PROI Sits Down with Paul Holmes to Discuss State of the PR Industry

Anyone familiar with public relations has likely heard the name Paul Holmes. Holmes is the thought leader, founder and CEO behind The Holmes Report, an online community that brings together the brightest in public relations.

Paul Holmes

The website holds an impressive breadth and depth in the industry, spanning five continents and producing events, reports, research and a published newsletter to list a few. Annually, it hosts the SABRE Awards, which receive nearly 5,000 entries internationally every year.

Now, with 25 years of public relations experience, Holmes is the leader of one of the most influential creative companies in the world. Recently, he sat down with PROI for an interview.

Walker Sands is the Chicago partner of Public Relations Organisation International (PROI), a global network of top agencies serving 4,400 clients globally.

PROI’s conversation with Holmes consisted of standout campaigns and why the phrase “Public Relations” is steadfast. Additionally, he shares his thoughts on what B2C marketers can learn from the winning B2B campaigns of 2015.

Holmes remarks on what makes an award winning campaign standout:

“If brands want consumers to become advocates, then brands have to advocate for their consumers”

Holmes also commented on the misconception of PR and consulting: “I think PR should be advising companies on what to do, not what to say.”

Both PROI and The Holmes Agency are dedicated to connecting the world through exceptional communication. See more about Walker Sands’ relationship with them here and here, respectively. Read all of Holmes’ thoughts on the global public relations landscape and discover his personal favorite campaigns here.

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Friday Five: 9/28-10/2



Happy Friday! This week’s news has been all about space, and it feels a little like this:

Photo Credit: ASAP Science

Photo Credit: ASAP Science

Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news.

Super Blood Moon on Sunday – New York Times

First up, millions of people viewed the super blood moon eclipse that occurred on Sunday night. It happened at a reasonable time, around 9:40 p.m. Central Time, so many were able to experience the rare phenomenon this past weekend. So what’s a super blood moon? It’s when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit around us. That’s what makes it “super” since it appears abnormally large in the sky. The close orbit also aligned with a lunar eclipse, which means the Earth’s shadow fell on the moon at the same time. Since Earth has an atmosphere, it causes a reddish tint to reflect off the moon, giving it the namesake.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Water on Mars – WIRED

Then, of course, on Monday, news broke that there’s liquid water on Mars, as if the Internet didn’t have enough space-related news. The news disseminated from the original NASA press release, but if you compare the press release to the what news sites were reporting, you’ll see a stark difference. It became more conversational as the news appeared on social media, sparking a huge amount of opinion and humor posts.

Leo Burnett Invents Temporary Tattoos that Scan Like QR Codes – AdWeek

The Tourism Authority of Thailand knows that it’s difficult to draw attention at the International Tourism Expo, especially with a bunch of flyers cluttering people’s hands. So their advertising agency, Leo Burnett, came up with innovative wearable QR codes that resemble a Sailor Jerry tattoo. The tattoo can be scanned and its internal QR code leads to a series of clever videos about Thailand. QR codes have never looked cooler.

Photo credit: AdWeek

Photo Credit: AdWeek

No More Google Chromecast on Amazon – TechCrunch

On Thursday, TechCrunch reported that Amazon is banning sales of Google Chromecast and Apple TV.  Come Oct. 29, there will be absolutely no sales of those products on the website. “Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime. It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion. Roku, XBOX, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices,” said the official statement from Amazon. In other words, Amazon is gearing up for competition, especially since Google just released a new version of Chromecast.

Snapchat wants to put brands on your face – The Verge

You know those rainbow and googly-eyed lenses Snapchat implemented a couple weeks ago? Soon it will be an opportunity for brands to sponsor them, for a minimum of $450,000+ on a normal day or  $750,000+ on a holiday. It’s a move beyond passively observing content to direct engagement with consumers willing to express the brand. Movie studios are expected to be the first sponsors. I personally can’t wait until they make a Mockingjay Part 2 themed one. Expect them to roll out near Halloween.

Photo Credit: PC Advisor

Photo Credit: PC Advisor

Read anything interesting this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands

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Friday Five: 9/21-9/25


Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of industry news from the week!

What Does the Pope Think About Technology? #ItsComplicated – WIRED

Pope Francis has finally made his way to the United States, and Americans are celebrating over social media. Francis has made it a point to appeal to younger generations and, in doing so, is openly embracing technology (he regularly poses for selfies with younger crowd members). He still believes online communication is about display over connection but also recognizes its importance in today’s society.

Source: AP

Source: AP


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Conversations that Win, Part 3: Power of Message

Watch Tim reveal the final step in creating a winning conversation.

In our last posts we talked about finding what makes you unique and turning that into your power position. From here we are going to tie it all together and get a little crafty with a pen and paper.

Crafting conversations that go against the way your brain is naturally programmed to work can be a daunting task. However, once you can identify uniqueness, master the Value Wedge and build a Message Pyramid, the new conversation will become second nature. Now all you need is to make your message hard to forget. This is where Big Pictures come into play.

Power in Pictures

Typical conversation is focused around words and speaking. Conversations that win deviate from the norm, and incorporate simple visuals with big messages. Why? Because it works. In fact, a psychology study showed that people were only able to retain 10 percent of spoken information, but could recall 65 percent more of that conversation when pictures were included.

Context & Comparisons

Big Pictures integrate everything we have learned so far and utilize the brain’s sensitivity to images as well as contrast comparisons. Images create visual stimulation and contrasts provide context. This technique illustrates the Big Picture and shows the value of leaving a no longer safe and sustainable situation.


Three Step Stories

Creating a Big Picture is a three step process. Much like the Message Pyramid, it’s important that all the steps are followed in chronological order. The starting point for your Big Picture should be about your customer. Visualize their world and pain points in a concise and poignant drawing. Stick figures are welcome, in fact encouraged. Next, compare the customer’s current situation and how it can be improved through your services.   For maximum impact, sketch a side by side comparison. For the third and final step, make a metaphor. If a metaphor doesn’t work leave it out, but the most persuasive messages always contain some sort of metaphor that resonates with prospects.

The Tools

Big Pictures are going to get crafty, but you don’t have to be Picasso. All you need is a piece of paper, a pen and your message. In B2B sales it can be extremely difficult to convince prospects of the need for a service they can’t actually see, something abstract. People like things that are concrete and tangible. Paper and pen help the abstract become complete with a few simple drawings that can be recreated over and over again to encapsulate your message.


By overcoming the status quo and having the conversations that people are afraid to hear, you will be well on your way to closing more sales and helping your clients succeed in a safer, more sustainable environment.


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Content Marketing Enters Puberty: An Update from Content Marketing World 2015

The “Trough of Disillusionment.” That’s where the founder of CMI, Joe Pulizzi, said content marketing is headed when he spoke at the recent Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. It sounds ominous – but it may be a sign that content is on track to deliver even more impressive outcomes for B2B brands.

Content Marketing World Newsletter Image

Has Content Marketing Peaked?

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, emerging technologies ride a wave of initial enthusiasm and then peak before sinking back down to the world of more realistic expectations. Rock bottom (the Trough of Disillusionment) represents the point at which the innovation evolves and delivers real productivity to users.

Content marketing appears to have crested the peak of the Hype Cycle as brands rightsize their expectations about content. To borrow a term from human development, content marketing is entering puberty and growing into a more mature marketing component.

With that in mind, we gathered several important takeaways from Content Marketing World to keep in mind if you happen to be responsible for a B2B brand:

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