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Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

November 29th, 2016

Giving Tuesday – Will the global community raise over $116 million?

Today is #givingtuesday which everyone around the world comes together to give back in the form of $, time, gifts or the power of voice in their local community. In 2015 (according to givingtuesday.org), $116 million dollars were donated by 700,000 people in order 70 countries – wow! I wonder what the numbers in 2016 will be?

Of course, Voce and our employees have given back to local communities throughout 2016. Whether it is serving meals at Glide church or donating to our favorite charity, we care deeply about our local community. One of the cool perks we get at Voce is 8 hours per year in paid time off to volunteer!  As you know, there is never a good time to step away from the desk (and the emails always keep coming) but we have to make it a priority to give back either in dollars, time, gifts or our voice in spreading awareness.

This year for #givingtuesday our employees gave back in numerous ways. Here are a few highlights and hope this post gets you thinking what you can not only do during the month of December but all year around.

Stephanie Moore:

I donated to Planned Parenthood and all throughout the year using smile.amazon.com where a portion of all my purchases go to St. Jude’s.

Tiffany Curci:

I donated to Shoes 4 Kidz which was started by my high-school classmate Myriah. I played softball and other sports with her growing up and as a “sports/active” household love what she’s trying to do to keep kids in good shoes. 

Leonora Fleming:

I’m donating to She’s the First – I actually serve on the Junior Board so am a bit biased, but we’re a nonprofit that provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries so that they can be the first in their families to graduate. 

Comment below how you gave or are giving back this year.

-Randy Ksar

 

Filed in Voce Culture, Voce People

November 10th, 2016

Then & Now: Stephanie Cohen – Digital Strategy & Social Media

Then & Now - Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie is a rock-star when it comes to social and digital strategy working for such clients as E8 Security, WhiteHat Security and the Almond Board of California.  We asked her a few questions as it relates to her background, what she wanted to be growing up and her favorite quote from Ellen Degeneres. Name: Stephanie Cohen (Moore)

Role at Voce: Senior Client Executive

Expertise in: Digital strategy and social media

What she wanted to be growing up: Magazine editor

Favorite Class: English

Favorite Teacher: I loved so many of my teachers, but favorites were Ms. Gregori and Mrs. Stevens (both high school english teachers), and Mrs. Dowd — my 6th grade teacher (and they are all Facebook friends of mine now)

Inspirational Quote:  “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path — unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.” – Ellen Degeneres

 

 

Interested in chatting more on digital and social strategy? Email us.

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Voce Culture

November 1st, 2016

Then & Now: Heather Brinckerhoff, Live Event & Social Media Expert

Then & Now - Heather Brinckerhoff

Heather is one of our stars out in Florida focused on live events and content strategy. If you need someone to come up with a strategy around live streaming your next product launch and how it fits into your overall content strategy, or help developing a new social media campaign for your brand, Heather is your point person. To get to know Heather a little more we asked about her past and favorite inspirational quote.

-Randy

Name: Heather Brinckerhoff

Role at Voce: Senior Client Executive

Expertise in: Social media, live events, strategy

What you wanted to be growing up: Actress

Favorite Teacher: Mr. Gillan (11th grade Math), Mrs. Sandlas (7th-8th grade), Mr. Minns (Social Studies)

Favorite Class: Public Speaking

Favorite Inspirational Quote:

Filed in Voce Culture

October 25th, 2016

Then & Now: Jennifer Laker, Senior Project Manager

Then & Now - Jennifer LakerIn continuation of our Then & Now series, we interviewed senior project manager Jennifer Laker from our Winter Haven, Florida office. Enjoy getting to know her a little more, ask your account manager to have her on your team and make sure to “double-tap” on her favorite inspirational quote from Jimmy V.

Name: Jennifer Laker

Role at Voce: Senior Project Manager

Expertise in: Project Planning, Risk Assessment and Management, Change Management, Project Scheduling, Process Management, Project and Scope Estimation, and Milestones and Dependencies Tracking

What she wanted to be growing up: Fashion Designer or Lawyer

Favorite Class: Shakespeare and Chemistry

Favorite Teacher: Miss Garner. I had her for both 1st grade and then again for 2nd grade. She played “Feeling Groovy” (by Simon and Garfunkel) for us on her guitar between lessons and was just THE best.

Inspirational Quote:

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Voce Culture

October 18th, 2016

Then & Now: Vanessa George, Client Executive

Then & Now - Vanessa George

On Tuesdays, between now and the end of 2016 (oh my gosh – already!) we are going to feature one of our employees in a series called “Then and Now”. We’ll ask a few questions to get to learn what they do at Voce, a little about their past and one of their favorite inspirational quotes.  This week is my favorite co-worker from Chicago – Vanessa George.

Name: Vanessa George 

Role at Voce: Client Executive 

Expertise in: Traditional media 

What she wanted to be growing up: Elementary school teacher

Favorite Class: English 

Favorite Teacher: Retta London, 5th grade 

Inspirational Quote:

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Voce Culture

September 19th, 2016

Breaking Down Diversity with PRSA

Diversity is one of those hot button topics right now in Silicon Valley and across corporate America. For too many companies today, in many ways diversity seems to be what corporate social responsibility was 3-4 years ago – something they need to do to “check the box.” It’s been about 3 years since the first diversity reports were released and the lack of progress since has left some skeptical of what companies – particularly in the tech industry – are doing to address the issue. 19757691424_3e4379e4cb_m

This was the center of the discussion at a recent PRSA event in San Francisco with leading journalists including Michelle Quinn, Mercury News; Salvador Rodriguez, Inc. Magazine; Caroline Fairchild, LinkedIn; Connie Guglielmo, CNET and moderator Ramon Ray, Smart Hustle. For those in communications, their insights were helpful in understanding where the diversity issue and conversation stands now, where it’s heading in the next few years, and how successful diversity programs require far more than PR sugarcoating.

Since I mostly work on corporate communications programs, diversity, culture and workplace issues are top of mind when thinking about how a company positions itself to current and future employees, investors and influencers. Diversity in particular is not one of those issues you can invest money into to make it go away – it requires real strategies, programming and commitment at the executive level (i.e. practice what you preach).

It’s also not one that’s easily defined – in addition to race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, diversity is also about having different ideas and schools of thought. The pressure is on for companies to commit to diversity at all levels – from hiring to training and development.

Below are the key takeaways from some of the most influential reporters covering diversity issues today. These may be helpful for anyone pitching these folks or considering how to tackle their company’s diversity strategy.

Michelle Quinn, Mercury News: Diversity coverage has gotten better partly because people are asking the right questions. In the past, we would never have seen first person discussions about what it’s like to be in the newsroom as a women/minority, but now we’re getting more voices. It would be great to see diversity best practices or industry standards put in place in the near future.

Caroline Fairchild, LinkedIn: We are no longer in media age where you have to rely on traditional gatekeepers to get your perspective out there – platforms like LinkedIn give everyone a voice. The diversity conversation needs to evolve past asking women what it’s like to be a woman in business.

Connie Guglielmo, CNET: The data shows diversity means more successful teams and more money for the bottom line, but companies don’t listen and there are no repercussions. Companies should start tying diversity to business/money, like Intel did with bonuses. Diversity is a management problem and it begins from the top down.

Salvador Rodriguez, Inc. Magazine: Pinterest, Yelp and PayPal seem to be doing some things right when it comes to diversity. They’re being realistic, focusing on ethnicity or women first, or engineering first. PayPal recognized that there was a huge pool of women who put careers on pause for some reason so they launched a “returnship” program to get started back at PayPal or at another company.

Filed in Events

August 23rd, 2016

What Does Client Service Excellence Mean to … Anne Trapasso

At Voce/Porter Novelli, client service excellence is foundational to everything we do. It’s our most important product. It’s how we grow our business and measure our success.

With client expectations higher, competition fiercer and budgets tighter, the room for error is marginal. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard in order to develop deep, long-lasting relationships with our clients.

That’s why four times a year we celebrate the Client Service Star Awards as an opportunity to recognize 10 outstanding Voce/Porter Novellians around the globe each quarter who exemplify the principles of Client Service Excellence. Winners of the Client Service Star Award have been recognized by both colleagues and clients alike for their dedication to: building long-term relationships, deepening their knowledge of the business, creating value in their daily role and keeping promises.

In this second installment of the client service excellence blog series, we spoke with Voce’s very own Q2 Client Service Star – Account Manager, Anne Trapasso.

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What do you do at Voce/Porter Novelli?

 I’ve been with Voce/Porter Novelli since the summer of 2010 and over the last six years I’ve worked on various accounts from social media publishing for a consumer brand to driving media programs for B2B clients. For the past 2+ years, I’ve really focused on helping build the Security Practice at Voce while simultaneously running the media relations programs for Palo Alto Networks and Micro Focus. As an Account Manager who’s worked my way up from an intern, it’s been so exciting to grow at the company and understand what it means to be a great Voce employee at each level.

What does client service excellence mean to you?

Client service excellence is all about going above and beyond for the customer. That involves really getting to know your client, and that helps forecast asks before they even come in. Client service excellence goes far beyond baseline account activities – it’s about digging in deep with your client to determine what will make them (and their entire department) look good to their boss and how you can help them achieve that level of excellence. You know you’ve succeeded when your client regards you and the PR team as a true partner vs. an outside entity present only to help push specific campaigns forward.

How have you come to learn successful client service? 

During my time at Voce, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly smart, dedicated and kind colleagues. It’s through watching and listening to their interactions with clients, organizing weekly check-ins to talk through program strategies and always being open to feedback that has really taught me what it means to deliver the highest level of client service.

Do you have any role models who you look up to in this regard?

There are so many facets that fall under the term “public relations.” It’s why I still have a hard time explaining to people exactly what is it that I do each day. And because we must wear so many different “hats” for our clients, that has allowed me to cross paths and learn from so many wonderful professionals. Those that I really look up to the most are supervisors and clients that can extend beyond the actual work to build relationships. It’s during those times and interactions that we’re able to learn about each other, the client and their imperatives. In my opinion, this is how excellent client service can be achieved.

What advice would you give to others looking to mirror those client service excellence principles?

  • Don’t ever stop working hard – some days it will feel like you aren’t making any progress. It’s during those times especially that you need to push forward, and you’ll come out as a stronger and more resilient professional.
  • Don’t work harder, work smarter – this may seem to go against my advice shared directly above, but as you’re honing skills in a particular area, always ask yourself, “What can I do to make this [task or program] easier, faster, and smarter to achieve greater results for my client in the end?”
  • Be open to learning from anyone who is willing to share knowledge with you – we are not in an easy business. Beyond the strategy aspect, we must remain aware of client and teammate personalities, limitations and not to mention the ongoing news cycle! Always have an eye out for colleagues and supervisors who are willing to take the time and teach you – no matter their specialty. This is an ever-changing business – you never know what new opportunities may arise!

Filed in Voce People

August 10th, 2016

Voce Co-Founders Share Their #firstsevenjobs

It’s always interesting to know what each person’s career background is especially when it goes wwwaaay back to their first jobs. You get a chance to relate to them especially if you had similar first jobs or perhaps you learn why they were molded a certain way. To find out more information about the Voce Communications co-founders – Richard Cline, Dave Black and Matthew Podboy – we asked them what were their first seven jobs and this is what they said:

RC

Richard Cline

  1. Newspaper Boy
  2. Dishwasher/Line Cook
  3. Grocery Bagger
  4. Baseball Coach
  5. Waiter/Food Server
  6. Distance Learning Technician
  7. Journalist

MP

Matthew Podboy

  1. Supermarket grocery bagger
  2. Convalescent home dishwasher
  3. Restaurant busboy
  4. Food preparation assistant
  5. Wendy’s fast food
  6. Valet car parker
  7. Counselor with autistic children

DB

Dave Black

  1. Paperboy
  2. Pizza maker
  3. Pizza maker again
  4. Photo developer
  5. Flower delivery boy
  6. Bus Boy
  7. Flower Delivery Man

 

What were your first seven jobs? Post a comment below.

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Voce Culture, Who We Are

August 10th, 2016

Employee Advocacy and Tools of the Trade: A Q&A with Citrix’s Rhonda Hughes

In continuing our conversations with employee advocacy experts we interviewed Rhonda Hughes from Citrix, who is going to be one of our panelists at the Flipboard/Voce Employee Advocacy Meetup on August 15, 2016, to be hosted at Flipboard’s HQ in Palo Alto.Julie Hayes, Autodesk

What is your role and what organization do you work in at Citrix?

I lead our corporate social media strategy acting as the voice of Citrix in our social communities. I am also an internal consultant and educator on social media related topics across the business. My role sits within the global corporate communications team which is within marketing.

A big area of my focus is on helping people “do social” well. That includes both our social media practitioners who are responsible for a Citrix brand social account and, more generally, our employees.

How did the idea of an employee advocacy program come about at Citrix? Why was it needed?

The idea for our employee advocacy program actually came from employees.

At the time, I was the community manager for the Citrix SaaS division (GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, etc.). Our marketing team was creating really fantastic content including webinars and infographics on broad topics like how to be a better presenter, better manager or better leader – things most business professionals care about. I’d promote the latest webinar, for example, with Dan Pink or Guy Kawasaki on the GoToMeeting Facebook page and would see comments from coworkers about how great the topic was. I realized we had an internal awareness issue.

We were creating all this interesting, relevant and shareable content but most employees didn’t know about it or understand how they could properly share it with their social communities.

From there, I built a proposal, outlined requirements and evaluated vendors. While we were in the evaluation stage, a VP, at the time, made an introduction to a small start-up that an investor friend of hers knew about and we became their 4th customer.

The goal for our program was simple: make it easier for employees to:

  • See the latest Citrix content & news
  • Share the things they find interesting with their social networks

In Spring of 2013, we launched a pilot with 40 employees. The response was incredible. We used the results — traffic to the website, webinar leads and also qualitative feedback from our pilot participants—to make the case for further investment extending an invite to the entire division. Shortly after I was promoted into my current role, now with global purview across the entire company, not just a single business unit or division, I continued to grow the program to its status now at nearly 1000 employees.

What was your experience with advocacy programs before you started the one at Citrix? 

Three years ago, employee advocacy wasn’t really a term I’d heard of. Most of my prior experience was geared towards customer advocacy –collecting and amplifying social testimonials, surprise and delight campaigns, etc. I did build a process for collecting stories and photos from employees but it was more focused on gathering content to share via our product social accounts vs. encouraging employees to tell a story on our behalf.

How do you determine what content is going to perform well with employees? 

With nearly 1000 participants from across the globe, it became really difficult for me to select content that would appeal to everyone. That’s why our program continues to evolve.

Earlier this year we introduced a new option so employees can personalize what content/news they see. Participants have access to a web app where they create a customized content library and can schedule social posts and see analytics. Like before, we started with a pilot and used the results to make the case for further investment but the results and feedback from employees has been phenomenal.

Join us on Monday, August 15, 2016, from 6:00-9:00pm, at Flipboard’s HQ for networking and a panel discussion about best practices & pitfalls in starting and growing an employee advocacy program.

Eventbrite - The Rise of Employee Advocacy in the Enterprise

About the Author
Andy is responsible for developing and implementing social media and digital publishing programs for Voce clients.

Filed in Events

August 2nd, 2016

Employee Advocacy and Authenticity: A Q&A with Autodesk’s Julie Hayes

Authenticity. It’s one of the most unique elements employees represent that typical marketing channels simply cannot. At Autodesk, equipping employees to convey that sense of authenticity by telling great stories has been a core tenet of their employee advocacy program.

Julie Hayes, AutodeskWe sat down with Julie Hayes, Senior Brand Communications Manager at Autodesk, to uncover this and other best practices from her work building out a successful employee advocacy program.

Julie will be a featured panelist at the Flipboard/Voce Employee Advocacy Meetup on August 15, 2016, to be hosted at Flipboard’s HQ in Palo Alto.

 

What’s your role at Autodesk?

​​​​​​​My team focuses on driving greater awareness and understanding for Autodesk, both internally and externally.

When did you start the advocacy program at Autodesk and what and who does it all encompass?

While rolling out our new corporate brand in 2013, we realized how passionate our employees were for who we are, and where we’re going. Finding an easy means to activate that passion, and getting out of the way, became my priority. We launched Bonfire, our first formal employee advocacy program, in May 2014. To date over 25% of our employees in 35 different countries are actively sharing content with their personal social networks, and over 600 Channel Partners are doing the same. We’ve since expanded our advocacy opportunities beyond social sharing, and market the many ways employees can stand-up offline as an Autodesk Advocate based on their location, skill set, and area of interest.

Has the definition of employee advocacy changed since you started the program at Autodesk?

Not exactly. For our online efforts we’ve remained true to the original spirit of Bonfire, but as our program has evolved we’ve made room for strategic social sharing efforts that cater to more niche audiences or content. We’ve also trained sales employees on social selling principles, which is less about advocacy and more about personal brand building and relationship marketing. As we move into the offline space of Employee Advocacy, our wins with Bonfire have opened doors to more broadly define employee advocacy, both the who and how.

If you could give one tip for others to get executive buy-in in buying a platform what would it be?

If there’s no risk, there’s no reward. Convince your executive team to let you pilot a small effort to determine if there’s an appetite, test and learn, and build the business case to expand. The practice and infrastructure behind employee advocacy programs is still somewhat new, and what works for one company may not work for another. You can only find that out by doing something first.

How do you keep employees motivated to share Autodesk content? How can you prevent it from being just another app they launch once a month?

For a voluntary program like ours, we recognize there’s always going to be turnover, and our goal has never been to have all 9,000 employees on Bonfire. I truly believe the core of our success has been our approach to content. Promoting products is the job of traditional marketing channels, not our advocates. Our employees are motivated by telling and sharing great stories, and we have lots of them. We curate content daily, in an authentic voice, across a diverse range of topics, and in 8 different languages. There’s something there for everyone. We take a conservative approach to gamification, choosing to incentivize during thematic content pushes. And by tapping into our company-wide rewards program to recognize great advocates, we’re integrating what might look like a marketing program on the outside, into the cultural fabric of our company.

Join us on Monday, August 15, 2016, from 6:00-9:00pm, at Flipboard’s HQ for networking and a panel discussion about best practices & pitfalls in starting and growing an employee advocacy program.

Eventbrite - The Rise of Employee Advocacy in the Enterprise

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Events

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