssa Dickman, a leadership coach and Northwestern University professor, to lead our September seminar exploring the “Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” based on the work of Patrick Lencioni. Alyssa was introduced to the All Points team by COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks and Senior Director Bailey Hewitt. Lauren and Bailey are working toward earning a Leadership Certificate from Northwestern’s Professional Development Program, and Alyssa is their professor.

With a passion for coaching and teaching, Alyssa describes her role as partnering with individuals and organizations to explore their strengths, challenges and opportunities. Alyssa will “tell it to you straight when something needs to be challenged and always believe that you have the creativity and resources to design and accomplish your goals.”

Ahead of Alyssa’s presentation, each team member was asked to complete a team assessment incorporating the five dysfunctions of a team. Alyssa then connected with the All Points team via Zoom and led an interactive discussion to help us recognize and overcome these five dysfunctions. Following Alyssa’s presentation, we entered break-out sessions within our Pods across the agency to discuss our evaluations while applying what we learned about trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results.

This seminar came at a crucial time as many organizations and teams across the country are adapting to different communication and collaboration methods due to COVID-19 and social distancing. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Alyssa for spending time with the APPR team, and we look forward to putting what we learned into practice.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office and stay up-to-date on our latest seminars.

NIFA Q3 Recap and Next Steps: Franchising in Underserved Communities

The Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA) recently hosted its Q3 virtual event, “Franchising in Underserved Communities,” sponsored by All Points Public Relations and Marks & Klein. It was an incredibly powerful presentation and discussion, and we’d like to thank all those who could attend for their thoughtful participation.

Chicago-based Entrepreneur and Motivator Kareem “K.W.O.E.” Wells along with Robin Robinson, Chicago’s Emmy-award winning television news anchor and reporter, tackled hard-hitting business topics focused on how to successfully overcome personal and professional obstacles in the face of adversity. Robin carried the conversation through a Q&A with Kareem, discussing his experience in growing businesses and his vision for franchising in underserved communities.

If you would like to view the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

We’d like to extend our gratitude to Kareem and Robin for making this event possible. Their experiences, insights and connections to Chicagoland fueled a valuable discussion that could not have come at a better time in today’s social and business climate.

The franchising community in Northern Illinois and beyond has the ability to make a real difference in advancing diversity within the industry and uplifting underserved communities. It’s important that we continue to share our knowledge, extend our resources and take action.

We encourage you to stay connected through the NIFA LinkedIn group and to review a list of additional next steps that you can take below as a result of this discussion:

As we look ahead to future gatherings, we will seek out opportunities to further this conversation. Anyone with topic ideas or sponsorship questions for future events may reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

 Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

 

All Points PR Gains Press Coverage for Restaurant Franchise

All Points PR gained press coverage with the Milwaukee Business Journal for client Dairy Queen. The coverage shared word of the franchise’s plans to add 12 to 18 Grill & Chill locations in southeast Wisconsin over the next five to 10 years. Coverage ran online.

http://allpointspr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Milwaukee-Business-Journal-July-13-2020.pdf