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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

JULY 17, 2019 //     

PAPA JOHN'S MADE A MINI PIZZA FOR BEES

Credit: AdAge

Honey bee populations have been declining dramatically worldwide, and in the U.K., two species have already gone extinct locally. To draw attention to the plight of the pollinators, Papa John’s U.K. has made what it calls the world’s first pizza for bees.

So, do bees even like pizza?

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JULY 16, 2019 //     

Netflix removes depiction of suicide in ’13 Reasons Why’ season one finale

Credit: TechCrunch

Netflix  has modified an episode of the controversial series ’13 Reasons Why’ two years after its original airing, citing sensitivity to the ‘ongoing debate’ that’s been occurring regarding the show’s depiction and characterization of teen suicide. In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, the streaming explained why it removed a scene that depicted the suicide of main character Hannah (played by Katherine Langford) which lasted nearly three minutes, opting instead to have this take place entirely off-camera in the updated edit.

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JULY 16, 2019 //     

TikTok relies on positivity, AI to create a ‘happier place’ for users;

Credit: PRWeek

If you take away anything from this story, let it be this: TikTok is not a music app geared toward teens.

The app’s head of global marketing, Stefan Heinrich Henriquez, says his biggest comms challenge is making sure people understand that. 

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JULY 12, 2019 //     

Content Is NOT the Same as Content Marketing

An e-book, a webinar, and a white paper are not content marketing. Ads are not content marketing. Social media posts are not content marketing. Marketing with content is not the same thing as content marketing.

But what is the difference between content and content marketing? The answer is the publisher-like destination and the regular frequency of quality content that you use to attract and build an audience. You don’t own the audience on social platforms. And one e-book is not consistent enough to build the trust that audiences today are expecting.

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JULY 11, 2019 //     

TikTok bats for Wimbledon with content partnership

Credit: The Drum

Short form video platform TikTok is playing doubles with The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) by producing author content for a younger generation of future tennis fans.

After AELTC launched the app on the eve of the Wimbledon Championships, creators on the platform have been encouraged to put their spin on Wimbledon throughout the tournament, through a platform-wide hashtag #JoinTheStory, to tie in with Wimbledon's broader marketing campaign.

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JULY 10, 2019 //     

KFC Just Launched a Bucket Hat That, If You Want, Still Doubles as a Chicken Bucket

Photo Credit: Arthur Couvat for KFC Russia

Have you ever looked at an empty, grease-saturated bucket of KFC fried chicken and thought, “Damn I wish I could wear that”? Dream no more, you sartorial visionary and/or Buckethead superfan, because KFC has finally pulled the trigger on an official bucket hat—albeit only in Russia, for now.

Created by agency Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam for KFC Russia, the bucket hat was designed in partnership with St. Petersburg-based streetwear brand Mam Cupy. They’re currently selling for 1,800 rubles, which is about $30 U.S.

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JULY 9, 2019 //     

Burger King is now selling $1 tacos nationwide. Here's why

Credit: CNN

New York (CNN Business)Burger King is trying to get customers' attention with something a little different: Tacos.

The burger chain started selling crunchy tacos on Tuesday. They cost $1 in most places, but are more expensive in Alaska and Hawaii, and will only be available for a limited time. READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // JULY 9, 2019 //     

Impossible Foods' CCO on making meatless meat burgers mainstream

Credit: PRWeek

Rachel Konrad joined Impossible Foods in 2016, the same year the Impossible Burger was born. At that point, the burger was only available at one restaurant: Momofuku Nishi in New York. 

"When I first started, we were at 100 employees," says Konrad, Impossible Foods’ chief communications officer. 

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JULY 8, 2019 //     

How a Bunch of Urban Hipsters Saved Pabst Blue Ribbon

Credit: Drew Angerer — Getty ImagesIf you’re the sort who suffers for days from old commercial jingles that get stuck in your head, then by all means avoid searching YouTube for the Pabst Blue Ribbon weightlifter spot. Its doubtful premise—that a champion athlete can win first prize, but really just wants a brewski—climaxes in song: “I’ve got a taste for livin’ / I’m bringin’ home the Ribbon.” But if you can withstand the jingle, the spot is worth a look. Its polyester shirts, shag haircuts and corner-tavern setting are a reminder that, not so long ago, Pabst was a working man’s beer. READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // JULY 8, 2019 //     

Podcast: The Evolution of Influencer Marketing with Cathy Planchard

Credit: Holmes ReportThe rise of influencer marketing has sparked debate around how to measure the impact of these campaigns and the new rules of engagement — and how those differ from traditional media. Cathy Planchard, global president of Allison+Partners' All Told Division, joins the Echo Chamber to discuss a recent report the agency published, Unleashing Influencer Marketing and Realizing Its Full Potential, that shows that marketers aren't fully optimizing the potential of influencer marketing. During the conversation, we also reference an Influencer Marketing salon that Allison + Partners hosted with the Holmes Report earlier this year at the Innovation Summit — North America.  READ MORE
JULY 2, 2019 //     

This DTC Brand Is Offering an Influencer University to Give a Crash Course on Navigating Brands

Credit: Adweek

In an industry rife with false advertising, loose FTC guidelines and influencers peddling products that maybe even they don’t believe in, Seed, a direct-to-consumer probiotics brand, wants to change how influencers work with companies.

Seed rolled out its affiliate program, Seed University, on June 25. The idea behind Seed University, which exists solely on Instagram, is to revamp how influencers become involved with brands. Instead of the usual experience in which a brand tells an influencer what to say and why, without explaining the science or necessity about the product, Seed wants its ambassadors to know everything about the product—and make it a mandatory process (otherwise the influencers aren’t allowed to sell products and get commission).

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JULY 1, 2019 //     

‘Focusing on pain points’: LinkedIn adds more ad-targeting options

LinkedIn’s ad targeting is getting much more sophisticated.

LinkedIn is planning to introduce the ability for advertisers to retarget LinkedIn users who engage with their LinkedIn ads, according to a marketer with direct knowledge of the matter. Currently, LinkedIn advertisers can only see clicks that come from certain audience groups such as from a particular company. Retargeting to individuals is available on other platforms like Facebook and lets advertisers further personalize ads. The feature is expected to come out in 2020, according to the source. Later this year, LinkedIn also will add more narrowed geography-based targeting for city, state and countries.

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JULY 1, 2019 //     

TV watchers are facing a 'paradox of choice', Nielsen finds

Credit: The Drum

US adults spend more than 11 hours of the day connected with media, with five hours and 46 minutes of that time spent watching television-like content – an 11-minute drop in TV consumption compared to the same time last year.

The figures were published in Nielsen's Total Audience Report for Q1 2019, which attributed the drop to the lack of special TV happenings, such as the Winter Olympics, which didn’t air this year.

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JUNE 27, 2019 //     

E3: Three gaming trends to watch

By: Cat Forgione

Video games are an increasingly important part of American culture and entertainment. According to our client, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the video game industry is valued at more than $43.4 billion and includes more than 166 million adults who play games. While marketers should aim to reach the video gaming audience, it’s a community that demands authenticity, which requires brands to spend time in the space to understand the culture and gain credibility.

Last week, I attended E3 in Los Angeles, where 66,100 people came together to discuss what is new in the video game industry. As a first-time attendee, I found the pure passion and breadth of the gaming audience electric and the evolution of opportunities for brands was on full display.

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Hosted by ESA, the event packs the Los Angeles Convention Center with video game developers and designers, hardware creators, influencers and fans anxiously awaiting announcements about the latest games and products showcased in colorful booths and at highly-anticipated press conferences.

From the 25th annual E3, here are a few trends brands should keep an eye on:

Esports will be video gaming’s greatest opportunity

Esports operates similar to traditional sports with tournaments played by teams comprised of players with top skill. Tournaments are livestreamed from arenas with commentary from respected gaming personalities. Similar to traditional sports, esports gives audiences the ability to learn how to maximize their play, meet people with similar interests and cheer for those who play the same games as them at a professional level.

Estimates from Newzoo project the global esports market will exceed $1.4 billion by 2020. Though esports is more advanced in countries outside of the United States, E3 featured its own Esports Zone in partnerships with Subnation to spotlight esports through game play, expert talks and gaming cultural experiences.

With the growth of esports, the opportunity for companies to reach the video game audience will grow through tournament and team sponsorships, in-stream advertising and event partnerships. For example, as of this year, Miller Lite is the exclusive alcohol brand for Complexity Gaming, the esports sibling of the Dallas Cowboys.

Streamers are still the trusted source

Streamers play video games through a live, dual video recording – one video shows the gamer’s reactions and one video shows gameplay. These players have a high number of followers on social media and streaming platforms, such as Mixer and Twitch. Unlike other forms of entertainment, the audience is a key part of the experience because viewers can communicate with streamers through chat functions. Streamers respond via spoken word while simultaneously gaming. As a result of this relationship, streamers are viewed a trusted resource for product recommendations to those in the gaming community. 

At the “Borderlands” booth at E3, many streamers were seen on gaming PCs in glass rooms playing the game, discussing their experiences at the show and interviewing special guests for thousands of their followers. Many of these streaming personalities have sponsors, and their content changes continuously. The ESA Foundation and Red Bull partnered to drive the conversation about how to create compelling content with a panel featuring creators, including Mari Takahashi of Smosh Games, Sonja “OMGitsfirefoxx” Mel, Leah Ashe and Dana Pirkle of 3Blackdot.

Video game companies pay and provide products to influential streamers to play new releases, while technology hardware companies do the same in exchange for a mention in the gear section of an influencers’ streaming homepage. Additionally, other non-endemic brands, especially food and beverage brands, have partnered with streamers for product promotion, such as UberEats and Hershey's.

Mobile video gaming continues steady growth

With today’s demand for entertainment at our finger tips, consumers use smart phones for gameplay. According to eMarketer, mobile gamers make up nearly 89% of digital gamers and span all ages. Phone makers, including Asus and Razer, another A+P client, identified this trend and developed phones with high-resolution screens and fast response times for superior mobile gameplay.

Though E3 is known for console and PC game announcements, there were a few mobile game announcements, such as “Commander Keen” and “Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad.” Simultaneously, the conversation around 5G elevating mobile gaming continued with Verizon exhibiting at E3.

The development of mobile games creates a new opportunity for in-game advertisements. These advertisements should be short in length, in the same picture format as the game and convey the message without audio.

The current evolution of esports, technology and gaming on the go provide a great opportunity for marketers. Overall, the large gaming audience seeks authenticity from brands, so consider partnering with esports athletes, streamers and other brands that are trusted resources and good storytellers. By continuously investing in and understanding the culture of this target audience, your brand can also be a trusted resource.

 Cat Forgione is an account manager in Allison+Partners’ DC office.

JUNE 26, 2019 //     

Communicating with the LGBTQ+ community in the digital age

By: Gina Mossey

As part of our agency’s celebrations for Pride Month, we hosted a panel event in the London office in collaboration with Out in Tech, a global not-for-profit for the LGBTQ+ community in tech, to discuss how the internet has changed the way brands can and should communicate with the LGBTQ+ community.

Chaired in style by our very own Account Director Andrew Rogers, guest speakers who imparted their words of wisdom included:

  • Polly Shute, Director of Partnerships at Parallel Lifestyle
  • Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes
  • Matt Risley, Digital Director at MTV UK
  • Saski, Pride Host and LGBTQ+ Educator

A thought-provoking and lively conversation left us all with a lot of food for thought. Here are the key takeaways.

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Start with your staff

We’ve seen a lot of companies support Pride because other companies do – we all know brands are fast followers. But the most effective brands support LGBTQ+ communities year-round and get input and feedback from their employees to make sure they get it right.

Consistent communication with employees is the crucial piece of the puzzle between brands getting it right or wrong. The more they can be involved in the process, the better-informed senior teams will be. This will help you avoid falling into the pink washing trap, and instead show your company really listens to the challenges faced by real people.

LGBTQ+ is more than just one category

This umbrella community contains many subgroups, and brands can ignore this at their peril. Each subgroup needs to be marketed to in a different way, as each have their own pain points about their personal, historical and cultural experiences. Language is a key component here, as a positive term for one subgroup can be quite the opposite for another. However, empathy, consideration and kindness will speak across the community. Within any content, we need to make sure everyone is represented.

Getting the language right again brings us back to the workplace. For society to get used to modern usage, we need more training on what is positive and negative to whom. For example, “queer” is something of a reclaimed term for younger people, while older generations can find it offensive. The more educated society becomes on this, the more intelligent our ways of using these terms socially will be.

Digital targeting for LGBTQ+ groups is still in its infancy

Building on the discussion around language, the group showed digital targeting for the community isn’t as sophisticated as it needs to be. Differences in connotations between different parts of the LGBTQ+ community means positive and negative keywords are tough to define and is a bigger conversation for the global tech community to have.

The panel also advised brands to beware of “The City Bubble.” LGBTQ+ initiatives and messaging are more advanced in major cities. But brands looking to truly get their comms strategies right need to make sure those who live in less urban areas are also represented.

They also highlighted the struggle with internet users known as “lurkers.” These people view and consume content, but they do not comment or share, making it hard to ensure their views are taken into account. We need to make sure we reach and engage the people who don’t feel they have a voice. Putting efforts into physical focus groups and research will help brands navigate this.

Be wary of only using technology to communicate

The group agreed the explosion in digital platforms has been positive in terms of visibility for LGBTQ+ issues. But it’s important it complements, and does not replace, face-to-face interaction with the community. One-to-one level comms are important for any strategy.

Brands can tap into this by keeping events and meet-ups a key part of their strategy, such as hosting talks from key influencers in their sectors who have links to the LGBTQ+ community, putting emphasis on current topics and issues that have relevance to the subgroups.

Making mistakes is part of the journey

A key point the panel wanted brands to take away from the event is that it isn’t the end of the road if you make a mistake. It’s likely brands will get it wrong sometimes, and they shouldn’t take it personally. They advised that rather than pulling out all the stops to defend yourselves, listen to the community and put yourself in their shoes. Taking a step back and listening to the voices that matter will help you work out where to go from there.

The event’s open and honest discussion around these issues, thanks to our fantastic panel and the questions from our brilliant audience, is a perfect example of the collaborative conversations that need to happen to drive change on a bigger scale for the LGBTQ+ community. Brands that keep this at the core of their activity will be the ones that truly lead the way.

Gina Mossey is an account director in Allison+Partners London office.

JUNE 25, 2019 //     

Just 11% of Cannes Lions trophies went to agencies with an equal gender split

Credit: The Drum

Close to 31,000 Cannes Lions entries across 89 countries were submitted for 2019, but of the 1000-plus winners just over 11% came from agencies that had an equal gender split at department and board-level.

According to Les Lionnes (The Lionesses) – a French non-profit group created by and made up of 300 women working in advertising – just under 90% of the winning work submitted from across 89 countries was created by agencies that were chiefly staffed and led by men.

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JUNE 25, 2019 //     

Influencer Marketing Lessons from BlogHer Food 2019

Credit: BlogHer.comBy: Lucy Arnold

Influencer marketing is maturing, and this was certainly felt at the BlogHer conference last month where many key learnings were shared that can help influencers and marketers alike ensure they are optimizing their partnerships.

In May, the BlogHer community of female entrepreneurs, content creators and influencers brought 500 people together for the day in Brooklyn to hear from experts and discuss sustainability, influencer-driven food trends, engaging food content and the #MeToo movement in the food industry. Panels and keynotes included Bethenny Frankel, Ali Maffucci and Rayna Greenberg, among other notables. Here are some of the top influencer tips from the event:

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Influencers are more savvy than ever

Many of the top-tier food influencers shared that they’re aware of their own metrics, conversion rates and audience demographics. They aren’t just blindly posting content with no understanding of how it may perform, and they can see which content is the most successful against benchmarks. They take this into consideration when discussing partnerships with brands. These influencers think brands should ask for this information in the negotiation phases because it shows they’re committed to working with the right influencer partners. On the flip side, it has made these influencers also more aware of what they’re worth and they’re going to ask for it.

Use your influencer partner’s audience

Influencers mentioned more than once Instagram is the platform they spend most of their time on. And they work with their brand partners in some interesting ways based on Instagram’s features. On Instagram Stories, users can poll their audience, quiz them and encourage them to donate to a nonprofit. One influencer mentioned she has used these capabilities to help define what kind of content she creates in her sponsorships. For example, she’ll poll her audience about which recipe they want to see and then work on the one more likely to have successful engagement metrics. Or she quizzes her audience to see how much they know (or don’t know) about a particular product, which can help her draft copy that raises awareness about key product messages. For brands, it’s a great way to get some inside info and help drive the influencer relationship to maximize returns.

Long-term partnerships and licensing

We keep hearing it from our influencer friendlies across verticals, but influencers reiterated at BlogHer – they want to work with brands in long-term partnerships. They are less interested in one-and-done posts because it devalues their audience’s trust and feels less authentic than working with a brand they love over a long period of time. Finally, a quick watch-out for brands: influencers want to know if brands will use their content. They are content creators and if their imagery ends up in the brand’s ads or website, they want to know about that in the negotiations. Using their content without permission outside of what was agreed upon isn’t best practice, and the creators should be additionally compensated for these uses.

Lucy Arnold is a Vice President of Digital focused on influencer marketing and social media strategy.

AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 24, 2019 //     

On the Move: Hawthorne Hires David Nassar; Definition 6 Recruits Dani Newman; Allison +Partners Ups Tom Smith

Credit: O'Dwyer's

Allison+Partners has promoted Tom Smith to president, corporate, North America, a newly created position. Smith previously served as managing director at the firm. In 2018, he was named a partner and was appointed to Allison+Partners’ North American Management Board, which oversees the growth and operations of the firm’s clients in the region. Before coming to Allison+Partners, Smith was an executive vice president in Ogilvy PR’s New York corporate practice. He has also served as a vice president in the corporate communications group at Fleishman Hillard, and held earlier roles at GCI Group and Makovsky + Company.

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AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 24, 2019 //     

Allison+Partners' Tom Smith Named President of North American Corporate

Credit: Holmes ReportNEW YORK — Allison+Partners has upped Tom Smith to president of the agency’s North American corporate practice.

In the newly created position, Smith is charged with furthering the expansion of the practice serving the agency's largest market.  READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 24, 2019 //     

Allison+Partners ups Tom Smith to president of NA corporate practice

Credit: PRWeek

NEW YORK: Allison+Partners has promoted Tom Smith to president of its North America corporate practice, a newly created role.

Most recently, Smith was MD of corporate in North America. He officially started in his current role in May and reports to Matthew Della Croce, global president of Europe and corporate.

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AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 23, 2019 //     

Level with me: Eric Paslay podcast gives a voice to people with diabetes

Credit: TDTNews

Eric Paslay, country singer and songwriter hailing from Temple, recently launched a five-episode podcast aiming to give a voice to people across the country living with Type 1 diabetes.

Each episode of “Level with Me” includes a different interview facilitated by Paslay. As someone living with T1D, he peeks into the lives of others battling the disease and fosters an open an honest discussion of how the chronic illness impacts their lives and relationships. The first episode was released in mid-May, and the fifth and final episode of the season was released last week.

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JUNE 20, 2019 //     

GirlGaze Network looks to connect brands with female creatives

Credit: TechCrunch

It started with a hashtag. Amande de Cadenet, photographer, author, and TV host, was spending time with her sister, a director and photographer in her own right, when an ACLU study on the lack of diversity among directors was published in the NYT Magazine, with de Cadenet’s sister an interviewee in the cover story.

“It’s about damn time,” she said to her sister, launching a conversation that would re-route de Cadenet’s path forward. Her experience as a photographer herself, able to book editorial jobs but rarely getting paid gigs, cemented what she had just read in the magazine article.

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JUNE 20, 2019 //     

MILLENNIALS LISTEN TO MORE AUDIO THAN ANY OTHER GENERATION, NEW STUDY FINDS

Credit: iHeartRadioMillennial audio consumption in the U.S. is booming, with the demographic listening to audio of more types, at more times, and in more places than any other generation, according to a newly released Ipsos study conducted for iHeartRadio

“Audio is hot right now and a must for marketers looking to reach increasingly elusive and fractured audiences,” said Bob Pittman, iHeartRadio’s CEO and chairman, in a statement. “We are living in an audio-first world.”
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JUNE 19, 2019 //     

Here’s where Americans are vacationing this summer — and what they’re spending

Credit: USA Today

Going on a summer vacation this year? You’re in good company.

Almost 100 million Americans, or 4 in 10 U.S. adults, will take a family trip in 2019, according to AAA. That’s up slightly from last year. Meanwhile, financial website Bankrate.com found in a March 2019 survey of 2,577 adults that 52% are planning a summer holiday this year.

So just about half of us, more or less, are hitting the road – literally or figuratively – in the next three months. Where are we headed and how will we get there? For the most part, somewhere we can drive to, according to findings from both AAA and vacation rental management company Vacasa.

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JUNE 18, 2019 //     

YouTube’s new AR Beauty Try-On lets viewers virtually try on makeup while watching video reviews

Credit: TechCrunch

Makeup tutorials and reviews are some of the most popular content on YouTube,  as they help people learn about new products as well as how to apply them. YouTube is now kicking that experience up a notch with the introduction of a new AR feature for virtual makeup try-on right from the YouTube app. Called AR Beauty Try-On, the feature is designed to be used in a split-screen experience while YouTube viewers watch the makeup tutorial.

When available, the YouTube makeup review or tutorial video plays at the top of the screen, with a stream from your own front-facing camera below. Here, a YouTube viewer could access a palate of colors — like new lipstick shades, for example — and tap to apply them to their own face while the video plays above.

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AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 18, 2019 //     

HSBC Marketing Chief Suresh Balaji To Chair 2019 Asia-Pacific SABRE Jury

HONG KONG — HSBC's regional head of marketing will serve as the first ever jury chair for the Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, taking place in Singapore on 12 September.

Balaji, who oversees marketing across 14 Asia-Pacific countries for HSBC's retail banking and wealth management units, brings considerable marketing and communications experience to the role, having spent 14 years in various senior roles for the bank across the world. READ MORE
JUNE 18, 2019 //     

BUD LIGHT BRINGS BACK ‘REAL MEN OF GENIUS’ WITH NEW TWIST FOR DIGITAL AGE

Credit: Adage

Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” campaign--which set a new standard for funny radio ads--is being resurrected for the social media age.

The brew is rebranding the campaign “Internet Heroes of Genius” and running them exclusively on digital, including on streaming audio services Spotify and Pandora. Bud Light stuck to the same formula as the original award-winning campaign, which last ran in 2007 and paid homage to oddball jobs, like “Mr. Edible Underwear Inventor,” with laugh-out-loud copy lines.

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JUNE 18, 2019 //     

Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency: All you need to know

Credit: TechCrunch

Facebook has finally revealed the details of its cryptocurrency, Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. You’ll pseudonymously buy or cash out your Libra online or at local exchange points like grocery stores, and spend it using interoperable third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra walletthat will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger and its own app. Today Facebook released its white paper explaining Libra and its testnet for working out the kinks of its blockchain system before a public launch in the first half of 2020.

Facebook  won’t fully control Libra, but instead get just a single vote in its governance like other founding members of the Libra Association, including Visa, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz, which have invested at least $10 million each into the project’s operations. The association will promote the open-sourced Libra Blockchain and developer platform with its own Move programming language, plus sign up businesses to accept Libra for payment and even give customers discounts or rewards.

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JUNE 17, 2019 //     

Pizza Hut revives ‘OG’ branding to kickstart growth: ‘We lost sight of where we came from’

Credit: The Drum

Pizza Hut’s latest campaign features a bolder tone of voice and a resurrection of its red-roof logo – two things its chief brand officer hopes will resuscitate consumer love for the pizza chain after a period of brand shyness and slow growth.

The brand has chosen to unveil its new branding through a campaign for Cheesy Bites, its limited edition, tear-and-share crust pizza. The snappy flagship commercial for the menu item is packed with product shots and an assertive voiceover, which concludes that “no-one outpizzas the Hut”.

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JUNE 17, 2019 //     

Sports Illustrated Has a New Publisher, Digital Company TheMaven

The digital platform company TheMaven has bought the right to publish Sports Illustrated — digitally and in print — for at least the next 10 years, ending the former owner Meredith’s relationship with Sports Illustrated a few weeks after the landmark magazine’s intellectual property was sold to the Authentic Brands Group, TheMaven and Meredith announced Monday.

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JUNE 13, 2019 //     

Twitch is emerging as a favorite new platform for publishers

Publishers have been playing more with Twitch — and even, believe it or not, making money off it.

As the Amazon-owned live video platform grows its sales team, publishers like The Washington Post, Cheddar and BuzzFeed have invested in creating specific shows catered to the platform over the last year. Publishers said Twitch is useful not only as a way to grow audience numbers but also to learn from a community that’s quite active in the comments. Publishers also can benefit from Twitch’s direct monetization options including in-stream ads and subscriptions.

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JUNE 13, 2019 //     

Empowering Women in the Workplace

Our North American President Anne Colaiacovo has always been dedicated to supporting and empowering female employees to reach their full potential. As a recent inductee to PRWeek’s Hall of Femme, she reflects on how women no longer have an expiration date on their career and describes how Allison+Partners supports their professional journey.  


JUNE 12, 2019 //     

Lime understands your scooter hatred

Credit: PRWeek

Do you ride your Lime electric scooter around town with absolutely no concern for your fellow humans? If you do, and you live in Paris, prepare to be shamed.

Rude behavior by Lime riders has led to negative media coverage in France, so the brand is trying to change the conversation with a print campaign.

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JUNE 12, 2019 //     

Store’s Bid to Shame Customers Over Plastic Bags Backfires

Credit: New York Times

A Canadian store’s attempt to help the environment and gently shame its customers into avoiding plastic bags by printing embarrassing messages on them has not gone quite as planned.

Far from spurring customers to bring their own reusables, the plastic bags — variously emblazoned with “Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale,” “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” or “The Colon Care Co-op” — have become somewhat of a surprise hit.

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JUNE 12, 2019 //     

The Stream Podcast Episode 4: The Influence It Factor

Credit: Lex and the CityBy: Owen Clark


I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve interviewed on-camera over the past decade. But between being a TV reporter, a media trainer and a video director, I’d put the number well over 1,000. Of those 1,000-plus people, I’d say 99% had the same reaction when I showed them the footage of their interview: “Ugh, I hate seeing myself on camera.”

I’m convinced the reason for this sudden self-loathing is because even in our selfie-obsessed culture, when the proverbial red light comes on and we’re forced to actually deliver on-camera we realize it’s a really hard skill to master.  

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So is taking good photos, writing interesting copy and publishing content that is relevant and engaging to your audience. Not to mention finding sponsors, balancing advertiser requests vs. audience credibility and generally doing all the things a content operation needs to do to pay the bills.

To succeed as an influencer in today’s landscape, all those duties fall on the individual. They  are host, photographer, sales rep and editorial board. They are responsible for balancing the needs of the brands that pay them and the audience who has trusted them enough to tune in, subscribe or share what they’re saying.

In this episode of The Stream Podcast, Owen and Micah dive into the world of the paid influencer with two content creators from opposite ends of the experience and audience spectrum: Alexis Holden of Lex and The City and James Hills of Mantripping. Topics include side-eyes while taking food selfies, best bucket list vacations and trying to get paid while not sounding like a walking commercial.

For more data and insight on today’s ecosystem of Influence check out Allison+Partners’ Influence 360.

The Stream Podcast can be downloaded via Google Play MusiciTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

 

JUNE 11, 2019 //     

Europe publishes common drone rules, giving operators a year to prepare

Credit: TechCrunch

Europe has today published common rules for the use of drones. The European Union  Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says the regulations, which will apply universally across the region, are intended to help drone operators of all stripes have a clear understanding of what is and is not allowed.

Having a common set of rules will also means drones can be operated across European borders without worrying about differences in regulations.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

‘A center of gravity’: Retailers are adding data analytics teams to loyalty programs

Credit: ModernRetail

As retailers revamp their loyalty programs to give members access to more than just discounts, they’re also looking at how to better analyze the data collected through these programs.

Before Reebok rolled out its first-ever loyalty program in March, it increased its digital staff by 30%. Of those hires, a “significant portion” were data analytics roles, according to Matt Blonder, Reebok’s global head of digital. Last March, Nike acquired Zodiac, a data analytics company to work exclusively on predicting the average lifetime value of its NikePlus customers. And last November, Ulta Beauty acquired analytics startup QM Scientific, which CEO Mary Dillon said would aid in the company’s personalization efforts, and that personalization is “the next frontier of loyalty” for the beauty retailer.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

Using Smartphones to Pay? That’s So Yesterday in China

Credit: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Chinese technology giants have leapfrogged U.S. companies in popularizing mobile payments. Now, they are trying to get people to bypass their smartphones and make payments by simply looking into screens.

Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY +1.50% , rivals that operate, respectively, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two largest mobile-payments networks, are competing for dominance in the next stage of China’s cashless society. Each is racing to install its own branded facial-recognition screens at retail points-of-sale all over the country, marketing the screens as a way to speed up sales and improve efficiency.

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JUNE 10, 2019 //     

A Bellwether for Affordable Housing

Credit: Seattle TimesBy: Hamilton McCulloh


Progress is very good for economic development. Longtime residents of the Pacific Northwest still recall the billboard in the 1970s on I-5 that asked, “Will the last person leaving Seattle turn off the lights?” following a massive layoff at Boeing. It was primarily a one-industry town at that time.

Fast forward 40 years, and the region is home to Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Zillow, Weyerhaeuser, Expedia, REI, and many others. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are all expanding operations here. Progress is indeed good, but growth does pose significant challenges — traffic and affordable housing chief among them.

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This issue is not unique to Seattle. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the United States has a shortage of seven million rental homes affordable and available to extremely low-income renters whose household incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or at 30% of their area median income. This is true in all 50 states, although it is extreme on the West Coast in markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles, among others.

This is what it looks like when tens of thousands of people move to one City every year. The rapid rise of new Seattle: Time-lapse video shot over 3 years captures city’s massive growth

Let’s park the traffic problem for now and focus on affordable housing. Thanks to a very innovative non-profit organization, Seattle may be unique in how to respond to the challenge.

Bellwether Housing was created by business and civic leaders through the Downtown Seattle Association in 1980 to help close the gap between income and ever-increasing rent. Its goal was (and is) to build diverse communities where people of all incomes and backgrounds share in the prosperity of the region. Bellwether believes it is vital to create stable communities and access to opportunity through affordable housing, even as demand far outpaces supply. The organization steps in to develop and manage homes for people with limited incomes near job centers.

Bellwether provides affordable homes to 3,500 people every year at 32 properties. But its next challenge is even greater, and Bellwether is going to need a lot of help.

Bringing the community together to help solve the problem

Affordable housing in rapidly growing cities is not a new challenge. And the solutions are not so easy to explain. So how does one go about developing a communications strategy to engage the local decision makers?

Allison+Partners’ Real Estate Group works with a wide range of real estate organizations, helping them to communicate to stakeholders what is being done to enhance affordability and livability in their communities. We recently hosted a reception on behalf of Bellwether Housing. In attendance were 60 of the region’s top developers, investors, contractors, brokers and architects, among other business and civic leaders, to hear from Bellwether CEO Susan Boyd about their new impact-investment opportunity.

By pulling this group together, key decision makers from across the region’s business and civic communities now have a much greater understanding of how they can help make this innovative vision a reality – collectively. 

Investing in opportunity, our neighbors and co-workers

In response to the accelerating need, Bellwether’s Building Opportunity Campaign offers socially minded, accredited investors a meaningful way to address the affordable housing challenge. Invested funds come to Bellwether and go directly into a targeted housing development. The housing financed today is preserved for future generations.

Building affordable housing costs just as much as building any other property. Bellwether is working to develop 750 new units in four buildings in the Puget Sound region to respond to the area’s increasing affordability gap. Each new development is located on the Sound Transit Light Rail line for easy and affordable transit.  

Rents continue to outpace salary growth for many. Bellwether Housing has secured $257 million through a variety public grants and non-profit partners but they need to raise an additional $9 million in private funding to fully leverage the power of the money raised to date. The private funding allows them to offer homes to a wider range of incomes and develop larger homes for families. Those who invest will receive a modest but guaranteed return on their investment over five, 10 and 15 years. But really, the idea of helping people have the security of a place to call home is a great investment.  

Here is video that provides more information.

Hamilton McCulloh is a vice president in Allison+Partners’ Real Estate Group. He has more than 20 years of experience overseeing communications, community engagement and media relations in the real estate industry.

JUNE 5, 2019 //     

For Women in PR, Challenging the Status Quo Means Letting Go

By: Anne Colaiacovo


Today I have the incredible honor of being named to PRWeek’s 2019 “Hall of Femme.” In PRWeek’s words, this distinction “honors leaders in the communications industry who challenge the status quo, move the needle in business and strive to make a difference.” As I read those words, I thought about each quality and how they relate to my career.

When I first started in the PR industry, and particularly at an agency, there were many preconceived notions about how my career would play out. Some of these were mine, while others were thrust upon me.

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I would work long hard hours (OK, I can do that!).

I would be the youngest, and often the only, woman in more rooms than I could count (Bring it on!).

I would “fake it ‘til I made it” and never dream of letting down my boss, mentor, clients or team (That pressure was exhausting!).

If I worked hard, I would be rewarded. There would be no need to negotiate or lobby (This was fine, until it wasn’t.).

As a woman, my career had an expiration date. If I wanted to have children, I would likely have to pivot and change course to “have it all.” (That was BS!)

And so many more.

As I got years under my belt, I realized the “status quo” wasn’t just doing a disservice to me. More importantly, it was doing a disservice to my teams and our industry. For me, to really challenge the status quo, I had to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I had to leave a job I was comfortable in and take one that scared that sh*t out of me.

I learned to trust my gut, surround myself with people smarter than me, take chances and completely let go of the fear of failure. I wasn’t just going to come to work every day – I was going to build something. 

The exciting thing about viewing my career as a way to build something – something that lasts long beyond me – was that it gave this business I always loved a meaning it never had before. Now everything I did had a ripple effect for the people coming after me. So, now, I really meant business.

But all the preconceived notions had to go.

I wasn’t just going to work hard. I was going to work smart. Now I’ve got two kids to get home to. Some days, that means getting up and working at 5 a.m. so I can be at the dance class at 4 p.m. Some days, that means going to the mat for an idea I know is going to work. Some days, that means saying no to a client or piece of business because they don’t really value PR and what we bring to the table.

Now, I may no longer be the youngest woman in the room, but I must make a place for all the young women coming up in the agency. And that is my greatest honor.

I’m incredibly lucky to work in a place where I feel like my value is known and acknowledged. But I also had to learn my own worth and ask for the roles and responsibilities I really wanted. It’s also up to me to create this same scenario for everyone. Whether that is through mentoring, overhauling our review process, throwing out and rewriting our parental leave policy, or simply diligently giving feedback and guidance.

Working at Allison+Partners for more than 10 years, I’ve been surrounded by the most creative, intelligent, strategic thinkers in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by leaders whose vision has shown me public relations can do more to drive results than any other discipline – and that there are no limits to what we can achieve if we stick to our agency’s core values and put people first.

Now, I know I can be president and a mom. I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of creating an environment that is flexible to this, and to every day be an example to those who may still struggle with the misconceptions I used to have. I’m still “faking it ‘til I make it!” But I’ve learned stress and fear are not tied to success. I’ve learned when I’m able to let go of the fear, the anxiety and the worry, I free up room in my brain to think, and to be creative, strategic and happy.

Anne Colaiacovo is the president of North America at Allison+Partners. In addition to being inducted to PRWeek’s 2019 “Hall of Femme,” she was was named one of the outlet’s “40 Under 40” in 2014.

AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Industry News In Brief (June 3, 2019)

SAN FRANCISCO — Allison+Partners has launched a new management consultancy group, called Allison Advisory. Led out of the firm’s corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. Allison Advisory will be led by Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, corporate + Europe, and David Wolf. Wolf (pictured) was previously the managing director of Allison+Partners’ global China practice which, due to the group’s expertise in market entry, will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory. READ MORE
JUNE 3, 2019 //     

‘Nordstrom is a unicorn’: How the department store finds success with influencer collabs

When Nordstrom rolled one of its biggest influencer collection in September 2017 — a collaboration between mega-influencer Arielle Charnas of Something Navy and Nordstrom-owned line Treasure and Bond — the capsule reportedly brought in $1 million in just one day. One year later, the company gave Charnas, who has 1.2 million followers, a standalone Something Navy Line, which crashed the Nordstrom website on launch day because demand was so high.

Over time, Nordstrom has continued to roll out exclusive lines with big influencers who boast over a million followers, and the strategy is proving to be a major success.

“We work with influencers on a regular basis outside of just product collaborations, so these partnerships tend to be an organic extension of an existing relationship. Once we identify an influencer who we know is an organic fit with our brand, we explore ways to evolve our partnership. We prioritize identifying Influencers who share in our goals of inspiring customers through relevant product across our price and style spectrums,” said Jennifer Jackson Brown, evp, president of Nordstrom Product Group at Nordstrom, Inc.

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Stop Thinking About Personalized Content as an Extra

Credit: Content Marketing Institute

Personalization is not a detail or an add-on when it comes to your content. It should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy so you can build the sort of audience loyalty we all dream of.

“Virtually all (96%) marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships,” according to Evergage’s 2019 Trends in Personalization Survey Report. And 80% of the respondents say they saw a measurable lift in business from their personalization campaigns.

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Guns Down America To Adland: Just Say No To The NRA

Grassroots organization Guns Down America wants the ad industry to boycott the National Rifle Association now that it has severed ties with Ackerman McQueen and is presumably looking for another agency to take its place.

The group published an “open letter” late last week in which it implored the industry not to take the NRA’s “blood money.”

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JUNE 3, 2019 //     

Marketers Turn Up Podcast Advertising

PHOTO: RICHARD SHOTWELL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Podcasters continue to find growing interest from marketers, but their growth remains constrained by factors including a lack of independent audience benchmarks.

U.S. advertisers spent $479.1 million advertising on podcasts in 2018, up 53% from about $313.9 million a year earlier, according to a new report from the industry group Interactive Advertising Bureau and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 31, 2019 //     

Allison+Partners Launches Advisory Services to Help Clients Navigate Today’s Business World

Allison+Partners announced the launch of Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group within Allison+Partners. Led out of the firm’s Corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth.

“Our work at Allison Advisory focuses on counseling the c-suite and board of directors through transformative change,” said Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment. A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and be guided by stakeholder expectations and thus forming the basis of lasting advantage. It’s a very different way of looking at solving those problems and an area to which our advisors bring unique expertise.”

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 30, 2019 //     

MDC's Allison+Partners Introduces Corporate Consultancy Group

Credit: MediaPost

Allison+Partners (A+P) is launching Allison Advisory to expand the MDC Partners PR shop's "perception-management" services into business transformations, international expansion, and risk mitigation. 

Allison Advisory will be led by Matthew Della Croce, A+P Global President, Corporate + Europe and David Wolf, Managing Director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice whose division will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. Wolf's new title will become managing director, Allison Advisory.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 30, 2019 //     

News of Firms: Allison+Partners Opens Management Consultancy

Allison+Partners has launched Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group that will be part of the firm’s corporate practice. The group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, advising business leaders in such areas as corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe, is heading up the group along with David Wolf, who was previously managing director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice, which will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment,” Della Croce said. “A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and guided by stakeholder expectations.”

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MAY 30, 2019 //     

Discarded Trash Bags Capture the Struggle of Foster Children in Sobering PSA

Credit: Adweek

Every day, 700 children enter America’s foster care system. From there, the path to landing a stable home situation is rocky at best, especially for older children. Though there are currently more than 400,000 children awaiting foster care, their stories are typically shrouded in silence. Among the scores of national issues that we allow to take center stage, the subject of a crowded, impersonal foster care system does not get as much of our attention as it should.

FosterMore, in partnership with mcgarrybowen, recently released a new minute-long PSA, filmed in the streets of New York City to help raise awareness of youth in foster care. Heaped along the side of the street trash bags emblazoned with a singular fact: “Foster kids get a trash bag and 10 minutes to pack up their lives” when transitioning into homes.

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AGENCY NEWS // MAY 29, 2019 //     

ALLISON+PARTNERS LAUNCHES ADVISORY SERVICES TO HELP CLIENTS NAVIGATE THE COMPLEXITY OF TODAY’S BUSINESS WORLD

SAN FRANCISCO (May 29, 2019) – Allison+Partners today announced the launch of Allison Advisory, a management consultancy group within Allison+Partners. Led out of the firm’s Corporate practice, the group will operate across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, providing clients with counsel to business leaders across all functions as they manage corporate change, digital transformation, international expansion, risk mitigation, purpose development and challenges unique to startup and high-growth. 

“Our work at Allison Advisory focuses on counseling the c-suite and board of directors through transformative change,” said Matthew Della Croce, Allison+Partners’ global president, Corporate + Europe. “Statistics show that nearly 75% of all significant enterprise transformations ultimately fail to achieve the desired return on investment. A core reason for the failure is that stakeholders aren’t embracing the change. This is where Allison Advisory can help, ensuring that decisions are rooted in and be guided by stakeholder expectations and thus forming the basis of lasting advantage. It's a very different way of looking at solving those problems and an area to which our advisors bring unique expertise.”

Allison Advisory will be led by Della Croce and colleague David Wolf, who have spent the last two decades helping clients navigate the unique communications and marketing challenges companies face during business transformations, expansions into new markets and globalizing business strategy. Wolf was previously the managing director of Allison+Partners’ Global China practice which, due to the group’s expertise in market entry, will be rolled into the Allison Advisory offering. His new title will be managing director, Allison Advisory.

“Traditional public relations focuses on ‘perception management,’ taking enterprise decisions already made and creating a narrative for key stakeholders,” Wolf said. “Our approach is different. An organizations’ executive team needs expertise in ‘enterprise behavior change.’ Through our approach we operate as advocates for our client’s stakeholders, providing advice and solutions to enable business decisions to achieve functional transformation and impact.  Our goal is to help executives accelerate growth by optimizing the intersection of business goals, customer needs, regulatory environments and employee experience.”

The new offering builds upon Allison+Partners’ significant track record helping guide C-suite executives and boards of directors through enterprise change and transformation. The Allison Advisory team of senior consultants bring a unique perspective and capability founded in data and analytics, employing proprietary methodologies to maximize efficiencies, minimize internal disruption and support business growth. The agency’s corporate expertise centers around corporate and financial communications, influencer relations, crisis and issues management, executive visibility campaigns, social impact and CSR, content marketing and digital strategies to help clients transform and achieve market leadership. 

“The team we have in place providing counsel through Allison Advisory are strategists who have an enterprise-level point-of-view that is informed by expertise in how stakeholders have evolved from mere ‘audiences’ to the true drivers of leading businesses,” Della Croce said. “We are able to ensure that our clients’ understand what the expectations are from their stakeholders everywhere in the world, and that they are building their businesses in ways that address or exceed those expectations." 

About Allison+Partners
Allison+Partners, an MDC Partners company, is a global marketing and communications agency driven by a collaborative approach to innovation and creativity. The firm was named The Holmes Report’s 2019 “Best Agency to Work For,” PRWeek’s 2018 “Best Place to Work” and The Holmes Report’s 2017 “Digital Agency of the Year.” Allison+Partners has 30 offices worldwide and is organized around five practices: Consumer Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Public Affairs and Technology. All Told, which combines research, content, creative, digital and measurement expertise into one offering, works across these practices to deliver integrated storytelling for clients. The agency also has a network and deep affiliations with firms worldwide through MDC Partners (NASDAQ: MDCA), a progressive marketing and communications network, championing the most innovative entrepreneurial talent. For more information, visit www.allisonpr.com.

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OneChocolate is now part of Allison+Partners