Weaving Women’s Contributions into our Story

As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, I found myself getting wrapped up in the History Channel’s series “History of Mankind: The Story of All of Us.” However, there was something troubling about the series’ take on human progress. True to its title, The History of Mankind seemed to be just that – the story of men’s conquests and triumphs. In a show designed to tell the story of “all” of us, women were largely missing.

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10 Ways to be More Creative

Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? No worries, here are 10 simple ways you can shake up your environment or daily routine. And who knows, maybe one of these ideas could be just what your mind needed to trigger a fresh new perspective. Bring on the next creative challenge!

Do you have any tips to boost creativity? Please leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to hear them!

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Man lives in IKEA

By allowing a comedian full access to everything inside an IKEA store to film a series of videos, Ketchum helped engage millions of consumers on the IKEA website, and ultimately drove store sales.

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SXSW Wrap-up Report: 10 trends for brands

SXSW, the annual music, film and interactive conference took place in Austin, Texas last week. Ketchum had a team on the ground and here are ten things that we spotted. There are lessons on content, organizational change and workflow.

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Look for the “Great Equalizers”

I spent the first week of 2015 in a New York hospital. The details aren’t important – all’s well, thanks to some talented people and good meds. But thanks to the experience, my perspective on leadership has changed in a way I didn’t expect.

For the first 48 hours of my stay my bed was in the hallway, beneath bright fluorescent lights, amid the rush hour of human hospital traffic. It didn’t matter what I did for a living or what insurance I had or what kind of car I drove. In that hospital, I was no more or less important than the college kid with food poisoning or the grandfather with COPD. My meals were served on paper trays (the plastic ones were saved for the patients with actual rooms), and I did what I was told. Doctor’s and nurse’s orders.

It was humbling, and illuminated for me some powerful truths – I’ll call them three of many “great equalizers.” Lately I’ve been thinking about how these equalizers apply to leadership.

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Insights from The Natural Products Expo West

The Natural Products Expo West (NPE) convention just wrapped up in Anaheim, Calif. With more consumers than ever before seeking organic and non-GMO foods, NPE is the must-attend food event for natural lifestyle brands.

Organizers positioned this year’s event as “an opportunity to connect, educate, and celebrate our collective effort to protect a non-GMO food supply and offer consumers an informed choice.” Our team who attended this Expo saw a record number of exhibitors and a varying degree of panel topics such as “GMO Myth Busting” and “Organic and Non-GMO: Finding Common Ground,” and an address from Chipotle’s Mark Crumpacker as the non-GMO series keynote speaker. We learned:

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SXSW: Sessions, SouthBites and Social

Not knowing what to expect, I went to SXSW 2015 feeling a bit intimidated. Like any PR professional worth their stuff, I did my homework. I downloaded the SXSW Go app, researched sessions and speakers and spoke to colleagues and friends who had attended in the past. I have to admit, even after all that prep, it was still hard to wrap my mind around what I was walking into this week.

I was blown away. I left SXSW feeling energized, smarter and more curious than ever. The speakers were dynamic, their content was interesting and the attendees were friendly and cool.

Here are the “three S’s” that stood out from my experience:

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3 Things Every Brand Needs to Remember From SXSW

SXSW has been a whirlwind of activity this year – and the problem is always the same after conferences as big and exciting as this one: How do you experience everything SXSW has to offer and then condense it into one blog post?

The answer: It’s extremely difficult.

Of all the insights gained this year, here are three things that I will most certainly bring back with me to Ketchum’s London office:

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SXSW: My Office on Mars

More than anything else, SXSW is a realm of possibilities; the promise of a smarter and more transparent future. Austin is teaming with change-agents, event-activators and dynamic speakers – meaning everyone is bound to come away with something different. The sessions you attend, conversations you have, and gut insights you carry back to your native office all shape your purview of what transpired. Personally, I’ve noticed three themes at SXSW:

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Look Back to the Future

Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of nice bound notebooks. I have a silly fear of filling them up with “useless” notes so I tend to save them for special occasions.

So, the particular book I picked up for this year’s SXSW had my notes from the 2012 conference. In it were my notes from Jeffrey Tambor’s 2012 Acting Session. Of all the sessions over the years, this session has had the strongest professional impact on me.

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#SXSW2015: How to Affect Positive Change

Illustration from Daniel Pink’s SXSW session: Fear, Shame, Empathy & More Ways to Change Behavior

I thought my first day “as the new kid” at SXSW would be a blast, overwhelming and out-of-this-world. It wasn’t. It was better. It was an intellectual paradise.

I came away from day one with pages of notes from sessions filled with fantastic insights from a wide range of speakers. In particular, those of author Daniel Pink.

In Mr. Pink’s session, Fear, Shame, Empathy & More Ways to Change Behavior, Daniel shared that when trying to change behavior, a goal of all great communicators, there are several ways to engage with your audience. Among his “seven principles of behavior change,” there were three insights that resonated with me personally from the session:

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