Walker Sands Helps Save the SF Bay with #WSgrowsSF Campaign

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For 6 months now, we’ve been settling our roots in San Francisco. We’ve still got a ways to grow, but we want to give back to the community that has quickly become our second home. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Save the Bay for its inaugural Bay Day on Oct. 1, a celebration which aims to bring awareness and protection to the SF Bay.

For every social post shared by Oct. 1 with our hashtag, #WSgrowsSF, we’re donating $1 to Save the Bay.

Want to participate? Great! Pull out your phone, take a nature-themed photo and share it using #WSgrowsSF. Have a plant at your desk? Perfect! Snap a selfie and post away. Or, use this as an opportunity to enjoy lunch outside. Can’t get out today? No problem. We’re collecting photos through Saturday, Oct. 1, so you have time. Invite your coworkers, friends, family and even your pets to join in on the fun!

Check out how Walker Sands is celebrating Bay Day and learn more about how we’re bringing San Francisco together to Save the Bay here.

Happy growing!

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Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall: What’s Been Going on at Walker Sands

It’s hard to believe that this beautiful Chicago summer has come to a close!  But, in true Walker Sands fashion, we enjoyed every last minute of it.  Check out what we’ve been up to these past few weeks:

Team ESPS Goes Boating

ESPS BoatThe ultimate Chicago summer goal?  Finding a friend with a boat!  That’s exactly what team ESPS (enterprise software and professional services) did.  We are all about team bonding, and they had a great time enjoying the sunset on a pontoon cruise down the river.  

Annual Walker Sands Cubs Game

Though the end of the summer is bittersweet, we all look forwaCubs Game 1rd to the annual Walker Sands Cubs game.  From being a few people in the bleachers to pretty much taking up a whole section, this is a treasured tradition that has grown with our agency. Not only did the Cubs clinch the NLC title the night prior, they ended our game with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning – needless to say, it was a great day to be a Cubs fan and a Walker Sands employee!

Are You Ready for Some Football?Fantasy Draft

With fall just around the corner, our most competitive employees got together for an intense fantasy football draft.  The Bears may not have a shot at winning it all, but one of our lucky employees will be crowned the Walker Sands Fantasy Champ!

We are all looking forward to the change in season and to see what new challenges and opportunities it will bring.  Our fall interns start this week and we’ve got some exciting projects in the works, so be sure to check back soon for more updates!

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Chatbots, onboarding solutions and data aggregation showcased at FinovateFall 2016

More than 70 companies ranging from industry giants such as IBM to recently launched fintech startups took the stage at the 10th annual FinovateFall conference in New York City earlier this month. The two-day event was a reflection of how truly global fintech has become, as the conference drew attendees and presenters from six continents. Each company had seven minutes to demonstrate its product to an audience filled with investors, bankers, regulators, analysts and industry peers — think of it as financial technology speed dating.

With a constant stream of new product launches, it was easy to see some trends come to the forefront that hint at where banking and financial services are headed:
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— The days of calling your bank or stopping by a brick-and-mortar branch to speak to an actual human are long gone. The next wave of financial services is all about the chatbot with many on display at FinovateFall. A crowd favorite was Clinc’s banking chatbot “Finie” which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to communicate in conversational language. A similar chatbot launched by Kore is specifically designed to give retail bank and credit union customers a personalized experience, specifically on mobile. The Kore Smart Bot is also integrated Walker Sands client Finicity’s banking platform, enabling the chatbot to access user-permissioned financial data quickly and compliantly.

Onboarding solutions — Technology designed to improve the new account opening and onboarding process in banking highlighted how financial institutions often struggle to create a (somewhat) enjoyable onboarding experience. The Financial Brand profiled seven companies that unleashed onboarding technology including GRO Solutions’ claim that financial institutions can open and fund new accounts in under four minutes.
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Data aggregation and analytics — In order to continue delivering fintech innovation to consumers and businesses, user-permissioned financial data must find its way from banks into the hands of app developers. Similarly, banks need to know how to best use the data to provide their customer with modern solutions and analysis to assist with personal financial management. MX, a technology provider that enables financial institutions to acquire new data, won the very coveted “Best of Show” award at FinovateFall for its advancement in its data analytics platform.

As fintech grows and traditional banks evolve to meet the needs of businesses and consumers, the innovations on display at Finovate will continue to advance the global financial community.

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Seven Steps to Managing a Crisis

By Rosie Gillam and Beth Burghgraef, Senior Account Executives 

“Put time between anger and response.” – Abraham Lincoln

Crises are never planned and they come in many forms. From violent and immediate – flood, epidemic or major accident – to non-violent and emerging – data breach, product failure or fiscal mismanagement – crisis situations are difficult and they call for smart, effective action.

As public relations professionals, our responsibility is far more broad than advising and implementing news and social media strategies in a crisis. We are to take a lead role in guiding wise decision-making and protecting our client’s reputation.

Last week, we attended “Managing Intense Media Scrutiny,” a training session in San Francisco hosted by PRSA, and took away some key tactics for handling media and social media relations during a crisis. While there is no one way to handle a crisis, the following seven steps are guidelines to follow when executing on a crisis situation:

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Walker Sands Study: College students turn to TV and movies for understanding of consulting

As the demand for consultants increases, professional services companies are working to fill the rapidly expanding employment pipeline. But recruiting young talent can be a challenge when so many college students view consulting careers through the distorting lens of popular entertainment.

A recent Walker Sands study of 500 U.S. college students found that of the less than half who report knowing what consulting firms do, more than one-third base that knowledge on media sources like “House of Lies” and “Up in the Air.”

Unfortunately for consulting firms, TV shows and movies like these often present an inaccurate – not to mention unflattering – picture of the consulting business. “House of Lies,” for instance, would have you believe a consulting job is all about insulting clients, while “Up in the Air” would convince you it’s actually about firing people. College students who watch these shows and movies and emerge with a skewed perception of what it means to work in consulting.

Not that “House of Lies’” writing team is to be blamed; their aim is to entertain. But the fact that so many college students base their awareness of consulting careers on entertainment points to a dearth of accessible information about what the field really entails.

Walker-Sands-Students-Perceptions-of-Consulting-Company-CultureThis awareness gap is a problem for consulting firms, especially as the need for young talent increases. Between 2014 and 2024, the demand for consulting services employment is projected to grow by 400,000 jobs. But as our study reveals, college students aren’t flocking to these roles: Only nine percent of those surveyed said they’d applied for consulting internships or jobs. And on a recent National Society of High School Scholars list of businesses millennials want to work for, only two consulting firms broke the top 100.

To debunk the media-borne myths surrounding consulting, firms should spearhead college outreach efforts that present young talent with an accurate and inviting picture of the opportunities a consulting career offers. For starters, this means emphasizing initiatives beyond the career fair, and promoting awareness through the channels students rely on most (such as professor recommendations and career centers.) It’s also never too early to start shaping perception: initiatives aimed at freshmen and sophomore college students can help ensure they don’t accept pop culture stereotypes as fact.

To learn more about how college students perceive the consulting industry – and what firms can do to better attract millennial talent – check out the full study, Where They’re Going, They Don’t Want Roadmaps: Gauging College Students’ Perceptions of Consulting Careers and watch the video.

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Visit the Walker Sands website. We specialize in PR and marketing services for technology solution providers and B2B companies. Walker Sands Digital offers a wide array of digital marketing solutions and helps firms to get the most from their online presence.
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