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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.

AGENCY NEWS // MARCH 16, 2018 //     

PRWeek U.S. Awards 2018: The Winners

Welcome to the case studies, teams, and individuals that defined the 19th year of the PRWeek Awards, the most sought-after honors for PR professionals.

Scroll down to see a full list of winners, along with honorable mentions, for each of the categories, along with write-ups of the top-notch work that is driving innovation, creativity, and effectiveness in comms.


WINNER: Kampgrounds of America and Allison+Partners 
CAMPAIGN NAME: Bringing a New Generation of Campers to KOA

Kampgrounds of America (KOA), an iconic American travel brand for over 50 years, has kept pace with contemporary camper needs by offering high-quality campgrounds with everything from tent and RV sites to deluxe cabins and resort-style glamping

MARCH 15, 2018 //     

The Anthropology of PR

Photo: Online Schools Center

By: Stephanie Libous

When you think anthropology, your first thought probably isn’t about its role in public relations. But while associating anthropology only with digging fossils isn’t wrong, it certainly falls short of the full picture. The purpose of anthropology is two-fold: To understand what it is to be human and to examine how different cultures shape human behaviour and communication.

At its core, cultural anthropology provides the fundamental tools for successful public relations – you need to understand your audience, what they do, why they do it and their behavioural motivations. While companies with an international brand should certainly take culture into consideration, it’s even more important to focus first on the impact this has on a company’s internal communications.


Understand what it is to be human 

In PR, the phrase “communication is key” is thrown around quite a bit. While this is true, how effective is it if we fail to understand the meaning behind what is actually being said? Communication is the means by which we express human behaviour. When you tune into the nuances of human behaviour and the motivators behind it, you begin to understand the purpose of that communication – both verbal or non-verbal.

In her book The Culture Map, Erin Meyer discusses the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication: “Being a good listener is just as important for effective communication as being a good speaker. And both of these essential skills are equally variable from one culture to another.”

The culture you’re raised in will ultimately shape your human behaviour and it will have an impact on your communication style.

Examine how different cultures shape human behaviour and communication

Communication isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your way of communicating should be shaped by your culture. If it’s not your native culture, you need to learn and adapt to communicate effectively.

You must take a look at the different cultures and note their tendencies. For example, as Erin Meyer lays out in her culture mapping tool, the cultural communication traits of the U.S., U.K. and other Anglo-Saxon areas tend to be more direct and to the point. The less embellishment the better. However, as you move farther east into Asia to places such as India and China, you tend to find a more expressive lifestyle. Therefore, their communication styles have more subtext and narrative. When you look at European cultures such as France and Spain, you’ll find more of a middle ground.

I have experienced this first-hand. My native culture is in the U.S.; however, I have noticed differences in communication styles between home and in the U.K. One example is the amount of context provided when communicating. Though conversation is more direct and to the point in both the U.S. and U.K., when you look more closely, the “typical” U.S. style is sometimes seen as too embellished to native U.K. cultures.

A few months back, I was in a meeting in the U.K. where an American presented content he had delivered numerous times in the past – he explained and communicated why it was important to the U.K. audience. The only difference being he was used to explaining this to a U.S. audience, who preferred and expected the additional context. While this worked well back home, it had the opposite effect on the U.K. audience. Instead of appreciating the elaboration, the British found it unnecessary and felt like they were being talked at. Though it may seem like an insignificant variance, these minor nuances make a difference in how a message is interpreted and received when dealing with cross-border colleagues, clients and acquaintances in business.

The key takeaway is to understand who you are communicating with and what the cultural implications of their communication style are. Just because someone is silent in a meeting doesn’t mean they have nothing to contribute. Conversely, if someone is talking over you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are being rude. When companies take the time to ensure their employees across borders understand each other’s cultures, they will ultimately have a more productive and open line of communication, leading to better overall success.

Stephanie Libous is an Account Manager in Allison+Partners' London office. 

This blog was originally posted by PRCA.

MARCH 12, 2018 //     

It’s grammatically correct to split an infinitive and other ‘rules’ to throw out the window

Photo: EJournalz

By: Jacques Couret

I read etymologies for kicks. I find editing and proofing fun. I’ve carried my badge as a proud member of the Grammar Police for nearly four decades. But now, I might have to turn in my credentials.

As part of my professional development at Allison+Partners, I recently viewed an excellent grammar and style refresher on Poynter.News University called “Sweat This, Not That: Real Rules vs. Grammar Myths.” The University of Kansas’ Lisa McLendon, aka Madam Grammar, hosted the one-hour video, which teaches writers and editors about grammar rules and “rules” pounded into their skulls that have no real basis in English grammar.


As the product of a liberal arts education, I learned strict grammar rules, including “rules” I now must forsake reluctantly as grammar myths only posing as rules. For example: “Never end a sentence with a preposition.” We all know that one, right?

It’s a myth. Some Latin-obsessed English grammar enthusiasts decided centuries ago to apply Latin rules to English. That may have made sense during the Renaissance, but today it can lead to odd-sounding sentences. Sir Winston Churchill once mocked someone who criticized him for ending a sentence with a preposition by saying: "That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!" I, your editorial manager, approve of anything Ole Winnie said!

McLendon also believes it’s acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition because it’s contextual -- If it sounds OK to the ear and the audience is informal, it’s fine. “This isn’t the grammar rule I came here with.” I, your editorial manager, still don’t like it!

Similarly, the rule about not splitting infinitives and correct adverb placement also have Latin roots. And they’re both myths. It’s correct when Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk says, “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” It’s also acceptable to write, “I quickly read The Stream.” Your editorial manager harrumphs at all of this!

McLendon gave her blessing to start sentences with conjunctions. Again, if it sounds good to the ear and the audience is informal, no worries. Your editorial manager always broke that rule anyway as a matter of personal choice!

The Serial Comma and Oxford Comma are both grammatically correct, she noted. Your editorial manager suggests deferring to your audience or personal preference and notes McLendon and her Ph.D. in Slavic languages can go jump in the lake with her Oxford Commas!

You may also noun a verb and verb a noun without fear of breaking grammar rules. What’s that mean, you ask? Nouning a verb: “Here’s an ask.” Verbing a noun: “God, I hate adulting.” Your editorial manager is “finalizing” his Grammar Police resignation papers as we speak.

English is such a complex and beautiful mélange of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, German, French, Spanish, Persian and damn near everything else. Even India has left its mark – the word “shampoo.” You can thank Arabic for “alcohol.” Your editorial manager now dreams of a lovely single-malt scotch!

But grammar myths and professional styles also developed as English evolved over the centuries. In service to our clients, and with respect for the predominant American tongue, we PR professionals must always communicate well by sticking to the rules of grammar. But we must also be comfortable breaking a grammar “rule” or two in the interest of communication that calls to action, changes hearts and delivers feeling.

Take Apple’s wildly successful campaign: “Think Different.” Grammatically speaking, it’s not even a true sentence and “different” should be an adverb here -- “differently.” But who would argue the grammatically correct “You should think differently” is better?

As McLendon emphasized, the guiding grammar principle must be to defer to what is most clear, clean and concise for the reader. We should never let a rule of style guide trump clarity, she said. Your editorial manager now clings for dear life to his beloved Associated Press Stylebook!

“Writing is hard enough without worrying about manufactured distinctions that add nothing to a sentence,” McLendon said. “Writers and editors, and teachers of writing and editing, need to focus on the grammar problems — and there are plenty — that can impede understanding, mislead readers, or simply make a writer look sloppy and unprofessional, instead of sending more grammar myths around the Internet.”

I urge you to check out McClendon’s seminar during a lunch break and refresh yourselves on English grammar rules, and perhaps rekindle your love for the written word with all its contradictions and complexities.

Jacques Couret is a former journalist who currently serves as editorial manager of All Told, Allison+Partners’ global integrated marketing offering. 

MARCH 5, 2018 //     

Serena Williams empowers all women through her own hard work and success in Nike spot

On an Oscars night that was powered by women, a new Nike ad that debuted during the broadcast featured tennis superstar Serena Williams telling how she overcame the cries of her detractors to find success.

With International Women’s Day coming up on March 8, Nike wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women everywhere in a push for gender equality that was, in this case, delivered by Williams.

MARCH 4, 2018 //     

How HQ Trivia Is Inspiring a New On-Demand Viewing Model for Apps

Photo: Justin Bettman for AdweekSince December, twice a day, like clockwork, Terry Berger, a 17-year-old high school junior from Atlanta, has been playing HQ Trivia, the mobile app game-show sensation. At 3 p.m. Berger, her fellow students and teachers huddle together over their smartphones, answering often silly, mostly vanilla questions about pop culture, science and history for the chance to win cash prizes. At 9 p.m. she’s at it again, this time with her family. In fact, HQ’s daily-double playing schedule is so drilled into Berger’s internal timetable that she doesn’t even need the app’s triggered push notifications to remind her it’s game time. READ MORE
FEBRUARY 28, 2018 //     

Stoli debuts 'Red Sparrow' campaign with signature cocktails, social content

Stoli Vodka and 20th Century Fox have partnered on "Vodka MasteRED," a co-branded multimedia campaign promoting "Red Sparrow," a new thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence that debuts in theaters on March 2, according to a news release. The campaign includes radio, digital, out-of-home and print elements. 

The effort will be promoted on ESPN Radio's "Golic and Wingo" talk show. Stoli is also running content related to the film on its Instagram and Facebook channels, including a sweepstakes for a "seductively stylish, top-secret trip" to New York City.   READ MORE
FEBRUARY 28, 2018 //     

Unilever promises to double number of female-led startups receiving investment

Unilever announced plans to increase the number of female-led startups it invests in, according to a report at The Drum. Twenty-three percent of the company's investment in startups currently go to women-owned businesses, and the plan is to increase that number to 50% by 2023.  READ MORE
FEBRUARY 28, 2018 //     

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Major Gun Retailer, Stops Selling Assault-Style Weapons

Credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

One of the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said Wednesday morning it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores.

The retailer also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws.

The announcement, made two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members, is one of the strongest stances taken by corporate America in the national gun debate. It also carries symbolic weight, coming from a prominent national gun seller.

FEBRUARY 27, 2018 //     

Ad of the Day: Univision celebrates Latino culture in America in latest campaign

While the US president continues his quest to build a wall at the Mexican border, others are trying to tear down the walls between cultures and celebrate diversity. That’s the point of a new campaign by Univision Communications (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America.

Univision is introducing ‘Se Habla USA,’ a campaign to promote the value of diversity, inclusion and the important role Hispanic culture and Spanish language play in America. The point is to empower Latinos to be stronger advocates for themselves and their communities, and to encourage them to take pride in their language and culture. It also aims to promote the positive influence Hispanics have had and continue to have in the US.

FEBRUARY 26, 2018 //     

Lime-A-Rita opens social media advice column run by brand characters

Lime-A-Rita, an Anheuser-Busch brand of canned margaritas, is expanding its "Meet the Ritas" campaign with a social media advice and gossip column for the modern era called #RitaSays, a news release announced. Along with the advice column, Lime-A-Rita created an integrated social media campaign with branded hashtags, videos and designated pages.  READ MORE
FEBRUARY 23, 2018 //     

NRA backlash: Major bank and car-rental giant are ending partnerships

Companies may be starting to rethink their ties to the National Rifle Association in the wake of last week’s massacre at a Florida high school, with a major bank and car-rental giant announcing Thursday they were dropping partnership programs with the NRA. READ MORE

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