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Social media presence

So you really don’t have the funds to go gangbusters on social media marketing, but you recognize the importance of having a unique presence on social media. Maybe you’re trying to sell a brand new product or attract more patrons to your restaurant—even B2B businesses can benefit from a great social media presence by attracting like-minded companies to work with, as well as new employees.

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Brands taking stances on sociopolitical issues is a relatively new trend that has been accelerating steadily in the last few months. Since Donald Trump took office, we’ve seen a few prime examples of corporations speaking out for or against political issues.

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In a past interview, Jackie Kennedy Onassis was praised for her intimate ability as a conversationalist that instantly resonated with her hosts, friends and acquaintances. After a journalist mentioned her charismatic rapport, she laughed her famous breathless laugh and responded, “I never really talk to people. I really enjoy just listening to what they have to say.”

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Thought leadership can assume many forms during the course of a PR campaign. Native advertising is becoming more prominent and brands can pay for advertorials or contributed content to push an executive as an expert on a particular topic. These are loosely considered thought leadership components, but the most impactful and hard-fought pieces are earned. And when it comes to earned editorials, op-eds and bylines, the author is held to a higher standard of journalistic ethics and rules.

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A couple weeks ago at the Culturati Summit here in Austin, I attended a panel that grappled with policies addressing politics in the workplace. Not office politics, but rather questions about wearing political gear at the office, the appropriateness of expressing political opinions on personal social media accounts, debating with colleagues or holding a town hall to discuss an upcoming election.

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Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 covering film and television. You may have seen his interviews and film reviews on websites like Crave Online, Slashfilm, About.com, We Live Entertainment, Cinema Thread and more.

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So, you have a film at South by Southwest (SXSW) and you want to make a splash. Of course, you want to capitalize on this moment in time and make the most of your film’s debut.

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As we lay to rest another (albeit shocking) end to a football season, millions of fans will lament the Falcons (while making some sly observations), celebrate the Pats (congrats Tom!) and start the countdown to next season’s kickoff. They’ll also join the rest of the world for the Monday morning advertising recap: checking out the commercials their friends talked through, watching full versions of website-crashing ads and picking their favorites, even if it was only 10 seconds long.

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We’re a month into 2017, and here are a few things we know:

  • Facebook and Instagram Live videos are shaking things up.

  • Brands are letting loose for marketing that is less polished but more genuine.

  • Politics: The social chatter will never end.

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These days, CMOs have more to juggle than ever before. They devise overall company strategies, take products to market, liaise with the PR partner, play a part in investor relations, helm lead-generation and content marketing campaigns, pen thought leadership pieces, oversee social media strategy and internal communications, speak at conferences and trade shows and—on top of all that and more—fulfill the specific needs of the C-suite.

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We all have those public relations characters in TV and film who we love. (Or love to hate.) Here's Red Fan's quick guide to the dos and don’ts of famous PR personalities:

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“Merry Christmas,” or “Season’s Greetings?” Here are a few business do’s and don’ts around the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of year (if you’re like me, you almost sing that) and it’s time to thank clients, business partners, employees and even potential clients for a wonderful year and to show that you are thinking of them around the holidays. Holidays? Don’t we mean Christmas? Well, yes and no. It’s a slippery slope that needs to be carefully navigated—sad, but true.

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It’s the most wonderful time of year! So, naturally, we thought we’d share our favorite holiday events in Texas in a lovely little photo blog to get you in the spirit of the season.

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When you create a company, you might think you have a vision and dream of what that company can be, what it does and what it can provide. Just as importantly, you think you know how to communicate that vision to investors, customers and the media.

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For better or worse, the 2016 election is over. I’m not here to talk about the results or relay yet another opinion or reactionary piece. There are an infinite number of places to consume that type of content.

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You may have seen the recent news about Hunter Jobbins, the Kansas State University student who received a note from someone who had the audacity to steal a Kit-Kat bar—and only a Kit-Kat bar—from his car. Gimme a break, you couldn’t just break off a piece? Sorry, we had to throw in at least one pun.

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With the excitement in Austin of the Formula 1 US Grand Prix race around the corner, Red Fan's Kristen O'Brien chatted with Leigh Diffey, NBC Sports Formula One and IndyCar Play-by-Play Announcer to talk about his impressive career as a motor sports (and most recently Olympics) announcer.

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In the coming weeks and months, Red Fan will be expanding the purview of this blog to incorporate even more content and commentary, covering politics, pop culture, current events and breaking news, investigative reports and studies on relevant topics and interesting industries, and whatever else gets our collective fingers moving on our keyboards.

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Renuka Rayasam

Renuka Rayasam has worked as a staffer for several American newspapers and magazines including U.S. News & World Report, Fortune Small Business, The Kiplinger Letter and The Austin American-Statesman. She has also written forThe New Yorker, Quartz, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Reuters and the BBC among other publications.

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PR Team Furry Friends

It's safe to say that the Red Fan office is a dog-friendly zone. Our chief entertainment officer, Hank, often frequents the premises and provides ample fun for the team. However, Hank is not the only furry friend in our hearts. Many of our Red Fan team members have their own "CEO" at home. Hear from our resident pups and kittens below.

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Getting press coverage is a full-time job

As a full-service public relations firm, our clients come to us daily to focus on securing press coverage, what the industry calls “earned media.”

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Positioning Statements

As a PR firm, we’re always conducting research. It can take many forms: finding the right reporter to pitch with a new storyline, discovering trends in your clients’ industries so we can speak about them intelligently or researching new business opportunities to elicit that, “Wow, they really did their homework” reaction when submitting an RFP or jumping on an introductory call.

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As our engines are getting revved up to go into high gear again in September, it may be time to kick the tires on the health of your business, and think about investing in a good public relations strategy. With the help of the Red Fan team, I’ve compiled our list of what PR can do for you with the right PR agency in place… and we bet some of these you may not have even realized.

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As a working mother, I’m constantly asked how I juggle running my own household (let alone a business), holding board positions and being present for my family. It's not easy, and it's not always graceful, but I love this life and I try to find smart ways to make it work. Surrounding yourself with amazing people is the first step and saying “no” to distractions is key.

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A day in the Life of a PR Agency Owner

First things first, coffee.

Red Fan Communications President and Founder Kathleen Lucente spends her days networking, strategizing with her stellar accounts team and building top-notch PR campaigns for clients all over the nation.

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Productivity Tools for Small Businesses

Navigating the cluttered landscape of SaaS offerings for small/medium-sized businesses is no small adventure. From stand-alone offerings to existing-service integrations and web extensions, there are a lot of paths from which to choose.

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Analyze Your Marketing Communications

“And how are you going to measure that?”

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PR Tips for Community Banks

In the first post of this series, I examined the crucial role people play in community banking, within and outside of the institutions. Today, I’m going to write a bit about community banking from a branding and reputation management perspective.

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As more and more of us are working outside of the office, or juggling consulting and freelance jobs, the need to have a solid meeting place takes on more importance.

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Red Fan is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Remedy Urgent Care, an Austin-based mobile urgent care service that brings a doctor or physician assistant directly to your home, office or hotel.

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She’s tricky. Mysterious. Hard to understand.

Search for her online, you’ll find a reputation thoroughly examined but not well understood. Commentary suggests a mixed bag of immeasurable outcomes, but you know when she shines because your boardroom titters with pleasure at the positive media coverage.

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Finance is one of the most delicate, crucial and emotional aspects of a person’s life. Sitting down with a banker to discuss finance can make a person feel vulnerable and unsure of the present or future. This is the exact moment when a community bank can provide the personal support and feeling of community that can instill confidence and comfort in a customer.

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WARNING: This post contains spoilers for all seasons of Game of Thrones.

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Last week I shared a few points crowdsourced from the millennial contingent at Red Fan. On the flip side, I asked Red Fan Communications President and Founder Kathleen Lucente to share her ideas and thoughts on how to promote a business environment and culture conducive to millennials.

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Michael Holmes has been with ESPN for over nine years working as a producer and editor. He has won numerous EMMY’s and awards for his work, including a Lonestar Emmy for his segment Her Voice on University of Texas basketball player Imani Boyette’s use of poetry to cope with childhood depression.

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Ahhhhh, millennials. Clients ask about them; journalists write about them; marketers and businesspeople casually mention them like they’re the latest buzzword. They're the bane of your existence, or the potential saviors of us all.

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School Branding

In January, I was asked to give a presentation on school branding for the Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools’ annual conference. As schools look to regroup, now that summer vacation is upon us, I thought I would share a few insights from that speech. These ideas can elevate your brand and push your communications plan to the next level.

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Creative Marketing Strategies

Let’s face it; sometimes you can pitch your company’s story until your fingers give out, and still get zero bites.

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Cocktails for media relations specialists

The public relations professional and the cocktail have been long and faithful companions. In times of need, and usually at an ungodly hour, the PR pro closes his laptop and dials up for a glass of what ails him or her.

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THE TOP 4 THINGS for Brand Strategy

What is your first impression of a company? Most of the time, it’s through a website. Some businesses thrive on face-to-face communication for sales, but when it comes down to a good ol’ Google search, your website might just be the one thing that could make or break a conversion.

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media relations specialists red carpet tips

If you’ve ever worked a celebrity red carpet you know the challenges: added security, unpredictable fans, unpredictable media, celebs with no sense of timing who run late, or who run late AND show up in an altered state, sometimes with unruly entourages.

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Bloggers and Integrated Communications

At Red Fan, one of the most requested services for B2C clients is blogger relations. Working with bloggers to boost brand visibility on social media and online is one of the key ingredients in any integrated communications campaign.

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Tips for landing a PR Internship

It’s that time of year; time to land a summer internship. If you’re a junior or senior in college, you might be dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on your resume—and maybe crossing your fingers, too.

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Meetings, meetings, meetings. Busy schedules and gridlocked calendars are trademarks of a hard-working CMO. When you are constantly in motion, it can be difficult to center yourself over any given task, or even to focus on your next action item.

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In our latest edition of Media Minds, I sat down with my good friend Kim Conniff Taber, the culture editor of the International New York Times in Paris. Taber has worked in a variety of positions for the last 12 years, including as the editor of the arts special reports and deputy editor of the paper's Global Agenda magazine.

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Life moments are all the rage these days. Where parties with simple announcements, bland appetizers and cocktails used to suffice, today, you have to infuse creativity with Instagram-worthy vignettes to make your attendees the “who’s who” of event-goers.

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How I Use Evernote At A PR FIrm

Happy spring, everyone! It’s the end of March, and we’re welcoming warmer weather and sunshine here in Austin. Soon we’ll be dusting off our spring wardrobes and planning trips to Zilker Park. Springtime brings with it a sense of energy and excitement but can sometimes catch you off guard with its sudden zeal to get out and get moving.

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We made it! SXSW is officially over. Red Fan happily spent the latter half of SXSW enjoying more films, more parties and even the first lady.

Here are Media Strategist Kristen O’Brien’s final thoughts on SXSW 2016.

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Kathleen Lucente and I sat down with evangelist, brand ambassador, thought leader, social media guru, author (is this list of titles long enough, yet?), speaker and hockey fan Guy Kawasaki. Guy was in town for SXSWedu, where he moderated several panels.

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SXSW in Austin

The first week of South by Southwest started with a roar with Red Fan in the thick of the action talking to comedians, film stars and other participants.

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How to SXSW for PR and Marketing Pros

We’re feeling the calm before the SXSW storm—there are only four days until thousands of entrepreneurs, creatives, journalists, marketing and PR professionals, techies and more descend upon the great city of Austin, Texas.

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South by Southwest in Austin

One of Austin’s premiere festivals is right around the corner. We'd love to meet you while you're in town for South by Southwest! Check out the top reasons why Red Fan is the best place to drop in during South By.

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develop relationships with journalists

I’ve always thought of those in the media as kindred spirits. But that’s because as soon as I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer was “journalist.” (It may also be that I was smitten with Lois Lane’s character in the 1978 Superman movie.)

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Social media and emerging mobile technologies have changed the way people interact, not only on a personal level but also on a business level. Look around at any restaurant, coffee shop or sporting event—everyone is on his or her phone. And I don’t mean in the form of a verbal conversation.

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Last week, Kathleen Lucente, president and founder of Red Fan Communications, attended the Culturati Summit in Austin, Texas. The conference gathered 100 C-suite executives throughout the U.S. to discuss the importance of company culture and employee engagement. Lucente recently sat down with me to reflect a bit more on the ideas presented at the summit.

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Why You Should Major in Journalism

When I first decided to make journalism—or, more broadly, writing—a career at the University of Missouri, I kept hearing from friends and family that journalism was on its way to extinction. Its old-school practitioners were a dying breed, they said, who would soon be replaced by anyone with a cell phone or a laptop, the ability to craft a 140-character sentence and the foresight or luck to be in the right place at the right time.

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At the start of every client relationship, Red Fan makes it a point to dive deep into a company’s messaging and branding. That dive usually includes a critical analysis of a business’s social media platforms.

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Top-of-Mind Topics for Top Media

Blink. February.

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were contemplating the upcoming New Year and all of its possibilities. Now, as we close the first month of 2016, it’s time to dive into new strategy, execute on stellar marketing plans and fulfill a few of those resolutions.

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Thought Leadership Campaigns

In a world where marketing fluff too often masquerades as thought leadership, this may be a good time to take a look at your own attempts to be a leading voice in your industry.

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Austin public relations firm grows with bolstered account team

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How to Succeed at your Next Internship

Just kidding— did you really think you’d get away with not trying at your upcoming internship? Think again. As you gear up for a new semester, companies across the nation are welcoming new interns to their teams. They’re looking for bright candidates to mentor as well as to learn from. What can you bring to the table to blow your internship out of the water? Better yet, what can you do in just one week to really wow your employer?

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Today we are so excited to celebrate National Cat Herders Day! Okay, maybe “excited” isn’t the right word, because let’s face it, “herding cats” means tackling a task, problem or job that seems nearly impossible. It seems appropriate that this day falls smack in the middle of December. When gifts, vacation and spending time with family and friends are right around the corner, it’s nearly impossible to stay focused on the daily work grind.

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At Red Fan, we proudly reside in a certified Austin historical landmark, dubbed the “Helms House”, naturally, because of its location on the corner of Helms street and 32nd street. Before the Helms House became Red Fan’s office, it served as an eclectic home to many Austin residents, including the editor of the first newspaper in Austin! Other Helms House residents included the highly regarded Lucky Attal and his wife, founders of the General Store Gallery, a 1980s co-op and a fire station that utilized the cupola as a lookout tower.

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November has been a busy month under the roof of the Helms House. After throwing an incredible Halloween bash in October, we hosted our clients, partners and friends for a Thanksgiving celebration at the Red Fan office. We also added four new clients to our list of things to be thankful for this year.

We say it time and time again—we work with people we like and brands we believe in. This couldn’t be truer for the business relationships we’ve recently fostered.

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At Red Fan, we push our clients to dive into their messaging, branding and overall brand reputation in order to pursue a more unified message in the press. In many instances, companies are aligned, prepared and ready to make those messaging decisions. However, in some cases, we find that our communications strategy needs to dive much deeper into the company’s overall messaging, starting with the structure of their internal communications.

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Expressing gratitude can be one of the most powerful things you do to foster business relationships.

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What Keeps CEOs up at Night?

It’s remarkable how CEOs of both start-ups and mature businesses often share similar concerns. Below I summarize some of their top concerns and explain how a little forethought and the right advisor can help navigate those concerns.

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What's Keeping CMOs up at Night

It’s October, and for many organizations, it’s time to plan for the coming year. Consequently, my phone rings more this time of year than any other, and coffee meetings with chief marketing officers fill my calendar like that robust bowl of candy just before Halloween.

Want to join the conversation? Pour a cup and keep reading for a sampling of what’s on CMO’s minds.

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Trail of Lights Foundation Board Members

Trail of Lights Foundation, the nonprofit behind Austin’s favorite holiday light display, produces event for third consecutive year with continued support from corporations and individuals.

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How to ensure your employees are brand positive on social media.

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This month, I took a digital inventory on the favorite technology tools my team and I use on a daily basis. The following apps, software and websites power Red Fan’s digital workflow, and can boost your business, too.

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Red Fan Communications, a leading full-service public relations firm based in Austin, has hired Emma Chase from the University of Texas at Austin as an account coordinator, and Stacie Larsen formerly with HCB Health as executive assistant to the president.

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Do yourself (and your investors) a favor and don’t be that guy or gal. I’m talking about the founder or CEO who assumes their latest accomplishment, no matter how big it is in their head, is newsworthy. Trust me when I tell you that no one, and I mean no one, loves your company as much as you do. At least not yet.

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Perfect Headshot for Brand Strategy

There are two kinds of people: those who update their headshot regularly out of pure necessity and those that simply don’t have one. As a photographer who specializes in people, it’s rare that I meet someone who treats their headshot with as much care as they do their logo design or office decor. In an age when we e-meet long before we ever actually shake hands, it’s important that your first impression – your online one - is your best impression.

Here are a few ways to ensure you have the perfect headshot:

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In a past interview, Jackie Onassis was praised for her intimate ability as a conversationalist that instantly resonated with her hosts, friends and acquaintances. After the journalist mentioned her charismatic rapport, she laughed her famous breathless laugh then responded, “I never really talk to people. I really enjoy just listening to what they have to say.”

At Red Fan Communications, it is pertinent that we practice this sentiment in all of our work, particularly when networking. We’ve noted some important do’s and don’ts along the way that help us to properly exercise Jackie O’s mantra for building both our clients’ businesses and our own.

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The Trail of Lights Foundation and Humana announced today that the annual Trail of Lights Fun Run will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 and is now open for registration. Part of the Trail of Lights “Sneak Peek weekend,” the Trail of Lights Fun Run is an event that welcomes all ages to exercise in festive attire at Zilker Park. Sponsored by Humana, the 2015 Fun Run encourages a healthy and fun way to celebrate the holiday season.

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Kids may have their back-to-school lists, but executives have a “back-to-fall” list. Kick it into high gear with these fall must-haves.

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When the new year rolls around, stores go into a full frenzy. The scent of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air as parents and students busily stock up on their necessary supplies for the new semester. This is a great time of year to take inventory on your own office’s supply drawer. Do you have everything you need to run efficiently in your day-to-day? Check out Red Fan’s list of must-have items for a PR firm.

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Every day new companies are born. Some never make it past their infancy stage but others have just the right amount of gumption (and maybe a little luck in timing) to lead to amazing growth.

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At first glance, Shep Gordon might remind you of your weird uncle—the joker that no one understands. But spend a little time with him, and you might realize that he might be a real-life Don Draper (minus the chiseled jawline and coifed hair).

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Congratulations! You’ve just secured an interview with a key member of the press. However, there’s no time to meet in person, and they’ve asked to hold the interview via Skype. How do you create a conversation through a webcam that feels as genuine as an in-person interview? Have no fear, the following 10 tips will help you ace your interview and leave the media eager to use you as a resource in the future.

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AUSTIN, TX (August 4, 2015) – Metropia, Inc., creators of the mobile app system to alleviate traffic congestion, today announced its integration with ATXfloods to provide its users with updates on low water crossings across Central Texas.

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AUSTIN, TX (July 28, 2015) –Stella San Jac, an Austin-American inspired restaurant located on the corner of San Jacinto Boulevard and Fifth Street, today officially announced Chef Michael Cerrie as the restaurant’s executive chef.

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The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” isn’t as harsh as it sounds. Underscore it with the phrase “quality over quantity,” and you’re ready to zoom in on the best network for your own business and for your clients.

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UPS trademarked their “Pullman Brown” in 1998; FedEx chose a distinct purple and orange; the United States Postal service is true to their red, white and blue. Have you ever wondered why these brands chose these specific colors?

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In this special edition of Media Minds, we travel a few blocks south of the Red Fan office to the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin where Samantha Grasso has just finished her third year as a journalism student. Samantha currently serves as ORANGE Magazine’s managing editor after previously serving as a contributing writer for the Daily Texan’s Life and Arts section and as a staff member of the Daily video department. Most recently, she finished an internship with McCombs TODAY.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS (July 16, 2015) – Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT), today announced the opening of its latest Austin hotel, The Westin Austin Downtown, located in the heart of the city at the corner of San Jacinto Boulevard and Fifth Street. A joint venture among White Lodging Services Corporation, the Harry Whittington family and REI Real Estate Services, LLC., the 20-story hotel, which draws design inspiration from the local music scene, is Westin’s second Austin property, and one of five new openings in North America this year.

The Westin Austin Downtown used HKS Architects, Inc. and was designed by Simeone Deary. Upon entering the lobby, guests are transported to a modern-day oasis where they are met with a 12-foot-tall custom-made art piece comprised of charred wood blocks that come together to form the body of a guitar. Incorporating natural design elements, the lobby ceiling and vertical garden mimic the cutouts of a Dobro guitar, while the ballroom floors allude to prints often found on guitar straps. In...

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A public relations disaster can affect businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, a startup, a nonprofit organization or even a church, no one is immune to a PR crisis. And while companies can often heal their reputation with time and smart business and communications strategies that put them in the right direction, silence isn’t always golden in PR.

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We are currently looking for three very talented individuals to join our growing team. Are you ready to step up to the plate? Browse our open roles by clicking the links below:

PR Manager

Senior Account Executive

Part-time Executive Assistant

As an innovative boutique PR agency, we are looking for creative thinkers and people who are extremely passionate about public relations and communications. Our employees are highly self-motivated, proactive and inspired. We cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration, creativity and pride in what we do.

Red Fan is growing with our clients and we always want to keep our finger on the pulse of exceptional PR and marketing talent. Our staff gets to work with some of the best brands in B2B and B2C...

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Following the excitement of landing a TV appearance comes the question: “what am I going to wear?” Selecting the right outfit for your on-film moment is almost as important as figuring out what you’re going to say. What you wear can either distract from your words or enhance your appearance, so follow these guidelines to create an outfit that exudes confidence and doesn’t scramble your viewer’s eyes!

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If you’re thinking about PR and you’ve gotten this far, you may be getting close to taking the PR plunge. You may have spent a little time brushing up on PR basics and figured out what you need to know before hiring a PR firm. Now, the idea of earned media is starting to make sense.

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This month, the Red Fan newsletter, Fan Features, discussed the importance of telling your brand's story through messaging, social media and company logos. Check out the editor's picks for June.

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Austin’s newest downtown restaurant will offer locals and travelers an exceptional, comfortable experience with locally inspired cuisine against a backdrop of live music

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They say you have seven seconds to make a lasting impression. It is human nature to see images and impulsively reach a conclusion well before we can interpret the written word or words, verbalize what they mean and make a decision on whether or not we like it.

Having an idea of this basic human psychology will help any brand find the right imagery to represent them in order to appropriately engage with their audience. Images spark our imaginations and have an immediate impact on us. If you make the right choices up front, your visuals will drive your audience to want to learn more and, ultimately, favor your brand.

Let’s take a look at the lowest common denominator of brand visuals: logos.

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At Red Fan, we encourage our clients to “let their message unfold.” We believe that a well-defined positioning statement backed by a solid messaging strategy is crucial to a consistent PR and communications plan. The creation of a healthy and thriving positioning statement takes work, but the outcome creates a rewarding brand identity that make brands irresistible to their clients.

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At Red Fan Communications, we know the importance of not only defining a strong brand personality, but bringing it to life and making it shine through every opportunity, whether it a company’s website, social media, events, logo, you name it.

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At Red Fan Communications, we are huge fans of keeping social media, well, social. That might seem simple enough, but with the emergence of new tools that make the management of social media easier – and in some cases, even automated – it’s important to remember the original purpose of social media: Engaging with people and brands you like.

How can you avoid the automation and, instead, embrace the conversation? We've outlined some high-level tips below to show you.

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Last year, Red Fan began the search for a finance- and operations-extraordinaire, leading us to the wonderful Stephanie Trusler.

It’s true -- Stephanie does keep Red Fan operationally sound as our director of finance and operations -- but her impact reaches well beyond the realm of your average COO. Her natural marketing savvy contributes greatly to Red Fan’s new-business pipeline, and her knowledge of the Austin market ensures our clients are always in the know on smart business opportunities and strategic partnerships.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie, not to worry; we took the liberty of sitting down with her to learn more about this (fabulous) face behind the fan!

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red fan and pr 101

Public relations can often be a difficult concept for people to wrap their heads around. It’s not quite advertising and it’s not quite marketing, but people tend to know it’s in the same realm as other communications-driven fields.

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Westin Austin Downtown

White Lodging has selected Red Fan Communications as its strategic public-relations partner to unveil the much-anticipated Westin Austin Downtown, set to open in July 2015.

A joint venture between White Lodging Services Corporation, the Harry Whittington family and REI Real Estate Services, LLC, the Westin Austin Downtown is located in the heart of downtown Austin, just walking distance from the sixth street entertainment district. It offers locals and travelers 366 guest rooms, two ballrooms, spacious meeting quarters, the city’s highest rooftop deck and a restaurant featuring Austin-American inspired dishes created by an award-wining chef (more to come!).

While the hotel will feature the Westin amenities guests know and love, including the Heavenly® Bed, Heavenly® Bath and WestinWORKOUT® Rooms, the Westin Austin Downtown will celebrate Austin’s eclectic culture and thriving live-music scene.

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hiring with red fan communications

Every week I sit down with CEOs and CMOs who believe they need a PR agency on board. When I sit down with companies of all sizes to talk about their search for a PR agency, I often find they already have a preconceived notion of what a PR agency will actually accomplish.

But when they meet with our team, they are delighted to learn that a strong PR partner is thinking about more than just getting ink; they are thinking about business objectives and implementing engaging strategies through a strong and integrated public relations campaign. The right PR partner is an investment, not just of money but of time. The search and selection of a PR partner needs to be done wisely.

Absolutely one thing is for sure: A business can’t hire a PR agency until they have their own ducks in a row so that they can clearly outline both the business and public relations goals that they would like to achieve. These goals often fall into categories based on the timeline of the company:

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Red Fan Communications Shakes Paws with The Pet Loss Center

Red Fan is thrilled to announce our newest partnership with The Pet Loss Center as it launches in Austin this summer. The Pet Loss Center will serve Austin and San Antonio by assisting pet parents, vets and others with pet-loss grief and companioning certification. Allowing pet parents to mourn, memorialize and celebrate life, The Pet Loss Center is committed to honoring the journey shared between pet parents and their pets.

A simple Google search or afternoon walk will highlight how pet-friendly this city we call home is. In Austin, our pets are our family members, best friends and coworkers. They are welcomed guests at local restaurants, bars and off-leash parks. We even have special food trucks, health-food stores, pet photographers, pet parades and yoga classes for our four-legged friends. So when we lose Fido or Whiskers, it's a big, heart-tugging, tear-jerking time in our life. The Pet Loss Center helps families and individuals work through this life-changing moment by providing services and resources that aid in dealing with grief while honoring the memories of their...

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Red Fan Communications is proud to partner with Metropia, an innovative traffic solutions mobile application, on the launch of their incentive-based and demand-driven offering.

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Last month, the Red Fan team started a monthly newsletter, Fan Features, that highlights our newest clients, showcases our latest blogs and curates the best recommendations for you to try, test and enjoy. Here are our editor's picks for April.

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The team at Red Fan Communications works with a number of different media outlets in the local and regional markets that cover a wide variety of topics. One of our favorite publications to stay in touch with is InFluential Magazine, where we read up on the latest lifestyle news, fashion trends, influential people and more.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with InFluential Magazine’s founder and publisher, William Jackson, and ask him a few questions about the magazine and working in the publishing industry.

William filled us in on how he finds the passion and inspiration to curate this magazine that’s “dedicated to the art of living well.”

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The Helms House, Red Fan’s unique office space nestled on the corner of 32nd and Helms Street, wasn’t always an office of public relations professionals. Long before our days of media phone calls and client meetings, the Red Fan office was a space inhabited by a variety of people: families in the late 1800s, the editor of the first Austin newspaper, firemen using the cupola as a lookout tower – the list goes on and on.

The house is probably best known for its legendary Halloween parties throughout the 70s and 80s that drew in crowds from all walks of life, whether they lived nearby or not.

So when the Red Fan team connected with the very first hosts of the Helms Halloween parties during our Alice and Wonderland themed Halloween party last October, we were beyond excited. The house has always had a knack for drawing in creative energy including that of prior Helms House resident and author, Howie Richey, who has shared with us an excerpt from his recently...

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Red Fan is so excited to announce that the HGTV Smart Home 2015 sweepstakes is now open for entries! We have been working with Scott Turner, builder of the HGTV Smart Home and founder of Riverside Homes, to gear up for today and encourage all of you to enter for a chance to win the home, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and $100,000 provided by national mortgage lender Quicken Loans, as well as all furnishings, tech appliances and artwork throughout the home!

For those who don’t win the home, but would like something similar in...

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At Red Fan Communications, not only do we have the pleasure of working with clients from many different industries – we are lucky enough to work with businesses in many different phases of their business life cycle, whether they’re early-phase companies or more established brands.

No matter what stage our clients are in, it’s important that their overall brand identity hits the marker on three key criteria before we launch a public relations campaign:

  • That their brand identity is true to their offering
  • That it stands out amongst that of their competitors’
  • And that it is remains relevant to who they are today.

The term rebrand is one that might make business owners shudder – can anyone say it with me, “What’s that going to cost me?” - but at Red Fan, we see a rebrand as an opportunity – an opportunity to improve your brand identity in a way that better resonates with your target audience and the media to ultimately grow your business.

And a rebrand doesn’t necessarily have to mean getting a new logo – it can be as subtle as...

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We’re committed to working with people we like and brands we believe in.

At first glance, Red Fan’s motto is simple. Some may think it’s so obvious it need not even be said. But we respectfully disagree. What may seem a simple idea that most take for granted is actually quite the differentiator for Red Fan, and not only because we state it so clearly, but because we believe it. We adhere to it. We live it.

Red Fan is a small agency. We have seven employees and as such, are fortunate enough to be selective in choosing our clients. It’s important to every one of us that we not only like the people we’re working with, but that we believe in their product and/or services. It’s always an agency-wide decision when bringing on a new client.

As a PR firm, we speak with the media, customers, investors and partners on behalf of our clients on a daily basis, and it makes a world of difference when we truly believe in our clients. When we go up to bat for our clients, it’s certainly advantageous for us to have used their product or service so we’re familiar with it, but...

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Lemonade Day Austin, a program of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, is a free, fun experiential learning program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business using a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day Austin inspires today's youth to become tomorrow's entrepreneurs.

Mikaila Ulmer, a Lemonade Day Austin alum, has done exactly that. The 10 year-old Austinite and founder of BeeSweet Lemonade was recently featured on Shark Tank and received a $60,000 investment from American entrepreneur, investor and TV personality, Daymond John.

Lemonade Day Austin has partnered with Red Fan Communications for fresh ideas to create additional buzz for their upcoming Lemonade Day on May 2.

Red Fan Communications is proud to live in a community that encourages and inspires children to dream big through programs like Lemonade Day Austin, equipping them with the knowledge and...

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On Friday evening, farmers, foodies and community leaders alike gathered at The Austonian to enjoy cocktails, farm-to-table cuisine and a bluegrass concert with The Lost Pines in support of Farmgrass, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping farmers in the greater Austin area with medical emergencies that prevent them from maintaining their farms and livelihoods.

The night’s auction items included a 7-night stay in Aruba at Villa Bougainvillea, a 2-night stay at Montesino Farm Studios in Wimberley, TX, an acoustic guitar signed by Robert Earl Keen, a private house concert by The Lost Pines and a Red Fan favorite: a glass of water which sold for $200.

The Farmgrass Fundraiser VIP Gala raised over $10,000 and was the perfect sneak peek of Farmgrass Fest at the Simmons Family Farm on May 3. If you missed out on the gala,...

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Real time video monitoring helps IT managers avoid quality issues, reduce the time to resolve problems and lower the cost to maintain and support video collaboration. View the original release on Business Wire.

(AUSTIN, TX) -- Vyopta Incorporated, the industry leader in collaboration analytics, today announced its new multi-vendor Real Time Video Monitoring product. Real Time Video Monitoring is an expansion of Vyopta’s vAnalytics application and is the only product that integrates historical and real-time data from Cisco, Polycom, Vidyo, Acano, Pexip and other unified communication technology providers, in a single, easy-to-use dashboard that IT teams use to improve the quality and performance of their video collaboration networks.

Vyopta customers in the technology, healthcare, education, financial services and energy sectors have used vAnalytics with the Real...

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Farmgrass Fest 2015

In Austin, we like to celebrate community. We buy local as often as we can, whether its food and beverage, or clothing and beauty products. We support Austin-based musicians and take pride in our laid-back-yet-progressive culture. For all of these reasons, we are so excited to announce our partnership with Farmgrass Fest 2015.

On Sunday, May 3, local musicians, restaurants, farmers and businesses will come together to put on a bluegrass music festival at Simmons Farm in Neiderwald, Texas, the proceeds of which will benefit the Growers Alliance of Central Texas’ Farmers Emergency Medical Fund.

The music lineup includes The Gravy Brothers, Whiskey Shivers, The Lost Pines and so many more! We’re looking forward to supporting this event and hope to see you there!

To learn more about Farmgrass Fest and purchase tickets, please visit...

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SXSW Interactive

At Red Fan Communications, we love to work with innovative brands that are coming up with new and better tools for our everyday lives. With SXSW quickly approaching we decided to sit down with some of our favorite Austin tech companies to see what advice they had for navigating SXSW Interactive. Below you can find tips from Atlas Wearables’ CTO, Mike Kasparian; Neil Patwardhan, founder and CEO of Skoop; and Adam Anderson, CTO of Q2.

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Riverside Homes

Red Fan is excited to announce our partnership with local, urban home builder Riverside Homes. Specializing in modern custom homes with clean lines, superior craftsmanship and attention to detail, Riverside Homes has been building in central Austin neighborhoods like Zilker, Bouldin and Travis Heights since 2001.

On top of being an incredible staple in urban Austin homebuilding, Riverside Homes has been selected as the builder for the HGTV Smart Home 2015 right here in Austin, Texas!

Known for building high-performance homes rated and certified by the City of Austin Green Building Program, Riverside Homes owner Scott Turner is bringing the latest green building materials and systems to the HGTV Smart Home. You can read up on the latest home technology used in the HGTV Smart Home on the...

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Vyopta

Vyopta Incorporated, the industry leader in video collaboration analytics, has selected Red Fan Communications as its public relations partner for the unveiling of its newest product later this month (more details coming soon!).

Their cloud-based platform allows organizations to optimize capacity, reduce costs and minimize downtime of video and web collaboration tools offered by Cisco, Microsoft, PolyCom and more.

Vyopta serves more than 900 clients – some of which represent the largest private and public sector enterprises in the world – including IBC Bank, eBay, VistaPrint, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, St. Edward’s University and Specialists on Call, Inc.

To learn more about Vyopta’s products, visit www.Vyopta.com.

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SXSW SXStyle

The Red Fan team has recently started working with Laurel Kinney, an Austin-based personal stylist that has become our go-to girl for fashion advice. Laurel helps everyone from those preparing for an upcoming gala to those in need of perfecting their entire wardrobe. With SXSW just around the corner, we asked Laurel to provide us with her favorite tips for staying sensibly stylish during SXSW.

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tabbedout

TabbedOut, a mobile application app that allows customers to quickly, easily and safely close out bar and restaurant tabs using their smartphones, has selected Red Fan Communications as its agency of choice for collaboration on social media strategy.

Founded in Austin, Texas, in 2009, TabbedOut is available in thousands of venues across the nation and integrates with most point-of-sales systems for customers to seamlessly view and pay their tabs through the app; it even allows you to easily split checks with friends.

Be sure to like TabbedOut on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram to be the first to hear about what they’ll be offering users during SXSW and March Madness.

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We're excited to announce our partnership with Sukha Yoga, an Austin-based yoga studio and destination offering creative classes, retail lounge and a teacher-training program.

Located on 2324 South Lamar Boulevard, adjacent towomen's clothing store, Headdress, Sukha Yoga is a 2,517 square-foot building consisting of two yoga studios, a locker area and retail lounge.

Sukha Yoga was founded by Erinn Lewis, one of Austin’s most celebrated vinyasa flow and yin yoga instructors who has been teaching yoga for more than fifteen years.

We're excited to partner with Erinn on her exciting new endeavour and look forward to Sukha Yoga's grand opening on April 4th. Stay tuned for more details!

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The African Leadership Bridge

Red Fan is pleased to announce our latest partnership with the African Leadership Bridge (ALB), an Austin-based nonprofit providing scholarships to promising young African leaders. Beyond the financial support for a quality university education in the US, ALB provides its students with a strong support network to help ease the transition not only from high school to college, but from Africa to the US.

The goal of ALB is for students to return to the African continent, armed with a university education and newly gained entrepreneurial skills, where they will tackle important issues, contributing to the creation of an Africa in which all citizens have an opportunity to realize their full potential.

We are excited to provide support for ALB as they look to expand their presence and student base.

To learn more about ALB, or to donate, visit www.africanleadershipbridge.org.

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At Red Fan Communications, we work with a variety of publications in local, regional and national markets, as well as trade publications in our clients’ respective industries. We particularly love to stay up-to-date with one of our favorite local and trade publications, Austin Fit Magazine (AFM), where we learn new techniques for staying active, discover fresh ideas for healthy eating and are inspired by notable local and national athletes.

Our team had the pleasure of working with Leah Fisher Nyfeler during her tenure at AFM. In December 2014, Leah left AFM to transition into a new phase of her career, but not before we were able to chat with her about media relations and good stories.

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At the Red Fan office, we pride ourselves on having a unique workspace. From expertly crafted offices to innovative workspaces, the Helms House is no stranger to kooky, hidden rooms that offer unique workspaces for employees, clients and visitors. One such space is the third-floor “nook.”

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Red Fan Communications is proud to announce our newest business partnership with UT Wire. The company specializes in providing simple and innovative ways to organize cables and cords in the home or office area. The products are designed for everyday users and require no tools or intricate instructions to use.

We are excited to be working with such an innovative and unique company this year as we help them launch three new products at the upcoming International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. Stay tuned for more updates to come.

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At Red Fan Communications, we understand the power of using social media as a platform for your brand’s voice and as a unique tool to communicate with customers and clients directly. That’s why we work to constantly stay updated on the latest social media trends – not only to better understand the outlets our clients’ audiences are migrating to but to also understand how to best engage with them on those outlets.

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Chris Perez

At Red Fan Communications, our public relations professionals have the pleasure of building relationships with talented media experts covering various topics in cities all over the country – but we’d be lying if we didn’t say that we live in one hell of a city to call home. Chris Perez, founding editor of Citygram Austin Magazine – an innovative, application-based publication covering all things Austin, Texas – certainly wouldn't disagree with us there. Citygram’s digital platform provides a new way for us to discover and access information from the comfort of our mobile devices without losing the depth and quality that’s expected of print media.

Chris founded Citygram Austin, which connects visitors and locals to Austin culture, local businesses and trends, in June 2013. Our team had the pleasure of working with Chris shortly thereafter. In addition to serving as founding editor, Chris is the chief digital officer for Citygram Austin, leading the publication to be recognized as a first-of-its-kind mobile magazine app...

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In the world of public relations, it’s important to cultivate new, young talent in order to grow your business. It is equally important to understand the ways in which the next generation is gathering and sharing information. The Red Fan internship program enables us to get to know and develop the skills of some very bright PR professionals. They learn to communicate with clients, participate in strategic planning and familiarize themselves with the daily operations of a full-service public relations firm. Our interns experience all aspects of the public relations process, are given real responsibilities and are expected to deliver. It’s a lot to take in - but our internship program is designed to teach these young professionals how to produce results in the real world and to celebrate those big (and little) wins for your clients and team along the way.

We are excited to introduce you to Emma Chase, the newest addition to the Red Fan team. Emma started with us at the end of January and has already dived into helping the team with social media, blogs and event outreach....

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Red Fan Communications' founder and president, Kathleen Kenney Lucente, was recently featured on LiveMom, a site driven by Austin moms dedicated to “building a better village.”

Read more about Kathleen’s adventure from Hong Kong to Austin, as well as what it’s like working with some of Red Fan’s amazing clientele like Trail of Lights and Austin Gives. Kathleen also provides her insight on PR industry trends and upcoming projects that the Red Fan team is excited about starting!

Click here to see the full feature.

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Wayward Chocolat

It’s that time of year again: the sun is shining, the lovebirds are singing and you are in a hurry to come up with a Valentine’s Day surprise because you’re just now realizing how quickly this Hallmark holiday has crept up on you (whoops!). We can’t really blame you though - after all, wasn’t it just Christmas?

So put down the heart-shaped box of chocolates and listen to the pros. Everything is going to be okay. In fact, it’s going to be amazing because the Red Fan team has you covered. Here are our recommendations on treating your sweetheart, or yourself, on Cupid’s Day.

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Moody Bank

Red Fan Communications is excited to announce our latest partnership with Moody National Bank. Based in Galveston, Texas, Moody Bank has been lending to businesses and consumers in Central Texas since 1907 and today, opened the doors to its new location in downtown Austin. Previously located on Anderson Lane, Moody Bank moved the Austin branch to the ground floor of 400 West 15th Street — now known as Moody Tower — to show its commitment to Austin, its communities and the bank’s growing clientele.

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Media Minds: Alexandra Pecci Chats with Red Fan

We rely heavily on journalists in the public relations world to inform consumers about our clients’ projects and business endeavors. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that offers PR professionals access to an interested audience and journalists with new subject matter for their readers. Cultivating these relationships over the years, we have come to develop a great appreciation for the writings of so many talented journalists who are able to capture the essense of a story with the perfect mix of clarity and wit. One of our favorite journalists here at Red Fan is the talented Alexandra Pecci.

Alexandra Pecci is a prolific freelancer who’s a generalist in the best sense of the word; she can write about any topic with a clear and interesting voice, whether it’s food or travel, business or healthcare. Her work has appeared in outlets like Every Day With Rachael Ray, The Washington Post, Ocean Home Magazine, Hemispheres, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, HealthLeaders Media, New Hampshire Business Review, Northshore Magazine and many others. She lives on the New Hampshire...

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Red Fan Communications' Founder, Kathleen Kenney Lucente, Featured as a Top Female Executive

Red Fan Communications founder, Kathleen Kenney Lucente, was recently selected and recognized nationally as a Top Female Executive and featured on TopFemaleExecs.com. Be sure to check it out!

We were so delighted by the positive feedback from the community, clients, partners and friends all over the United States and internationally. We all know it's always nice to be recognized. As PR professionals, we spend our time focused on getting our clients recognized and it’s a refreshing change of pace to be on the receiving end of that recognition. Thank you Top Female Executive! We're riding high on the positive feedback and channeling that energy towards our clients with great ideas for 2015!

Click HERE to see the full feature.

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Red Fan Communications: Giving is Good for Business

At Red Fan Communications we pride ourselves on giving back to the Austin community through financial support, volunteer work and lending our professional expertise on matters of public relations for nonprofit organizations. We believe that philanthropy should be woven into the fabric of our company culture because when we give, we invest in something bigger and greater than ourselves: a stronger and healthier community. We’ve been proud to work with many nonprofit and charitable organizations to manage events and increase awareness of their philanthropic goals and accomplishments, including Austin Gives.

Austin Gives is a community program that recognizes and encourages business philanthropy in metropolitan Austin and one of Red Fan’s clients. The organization recently interviewed our president and founder Kathleen Lucente on why giving back has become so important to her and the Red Fan team. Read up on the...

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Top 10 Holiday Must-dos in Austin

For those of you looking for fun holiday events this weekend (or already making plans for next year), here are Red Fan's top ten holiday must-dos in Austin, Texas.

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Red Fan Communications: How PR Affects Branding

At Red Fan Communications, it’s our job to understand how consumers are influenced every day by social media, websites, news stories and product reviews. Once your brand is out in the open the public is weighing in. If you aren't proactively telling your story and managing your brand reputation others will tell your story for you.

The necessity to have an informed PR team working for your brand is growing in importance as information sources become ubiquitous. One negative review poorly responded to can take a company down while a positive review by the right tastemaker can send your brand skyrocketing.

Today, smart companies are seeking PR agencies that manage much more than hits in the press. While press coverage, or keeping companies out of the press, is at the center of what all PR agencies do, it is only one aspect of what we can and should do. From social media to strategic partnerships, events and ongoing press strategies, the best agencies are serving up integrated campaigns that...

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Media Minds: Anthony Zurcher

At Red Fan Communications, we strive to accurately gauge public attitudes towards business and technology by keeping a close eye on the most powerful influencers, including bloggers and editorial contributors that have their fingers on the pulse of American readers – good public relations relies on it. That’s why we wanted to interview Anthony Zurcher, senior writer and editor for the BBC News blog Echo Chambers, one of the most diverse and authoritative blogs of today. Anthony highlights the best in opinion journalism from around the world and analyzes the state of play in debates about everything “from social media to scholarly journals, Kansas City to Kathmandu.”

With over 20 years of journalism experience, Anthony is equipped to provide insightful editorials and commentary on politics, human rights, the environment, science and technology. Anthony is a great writer due to his ability to capture imaginations while providing valuable insights into the minds of his many followers. His ability to...

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No-Sweat Investor Relations

At Red Fan, we know that proper training, smart introductions and a solid proposal make for well-prepared clients as they seek investors for their business.

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Red Fan Communications Halloween 2014

If this Halloween you felt a bit mad, had an unusual craving for tea or realized your height drastically changed, you may have fallen through a rabbit hole - or found yourself at the Red Fan office.

We had a very curious night indeed, from a hookah teepee to drink-me sips, a tarot card reader and many more surprises behind every door.

Halloween parties have been a Helms House tradition since the 1970s – regardless of those living or working within its walls. This year Red Fan had the pleasure of welcoming the first ever Helms House party throwers to our annual Halloween party. After swapping stories and memories, the Helms House residents, young and old, had an unforgettable night. And so the legend of the Helms House continues.

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Kathleen Kenney Lucente founder of Red Fan Communications

AUSTIN, TX (Nov. 12, 2014) -- Kathleen Kenney Lucente, president and founder of Austin-based Red Fan Communications, has been recognized by Worldwide Branding for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in public relations.

Early in her career, Lucente was a technology journalist in Boston. With more than 24 years of senior leadership roles in both the agency and corporate world, including a 4.5-year stint in Asia-Pacific overseeing 18 countries for a major bank, she decided to return to the US and build the boutique agency she dreamed of leading. She established Red Fan Communications, a boutique full-service public relations agency headquartered in the heart of Austin, Texas. At the helm of the company, Lucente offers services including brand messaging and positioning, public relations planning and management, corporate storytelling, executive visibility, company and product launches, competitor analysis and crisis communications. The firm also provides community and philanthropy relations, content creation services and coordinates grassroots campaigns. With an...

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RSK - Purveyor of Fine Jewelry

Red Fan Communications is proud to announce our newest partnership with RSK - Purveyor of Fine Jewelry. RSK is an Austin-based jewelry company providing clients with estate jewelry, precious gemstones and contemporary designs from around the world.

Best known as an “anthropological gemologist,” founder Robin Hancock is a trusted source packed with knowledge and expertise of all things jewelry, gems and stones.

Robin takes pride in her determination to leave no stone unturned when searching for the perfect piece for her clients. Robin attributes much of her success to her innate ability to put her clients at ease along with her keen intuition of their personal taste and style.

Recently, Robin entered a new space in the heart of Central Austin. Filled with natural light and elegant furniture settings, the cozy space is the perfect place for Robin to meet one-on-one with her customers and for RSK’s next chapter to unfold.

Paired with her new location is the unveiling of RSK’s new website, which speaks...

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Skoop

(Austin, Texas) Nov. 3, 2014– EmBazaar, Inc., an Austin-based technology company, today introduced its inaugural app, Skoop, to Texas universities. Skoop is the only social network for college students that combines campus-specific news and events and a student-only marketplace into a centralized platform that is specific to a given university. It is available for free in the iTunes App Store and Google Play for Android.

“We created Skoop to simplify college students’ social media experience,” said Neil Patwardhan, founder and chief executive officer of EmBazaar. “Now, there’s a single social network just for students that houses all the information they need and want to know about in one place. The app is filled with news, events and a marketplace, all relevant to a student’s specific university.”

EmBazaar...

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Setting the Stage for Success: Red Fan's Brand Positioning Audit

Every week we meet with potential clients that are eager to ramp up their PR efforts, whether they are start-ups interested in formally introducing their brand to the market or are more established businesses, looking to re-energize their storyline. No matter the stage of their business, we find these clients are most drawn to Red Fan because they recognize the thoughtful process we put into the execution of our PR campaigns, all of which we recommend beginning with our brand positioning audit.

A strong marketing and PR effort must be built on a compelling storyline that identifies and validates the unique aspects that make a company and/or product newsworthy, purchase-worthy or even investor-worthy.

Through completing the brand positioning audit, Red Fan digs in and conducts approved, anonymous interviews with both internal and external contacts of the company to get their honest feedback regarding the company and its product or service offering. We also look at perceived competitors and investigate how they are positioning themselves in the market, how their...

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Sanders Architecture

Austin architecture firm relocates into building formerly known as the Kerbey Lane Doll Shoppe and welcomes a new hire.

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Wayward Chocolat

Ganache pieces, sauce and spread offer rich flavor and health benefits.

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Amy Denney

At Red Fan we know the importance of cultivating solid relationships with local journalists, so we recently connected with Amy Denney, editor of Community Impact Northwest, a hyper-local newspaper covering the city’s latest comings and goings on everything from restaurants and retail to transportation and business development.

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Kathleen Lucente

Kathleen is Red Fan’s founder and president. With more than 20 years of experience she’s influenced the public relations industry in New York, Boston, Hong Kong and back again. Settling in the great city of Austin, Kathleen considers herself to be a proud Texan (although a Northeastern accent escapes from time to time).

After serving as JPMorgan’s vice president and director of corporate marketing and communications for Asia Pacific, it was time to journey back to the red, white and blue.

Her flight over the Pacific Ocean sparked an idea that set into motion what Red Fan is today. Want a deeper look into the thoughts, passions and endeavors of our fearless leader? Read on.

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ACL Red Fan

The Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) is always an exciting time in Austin. Now that the festival has extended to a two-weekend schedule, we are all getting a double dose of live-music fun. ACL sparked some conversation around the Red Fan office about what bands and artists (current and past) the team would like to see live in concert. So, we decided to create our own line-ups to share RF’s musical dreams with the world.

Please enjoy the stage listing for The 2014 Red Fan Musical Festival! Drum roll please…

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Red Fan Communications Grows with Promotion and New Hire

AUSTIN, TX (Oct 1, 2014) – Red Fan Communications, a full-service Austin-based public relations firm, announced today that it has promoted an employee, Kyle Caton and hired a new associate, Chloe Scheller.

"Growing a boutique PR agency with national reach means promoting and attracting top talent. Now with the promotion of Kyle and addition of Chloe, we have rounded out the agency with two rising stars, who have both journalism and public relations experience." said Kathleen Lucente, president and founder, Red Fan Communications. "Our clients will continue to benefit from the smart hiring decisions we invest in."

Caton, previously an intern at Red Fan Communications, has been promoted to a full-time account coordinator. Caton graduated last May from St. Edward’s University with a bachelor’s degree in communication with emphases in public relations and advertising. Before beginning his career at Red Fan, Caton gained editorial skills at Austin community newspaper, Community Impact, where he wrote content and created editorial schedules. Caton also gained valuable...

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XOR Data Exchange

Finance and communications industries among first to embrace new permission-based data sharing with transparent access throughout industries

AUSTIN, TX (Sept. 30, 2014) – XOR Data Exchange (XOR), the nation’s first patent-pending permission-based data exchange, is introducing a revolutionary system to facilitate the sharing of proprietary data across industries. This new system enhances many of today’s credit and fraud risk, authentication, marketing and compliance efforts. XOR increases transparency of data use, giving control and accountability back to data owners.

“XOR adds an important new layer to ‘Big Data’ that allows companies to take advantage of truly unique and powerful data in a trusted, permission-based data ecosystem that provides 100 percent transparency to data owners,” said Mike Cook, XOR’s CEO and founder. “Since January we have been actively facilitating relationships across our initial markets, and our industries have responded positively by telling us specifically the types of data and solutions they are looking for. We already have several...

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Lee Elementary School Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Austin, TX (Sept. 30, 2014) – Lee Elementary (Lee), a local elementary school serving students from the Hyde Park, Hancock, North University and Eastwood neighborhoods, is hosting a celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary on Oct. 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 3308 Hampton Road.

The free, community-wide event welcomes current, former and future Lee students to attend and take part in the rich history of Lee elementary. Texas music icons and current Lee parents, Hayes Carll and Bruce Robison, will perform live music at the event.

A staple for The University of Texas and Austin community over the past 75 years, Lee Elementary helped expand the young minds of NFL quarterback Drew Brees, award-winning author and illustrator Greg Foley, actress Zoe Graham and many more influential individuals over the past 75 years.

Guests will be able to tour the original building and auditorium from 1939 along with a display of art and photos reflecting the history of Lee.

Speakers at the event include Lee Principal John Hewlett; PTA President Kim Brackin; past president...

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Blackbird Bakery Pop Tarts

San Francisco, CA (Sept. 29, 2014) – Karen Morgan, founder and chef of Austin’s Blackbird Bakery, announced San Francisco as the next stop of her book tour and signing of her latest gluten-free cookbook, The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free, published by Abrams. The Blackbird Bakery book tour, sponsored by Tito’s Vodka, is scheduled for Sept. 30th, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Omnivore Books on Food.

Morgan’s second gluten-free cookbook transforms more than 100 favorite comfort foods into gluten-free delights, including jelly donuts, chicken and dumplings, red velvet cupcakes, challah and more. These sweet and savory treats boast the same taste, texture and appearance as their gluten-base inspiration, and some – like the lemon-raspberry pop tart – are even better than the original.

The cookbook is divided by each of Blackbird Bakery’s six gluten-free flour blends – Biscuit, Donut and Fritter, Pie and Pasta, Bread and Pizza, Cake and Muffin, and Cookie Jar – with each chapter offering...

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Does Your Time at College Prepare You to be a PR Professional?

One of students’ main concerns in college is wondering if what you are learning in the classroom will translate into the workplace. In many cases students find themselves taking another four years of school just to get the proper education and training for the job that they now know they truly want. You pick your major but do you know from the exposure and experience you get in the classroom that this is the career you want?

This was one of the main concerns in my mind as I spent 2011 through 2014 at St. Edward’s University studying public relations and advertising. I took as many PR courses I could fit into my schedule, but I still could not shake the concern that I wouldn’t be properly prepared for the right job. Fresh out of college and three months into my internship with Red Fan, I was able to reflect on my time in school and see what college did and did not prepare me for.

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We are so thrilled to announce the launch of Karen Morgan's latest cookbook, "The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free" - hitting bookstands tomorrow. And what book debut would be complete without a book signing? Be sure to swing by BookPeople tonight at 7 p.m. for a chance to meet Karen and get your book before it’s officially made available!

She may even give you a discount on her gourmet gluten-free flour blends...

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PR and writing professionals of all walks of life are surely familiar with the ongoing debate that follows the Oxford, or serial, comma. For those who may be unfamiliar, the Oxford comma is one that precedes the “and” in a series.

Some people adore this particular punctuation mark, while some detest this small, seemingly insignificant curved line. The two groups tend to break out into followers of The Chicago Manual Of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook, respectively. And still there are others like The Onion, who simply enjoy the debates this comma often spurs.

I was recently asked what I thought about this little piece of punctuation. So here goes.

I will say that generally speaking, I am opposed to the Oxford comma. I think that 99 percent of the time it's unnecessary, bulky and redundant. After all, "and" equally signifies the last item in a series or list, so why the need for both – especially in the case of a short, direct list?...

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Red Fan Communications is pleased to announce that Stephanie Trusler has joined the Red Fan team as director of finance and operations. Trusler will report to Kathleen Lucente, president and founder of Red Fan Communications.

“We are thrilled Stephanie was attracted to Red Fan. She brings a dynamic and proven finance, operations, sales and marketing background to our agency,” said Lucente. “With a senior PR team already in place, the addition of Stephanie’s experience enables us to shape the financial policy and direction of the agency. Stephanie’s leadership will help Red Fan meet its growth plan, while maintaining the unique senior-level engagement and accessibility our clients expect and enjoy.”

Trusler will oversee all financial and business operations. On the finance side, she will be responsible for financial reporting, general accounting, cash management, budgeting, financial planning and contract management. She will also be in charge of administering client accounts, fulfilling human resource roles and...

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Friends of Red Fan,

Summer is wrapping up, and we are thinking back on all we’ve accomplished lately. Earlier in the year we launched Q2 Holdings on the NYSE, executed a VIP party for Mike Meyers’ film debut of Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon during SXSW and kept the momentum going through the summer. When we haven’t been sneaking away on vacations, we’ve been working hard for current and new clients alike. I’m now very proud to announce promotions, new hires, some fantastic new business wins and a new website for Red Fan that reflects the thoughtful approach we take in the work we do for our clients.

Our new business wins include:

Blackbird Bakery: Launching Karen Morgan's gluten-free flour blends and her latest gluten-free cookbook published by Abrams, "The Everyday Art of Gluten Free."

Atlas Wearables: Launching the company’s first...

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Last month my husband and I took our two young children on their first big road trip—2,000 miles round trip from Austin to Durango, Colorado. The whole family was excited as we prepared for this adventure. I knew I needed a vacation, but I also wondered, as most parents do, if I would need a vacation from this vacation after it was over.

I had a lot on my mind that last week in the office. At one point, running from meeting to meeting, I realized I was on MoPac (Highway 1) driving to the wrong restaurant for a business meeting. I said to myself, “You need to fix this. You really, really need a vacation!” I looked in the mirror and could see how tired I was. I needed a case of Red Bull or a week off. I opted for a week off.

My vacation was pregnant with revelations. During the course of hiking, white water rafting, luging down a mountain and watching The Lego Movie, the space between my ears and shoulders relaxed, and I took time to reflect. Of course my branding and PR brain never fully shut off; that would take much more than a vacation. Here are just a few things...

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Though it’s only July, the Red Fan office is already abuzz with candy canes, sugar plums and all things holiday. At first glance, it may seem we’re just trying to escape the sweltering summer heat or maybe we’re just that excited for the holidays.. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll see it’s a strategic tactic most PR firms are executing as we speak. National print magazines – Better Home & Gardens, Redbook, Food and Wine – typically work four to six months in advance. Meaning, they’re already nailing down their holiday gift guides for the November and December issues. So while everyone around us is reveling in the July heat, daydreaming of time spent at Barton Springs, we’re daydreaming of sugar plums and working to get our clients in holiday issues. On top of that, Red Fan is already prepping for the Austin Trail of Lights’ 50th anniversary celebration! It takes a lot of planning to put together a successful two-week event like the Trail of Lights and even now, there’s plenty of ways you can help to make this year’s Trail the best one yet. How? By participating in the...

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Red Fan is proud to announce our most recent client, EmBazaar, an app focused on providing college students an exclusive space to connect with their peers on the latest campus news and events, as well as items for sale, rent or trade on the student-only bazaar. It’s the social heartbeat of every university. “The social networking world for college students is vast, noisy and complex,” said Neil Patwardhan, CEO and founder of EmBazaar. “EmBazaar aims to cut through the noise and make college news relevant to the user again. We needed a unique strategic PR partner that understood our vision and thought leadership around micro-networking and would enhance our value proposition through strong brand planning and execution. Red Fan stood out among a host of suitors, and we at EmBazaar are truly excited to take our product to the next level with Red Fan.” EmBazaar stands apart by offering a secure outlet for students to be exclusively social with their peers on campus; access requires a verified university email address, and each...

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**UPDATE**

Due to weather, this evening’s Blues on the Green event has been postponed. Thus, the Trail of Lights Foundation will now be present at the August 6 Blues on the Green event with musical performances from Charlie Mars & Quiet Company. On that evening, the Trail of Lights will offer the same photo opportunity with the triceratops from the Santasaurus display with a suggested $5 donation. You can also donate to the Save Santasaurus campaign online at http://supportthetrail.org/about-the-trail-of-lights through August 6.

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Today, the Trail of Lights Foundation announced its participation in KGSR’s Blues on the Green event on July 16 to launch its Save Santasaurus campaign, as well as early bird registration for the annual Trail of Lights Fun Run, presented by Humana.

A prehistoric Trail favorite, the Santasaurus is in need of repairs after enduring decades of weather, storage and transport. The Trail of Lights Foundation asks the community to donate to the Save Santasaurus...

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Red Fan is excited to announce our latest partnership with Atlas Wearables, an Austin-based company looking to transform the fitness-tracking experience with its debut product, the Atlas Fitness Tracker. “After speaking with several PR agencies, we felt confident that Red Fan’s 360-degree approach would ensure a successful launch for Atlas as we prepare to introduce our first product to the market,” said Peter Li, CEO and co-founder of Atlas Wearables. “We are eager to begin our PR efforts as we redefine the expectations associated with wearables.” Unlike other wrist-worn fitness trackers that become glorified pedometers, Atlas is focused on the total gym experience and can measure everything from crunches to bench presses and can even differentiate between regular and triangle pushups. And yes, it counts steps too. It also counts reps, calories burned, measures your heart rate and evaluates your form. Still not impressed? You can also teach your Atlas Fitness Tracker new exercises as your fitness goals progress and you...

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At Red Fan, we like to throw out words that are overused in PR in exchange for fresh language to use as a stimulating marketing tool.

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Platform brings transparency, focus, accountability, and coordination to teams

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At Red Fan, we understand that success will never be met by using a haphazard approach.

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Now available in convenient tins and blister packs, Zellie’s helps strengthen teeth and freshens breath with 100 percent natural xylitol

AUSTIN, TX (May 28, 2014) – Zellie’s Inc. – a family-owned producer of gums, mints and candies sweetened with 100 percent natural xylitol – today introduced new packaging and a shorter ingredient list as part of the company’s continued commitment to produce the purest and best-tasting xylitol-based gums, mints and candies available anywhere.

“As a dentist in England, I realized the prevalence of untreated dental health problems in both children and adults around the globe,” said Dr. Ellie Phillips, founder of Zellie’s and oral health care advocate. “I have since dedicated my life to teaching that tooth decay and gum disease are preventable. Maybe more importantly, there is a connection between oral health and general health, and good nutrition and effective oral care can provide far more benefits than just a healthy smile.”

Dental Health in the...

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Austin architecture firm honored with award in the commercial new construction category

(Austin, Texas) May 7, 2014 – Sanders Architecture, an Austin-based architecture firm providing planning, design and construction administration services for residential, commercial and institutional projects, was honored by AIA Austin with a design award in the commercial new construction category for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Wildflower Center) admissions kiosk on May 1, 2014.

In 2004, Christopher Sanders, AIA, founder and principal architect of Sanders Architecture, was appointed by the president of the University of Texas at Austin to serve a three-year term on the Wildflower Center’s advisory council. In 2011, Sanders Architecture donated its services to design the welcoming, yet hard-working and ultra-sustainable admissions kiosk at the Wildflower Center. In addition to improving the overall flow and safety for guests arriving at the Wildflower Center, the design of the...

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Red Fan is ready to officially launch our first-ever comic blog series with “Meet the Red Fan Team: Part 1″! If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Helms House (or are just plain curious to see what the team looks like in cartoon form!), be on the lookout for this and other Red Fan comics coming soon.

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Becca Hensley: Travel and Lifestyle Writer

Becca Hensley isn’t just a travel writer—she’s been described as “the writer’s writer” by her peers due to her undeniable knack for storytelling and vividly painting a picture with her pen. As Becca describes herself: “Always curious, an on-the-go bon vivant, I publish tales for travelers–and write about other lifelong indulgences that fall beneath the umbrella of travel: food, wine, spa, art, beauty, fitness, design and beyond.”

With an expertise in all things Austin, international travel and lifestyle and a focus on the less obvious luxurious experiences in life, Becca Hensley has been published in hundreds of notable media outlets, including the Travel Channel, USA Today, National Geographic Traveler, Weddings & Honeymoons, Destinations and the Austin American-Statesman. She dishes on hotels, food, drink, spas, art, design, people and nature.

In addition, you can read her monthly columns in Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine. Want to learn what makes Becca Hensley tick? Read on.

When did you know you...

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Unique app combines photos, voice, graphics and touchscreen gestures to easily create and share compelling video messages

SANTA CLARA, CA (March 17, 2014) – Jigsaw Informatics, Inc. (Jigsaw) today announced that ZapVM™, a new iOS app that allows users to easily create and share video messages by combining photos, voice, graphics and touchscreen gestures in realtime, is now available in the iTunes App Store. ZapVM provides a novel communications platform that allows users to quickly and easily send a uniquely coherent visual message, give a short presentation or tell an illustrated story while highlighting important details.

“Emails and text messages, even when paired with images, often result in miscommunication,” said Joan Wood, Jigsaw co-founder and vice president of product development. “Because it is difficult to convey emotion through text and a challenge to convey visual...

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Culture and Arts Independent Journalist

Michael Hoinski is a seasoned culture and arts reporter who writes the Texas-centric events columnG.T.T. for The New York Times, a version of which appears on TexasMonthly.com as The Drop Everything List. His reporting and criticism have appeared in print and online versions of both publications, in addition to Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Texas Observer and The Village Voice. He is also formerly an editorial staffer at L.A. Weekly.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Michael is the education coordinator at the O. Henry Museum, a historical house where the short story writer lived in the 1890s. In this capacity, he produces literary arts programming for youth and adults. Michael loves food, drink and live music. He is married and has one daughter and one dog. Want to learn what makes Michael tick? Read...

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SXSW 2014 has officially begun (eek!), so Red Fan wanted to be sure and provide festival-goers with all the ATX essentials they’ll be needing March 7-16!

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Alicia Hawley has been part of the Red Fan team for the past six months–and it’s no secret why. Her enthusiasm for client success and dedicated work ethic have made quite the impact on the Red Fan office, but there’s lots more to know about what makes working with Alicia so great!

What is one confession or guilty pleasure that the world should know about you?

I love shopping and shoes, but most of all…I love cookies. I don’t just love cookies. I love cookies.

If you could choose a theme song that played as you walked into work, what would it be?

“Everybody Got Their Something” by Nikka Costa.

What unique aspect do you bring to the Red Fan team?

Personally, I think that I am the cheerleader. I encourage my peers and clients to keep going for the gold and beyond!

What is the most interesting experience you’ve had as a PR guru thus far?

The most interesting aspect of working in PR to me is seeing everyday...

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Editor

In Austin, March truly is a month of madness–welcomed madness of course. It’s a time when Austites’ inboxes are chocked full of info on free SXSW events, but hey, we’re not complaining! So we figured it was the perfect time to highlight the editor of a truly Austin-centric publication. Brittany Highland is the editor of the Austinot, the top-ranked blog about the city of Austin. The Austinotexploded in early 2012, shortly after its creation. Today, it reaches up to 200,000 individuals a day through blog articles, social media communities and online partners. Brittany and her team utilize their influential platform to promote businesses and organizations that make Austin a better place. They have a special passion for local non-profits.

Brittany also provides online marketing consulting and account management for small businesses across the country, through her company Knektion. Her ability to work online is allowing Brittany to chase a crazy dream. She and her...

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Red Fan is proud to announce our newest PR partnership with gluten-free guru and baker extraordinaire, Karen Morgan. As owner of Blackbird Bakery virtual bakeshop, Karen has mastered the science of crafting specialized flour mixtures used to create gluten-free treats that are more delicious than their gluten-based predecessors. From tart and piecrust blends to bread and cake blends, Karen has perfected these mixtures to produce healthier alternatives that don’t skimp on taste.

You can find Karen’s recipes at several hot-spots around Austin, including Frank, Lola Savannah Coffee Lounge, Jo’s, Juan Pelota Cafe, Hillside Farmacy and...

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Choosing a PR agency is a big deal, and over the years, I have come to appreciate business leaders who consult both their head and their heart before jumping into a new relationship. Businesses looking for help with their brand should consider an agency’s strategic approach, creative capacity and bona fide experience. But it shouldn’t stop there. Chemistry matters more than anyone cares to admit. Before you get engaged, ask yourself: Is this team passionate about my business? Is the agency fired up to achieve a win for my brand? Can I imagine working with these people in high-stakes situations? In short, will I like them in the morning?

To help ensure successful matchmaking, Red Fan conducts background research on prospective clients. We want to know their track record, their competition, their investors, and if they have a proven team. We look at every aspect of their outward-facing brand from their website, social media, advertising, SEO performance, messaging, sponsorships, press releases and resulting press coverage. Our first conversation will be informed by the work...

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Lifestyle & Travel Writer | Author

Recent recipient of the coveted Mark Twain Travel Writing Award for her book “Atlanta, Georgia: A Photographic Portrait,” Kathy Witt has written thousands of freelance features in publications likeExaminer.com and Georgia Magazine on the topics of travel and lifestyle. She has been a featured writer and travel columnist with Kentucky Living Magazine for more than ten years and a columnist with The Travel Goods Association’s Travel Goods Showcase Magazine for five years. To read some of her most recent work, check out Kathy’s blog and three monthly syndicated columns: “Bucket List Adventures,” “Travel Goods, Gadgets & Gear” and “Cruise Trends & Tips.” Want to learn what makes Kathy tick? Read on.

What makes a good story?

One with an emotional hook.

What story, in your career, are you most proud of?

“Honoring Heroes,” about the Honor Flight program for World War II veterans.

How did you get your start?

Writing the creative for a...

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It is my personal opinion that the most powerful tool any PR professional has in their arsenal of seemingly never-ending, grammar-correcting weapons is their writing. It’s a must-have and must-love for anyone considering a career in PR. Between the pitches, the blogs, the press releases, media alerts and social media posts, there’s no way around it–PR peeps have to be great at putting their pens to paper… or fingers to a keyboard. But with great writing also comes great moments of writer’s block. Moments where all the words you’re looking for have gone missing, disappearing straight off the earth’s surface into some warped dimension of really great, really lost ideas.

So, what is there to do when you find yourself at a writing roadblock? Overcome it. How? Try one or any combination of the below quick tips. They’ll save you time, sanity and a lot of elbow grease.

1. Take a walk. When working on any piece of written communication, you’re married to it for a short period of time. You look deep into its eyes, peel back its many layers and try to discover the best way to...

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President of Red Fan Communications, Kathleen Lucente, was honored today with the “Communications Volunteer of the Year” award at the Austin Chamber’s 136th Annual Meeting. Lucente was recognized for her strategic public relations and social media efforts with the Chamber’s philanthropic initiative, Austin Gives.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized among other generous Austinites who are dedicated to making impactful improvements to our city,” said Lucente. “Thank you to the Austin Chamber for this award and for actively seeking unique opportunities for Austin to continue bettering itself with organizations like Austin Gives.”

Each year the Austin Chamber recognizes individuals in various industries who commit to donating their time and efforts to making Austin a better place to do business. Other recipients of the 2013 “Volunteers of the Year” award include:

  • Rene Campos,...
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Katie started her journey at Red Fan Communications as a Senior Account Executive in August of 2013, and since then, she’s been great to work with – so much so that we wanted to introduce you to her. Here’s everything that you want to know about Katie but would have never thought to ask:

Katie King – if you had to be another famous Katie, who would it be and why?

If I had to be any other Katie – I would choose Katie Couric—she’s covered so many stories and met so many fascinating people.

What story – any story – do you most want told?

Travel. I LOVE to travel. I love telling stories about my travels. I love hearing others’ stories about their experiences. There’s something wondrous about completely immersing yourself in another culture while separating yourself from the world you know. I’d love to share my experiences of celebrating my sweet 16 in Vienna, studying abroad in London, visiting the tiny hometown of my ancestors in the Czech Republic, honeymooning in South Africa. I have an ever-growing list of destinations on my bucket list these days and am...

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Technology Reporter

Mary is a reporter for American Banker and contributing editor for Bank Technology News. She was a blogger, editor, journalist and content curator for Royal Media Group, where she covered commerce and financial technology for numerous publications, including Bank Innovation. She also served as a fashion editor for National Jeweler, where she reported on fashion shows and jewelry news. Her work has also appeared in Billboard, Cracked and a number of business media outlets. Mary grew up in the Michigan suburbs and now lives in New York with one roommate, a record player and an espresso machine. Mary is endlessly curious and follows anything that grabs her. Current interests include “fintech,” literature, travel, good conversation, Cat Stevens and Gidget. Want to learn what makes Mary tick? Read on.

What makes a good story?

It depends on the definition of good....

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Carrie Contey, Ph.D., parenting expert and coach, is on a mission to help parents create the life of their dreams by providing inspiration and practical tools for them to better understand themselves and their children.

“As someone who has coached more than 10,000 families worldwide, I am wildly passionate about evolving the way we think about human beings, human development and family life,” said Contey. “I’m on a mission to help parents know themselves deeply, understand and trust their children more, make a family life that is their very own, and have as much fun as they possibly can along the way.”

Contey has degrees in prenatal psychology, perinatal psychology, health education and promotion, and has been referenced as an expert source on parenting in broadcast programs including “The Today Show,” CBS Radio and National Public Radio. Carrie is a co-founder of the Slow Family Living movement, which encourages parents to slow down more often in an effort to better connect with their children; co-author of “...

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A new year always brings a wave of resolutions. And while many of these are personal goals, it’s important to also have a clear set of resolutions for growing your business and your clients’ business. Here, we look at 10 tips to be PR ready in the new year.

1. Make sure you have editorial calendars for 2014. Editorial calendars are essential to knowing what editors will be looking for each month. Use these calendars to pitch timely stories and products and stay on top of deadlines.

2.Be aware of lead times. National magazines have a much different schedule than local broadcast or online outlets. Make sure you know what issue these publications are working on to avoid missing any opportunities.

3. Introduce new products. If you have a new product for 2014, launch it ASAP! Local broadcast, newspapers and online outlets will still be looking for content in January and February, which is the perfect time to announce a new product. Longer-lead publications will look for new products throughout the year, so stay on top of all outlets.

4. Know the trends....

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Red Fan has tapped into the minds of the reporters, editors, bloggers, freelancer writers and producers we interact with everyday to find out—when it comes to media—what makes them tick? Follow Red Fan’s Media Minds series over the next few months for a perspective from the other side of the pitch.

Introducing: STIRLING KELSO

Travel Writer | Editor

Stirling Kelso is a seasoned travel writer and freelancer whose words grace the pages of publications like Travel + Leisure, Southern Living, Texas Monthly and Fast Company. In addition, Stirling regularly contributes to The New York Times, Money Magazine, Food & Wine and Endless Vacation. She is a Brooklyn transplant, who now calls Austin, Texas, home. When she isn’t writing about travel, you can find her taking in the best local cuisine wherever she is or planning her next adventure with her little red suitcase in tow. Her most recent stay at the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, proves that Stirling’s expertise lies in finding the most...

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Musings from the PR trench on toxic spokespeople and the importance of preparation

While helping a client last week prepare for upcoming meetings with media and industry analysts, I was reminded how much I enjoy watching business leaders develop their communication capabilities and grasp the importance of having great answers to tough questions. It’s my job, and everyone’s job at Red Fan, to make sure our clients are prepared to answer questions accurately while still getting their most important messages across.

Smart leaders take their role as an organizational spokesperson seriously and recognize that each interview, each speaking engagement and each board presentation requires careful preparation tailored to the specifics of the situation. Mind you, most executives were not born great spokespeople, and the best among them have invested wisely in a communication coach.

As a PR executive, the number one thing I want to see in a CEO, CTO or founder is that they are coachable. Communication coaches work alongside their clients to think through the gamut of...

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It’s that time of year again, Austin, when the city is abuzz with all that ACL has to offer – the music, the food and, of course, the parties. The best part is that it’s only halfway over. After wrapping up weekend one, Red Fan has crafted a list of must-have items and need-to-know info that will guarantee a successful weekend two at ACL. Below, you’ll find our top picks for music, food and fashion for this weekend.

Music

To get your fix of Texas music (Austin, specifically), be sure to check out Band of Heathens on Sunday at 12:20 p.m. They’re a little rock, a little country, a little blues and with the newest album, a little jam band.

You’ve probably heard Grouplove’s popular hit “Tongue Tied” on the radio this year. For some upbeat tunes that just might make you dance, don’t miss their set Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

For a more mellow experience, you can’t beat The National. The doldrums of the singer’s voice will...

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A few months ago the CEO of a prospective client asked me what I look for in a client. Right there, during a new business pitch, in front of his team and mine, he wanted to know what type of client I wouldn’t work with.

A million questions ran through my mind. Why is he asking? Is he testing me? What are his motives? Is he questioning mine? Is this about ethics? Does he want to know if I would represent Anthony Weiner? Would I? What about Anthony Bourdain? Oy vey!

Soon enough I realized that his answers to my questions would not change my answer to his. It didn’t matter why he was asking. It only mattered that he was asking.

We spend a lot of time with our clients. Some days more than we do with our spouses. So why wouldn’t we be selective? It turns out that my mother’s advice to “choose your partner wisely” also applies to business.

With experience comes clarity, and with 20+ years in the business, I have developed a clear set of criteria for the clients we bring on board. Flipping that around, we also have a top-5 list of reasons not to engage with a...

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The ringing in of Labor Day is a sure sign of one thing — summer is coming to a close! At Red Fan, we’re already thinking about the holiday season in a BIG way! While we haven’t pulled out the scarves and mittens from winter’s storage just yet, we are thinking of elves, hot chocolate, Santa’s workshop and, of course, a Texas holiday favorite – kettle corn! Oh yes – and media sponsors, corporate sponsors, food vendors, entertainment partners and more!

Why you might ask? Well, after a two-year hiatus, the Austin Trail of Lights is back in full swing, and it’s bigger and better than ever before. The official Trail of Lights Foundation has selected Red Fan Communications as the strategic public relations partner to promote the upcoming holiday season’s 15-day Trail, including a full online calendar, featuring themed nights and special guests of this year’s event!

“With the Trail of Lights Foundation firmly established this year, a new level of structure, focus and commitment to the event is in place, making it something that the Austin community can confidently count on...

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When students tell me they need an internship, I can’t help but question their motivation. A voice in my head asks, “Are you checking a box on a list of things someone told you to do, or do you truly want to have a hands-on experience that will add value to your expensive education and potentially set your career in motion?”

I have a bias for the latter, as an employer, as an instructor, as a mentor. I recommend students have at least one internship in their early years so, when they take one for credit in their junior or senior year, they are more self-assured and ready to do their best work. That final internship could turn into a job and at the very least should be a graduate’s best employment reference.

Here are a few more tips for making the most of an internship, and for that matter, they may influence other decisions you make about your college education.

Early Bird Gets the Worm.

Start early and build your hunger for the industry. Expose yourself to public relations firms no later than your sophomore year, and soon you’ll be relating to your...

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A good spokesperson knows…

  • His or her target audience
  • Understands the media has a job to do as well
  • His or her messages and how to communicate them no matter what question is asked
  • How to use specific interview techniques to control the interview
  • When to stop talking

A few checkpoints to live by…

  • Never go into an interview unprepared. If you are not familiar with the journalist, be sure to read articles by the reporter and determine his/her reputation, style and areas of interest. Some reporters are known to be aggressive, while others don’t have a grasp of the subject. Most reporters are fair and impartial, but always make an effort to know all you can about the interviewer.
  • When a reporter calls looking for comment, ask questions. Find out what they are covering, why they called you, who else they will call, when will the story appear. You must find out – what all background information do they have? Review the reporter’s requests before you hang up and have your PR expert coordinate the interview so you...
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We hear it all the time from clients: “Social media is all the rage,” and “so-and-so brand is on Instagram, so we should be too.”

While it is great to stay in the know on the latest platforms, what’s most important is to maintain a clear vision for your brand and how you want to communicate that to the public. Because just like all other forms of media, social media is exactly that—media.

So, if you’re certain that you want social media as part of your brand’s PR campaign, the first thing you should consider is which outlets make sense for your business?

Since this question almost always inevitably arises when discussing a client’s PR and marketing efforts, let’s delve a little more deeply into three popularly used social media outlets.

Facebook

Who is it For? Brands that want to gain and maintain followers on a more personal level.

Why? Facebook is the most widely used form of social media, originally created to keep friends connected. For that reason, Facebook...

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When beginning my tireless search for internships as a junior Public Relations Major at the University of Texas in Austin, I came across internships of all kinds. There are the unpaid internships, the paid internships, the internships at large firms, the internships at small businesses, and of course, the occasional Craigslist creeper who needs a “personal assistant."

As soon as I walked in to Red Fan Communications for my interview, I felt inspired, comfortable and welcomed. The business felt like a family, a team. As soon as I was out of my interview, I realized I was dying to be a part of this environment where I could actually contribute, learn, and make a difference while still enjoying myself.

After working at Red Fan for about four months, I can assure you that working at a small firm certainly has its perks. Here are a few that I’ve appreciated thus far:

#1 Distinct personality

When initially searching for my internship, I had a list of about three other companies that were looking for an intern as well. As soon as I visited all of their...

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Red Fan is growing in smart ways and we are currently looking to bring onboard a star Senior Account Executive with a proven track record as a stellar writer, a media maverick, a detailed, engaging client manager and a fantastic team player. If you are this tootsie roll pop of a candidate then you need to be speaking to us!

Learn more about Red Fan and the open position here.

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The Red Fan team is excited to begin working alongside Q2′s executive team to promote the company’s anytime, anywhere electronic banking solutions.

“For me, there’s nothing better than partnering with a business when they’re at this stage,” said Red Fan founder, Kathleen Lucente. “Having received $20 million in Series C financing in March, Q2 has enlarged its footprint and now must take a critical look at their positioning in order to gain momentum in the press and secure valuable market share with their virtual branch technology.”

With decades of experience in the financial services and tech industries, Red Fan is the perfect ally to take Q2‘s communications platform to the next level as they go toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s biggest banks.

Sounds like a match made in PR heaven!

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For most executives, the to-do list grows faster than any one man could possibly keep up with. It’s amazing that they even have time to lead the company and close deals while worrying about the many things they didn’t get to in a 24-hour period.

In many cases, PR items are the first ones to fall by the wayside when the office gets hectic and employees have a full load. In fact, fast-growing companies often make very common—yet very avoidable—mistakes in their communications strategy simply because they missed the opportunity to do it right.

Luckily these things can be easily remedied if the CMO remembers to call the PR agency at the right time to recruit some help.

Here are a few examples of how a strong PR partner can be your best friend when the going gets tough.

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In friendly circles, it’s probably best not to correct people’s grammar. Your 9th grade English teacher might be really proud somewhere, but in the here and now, you’re just annoying your friends and scaring your significant other.

But just because you’re not holding your friends and family members to a ridiculous grammatical standard doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold yourself and your colleagues accountable…nicely.

Let’s be honest, nothing makes you sound smarter than being well-written and well-spoken. You might know everything there is to know about a given topic, but if you can’t get your message across in a compelling, correct and concise way, you’re…well, screwed. Conversely, if you know a little bit about a lot of things and sound incredibly intelligent when speaking or writing about those things, you’re in a great position to win over clients and journalists.

In the simplest of terms, CEOs and CMOs hire PR professionals to say it better than they could. As PR people, it’s essential that we live up to that expectation.

When writing for PR, I...

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RAE Cosmetics eye shadow in Bamboo was the perfect addition to the beauty section of this Mother’s Day issue.

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As part of the integrated public relations plans we execute for clients, we often recommend sponsorship and corporate-giving opportunities to raise brand visibility.

Sponsorships are not only an effective way to raise brand awareness, but the events also offer the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with others who share the same interests – personal and professional. Unfortunately, many companies are reluctant to sponsor because they don’t know where to start—or perhaps worse, they jump right in and throw a donation at every cause that comes along. While generous, this strategy can tank your marketing budget.

In order for a client to fully reap the benefits of being involved at the sponsor level with an organization, here are a few pointers that will make the selection process and end result more effective and enjoyable.

Choose meaningfully. Many clients are influenced by the organizations and non-profits that their peers or friends may be involved in. While being charitable is always a good thing, it is important to feel connected...

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How to write like a PR pro —

Let me state the obvious. Being a great writer is important when it comes to public relations. But writing for PR can be very different than other kinds of writing, even from journalistic writing.

I started my communications career as a journalist and quickly noted the very distinct differences in writing for PR once I switched to the dark side. Luckily, my knowledge of newswriting became an asset in my PR career, as there is significant importance in knowing what reporters want out of a press release versus what will fall flat. If you want to peak their interest, you must know the distinct difference, purpose and approach for creating each press release or pitch.

While handling PR in-house for IBM and JPMorganChase—and for many other clients during my agency tenure—I found myself constantly reminding executives that press releases are used for various reasons and, believe it or not, some are not intended or expected to garner big articles.

Instead, they are used to showcase the momentum a company has. Others are breaking...

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In the wake of yesterday’s terrible tragedy in Boston, people across the nation are coping with this horrible news and fear of the unknown.

Today, let’s not forget that employees—especially those in Boston—will be rightfully distracted as they come to terms with the reality of what’s happened to their city and their nation. As they grapple with so many thoughts and emotions, work is likely the last thing on their mind. In some cases they may need to speak to HR, hear the words from management and know that their concerns are validated.

After 9-11 we spent a great deal of time at JPMorgan on internal communications and emotional support. We had specialists on site. During the SARS scare we had seasoned healthcare experts brought in to talk to employees and help them with their concerns and fears. We had to pull all of management together, so they knew how to respond and support staff that might be worrying about coming to the office or being able to focus on work.

Never under-estimate the importance of internal communications; your PR, HR and CEO coming...

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The average person spends nearly three hours on social media in a given day. While this simple fact doesn’t make the average person a social media guru, it certainly proves a point: if your brand is not using social media well, you are missing a huge opportunity for face time with your customers.

Gaining and maintaining a brand following is incredibly important. But it ain’t easy.

Not to worry! A few simple social media fundamentals will allow you to get your brand page up and running in no time—setting up a solid social media foundation.

1. Know who you are talking to. Don’t just look at the number of followers you have, but at who your followers are. Are the majority of your fans local? National? What do they care about? Which publications are they reading? What businesses have they taken the time to “like”?

Go ahead and dig up all the dirt you can on your followers. It helps you stay in tune with what they want to hear and who they care to hear from.

The same goes for following people you want following you. Always look up publications you...

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This month, Red Fan client MyEdu sought out to better understand students’ experiences and choices when it comes to degree completion, major selection and focus. The research, conducted by MyEdu’s VP of Design Jon Kolko, produced some very interesting findings that many reporters included in recent stories. Here are a couple of highlights from The Huffington Post and MindShift, KQED’s blog covering cultural and technology trends in education.

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Below is the second part of a two-part blog post on analyst relations. For part one, click here.

BE READY TO LISTEN

Too many clients want to run through their PowerPoint presentation with the analyst over the phone. I find most people are much worse on the phone and throw all pleasantries aside. Remember, you are building a relationship. Make sure you have read the analyst’s bio prior to the call and take the time to get to know them a little bit.

Also, remember some analysts want to stop and interject between slides or make recommendations. Be ready for it and open to it. That’s where the value comes in! After all, he or she takes enough of these meetings a day to know what will sell or what will strengthen your point.

If you let the analyst do some of the talking, you will glean insights on his or her larger view of your competitive landscape, based on all of the briefings he or she has had with companies in your industry. If you ask if they’ve seen anything like...

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Since I began my communications career as a journalist, I learned early and often the importance of the technology industry analyst. In fact, one of my first assignments at EDN Magazine was writing an article about routers (yes, I’m dating myself, but I’m okay with it).

The first thing I did was call two of my favorite analysts at Gartner and Forrester, and I gave them a list of the products and companies I was interested in reviewing for my story. I asked if I was missing anything—any major brands I’ve left off the list? Any product launches coming up that I don't know about?

The Gartner analyst let me know that one of the companies on my list had just briefed him, and he suggested that I give their PR gal a call for details on a router they were about to launch later in the week. Well, that pretty much sums it up!

Yes, as a reporter I had to cover a lot of territory, but I wasn’t foolish enough to think I was always the expert. I made it my business to know...

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After spending days fully immersed in SXSWedu and all it has to offer, MyEdu's leadership team came out the other side with not only some indispensable insights, but also with a renewed sense of purpose. We worked with MyEdu's Chief Products Officer, Frank Lyman, on a bylined article for Huffington Post detailing one of his most rewarding SXSWedu experiences, his panel on public-private partnerships in higher education.

Click here to read Frank Lyman's full article on Huffington Post.

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2013 Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Honoree Sonny Curtis took some time to sit down with Michael Corcoran of the Austin American-Statesman for a candid conversation about his celebrated songwriting career and what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Click here to read the full article.

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We had the pleasure of working with Cosmo for Latinas for this story on how to maximize skin care for spring. Our very own Dr. Steven Zimmet of Zimmet Vein & Dermatology was quoted in the article, providing his tips for maintaining healthy skin on the arms and shoulders.

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Welcome to the Red Fan Communications blog. Here you’ll find client news, case studies, industry updates, best practices and more.

The Red Fan team is comprised of PR professionals with very diverse backgrounds and skill sets. We come from the East Coast, West Coast, Northeast, Midwest and Deep South. We’ve lived in NYC, ATX, LA, Hong Kong, Atlanta, North Carolina, Michigan and many places in between.

As different as we are, we have a few major things in common. Namely, a beloved place to hang our hats in Austin, Texas and a dedication to the fine art of communications. Telling a good story, using proper punctuation, carrying on an engaging conversation, delivering a moving presentation…these are the things we live for. We’re driven to help businesses succeed by sharing these finely-tuned skills for message-building.

We understand that there are as many ways to get something done as there are people to do it, which is why we respect each other and our clients to the highest degree. We work as a team–a well-oiled machine–to make sure that a client’s message is...

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  • Red line for urgent requests: (512) 217-6352
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