Crenshaw Team Adds Veronica Amenta And Ilana Weinberger

Crenshaw Team Adds Veronica Amenta And Ilana Weinberger
Veronica Amenta and Ilana Weinberger

Crenshaw Communications welcomed two new talented team members in March. Senior AE Veronica Amenta and Assistant AE Ilana Weinberger have joined the agency.

Prior to Crenshaw Veronica was with Trent & Co., where she successfully launched many consumer health brands, including OrCam Technologies, BewellConnect, Freemie and Reliefband. She began her PR career at Tractenberg & Co, working on consumer beauty brands like OPI, Rimmel London and Avon. Veronica received her Bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio in Communications with a minor in Entrepreneurship in 2011.

Ilana Weinberger has been working in PR for two years. She studied Applied Psychology at NYU, with minors in Media Culture and Communication and Creative Writing, with a highlight being studying abroad in London for a semester. Originally from Highland Park, New Jersey, she now lives on the Upper West Side.

Tech Companies Concerned About Diversity — Here’s How PR Can Help

One of the top challenges tech PR people are helping clients with today is attracting and maintaining a diverse workforce. In particular, the artificial intelligence (AI) sector is facing deserved and overdue scrutiny about its commitment to diversity and inclusion. As companies continue to talk about their AI, machine learning and data science capabilities, journalists are asking tougher questions about the way these technologies are built. How many people of color, women and other underrepresented groups are part of the development of these tools? How involved are they? Unfortunately, the data isn’t positive.

According to a recent study by New York University’s AI Now Institute, the AI industry is overwhelmingly white and male. Just 15% of the AI team at Facebook are women. At Google, it’s just 10%. Meanwhile, less than 3% of Google’s workforce is black, with Facebook at 4%. These are embarrassing numbers. 

Not to pick on Google, but as a leader, they should be a role model. Google’s ongoing AI ethics council controversy is another example of the AI industry’s diversity problem. The company was criticized — and rightfully so — for a laughably bad rollout that saw no meaningful diversity among council members. Since then, the ethics council has been disbanded, and the reasoning behind the decision is even more controversial.

Why does this matter? Well, these issues aren’t just bad optics. The lack of representation can lead to deeply ingrained biases in AI offerings that limit their overall efficacy and success. Take, for example, facial recognition technology that cannot interpret a black or brown face. Or a “smart” algorithm that predominantly serves housing ads to white audiences. A dearth of diversity in AI can directly impact business outcomes. 

Fortunately, PR teams can support AI organizations by asking tough questions before a journalist does. These questions not only inform PR and marketing strategy, they can also influence how the client hires, change the way a product is being developed, and more. Strategic communications, if done right, has a lot of power here. To take advantage of that, AI companies need to work with partners that will push them to create meaningful responses to the challenges in AI ethics and diversity. 

But that’s easier said than done. How can AI companies that might face tough questions about their AI build a PR apparatus that can effectively shepherd them through that? Here’s what you can do to optimize chances for success. 

Hire a diverse PR team

If you’re concerned about the lack of diversity in your ranks and how it might impact market perception of your product, seek out a PR team that is credibly and authentically diverse. This is critical. A PR team comprised of underrepresented talent is better equipped to consider challenging questions regarding AI ethics and diversity from key media. This must be a proactive effort, however. During the RFP process, research diverse PR agencies and practitioners. You can even note diversity as an important focus in your RFP to ensure that a potential partner offers a diverse team. 

Be open and honest

With a new PR team on board, AI companies should have candid and open conversations about the diversity of their staff and how it might impact the way their products work. PR and other relevant stakeholders from HR and other departments can come together to have honest workshopping sessions about these challenges and their solutions. Together, team members can determine the best way forward relative to positioning, messages, and more. 

Listen to your PR team

PR needs to pose tough diversity questions to AI organizations. For example, a client once told me they built an AI that could determine a person’s gender using an image, and wanted to promote it. Knowing the sensitivities regarding gender identity, I asked tough questions, and we decided the product wasn’t ready for prime time. The client listened instead of pushing for a premature rollout that would’ve likely created questions and controversy. For AI companies concerned about AI ethics and AI diversity, it’s imperative to listen to your PR team when they make a recommendation. 

Got Funding? Here’s How To Announce It

In B2B tech PR, an infusion of new capital is one of the best opportunities to drive quality media coverage at scale. This holds true whether you’re a startup or a more mature business. Funding announcements can offer instant credibility for a brand, validating the company’s strategy and vision.

Yet new funding rounds are a dime a dozen. According to CB Insights and PwC, there are between 5,000-6,000 VC deals per quarter in the U.S. alone. To maximize the news value and cut through the noise, you need the right funding announcement strategy.

Here’s how B2B tech companies can develop a standout funding PR strategy for their next round.

Be clear-eyed about your numbers

When a company lands new capital, sometimes they drink their own Kool-Aid as they assess the numbers.  They think that their round, regardless of size, should be covered far and wide. But that’s not how things work— not when there are dozens of notable deals pitched daily.

In funding PR, size matters. The bigger the round, the greater the opportunity. The deal size has a direct impact on the PR strategy and will shape the go-to-market approach. If you’ve raised less than $10 million, there will be significantly less interest versus a mega round of $100 million-plus. Key business outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Forbes generally wont touch anything under $20 million.

A few years ago, when there were more tech reporters covering funding, you could drive a lot of coverage for smaller rounds. Unfortunately, that time has passed, with opportunities undercut by the consolidation and downsizing in media, and less of a “rush to cover” mentality among journalists.

Exclusive or embargo?

Per my colleague Richard Etchison, an exclusive typically means “offering a key tidbit, news item, or interview to a single journalist with the understanding that he or she will be first. The story can then be released to other media after the exclusive runs.” An embargo, on the other hand, means reaching out to a group of media in advance about an announcement and sharing the news with them, with the stipulation being that their stories can only be published at a certain time.

This is where the size of a round comes into play. From my experience, smaller rounds — less than $25 million — should generally be pitched as exclusives, because larger media outlets are increasingly passing on embargoed funding news. There is an obvious desire by these outlets to break news exclusively. And they receive so many funding pitches, an embargoed story on a small round has little value to them.

Of course, there is nuance here depending on the type of business being pitched, the sexiness of the technology, venture capital versus private equity, the notoriety of the founders, and other factors. But as a rule of thumb, embargoes outreach is most realistic and effective when the rounds are over $50 million.

Have a good story to tell

Too many B2B tech companies think that the numbers will speak for them and funding alone will drive good stories. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Capital announcements often require multiple elements to make them worthwhile for both media and business visibility.

With that in mind, funding storytelling should go beyond “we are expanding our sales and customer support teams,” to include details on technology innovations and growth (e.g., revenue growth year-over-year, client growth or new clients, new international offices, etc.). This allows you to maximize the moment in the spotlight and ensure that there will be interest in the company long after the funding news has dies down. Highlighting forthcoming innovations and growth can tee up future stories and pitches. See this post for more PR storytelling tips.

Go vertical the day of the announcement

Among tech media, funding story opportunities with “bigger” outlets are limited for most B2B tech companies. For example, Mashable, GigaOm, Pandodaily, CNET,  and TheNextWeb all used to cover B2B funding. But in a shifting media landscape, it’s now largely the domain of TechCrunch and VentureBeat (both great outlets), along with business publications like The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, where the bar for coverage can be very high. 

To drive air cover and wider visibility, funding announcements can be shared with other categories of media. For example, VC and PE trades like PEHub, Private Equity News (Dow Jones-owned) and FinSMEs are great targets, particularly after an exclusive or embargoed set of stories runs. There are also key newsletters that cover funding daily, such as Dan Primack’s indispensable Pro Rata for Axios and Polina Marinova’s must-read Term Sheet for Fortune. Relevant industry media, of course, should be pitched and local media are another option.

In reaching out to each vertical, make sure messages are tailored accordingly. This means the PE and VC media need basic facts about the deal, while industry media can use more meat on why the funding matters. Similarly, local media need to be told your company is “based in” whatever city you reside in. A lack of personalization will confuse press and make them think your pitch is irrelevant.

Don’t forget the logistics
Logistics are a critical piece of any funding PR strategy. Here are the core elements of a funding strategy that need to be managed in advance of an announcement.

    • Timing – Announcing funding earlier in the day — between 6-8 AM ET — will provide more time to pitch day of, with inclusion in key newsletters that hit at 9 AM.

    • Images – Having logos for the company and key investors are important, and media will ask for them. Most critically, though, is  having a founder group shot and product screens where relevant.

    • Website – Once the funding news breaks, having a splashy headline on your website that links to a blog post from a founder can help communicate the news to prospects and clients.

    • Clients – As soon as the news breaks, a good PR person will advise client to reach out to customers and stakeholders with a tailored email message explaining the deal. Funding is great for clients because it shows them that they will have more resources down the road, in the form of customer support, better technology, or other benefits. All should be touted.

    • Internal Announcement – Businesses should try and wait until the last minute to announce funding news internally to employees. The reason for the secrecy is to avoid having the news leak prematurely. While it can be difficult to keep funding under wraps, the payoff will be worth it.

These basic steps B2B tech companies can take to ensure they optimize a capital raise. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @chrisharihar.

7 Ways To Get The Most From Your PR Budget

In the ideal world a PR program has room for everything — a robust media relations component, branded content, strategic events, influencer outreach, and possibly borrowed-interest tactics that ramp up news during slow periods. But in the real world, budgets can be lean, or maybe they’re subject to change. Here are ways to squeeze the most from any public relations budget.

Prioritize

For many clients a healthy allocation for earned media outreach will be at the top of the priority list. That’s the element that typically generates the greatest and most immediate return when it comes to branded visibility. There are exceptions, however. A client in a commodity category or one with no discernable news – like bath soap or flash drives – may put its eggs in a sponsorship basket, with earned media outreach limited to retail and trade channels. It’s all a matter of placing resources where they have maximum impact.

Ramp up the reactive media

Grabbing on to a breaking news story like a move by a competitor or a celebrity scandal can offer quick and cost-effective coverage. A security breach that makes headlines naturally offers a chance for comment by proactive cybersecurity providers. Kim Kardashian’s tweet about her psoriasis may mean an opening for a dermatologist or relevant product. The key here is to act fast, as many breaking stories have short windows for action.

Use free PR and media tools

The bad news is that many services that were once free now charge for their services, like HARO and ProfNet. Yet many still offer a good value (check out MuckRack and BuzzSumo, for example), and there are still free resources for research and reactive media opportunities like trusty Google Alerts, Google Trends, Hey.Press and Pitchrate, to name a few.

Be strategic with newswire distribution

It may seem a small thing, but it pays to be stingy – or at least strategic – about newswire distribution of press releases. For one thing, a press release isn’t necessary for every announcement. See Chris Harihar’s post for advice on how to determine if a news release is really needed. Wire distribution is expensive, and the free services don’t get much pickup in our experience. A single earned media placement will have greater SEO value and certainly more credibility than a thousand newswire releases.

Repurpose everything

The beauty of B2B PR programs in particular is that the branded or bylined business content generated can often be adapted to other channels. A CEO speech at an industry conference will work beautifully as a series of blog posts or bylined articles, or maybe as a pitch for a podcast. A provocative blog post can be distilled in to a series of digital videos, or a C-level Q&A posted on LinkedIn or another social platform. Survey results can easily become infographics or the centerpiece of a customer newsletter. Every good blogger knows that popular posts can be turned into roundups or updates to be relevant to what’s in the news or the industry conversation.

Swap paid content for owned 

Bylines, bylines, bylines. They’re invaluable for business and technical clients who want to reach a professional audience while building a brand for key executives. Some trade media have an almost unlimited appetite for high-quality, through-provoking content like opinion pieces and articles bylined by knowledgeable executives. An investment in relevant content can also be amplified through promotion among partners and stakeholders, and employees who are incentivized employees to share it. Or, boost it with cost-effective paid social advertising. It’s a win-win for the brand and the publication, and a little goes a long way.

Consider micro-influencers

I’m one who advises brands against too much outsourcing of the customer relationship to celebrities or expert influencers, and we worry about fraud when it comes to social media outcomes. But that doesn’t mean influencer relations should be overlooked. One of the best investments for a brand in nearly any category, from beauty  to software, is in up-and-comers who have sway over customers, or whose expertise is particularly relevant to a business or personal need. Check out some key tips and tricks for building and vetting an influencer marketing program.

How To Restore A Public Reputation

When the college admissions cheating and bribery scandal broke nearly a month ago, two names led the headlines. More than 50 people were implicated, but actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were featured in every article. Both actors’ spouses were mentioned, and as a social influencer, Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade was also drawn into the coverage. But the two women were the faces of the scandal. It’s the price of fame; boldface names draw clicks.

Now, each woman is faced with a classic PR problem. Can they win back their reputation? If so, how?

Any expert will tell you that coming back from a public disgrace is a long haul. So far, only one – Huffman – has taken the first public steps toward recovery. Here’s the advice I’d give to her and her fellow defendants.

First, nail down the legal strategy

For a public person charged with a crime, the smartest legal strategy may be in conflict with the best public relations advice. PR people don’t like it when legal counsel wins at the expense of public image. But it happens, as when a public company CEO can’t admit wrongdoing due to liability concerns, despite knowing that a mealy-mouthed statement or “no comment” comment may prolong the damage. Happily for Huffman, in her case the legal and communications strategies are in sync. She swiftly chose to plead guilty and was free to move on to the next step – taking responsibility for her actions.

(In contrast, Lori Loughlin has thus far refused a plea deal, and at her court appearance she was all smiles, signing autographs for fans. Yesterday she and husband Mossimo Giannulli were slapped with more charges, so the stakes for them are higher, and the outlook for PR rehab is poor.)

Face the reality

This step is harder than it looks, and not just due to potential liability. Celebrities – even top business leaders among them – often live in a bubble. They’re surrounded by people whose livelihoods depend on pleasing them, and over time their judgment can become distorted. Many are tied to an infrastructure of agents, talent management, PRs, and support staff, and it’s difficult to upset the balance. While facing the music is often their only chance to preserve the career machine, it often feels counterintuitive, and it’s tempting to hide behind third parties.

Apologize

Do it sincerely and do it well. That’s exactly what Felicity Huffman did in a statement released yesterday. A poor or inadequate apology can make the situation far worse, but as such statements go, Huffman’s is pretty good. In fact, it’s worth breaking down what works.

Take responsibility

Huffman gets several things right in her messaging. First, she admits and accepts responsibility for what she did, a key precursor to an effective mea culpa. Importantly, she makes no excuses. This is where many public apologies go wrong; we’re all familiar with celebrities who blame substance abuse, emotional issues, or a bad childhood. Instead, Huffman expresses deep remorse for her actions, admitting, “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community.”

Acknowledge the harm

Another helpful aspect of the statement is its acknowledgement of others. A good apology and effective PR message shouldn’t be about you, the public personality whose life has been fractured, even though it may be natural to feel that way.

Finally, Huffman apologizes to “the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”

That last part is key, because it hits on why the scandal infuriated so many people. The phony admissions schemes were shocking examples of how advantaged people cheat and game the system to gain even more advantage, and ordinary families were naturally outraged by it. Huffman did well to acknowledge that.

Make things right

It may sound paradoxical, but from a reputation point of view, Huffman should hope that she spends time in jail. She can’t fix what’s broken about the college admissions process, but she can pay for her crime. A reasonable penalty that includes a prison sentence will ultimately help restore her image because it will appeal to our sense of justice.  It worked for Martha Stuart, although in my view Stewart’s crime was less egregious. Of course it won’t hurt if either Huffman or Loughlin spend time doing legitimate volunteer work or donating to a worthy cause. But those steps come later.

Use media wisely

If I were advising Huffman I’d probably tell her to lie low until after her sentencing and (probably inevitable) incarceration. Repairing one’s reputation doesn’t have to involve media, and in many cases it’s better to avoid it, lest you appear to be capitalizing on the situation. For a professional actor, however, an eventual media sit-down is inevitable. When the time comes, Huffman should conduct an exclusive interview with a friendly media outlet as a way of sharing her story and completing the redemption journey. It should be honest, unvarnished, and heartfelt.

It’s a long road back, and in Huffman’s case, the admissions scandal will be in the first line of her obituary. But the cliché is true; while the media mob is a beast, especially amplified by social platforms, the American public is essentially forgiving. With the right reputation rehab and some time for people to forgive her, Felicity Huffman has a chance to return to a time when her biggest problem was which dress to wear on the red carpet.

PR Lessons From Twitter

In this blog, we often dispense practical media relations or PR advice based on years of experience in the trenches of tech PR. However, no one can advise PRs better on how and what to pitch reporters than… reporters. Journalists love to take to Twitter to offer up best practices or, more likely, let off steam about the terrible pitches that clog their inboxes on a daily basis. Their style is sometimes brutal, but the advice is priceless. So, we monitored some recent tweets from frustrated journalists and were both amused and a little embarrassed by what we saw. Here’s a reminder for those just starting out in media relations.

Note to PRs: It’s still about relevance

It’s probably the most fundamental rule of pitching media, but it needs repeating. PRs have to research the beats, reporting style, and preferences of those they approach in order to avoid irrelevant pitches that are more likely to end up as a mean tweet or on Muck Rack’s bad pitch roundup than as a published story. Take it from BuzzFeed’s David Mack and Tampa Bay Times’ Kathryn Varn (to pick just two): what seems difficult and time-consuming at the outset will save pain in the long run.

Pr pitches

 

Don’t be overly familiar

Media pitching shouldn’t be a vehicle for false intimacy, hints of quid-pro-quo, or – the worst – clickbait-style subject lines. Those are presumptuous at best, unprofessional at worst. There’s another way to get in good with reporters — help them do their job well. See this post for real ways to build stronger media relationships.

bad pr pitches

Breaking: Journalists want to report news

Nicole Perlroth makes a good point in a tweet today about her “PR Wasteland” inbox. The bar for relevance in certain categories, like her beat of cybersecurity, is high. Funding alone isn’t necessarily newsworthy to an IT security journalist. (Try TechCrunch or VentureBeat for those.) It pays to remember that what’s newsy to a client, like a product launch, exciting new campaign, or corporate reshuffling, may not be enough for an article. Our job is to help a journalist connect the dots for a story about a larger trend or happening.

bad pr pitches

Respect ethical lines: PR’s not bribery

This one’s dangerous. Occasionally an inexperienced or unscrupulous PR pro goes beyond carelessness into ethically questionable territory. It’s possible that the person described here confused Dan Goodin with an influencer who accepts payment for social posts or branded content, but if so, that compounds the error. Any good media relations professional understands that no reputable journalist accepts money or gifts, and calling it “compensation for their time” is an insult to both parties.

bad pr pitches

Don’t be a bully

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s also the example noted here — a completely unacceptable attempt by an executive to spike an already published story. While it’s good practice to ask for any mistakes to be corrected, an attempt to bully a publication in the absence of factual errors is doomed to fail, and it will do nothing for the company’s reputation. See our earlier post for more tips on maintaining media relationships under pressure.

bad pr pitches

bad pr pitches

C’mon, PR pros! There’s no excuse for these careless flubs 

Finally, from the dark files of PR pros need to get it together come some real gems. Everybody makes mistakes, but these three episodes show a need for remedial education — and possibly better email software.

Has Apple Lost Its Magic?

In its business and its PR, Apple has had a golden touch. For a decade sales have climbed along with profits, and its reputation for innovation has flourished. Until recently, that is.

iPhone sales started slowing several years ago, but no one seemed to mind or even notice much because prices kept going up. The profits were still rolling in.

But 2019 has been a rough year so far for the world’s most valuable brand. In January it slashed its earnings forecast, erasing $446 billion in shareholder value.

In consumer technology, it’s the norm for sales to slow and profits to erode over time. In fact, 10 years is an amazing run in a category where change is rapid and commoditization pretty much inevitable. The antidote to the latter, of course, is innovation. It’s the lifeblood of all tech companies, and Apple has mastered it as well as any. When it lacked a truly innovative product, it made up for it with a truly innovative user experience.

That’s why it was a shock last week when Apple pulled the plug (no pun intended) on its highly anticipated AirPower wireless charging pad. Air Power was meant to charge the iPhone, Air Pods and the Apple Watch all at once, without the ugly nest of wires and charging cables. The statement from Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, was succinct.

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

Apple-watchers noted that the decision was apparently sudden, because retail packaging for the second-generation AirPods feature an AirPower image. It’s almost unthinkable that the company would pull it. The charging pad was originally announced in September 2017 and scheduled for sale last year. And though it’s hardly as crucial as an iPhone or other flagship product, it’s a rare stumble and a disturbing sign that the luster is wearing off.

To compound matters, Apple started 2019 with another type of stumble – in data privacy. Privacy is an area where it has worked hard to build a reputation as a consumer champion while Facebook suffers one scandal after another over its handling of user data. At a privacy conference last year CEO Tim Cook called for an end to the technology industry’s collection and sale of user data, using a policy proposal to differentiate Apple at a time when Silicon Valley is under regulatory and public pressure. (Never mind that Apple was forced to shut down its FaceTime server due to an application bug that let callers to listen in on people with certain iOS devices. Luckily for Apple, everyone was distracted by the Facebook privacy scandal du jour, so it was a one-day story.)

Apple has never much cared about being first, only about being the best. Its genius is to command user loyalty by out-engineering and out-designing the competition, and by offering something we didn’t even know we needed. So, a delay isn’t a big deal, but a retreat is a different story. Apple may see its future as digital entertainment, but, let’s face it, it isn’t yet equipped to battle it out with Netflix and Amazon. Its brand and business identity for the foreseeable future is in elegant, innovative products and big ideas that anticipate or even shape how we use the internet.

Yet as embarrassing as it is, scrapping the AirPower was the right choice, presuming serious quality issues. If Tim Cook had given in to pressure to move ahead with the introduction, Apple would have risked introducing a less-than-stellar product, and that could damage its reputation far more than an aborted launch.

In the words of one tech blog, “it’s a rare case where their ambitions publicly exceed their otherwise impressive engineering capabilities.” But the stakes are now high, and the coming months will be a business and communications test for Apple. Will it be seen as an innovator, or simply a maker of pricey iPhones?

PR Tactics To Boost Executive Visibility

PR is one of the best ways to build visibility for a corporate brand while getting the word out about a given product or service. And a fundamental part of any effective PR campaign is a healthy focus on executive visibility.

These days, business leaders can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and simply run their company with the expectation that their PR team will do the heavy lifting. A C-level executive is the face of the company and often its brand. They must be willing to share business advice, comment on key trends affecting their category, and use their position as a platform for communicating expertise on an industry-wide scale.

Here are some key tactics for PR pros to build executive visibility and thought leadership.

Finding a voice in the media

Executives should be seen as thought leaders – first and foremost – by the journalists who cover their industry. This usually doesn’t happen overnight. PR teams need to be vigilant in identifying opportunities for business leaders to weigh in on relevant news and issues. Whether it’s a reactive pitch about Amazon’s effects on a startup ecosystem or a proactive push about a company’s unusual approach to online marketing – execs should always be using the media as a platform to educate relevant audiences.

Bylines and blogs

A leadership campaign should include a robust bylined content program. PR pros should consistently make inroads for executives to become regular contributors to both trade and mainstream publications. These opportunities give executives a range of content to use as a way to address customer concerns, offer fresh ideas, or introduce new thinking to the industry. They also help shine a light on the personality behind the exec, positioning them as someone with a compelling point of view.

Once an exec has established a cadence for generating proactive opinion pieces, they can be leveraged for internal blog content, made actionable through a growing Medium page and posted to LinkedIn to encourage dialogue among other professionals and showcase expertise. See this post for tips on writing stellar executive bylines.

Become a constant at conferences

Speaking at events and conferences is another excellent way for PR teams to build executive visibility. Conferences must be relevant and the subject matter should play to the core strengths of an executive’s abilities as a brand ambassador. If done right, this strategy can drive both visibility and credibility, while giving execs a chance to network with other like-minded business leaders or prospects. See this earlier post for tips on getting speaking engagements.

Take home some hardware

Awards confer that invaluable third-party endorsement, especially for entrepreneurs. For example, the Stevie American Business Awards have categories for “tech innovator of the year,” “maverick of the year,” and “woman of the year.” Just imagine amplifying the news that your founder was named a Glassdoor Employees Choice Top CEO on the company’s awards page, blog posts, social channels, and press releases. But don’t stop at general biz and entrepreneurship awards. Many verticals feature individual categories like “executive of the year” or “CEO of the year.”

Get social

We live in a world where social media can make or break a business. These days brands tweet like real people, and certain business leaders have created cult-like followings. As PR campaigns become more integrated, social media is a larger focus for more effective executive visibility. Yet research tells us that 70 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on social networks, and many of those who do aren’t very active. Technology executives and entrepreneurs tend to be more comfortable on social media, but others are simply gun-shy.

PR teams should encourage business leaders to find their voice on social media as a way to boost a CEO’s personal profile organically. They should consider LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, to identify and connect with industry influencers, engage with customers and interact with peers. Social media – if used correctly – can humanize an executive and give the average joe a better understanding of the values and ethics that flow into a brand.