Thursday, May 9th 2013
Ari Seth Cohen and his grandmother in the header image from his blog.
By Joan Schneider
I had the pleasure this week of attending the Hebrew SeniorLife College of Retirement Series at Orchard Cove in Canton, MA to hear Ari Seth Cohen talk about his favorite subject—Advanced Style—which is also the title of his book and his blog. He talked about how his stylish grandmother—a librarian from New York and a Columbia graduate—profoundly influenced his life. She and her stylish friends paved the way for his passion to convince women of all ages that you can be expressive and creative, no matter what your age.
Ari, single handedly, is helping the fashion industry understand that women from 65 to over 100—can have the type of style and grace that are perfect for fashion ads and magazine covers. The women in the short video he shared were so stylish, articulate and wise—that I have captured some of my favorite quotes below:
“Dressing up is an exercise in creativity, it makes you feel better.”
“You’re treated nicer when you dress up, try it.”
“Don’t be afraid to not look like everyone else.”
“If you go into a store and the sales person says everyone is wearing it, put the dress immediately back on the rack.”
“When asked how old you are, say somewhere between 50 and death—that stops people from asking again.”
“If you don’t have a dress code, why adhere to someone else’s?”
“I may be old, but I think young!”
“If someone doesn’t like what you are wearing—tell them you don’t give a (expletive deleted)!”
On the eve of Mother’s Day, I am reminded of my own grandmother, Rose, who was my muse. She was a true non-conformist. She had three husbands, one of whom was the chauffer of Dutch Shultz, the NJ mobster. She owned a bar in Jersey City, NJ and wore white go go boots, a magnificent mink coat and the trendiest clothes you could buy at Lane Bryant. She never cared what people said about her—she did her own thing and always bragged that she was the most educated person in her family—she graduated 8th grade. She was a true original and had her own type of style that could not be duplicated.
To me, the Hebrew SeniorLife seminar was a true testimony to REAGE—the organization’s philosophy that how we deal with aging is changing. That we are not getting older, we are getting better. That style and vitality are ageless and that you are as young as you feel. All I have to say is Ari Seth Cohen and I agree.
To learn more about Hebrew SeniorLife’s upcoming College of Retirement Living events visit: www.hslindependentliving.org
Joan Schneider, President and Creative Director
Tuesday, April 30th 2013
Schneider Associates (SA) is pleased to announce the hiring of John Jowers as account supervisor to the Corporate, Education and Nonprofit Practice.
As account supervisor, Jowers works closely with practice leaders to develop and implement comprehensive public relations, social media, marketing and creative programs that build brand awareness for corporate, nonprofit and education clients. A graduate of Brunel University in London, Jowers is responsible for day-to-day client management, supports account strategy development and conducts media outreach.
Prior to joining Schneider, Jowers worked at Cone Communications in the Corporate Social Responsibility practice, serving a range of clients that included Hilton Worldwide, AMC Entertainment, Philips Electronics, Education First, Sierra Club, SunTrust Bank, Rebuilding Together and the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. Jowers was responsible for developing branded platforms and cause marketing campaigns to help corporations achieve social and business objectives, and build brand equity among key target audiences. He also provided marketing and development counsel to major nonprofits, to build effective corporate partnerships, improving visibility, and deepening stakeholder relationships.
Jowers was also featured in the Ticker section of the Boston Herald on April 29.
Wednesday, April 17th 2013
A 68-31 vote in the U.S. Senate cleared the way for debate on a gun control bill that would expand background checks and increase restrictions on firearms purchases.
Earlier, President Obama flew about a dozen family members of Newtown massacre victims to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The families met with opposing senators and, according to reports, stayed away from policy debates, instead simply sharing their stories of loss and heartbreak. Parents like Francine Wheeler, who stood in for President Obama during his weekly radio address, took to the airwaves to call upon Senators to come together to pass “common sense gun responsibility reforms.”
The procedural vote buoys the confidence of gun control advocates who view any win against the gun lobby, however small, as a powerful statement. Longtime gun control proponent Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated, “With the vote that we take today, we are turning the page against the NRA’s dominance.”
What the legislation would actually accomplish is still very much in doubt. There is no provision to ban assault weapons or limit high capacity magazines. And although it enjoys some bipartisan support in the Senate, passing through the GOP-dominated House will be far more difficult. In fact, experts have warned that House Republicans could carve so many holes in the limited restrictions the bill does provide that it could actually benefit the gun industry.
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put it, “The hard work starts now.” The debate will be emotional and contentious. But at least it will be had. Without the inspirational efforts of these families to share their stories and demand a voice, the issue would probably not have come this far. It remains to be seen whether meaningful legislation can be passed, but with these families engaged and out-front, it has a fighting chance.
Thursday, April 4th 2013
On Tuesday morning, leaders of the Mass. legislature responded to Governor Patrick’s plan to increase spending for education and transportation. They want to raise $500 million for transportation initiatives (a fraction of what the governor proposed) and leave education funding at its current level. Last month, Speaker Robert Deleo told reporters he would tackle education spending issues after the transportation budget was set, but there was no mention by the speaker of a coming effort.
Explaining their dramatically scaled-down proposals, the speaker and Senate President Therese Murray both cited a lack of public support for the revenue increases required to fund the governor’s ambitious plan. DeLeo and Murray call for a 3 cent hike in the state gas tax to generate $110 million this year, as well as a $1 increase in the tax on tobacco products, generating another projected $165 million. An expansion of the Computer Services Tax Code would bring in $161 million, and eliminating the Utilities tax would raise another $46 million.
The governor is expected to respond to the proposal in a press conference at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and the Ways and Means committee is expected to release its budget proposal on April 10.
Friday, March 29th 2013
On March 27, the Schneider Associates public affairs group held its first Government Relations Leadership Series breakfast. The focus was higher education, and leadership from two dozen institutions came together to hear from Rep. Paul Mark, Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, and federal policy experts from Cornerstone Government Affairs.
The many takeaways from the event included:
Congress is Unlikely to Regulate Online Learning This Year
Online education and MOOCs present issues that members in Congress would rather avoid. In fact, despite recent coverage in national outlets, MOOCs remain largely unknown in the halls of Congress. When the Higher Education Opportunity Act is reauthorized this year, there are unlikely to be any changes in the status quo on these fronts. Congress will probably punt the issue to 2014, which offers institutions a window of opportunity to shape the opinions of members now.
Firsthand Experience and Constituent Anecdotes Form Congressional Opinion
The main players in Congress on higher education often make decisions based on their own experiences and those of the constituents that happen to grab their attention. In an institution where the average member is older than sixty-two, relying on firsthand experience can lead to a lack of understanding of current issues. Powerful representatives reference working through college that cost $7,000 per-year and graduating debt free in the 1960s, without understanding how the model has changed.
Moreover, members latch onto stories they observe or hear from constituents and draw generalizations when forming their opinions. Institutions need to proactively share stories of success and struggle to penetrate the narrative taking hold in Washington.
Constituent Demographics and Geography Inform Mass. Spending Priorities
On Beacon Hill, transportation and education are the main topics at issue in the governor’s budget proposal. Elected officials in districts far from Boston are more likely to push for dollars in education, as transportation issues affect their constituents far less. Speaker DeLeo and other powerful city legislators prioritize transportation, and will likely continue to make that the top priority.
Pivotal Response from Mass. Legislature Coming Soon
Members of the Mass. state legislature have reviewed the governor’s budget and currently await the response proposal by the Ways and Means Committee, expected on April 10. The governor’s budget likely represents the ceiling of what will ultimately be passed, but the degree to which those numbers will be reined in remains to be seen. Much will depend on that initial response by Ways and Means.
Online Education Can Play a Role in Mass. Higher Ed.
Other states have begun to use online education to ease the burden on public institutions trying to close the degree gap, and to offer free courses that can draw students in. Regarding the disparate ways online education is being used in other states, Rep. Mark reflected on his own experience, and indicated openness to allowing online education to play an expanded role in Massachusetts. As Massachusetts addresses many of these issues, online education and MOOCs may have a role to play.
Thursday, March 28th 2013
She’s performed in front millions of adoring fans, packed sports arenas, sang for heads of state and even President Obama. She’s dazzled audiences with her fierce voice, fearless confidence and seemingly impossible dance moves. Beyoncé, with her fame, fortune, and amazing looks, may seem larger than life, a natural who was born for a life on the stage. It’s hard to imagine her as anything but a performer, but I can’t help but think that, if Beyoncé were to live her life again, she should have considered a different career.
She could have easily landed a job in PR.
Here’s why. Beyoncé has proven her ability to build trusting relationships with her fans, and she’s successfully handled the opportunities and challenges that have come with her life in the spotlight. Arthur Page, the former vice president of public relations for AT&T, developed seven management principles for public relations practitioners. Using these principles, I’ll show why Beyoncé makes a great public relations practitioner. (more…)
Wednesday, March 27th 2013
In an era of constantly evolving social media platforms, professional services firms can no longer afford to operate only as businesses. They must also operate as brands. At Schneider Associates, we think differently about the best ways to help our clients achieve their business goals. We believe that each of our clients, from fashion retailers to commercial real estate firms, should have a seat at the social media table. It’s understandable that professional services companies are hesitant about jumping on the social media bandwagon. After all, social media is more often associated with consumer products than professional services. But social media can be used to achieve tangible business goals.
With more than 1 billion people on Facebook and more than 500 million Twitter users, the potential reach of social media is too big to ignore. To appeal to this broad audience, companies need to have a wide variety of communication channels that they can use. Our new product launch research has shown that launch consumers need as many as seven sources of information, or brand touch points, before making a purchasing decision. In other words, they will not remember the product until they have heard about it at least seven times. This can apply to professional services firms, too. Social media provides firms with the extra channels to shape and share key messages. It’s creating a “surround sound experience” for key stakeholders, sharing a message multiple times on multiple platforms.
Social media also helps individual members of firms to stand out by allowing them to position themselves as thought leaders. Employees who cultivate their own social media presence by frequently posting about topics relevant to their business can enhance their own reputation and the reputation of the firm. (more…)
Tuesday, March 26th 2013
Starting a new relationship is always exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking and downright scary. This goes for romantic relationships, and those with our friends, in-laws and even the media. As PR professionals, a huge part of our job is connecting with the media and creating long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships on behalf of our clients. But, sometimes we have as many butterflies in our stomachs when making those first media calls as we do meeting potential significant others. And it doesn’t stop there. After we make that great initial contact, we might be on cloud nine like after an amazing first date, but then it really kicks in: What’s next? How do I keep this relationship going? How many days should I wait before I call him again?
Like dating, media relations is a dance. There are certain steps to follow, but at a certain point, you just have to improvise. Here are some tips I’ve learned from working with the media on behalf of my clients: (more…)
Monday, March 25th 2013
Over the past few years, we have seen an overwhelming influx of social media platforms, mobile tools and trends. It’s virtually impossible to go anywhere without feeling the urge to ‘like’ a café on Facebook, tweet your opinions on a nearby bar, or Instagram the delicious meal you just scarfed down (filtered, of course).
In a world where we are constantly updating our profile pictures, trying to get our favorite celebrities to retweet us and being overloaded with unnecessary information, it makes sense that we should want to cut down the noise and step back from this e-circus. In steps MeeLocal, bringing us back to reality and hopefully saving us from ourselves. This new moble app, launched by founder Stephen Danelian from L.A., has the potential to be the next big innovation in social media and reconnect us with (gasp!) real world activities and experiences.
MeeLocal is based entirely off user-generated content, which you can filter based on location, proximity, category, and most importantly and innovatively, demographic. As a 20-something young professional, the last place I want to end up is a smelly, sticky college bar (although the occasional return to Maryann’s for a BC football game is not out of the question), and MeeLocal helps me find a spot more geared towards the people I want to be surrounded by, in a location that is accessible and interesting. This is especially helpful for people like me who find it difficult to stop returning over and over again to the same places each weekend night. MeeLocal allows users to immediately post photos and comments for places they have been, letting others in their demographic and location know how great (or not so great) these establishments are. The impact an app like this can have in the consumer review space is big, since apps like Yelp tend to foster limited kinds of reviews or social sharing and tend to have a concentration in the restaurant or service industry. (more…)
Friday, March 22nd 2013
Google’s prowess is well-defined and their earned and paid platforms are as effective as you can get. The one thing that Google has yet to “get right” has been social. A few weeks ago, the search giant launched a program called Art, Copy & Paste, “a series of projects and experiments to show how creativity and technology can work hand in hand,” according to their blog post on the subject.
This translates into paid media opportunity with a heavy dash of creativity and storytelling. It’s very smart, innovative and something to keep an eye on.
Google’s first partner for this project is a new social driving experience called Volkswagen Smileage. (more…)