Luncheon recap: Best of Show Paragon Award: Bader Rutter

By Lauren Gonn

This year’s 2015 PRSA Paragon Awards winners included an impressive lineup of public relations campaigns, including the 2015 Best of Show Paragon Award that went to Bader Rutter. The award recognizes Bader Rutter’s work to launch HOOF-TEC, a footbath product for dairy cows, from its client, Zoetis. The judges gave the integrated communications entry high marks because Bader Rutter’s work was measurable, creative and delivered strong results.

At the October PRSA luncheon, Bader Rutter kicked off with an audience-engaging hair metal band trivia, which set the stage for sharing the campaign, “Easy on the metal, bro.”paragon

Bader Rutter was tasked with developing a campaign, in just eight weeks, for HOOF-TEC to increase awareness and use of the unknown product. Bader Rutter had to capture the attention of dairy farmers and veterinarians because HOOF-TEC is in a saturated and often overlooked product category. The campaign launched the product into the spotlight with a smart mix of research insights; well-timed, integrated content; show-stopping creative and inescapable advertising strategy.

Bader Rutter PR practitioners took the lead in finding that one thing to tell a differentiated story and build a campaign on and worked with an integrated, cross-disciplinary team.

What was the one thing? Metal. Metals are a common antibacterial agent in footbaths that cows walk through to clean their hooves. And research showed that most dairy farmers were concerned with the metal content of their footbath solutions.

Because HOOF-TEC has less metal, there was a straight forward message: You don’t need that much metal in your footbath.

To turn heads, the campaign vision was to take “too much metal” to extremes by using in-your-face, heavy-metal hair band photography that helps quickly convey the message that farmers can reduce metal in their footbaths.

The PR team took the lead in priming the industry and audience for the introduction of HOOF-TEC and the campaign through well-timed pre-conditioning blogs and expert-bylined articles to address the impact of hoof health challenges and tips for incorporating and managing footbaths. In addition, the PR team and other agency team members developed a comprehensive sales kit that helped Zoetis representatives effectively demonstrate proper footbath management and product use.

By six months post-launch, the campaign helped garner 39 percent market awareness. With captivating creative, strategic advertising placement and well-timed content, the campaign garnered above industry average impressions for print/digital advertising and launch release impressions. This high-impact marketing strategy led to 50 percent market awareness of HOOF-TEC by 9 months. The steady increase of awareness led to an increase in incremental HOOF-TEC sales for Zoetis. Regular monitoring and reporting of metrics for each campaign tactic served as the compass to ensure “Easy on the metal, bro” maintained a successful course.

Wondering what it takes to be the next Best of Show Paragon Award winner?

While it can be difficult to select the Best of Show winner from a group of well-executed campaigns, the following criteria is key:

  • Clear objectives, including target audience
  • Detailed research and planning to identify challenge and or/opportunity
  • Execution, including strategies and tactics and how these addressed the objectives
  • Budget definition and application
  • Results that demonstrate how the campaign met or exceeded project goals

“Goal setting and measurement are absolutely critical for PR pros today,” said Bill Bussler, chapter president. “Of course, all of the campaigns that were recognized as part of our 2015 Paragon Awards demonstrated very strong results. Award-winning work now requires measurement of outputs and outcomes as well as the impact of these efforts on overall organizational performance.”

Stay tuned for information on our 2016 Paragon Awards. Chapter members interested in participating in the 2016 program are encouraged to watch the chapter website for more details.

Notice of Annual Meeting

All members are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will be held:

Tuesday, December 9, 2015

6:00 pm

Villa Terrace  Decorative Arts Museum

2220 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee


The following item of business will be brought before the members:

I. Election of 2016 Officers and Directors

The following persons have been nominated by the Chapter’s Nominating Committee:

President – Heidi Fendos

President-Elect – Sara Rude

Secretary – Phill Trewyn

Director at Large – Kelly Savage, APR

Director at Large – Matt Wisla

Assembly Delegate – Audra Jacobs

Assembly Delegate – Emily Bultman

Previously elected and also serving will be:

Immediate Past-President – Bill Bussler

Director at Large – Meg Hemmelgarn

Director at Large – Don Klein

Assembly Delegate – Patrick McSweeney, APR

Ethics Officer – Karren Jeske, APR

Membership Officer – Tim Olsen, APR

Treasurer – Annie Gentil

Data Visualization: Get Some Data in Your Life

By Lauren Gonn

CKDY0bKWoAA_ktY.jpg-largeKevin Crowe joined us for our July luncheon, explaining the ins and outs of data visualization. So what is data visualization? It is considered to be the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. In other words: charts, pictures, graphs, video and other tools used to get a point across.

Crowe talked more specifically on data journalism, stating that many people see it as the future of journalism. In reality, it has already been used for centuries in many ways. Basically using statistics, design, computer science and much more to determine an issue and report it to the public.

This scientific approach to reporting combines surveys and analyzes demographics in order to test and draw conclusions. There are different forms of data journalism and different kinds of data. Some of the forms Crowe focused on are “quick-turn dailies,” web applications and months/years investigations. The dailies are open source (free) tools, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for example, that provide specific information on a subject often. Most data has a documentation on how, when, and where to use it.

CKDa8cbUwAEiVHE.jpg-largeUsing homeowner property as an example, let’s say you want to know how much you are paying in taxes, and how much your home is worth compared to your neighbor. The different kinds of data that would be involved in this topic are: metrics on property assessors, assessed values for different countries, contact info for assessors, data on when different municipalities did property re-evaluations, etc.

Data visualization allows you to break down this information in detail, figure out what it is you are trying to decipher and in a way that appeals to everyone.

Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Luncheon recap

rob-biesenbachBy Lauren Gonn

One of the most powerful forms of communication is storytelling. 2014 is considered “the year of the story,” according to Entrepreneur. Rob Biesenbach explained at Friday’s luncheon that 63 percent of members in an audience remember stories, compared to 5 percent who remember statistics.

Stories can help accomplish many things when told correctly, including the ability to tap into peoples’ emotions, put a face on issues, connect us, humanize us with what we stand for and raise the stakes in a situation.

The proper structure of a story usually consists of a character(s) in pursuit of a goal while encountering an obstacle.

When telling a story, think about how your audience will react and what you want your audience to know, feel and do after they hear the story. Try to use your own personal experience and feelings to try and connect the audience with what you are expressing. And remember that less is more. Keep your stories concise and to the point.

With that, I will leave you with some tips from Rob Biesenbach:

  • Passion and emotion sell
  • Be original with what you are telling
  • Always be looking for new topics to discuss with others
  • Get personal with your audience

A letter to my friends, esteemed colleagues, PRSA Southeast Wisconsin members and supporters:

Samantha-AndrewsThree words sum up how I feel today: blessed, grateful and thankful.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for allowing me to serve as president of the PRSA Southeast Wisconsin chapter this year. It’s truly been a privilege and my honor.

PR Palooza a success; thank you!

I can’t wait to see the photos from our PR Palooza fundraiser event last night at the Miller Caves; check back soon on our website: and Twitter @prsawis (follow us!). The presence of our photographer, Scott Patrick, was a wonderful addition to our event. Hopefully you had a chance to check out his photo booth and take home some fun photos. Here is a photo of me, Sara Rude and Annie Gentil I hope will make you smile.
Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 2.37.03 PM

The holiday spirit is truly among us. Sara Rude, who served as chair for our fundraiser last night, dropped off all the leftover food from the event to The Guest House of Milwaukee, a homeless shelter for men who are looking to rehabilitate back into society and get jobs with vocational skills. She said she “just couldn’t think of another better place to put all that food.” What a nice gift Sara … thank you. Thank you to Jackie Hribar of BVK for helping to take back our linens and candles (and for a ride back to my car!).

Our 50/50 cash raffle winner Tom Gubbins of Marketwired in Chicago, who Don Klein reached out to and gained sponsorship support from this year, even donated back his $70 in cash winnings back to our chapter. Thank you ,Tom! We were able to raise $6,500 this year in sponsorship funds.

Two years ago, our past president, my friend and colleague, Mike Pflughoeft, APR, founded PR Palooza, an event that brought our economically challenged chapter “back in black.” His vision was to have an annual networking event that also helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you to all of our sponsors for their generosity: presenting sponsors–Big Shoes Network; Mueller Communications, Inc.; Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Laughlin Constable and Nelson Schmidt. Supporting sponsors–Marketwired; Group 1 Marketing and Boelter and Lincoln. In-kind sponsors are Scott Patrick Photography, STIR, Business Journal and Staples Marketing.

I also would like to thank our PR Palooza chairs and volunteers: Sara Rude at Nelson Schmidt, Sarah Kikkert at Wisconsin State Fair, Meg Hemmelgarn at STIR and those who helped with planning efforts: Chantel Kuczmarski of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and Mike Pflughoeft, APR. I’d also like to recognize our 2014 board of directors who also helped with this event and have shared their time and dedication this past year to PRSA: Bill Bussler; Don Klein; Phill Trewyn; Annie Gentil; Tim Olsen, APR; Karren Jeske, APR; Heidi Fendos; Sara Rude; Carol Weber, APR; Ann Knabe, PhD, APR+M and Kelly Savage, APR.

2014 PRSA Southeast Wisconsin Chapter successes

I’d like to briefly share successes our chapter has had this past year. We are holding steady financially with nearly $30,000 of chapter net worth. Thanks to Annie Gentil, our treasurer, for keeping us on track.

We are the largest PRSA chapter in Wisconsin with 323 members, including 37 associate members, which is up about 10 percent from last year. Local dues are only $75 a year for members, $25 for associate members, and new this year, we introduced a new membership rate for retirees of $25. Thank you to Tim Olsen, APR, our membership chair.

We have a continued partnership with the Eisner Foundation (thank you, Bill Eisner!) and our Pro Day in April. In 2015, Kelly Savage, APR, our accreditation chair has introduced a new Path to APR event, with the goal to encourage at least three to five members to successfully travel the “Path to APR” in 2015. This is under way now and begins in January, so please contact Kelly Savage, APR at today to sign up. Details can be found on our website.

Welcome new 2015 board members

Bill Bussler, our new president, and our new members to our 2015 board of directors (W. Patrick McSweeney, APR and Meg Hemmelgarn) will surely lead our chapter to more successes in the coming year. It is my pleasure to be among so many talented and fun individuals.

Personal story

In closing I’d like to share a personal story with you that has had a big impact on me and so many others this week. It is a story about the power of life, the spirit of giving, PR and social media.

I lost a high school friend and classmate this week whose family members were good friends of my family. I’m from a small town called Rosendale, which is about 10 miles from Fond du Lac. You may know of this town as many tell me they received speeding tickets driving through Rosendale!

My friend, Jason Czoschke, was only 41 years old. He passed away Sunday in a hunting accident, falling 15 feet from a deer stand in front of one of my other high school friends. Jason gave people so many laughs growing up; he was our class clown. He would often have these hilarious outbursts during homeroom and blurt out inappropriate words that even made our teachers laugh. I will also never forget the day Jason and I got into a spaghetti fight in our lunchroom. I was so mad at him for throwing spaghetti sauce all over my outfit!

While I have not seen Jason and many of my other friends from high school since our reunion a few years ago, I stay connected with them on Facebook, as I’m sure you do with your friends and family. His wife has been keeping all of us up-to-date on latest details about Jason. She shared yesterday how Jason chose to donate most of his organs to help others who are struggling to live. She said Jason will be helping eight people with these gifts of life, including a man in Chicago who will be receiving Jason’s heart. The man had only had a couple of days to live. What an impact Jason’s life has made on so many people! His wife and two daughters are more gifts he leaves behind. His jokes and laughter will be passed on to others for years to come. While it is tragic that he died so young, I’m happy he was at least doing something he loved–being outdoors and hunting. Losing friends and family members makes you realize how short life is and made me realize I should be kinder and more giving to others, so that’s my new goal, starting today!

I hope the holidays are safe and happy for all of you and your families. Let’s all enjoy this beautiful gift of life. Thank you again!


Samantha Andrews, MBA, APR, immediate past president, PRSA Southeast Wisconsin

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, May 2, 2014

As PR professionals, we are always trying to stay one step ahead for our clients and organizations when it comes to ways to communicate with our stakeholders. In an industry that is constantly evolving, this isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

It seems that the million dollar question is always, “what is the next big thing?” While it’s almost impossible to answer this question, this week’s top 3 PR articles of the week try to shed some light on that question by focusing on the future.

11 alternatives for a news release

CNN Money
The key to Facebook’s future?

Fast Company
Snapchat grows up, adds text messaging and video conferencing

What do you think the next big thing will be?

Have a great weekend!

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, April 25, 2014

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this week, I think it’s safe to assume that most PR professionals somehow heard about the New York Police Department’s hashtag promotion that didn’t go as planned.

While it was a good idea in theory, the plan to have people post photos of themselves with New York police officers with the hashtag #myNYPD quickly turned into a rash of photos that did not depict the department in a positive light.

As PR professionals, this incident should remind us all to think about every aspect of what we want to accomplish but also what can go completely wrong with a social media promotion.

The Wall Street Journal
NYPD Push for Tweets to Continue
Thousands of Posted Photos Show Police in Bad Light

The New York Times
Lesson for the Police: Be Careful What You Tweet For
New York Police Reach Out on Twitter but Receive a Slap in the Face

NYPD’s hashtag promotion goes awry

What would you do if this hashtag mishap happened to your organization?

Have a great weekend!

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, April 18, 2014

Facebook recently announced a new feature that will allow mobile users to find friends if they are located nearby. This is just the most recent of changes, additions, corrections, redesigns, etc. for Facebook’s ever-changing platform.

As PR professionals, it’s commonly our jobs to keep our businesses and clients on the social media forefront. Therefore, because of this newest feature, this week’s top three articles will focus on how to use Facebook most efficiently until the next change, addition, correction or design is announced.

Infographic: A quick guide to Facebook’s new image dimensions

7 statistics that can raise your Facebook engagement

Facebook Pages redesign: 4 things businesses will want to do

Have a great weekend!

Kristin Rabas
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, April 11, 2014

While watching this year’s March Madness tournament, I heard a number of coaches and players talk about how important it is to do the fundamentals correctly. While the flashy plays are nice to watch, it’s sound fundamental basketball that ultimately wins games. This got me thinking about the fundamentals of PR.

Starting today, I will draft a blog post for each Friday that features three key PR articles from the week. I hope these posts are found to be useful and that is helps everyone sift through the clutter of PR articles that are pushed our way every day.

For the week and in order to stick with my theme, I decided to choose articles that focus on fundamentals that we should all follow to be great PR professionals.

From Ragan’s PR Daily:
Calling a journalist? Avoid making crucial mistakes

From Ragan’s PR Daily:
The evolving distribution and role of press releases

From Ragan’s PR Daily:
The best times to post on social media

Have a great weekend!

Kristin Rabas
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Former Journalist Portia Young Enjoying Her New Life in PR

Portia Young’s passion for journalism made her a household name in Milwaukee. She climbed the TV news ranks from a small-town reporter to the anchor desk at WISN 12.

Former WISN 12 anchor Portia Young talks about her transition to public relations at Sargento. (Photo by Scott Patrick)

Former WISN 12 anchor Portia Young talks about her transition to public relations at Sargento. (Photo by Scott Patrick)

But after 14 years of hard work in the news business, Portia’s priorities shifted with the birth of her daughter. She soon realized that the life of an anchor and the life of a mother were nearly incompatible – especially working early mornings, weekends and holidays.

“There is a pendulum of work-life balance, and in TV news, that pendulum always swings back to work,” she said.

Portia left WISN last year to become public relations manager at Sargento. She shared her thoughts on the news business and her transition to PR life at a PRSA luncheon this week.

Portia said she always knew there was life outside of TV, because she had solid writing skills that are sought-after in public relations. She said she is happy at Sargento, even though she is not in the spotlight every day.

“For me, it was never because I had to be on TV,” she said.

WATCH: Portia Talks About a Hyperlocal Shift in TV News

Portia still gets to tell stories at Sargento – but she’s telling them to a different audience. Now, she writes feature stories about Sargento employees and shares them with other employees on the company’s intranet pages. One of her more recent stories was about a truck driver who gave his coat and boots to a woman in freezing cold weather.

Portia said it’s rewarding to represent Sargento, which has been named a top workplace Wisconsin. She is excited to tell the stories of employees, many of whom have stayed at the company for decades.

“I never realized how internal messaging could be so powerful,” she said. “I didn’t realize what kind of impact that would have.”



  • Don’t be pushy or tell a reporter what to do.
  • Think of B-roll opportunities and arrange interviews with people other than the “talking heads”
  • Journalists cringe when you ask for questions in advance. Keep in mind, she said, that journalists “don’t want to blow the lid off of everything every day.”
  • Return phone calls, even if you don’t have much to share. The journalist will respect you, and may be more receptive to your future pitches.


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(Jeff Rumage writes about public relations news in Milwaukee. You can reach him at jeffrumage(at)