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Last June, Google officially announced that it would start filtering ads in Chrome to give users a better web browsing experience. The “ad filter” is expected to go live Feb. 15. Google has given companies and advertisers ample time to adjust their websites to align with the new rules from the Coalition for Better Ads, which will determine which ads are unacceptable based on extensive research made by the coalition that ranks lowest to highest across a range of user experience.

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Don’t launch at SXSW.

I repeat, DO NOT launch at SXSW.

The reasons for this are many, not the least of which is the logistical nightmare of scheduling media interviews amidst a throng of some 300,000 attendees, a commensurate amount of booze and no shortage of parties for business executives, journalists and other attendees that nearly ensures you get lost somewhere in the proverbial and literal shuffle.

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So you’re planning to attend a conference. Great! We hope you have a great time, but before you head out, do you have a plan for how you’ll engage while there? You’ve already invested time, travel and energy, so make sure you’re fully prepared to maximize your experience.

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Love it or hate it, SXSW is around the corner. The annual festival makes Austin the top destination for tech, music and film, bringing thousands of visitors and even more traffic to the city. While we love the tourism for our economy, locals must fight through the crowds to get to their neighborhood hangouts. Fortunately, Red Fan has created a meal-by-meal guide to surviving the South by buzz while still getting quality eats and drinks for locals and visitors alike.

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Apple, Microsoft, Purina, Nike, Ford—what do all these brands have in common? Hint: You’ve heard of all of them. That’s right, they all have strong brand awareness. Whether or not you choose to interact with these brands, you immediately recognize their names.

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Brand loyalty is a critical aspiration for any business. It’s how companies know they made it, that they’re household names that everyone recognizes and is familiar with. This is, of course, especially true of B2C brands, whose customers often number in the hundreds of thousands, or, in the cases of giants like Amazon and Apple, the hundreds of millions.

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So your company has decided to invest in a social media campaign; now you’re six months in and aren’t sure if it’s working. Should you hang tight or call it quits?

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When starting a new PR partnership or refreshing a current one, it’s important to nail down a campaign road map. A huge component to a strategic PR campaign is considering your goals and aligning them within the framework of the media timeline.

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Entering the workforce in the 21st century is difficult. In fact, 78 percent of adults (including baby boomers) claim it’s harder for young people to get a job compared to previous generations. It’s a transition I can personally attest to: The shift from college to full-time employee has been the most difficult one for me to date. After walking across the stage to receive a diploma, the guides and answers seemed to disappear, and those same feelings of confusion and uneasiness affect almost all young 20-somethings to some degree.

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At its most basic function, public relations is the practice of building mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics, namely the media, which has grown far beyond its traditional boundaries. What used to be confined to broadcast and print mediums has now amplified across the Internet and into our hands through the many apps we consume on a daily basis.

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When I founded Red Fan Communications in 2008, I had a vision for the type of philanthropic work the agency would be able to accomplish. It included taking on select clients that represented causes we truly believed in. We understand that many nonprofits work under extremely tight budgets, so Red Fan has always been willing to negotiate discounted rates, agree to sponsorship exchanges or work pro bono in select, few cases.

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Being a chief executive may sound glamorous and powerful, but it comes with a unique set of responsibilities, stresses and accountabilities that few other jobs entail. While the perks seem plentiful, the daily scrutiny and pressures are intense. Unlike other business leaders or influencers, the CEO must own the vision for the company, procure the proper resources (both monetary and human), build the culture, demonstrate an ability to make good business decisions and set, then exceed the bar for performance. And he or she must be personal and unflappable.

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I’m going to make this easy on you…it’s both.

There is no employee alive who wants EITHER money or a great work environment. And if I’m wrong and that’s you, please call me, because we have an AMAZING work environment here and I’m happy to pay you less than what you’re worth.

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It’s inevitable that, as your company grows, you’re likely to have more stories and news to share with the public. You may also decide that you need to be prepared in the event of a crisis. If you take anything away from this, DO NOT wait until you are in a crisis to determine who should speak on behalf of your company. Your spokesperson is a direct representation of your brand, and it’s important to consider how they will portray your company in a very public eye. Having a spokesperson to represent your company or organization is also vital for your public relations and marketing. Regardless of your industry or the size of your company, your spokesperson can help you keep your message consistent.

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Internal communications might not seem like the most pivotal component of a company’s success, especially as you’re worrying about attracting new investors, implementing that new sales strategy, trying to land media placements or launching a new product. Yet, an internal communications strategy is more important than ever because employees are less engaged than they used to be.

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Thought leadership is a core component of any C-suite’s executive positioning strategy. A well-placed byline in the right publication at the right time can be posted on social media to attract more followers, put in the sales team’s hands to drive new leads or linked via the company website to demonstrate knowledge around some of the hottest topics in any given industry.

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I read a novel recently that described a futuristic society where AR-like glasses identified the personal stats and characteristics of other humans in your vicinity. Almost like a video game—where your health meter hovers delicately over your avatar's head—the novel’s protagonist could identify names and ages, when the person last ate and more, all by glancing at them through her high-tech glasses.

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While at Finovate this week, there were more than 70 seven-minute demos from companies challenging the current state of financial services and offering something new. From feature launches to the unveiling of entirely new companies, there was a lot to digest. But the biggest miss, in my opinion, was the lack of engagement during the demo portions. Yes, there was plenty of time for one-on-one discussions. However, if I’m going to sit through a demo with an audience of people who care enough to be there, it’s much more valuable to force the presenter to answer some questions. We’ve all flown into a city to take in a ton of information, so let’s get more value out of the presentations and offer a give-and-take conversation. Imagine that a bank asks a key question, a VC asks a question and a potential tech partner asks a question. Now you’ve opened up a dialogue and the minds of the people sitting in row after row of seats.

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Do you have what it takes to pack a perfect product demo into seven minutes? FinovateFall’s nearly 70 demoing companies aim to dazzle and captivate audience members in less than ten minutes--no easy feat.

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Millennials are a misunderstood bunch. Every generation is, or feels that way—but this one in particular has marketers slinging stereotypes and shaking their heads. You’ve heard the labels. Lazy. Entitled. Fickle. Bored. Bent over their phones.

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In less than two weeks, established and emerging financial services companies from around the world will converge on the demo stage at FinovateFall.

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Every year, there comes a time of reconciliation for a company’s division heads, when product officers, marketers, sales reps and every other department are vying for the same pool of resources that will be allocated to best achieving the business’s objectives for the coming fiscal year. For the CMO, that means making perpetually hard choices around ad spends across channels, paid relationships with market research firms, internal initiatives, traditional marketing campaigns, travel and trade shows, awards submissions and more.

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In the midst of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts go out to the many communities in Texas affected by the catastrophic rain and flooding. While live news streams play in the background of our daily activities, we know there are hubs of communications teams assembling throughout the state and country preparing their pitches, social media efforts and more. We have a job to do.

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Industry conferences are a seemingly never-ending affair. For some, it’s a time to network with other industry professionals and experts. For others, a chance to show off their latest products and services, impress investors and advance their businesses for everyone to see.

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Like many people, I do most of my banking through devices, and I am so thankful that technology exists to make it so! However, while there's a lot we can do on our phones, computers and bank kiosks, bank tellers aren't going away completely. Here’s why:

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