Dittoe PR client announces monumental acquisition

Plastic straws.

 

They’re small, convenient, inexpensive and seemingly harmless. Their use has been widespread amongst restaurants, retailers, consumers and businesses alike for several decades. However, this modern-day convenience also comes at a high price.

 

Plastic straws not only contribute to our rising plastic pollution crisis, but they’re unavoidably harmful to the environment, as they’re too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. Shockingly enough, Americans use more than 500 million plastic straws each day.

 

Enter Aardvark Straws.

 

Introduced in 2007 in response to the growing anti-plastic movement, Aardvark Straws offer an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic straws with their durable, FDA-compliant, marine degradable paper straws. They’re produced in more than 200+ customizable designs, making Aardvark Straws ideal for a large range of uses, including restaurants, weddings, holidays and more.

 

However, as the anti-plastic movement grew, so did the anti-plastic straw movement. People became increasingly aware of the dangers of plastic straws. Following the hard work of many activists and organizational groups, others began to take notice. Cities began to ban plastic straws, then major corporations did, too. Some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Starbucks, American Airlines and Hilton, all pledged to remove plastic straws from their companies.

 

As the movement grew, so did Aardvark. As the sole U.S. producer of paper straws, Aardvark was soon selling billions of paper straws to restaurants and establishments all across the globe. Business accelerated quickly, which led Aardvark to start thinking about what was next for the company.

 

With plastic straw bans occurring worldwide and the paper straw market on the rise, Wisconsin-based Hoffmaster Group saw an opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly accelerating demand for alternatives to plastic. Hoffmaster acquired Aardvark in August 2018. They invested in the brand because they believe in paper straws as a product solution and saw Aardvark as a natural extension of Hoffmaster’s premium portfolio of environmentally responsible, disposable tabletop products. Through the acquisition, Hoffmaster hopes to protect the environment and marine life, as well as to ramp up production in order to supply top grade paper straws to the marketplace.

 

As a longstanding client, Dittoe PR jumped on the opportunity to lead media relations efforts for Aardvark’s exciting announcement. We shared the news with local, regional and national media, which resulted in media hits in several major media outlets including Fortune, USA Today, CNNMoney, MarketWatch, Inc. and live TV interviews on CNBC and Fox Business News.

 

In addition to careful research and personalized pitching that led to such great media results, we also assisted with the thorough development of messaging for the acquisition. From messaging documents to customer questions to media interview prep sheets, it’s important when making such a major announcement that all messaging is consistent and accurate.

 

Ultimately, Dittoe PR was able to generate 240 media hits garnering 167,100,363 media impressions and a total publicity value of $1,917,878! We were overjoyed with the outcome of this campaign and are looking forward to continuing to lead Aardvark’s PR initiatives in the future.

Five Tips to Help You Succeed at Your Public Relations Internship

For many college students nearing graduation, completing an internship that will provide useful experience to apply post-graduation is a necessity. After wrapping up another year as a public relations student, I went into my first day as an intern at Dittoe PR in sponge mode, prepared to soak up all of the knowledge radiating from some of the best PR pros in the business.

 

Throughout the course of my internship, I was exposed to the different sides of public relations, including media relations, social media, thought leadership and more. I learned several invaluable skills that will be applicable to the rest of my professional career. I even became proficient in other valuable life skills along the way such as how to fix a printer and, surprisingly, a muffler as well!

 

Here are a few tips to help get the most out of your internship experience and set yourself up for a successful semester:

 

Take notes.

Whether it be in in-person client meetings, on phone calls or when receiving project assignments, it is important you write down what you hear. These notes can be used as a reference while working on your project assignments and could help someone else later on.

 

Taking detailed notes will help you avoid asking your colleague, boss or client to repeat themselves. Plus, it is shows you are listening and value what they have to say.

 

Utilize different platforms.

With multiple projects to simultaneously juggle, PR pros often wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. Using different PR software such as TrendKite, Cision and Sprout will help you complete your work as efficiently as possible.

 

Familiarize yourself with the platforms being used at your firm and review them frequently for new updates. Chances are that a majority of firms use these platforms, so learning them now will pay off in the long-run.

 

Prioritize your projects.

One of the most telling qualities of a successful PR pro is the ability to manage time. As an intern, it is important to demonstrate to leadership that you possess the skills required manage time and priorities.

 

When receiving your project assignments, assess the the urgency, value and effort required from each in order to meet deadlines and get to work. If you are struggling to meet a deadline, be sure to let your team members know ahead of time. They will appreciate the heads up and they may even give advice on how to better prioritize in the future.

 

Ask questions.

Make every moment a learning opportunity. Asking questions is the best way to eliminate confusion, stimulate idea generation and show the higher-ups you’re serious about your work. Additionally, asking questions helps you develop better communication skills, which are one of the most valuable tools a PR pro can possess.

 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Growth occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. A way to increase your growth opportunities in your internship is by taking on projects you have never done before.

 

Challenging yourself in an internship will allow you to make mistakes with less pressure and, again, show the company’s leadership that you’re dedicated to improving yourself and your PR skills. After all, there is no better way to learn than by diving in head first!

 

Interested in applying for an internship with Dittoe PR? We’re currently accepting applications for our Spring 2019 program. Final all the details here or email your resume and cover letter to vanessa [at] dittoepr [dot] com.

 

This blog was authored by former intern Paige Thompson

Interview Prep Sheets: Turn a good interview into a great one

While Dittoe PR offers an array of different services for clients, our bread and butter is media relations. We’re constantly working with reporters to secure media opportunities for our clients. Since we believe no two clients are alike, that also means every client interview is as important as the next. Whether it’s a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, we have found that the value of an interview prep sheet can help turn a good interview into a great one.

 

So, you’re ready to draft an interview prep sheet – now what?

 

The following items are must-haves when developing a prep sheet:

 

  • Date/time: Arguably the most important thing to include. Place this at the very top of your prep sheet, and possibly two or three more times throughout the prep sheet.

 

  • Address/call info: If the interview is taking place offsite, include the address of the location. Hyperlink the address to Google Maps, that way all the interviewee has to do to is click the link and pull up directions. If the interview is taking place over the phone, include the conference line or direct line information.

 

  • Background/opportunity: Include background information about how this opportunity was secured. Reiterate the name of the outlet, the reporter’s name and what he/she is interested in talking about.

 

  • Interview topics: List out topics the interviewee should be prepared to talk about. This information can be pretty generalized, but it gives your client a better idea on what he or she will be talking about during the interview.

 

Depending on the type of client and/or interview, you can add additional information to your prep sheet. Say the interview is with the CEO of the company and not your day-to-day contact – the CEO may want or need more information to help prepare for the interview, especially if it’s with a top-tier, national outlet. If you’re going the extra mile, these items are good to include in your prep sheet:

 

  • Type of interview: Is this a phone or in-person interview? A live or taped TV segment? Including this simple information can help your client mentally prepare for the type of interview.

 

  • Length of interview: Including the estimated length of the interview can help the interviewee plan out the rest of his or her day. It can also help interviewees map out what they are going to say and make sure they have enough content to talk about.

 

  • Reporter’s name: It’s good for the interviewee to have some background info on the interviewer. Along with including the reporter’s name, include a link to his or her bio page or Twitter. Take it a step further by including recent stories written by that reporter, too.

 

  • Potential questions/key messages: This section can be extremely beneficial. While reporters rarely share their interview questions, it’s good to include what you think could be potential questions the reporter could ask. Including key messaging can help craft answers for the potential questions, too.

 

  • Media training tips: We typically include this section for clients that may not have extensive media experience. For example, we use district sales managers at retailers across the country for local TV segments. This may be the only time a district sales manager participates in a media interview, so they may need more guidance than our day-to-day contacts. By including this section in a prep sheet, we provide a quick rundown of what to expect during the interview. We provide tips on how to dress, how to get messaging across, and how to be mindful of body language. This helps in-person interviews be more fluid and natural.

 

  • What to bring: This portion is only needed if a client is bringing something to an in-person interview. If it’s a TV segment, it’s important to have visuals for the interview. List out the items that the client needs to bring, or list out suggested options.

 

Preparing your client with the right tools and information in an interview prep sheet can make a world of difference when it comes to an interview with the media. Think your business could benefit from media relations? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.