TFG Learns About the Hottest App in Japan

TFG and Japanese Visit

In September we were fortunate to receive a visit from Aaron’s friend Natsuko Mochizuki, head of a PR/marketing firm in Tokyo called Moonlight Wave. Natsuko brought colleagues from two of her clients, Recruit Lifestyle, which is a subsidiary of Recruit Group, and Reckitt Benckiser JAPAN, the parent company for global brands that include Veet, Clearasil and Dr. Scholl’s. Over lunch at our office, we all got to know each other better. Our main topic of shared interest: social media best practices and trends.

Translating back and forth between English and Japanese, we discussed similarities and differences in social media use in the U.S. and Japan. Unanimously, our Japanese peers agreed that Line, a social messenger phone app, is the most widely used app among millennials in their country. Indeed, Fast Company has described the Line app in Japan as a “culture-changing, revenue-generating phenomenon,” landing it a spot in the magazine’s Most Innovative Companies list. The app offers free messaging, video and phone calls, which address the shortcomings of other communication/social platforms. At one point during our discussion, Kazuyo Sugisaki, who works for Recruit, leaned across the table to show us the “stickers” or fully graphical emojis available to send on the Line app. We loved them! According to TechCrunch, Line’s user-generated “stickers” market made a whopping $75 M in the first year.

Stickers on Line App
© TechCrunch

In the U.S., social messaging apps are also massively popular. The Fearey Group team members had many things to say about the potential of Instagram and Snapchat, both of which harness the power of images to communicate. Over the past few years in the U.S. we have seen brands jump into social platforms such as Snapchat, previously used for 1-to-1 conversations, to visually share their story with a larger audience. Social media companies are finding creative advertising opportunities, and brands are jumping on board.

TFG and Japanese Visit

Before lunch was over we each shared our favorite smartphone app. Check out what was shared below.

Favorite smartphone apps:

  • Glympse (Location-sharing app similar to Waze)
  • Mercari (Buy and sell items from your phone)
  • Line (Free messenger app)
  • Stellar (User-created photo stories)
  • Antenna (Curation magazine app)
  • Overdrive (Free online books)
  • Happify (Self-improvement/personal skills learning)
  • VSCO Camera (Photo editing)
  • Peatix (Event and ticket creation)
  • Line (Free messenger app)
  • Smart News (News curation)
  • Tinder (Online dating)

10 Things Small Business Can Do to Improve Social Presence Today

Today our President and CEO, Aaron Blank, spoke at the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce to a group of city leaders and small to midsize business owners. He specifically discussed how to build and leverage social from a business perspective and provided 10 ways small businesses can improve social presence today. Check out his tips below!

  1. Know Where Your Customers Are – What networks are your customers most likely to be on? Spend your time on the social networks they are most often on. This increases your engagement while keeping your time put in low.
  2. Find Your Voice – Does your brand have a voice that you portray on your website or in person? Keep that voice consistent on your social media channels.
  3. Take the time! – Set aside 30 minutes at the beginning or end of your day to review social media posts since your last review time. Take the time to respond to customers that interact with you, two-way communication is important!
  4. Use LinkedIn to Build Your Business– LinkedIn is not just a job searching tool, it’s your digital Rolodex and a new business cultivation tool. Send a personalized note to everyone you meet in a professional setting to connect and grow your network.
  5. Show off Your Expertise on LinkedIn– As your network starts to grow, post interesting articles, comment on posts from others or just like other posts at least ONCE a day. This keeps your name at the top of your connections feed and shows you know your business environment.
  6. Curate and Share Content More Easily – Buffer is a relatively new tool that can make posting regularly on all of your social networks easier. You link everything to your Buffer account and add a button to your web browser. When you find a page or article you want to share you press the Buffer button. Then at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the day Buffer sends out your messages. Other tools to consider: Hootsuite and TweetDeck
  7. Help Your Google Search – Set up a Google+ page for your business and claim the name from Google. This way when people search for your business it’s your actual website that comes up. This also helps your search rank in comparison to similar businesses listed on Google who do not have a business page.
  8. Don’t Just Post About You – Social media is just that, social. Don’t just post about your latest project, promote good things going on in your community or the success of other businesses around you.
  9. Focused on Your Personal Page? Don’t Be Afraid to Show Personality – If you are using a personal social media page to promote your business, don’t be afraid to show some of your personality. If you are all business all the time, people won’t find it compelling. Show some of your personal side and interests, your customers will love to learn more about you.
  10. Follow Others In Your Community – Again, don’t just follow your customers or friends, follow others in the community and interact with them. Supporting them makes it much more likely they will support you!


Social Media Lunch: Organically Grown Relationships and All-Natural Partnerships Make for a Healthy Networking Diet

Social media and the suite of tools, platforms and apps that make up this digital highway have transformed the way people meet and interact. Twitter alone has opened a plethora of doors for professional networking, B2B marketing and interpersonal relationship building. Today millions of people are connecting via social media long before they ever meet in person – that is if they ever meet at all!

Lot's of tweeting going on!
Tweet Tweet!

My professional network is largely made up of people I met via social media. These relationships were further cemented when we met in person. Never underestimate the power of a face-to-face interaction! It truly helps to build trust in one another and add a layer of emotion and compassion that might not exist through a purely digital relationship.

This is why The Fearey Group started SMLunch a few years back. It was started as a way to take relationships offline and into the real-world. SMLunch rotates monthly among local businesses, showcasing a variety of brands and the social media community behind them. Each lunch follows an informal program filled with ample amounts of networking, short presentations by host businesses, plenty of cool giveaways and the opportunity to showcase your brand, service or mission to a group of engaged and connected individuals in the community. Attendees range in industry – from artists to writers and executives to entrepreneurs, from real estate agents to social media community managers and those in the non-profit sector. At the end of the day, the point is to take these relationships we’re building online and meet in person – to further inspire collaboration, inspiration and support.

Great way to meet new people in the social media scene.
Great way to meet new people in the social media scene.

Our next lunch will take place on May 22nd at the offices where attendees will learn more about Seattle’s hottest startup. Tickets are now available at Brown Paper tickets.

Be sure to check out SMLunch on Facebook and follow @TheFearyGroup and #SMLunch for additional details.

We hope you’ll SMLunch with us soon!


What’s the buzz about? Here’s what fans of SMLunch are saying!

“SMLunch is such a wonderful way to bring those in the social media world together once a month to actively engage with one another in person. Not only are you able to spread the word about your company, but it helps solidify relationships with your existing online connections and network with those across such a broad spectrum of brands- all over lunch!” – Annie Hong, Social Media and Public Relations Manager, Anthony’s Restaurants

“#SMLunch connects those from the digital world into the “real world” with food, networking and education. This fast-paced event has become a must-attend event for the Seattle social. #SMLunch has helped me to develop relationships with influencers and companies in the area that I never knew I’d need to know!” – Ann Peavey, Chief Concierge, Visit Seattle

“SMLunch is a great, intimate way to meet and network with other professionals in a casual setting. As an attendee and host of an SMLunch, I can truly say it’s been a really valuable experience and great opportunity to showcase our company and create new business connections.” – Kara Drinkard, marketing manager, glassybaby

“I started attending SMLunch to network and meet local people in the social media and marketing community. While I did do just that, what I really came away with was a number of new friendships that have enriched my life and a group of friends that constantly teach me new things” – Howie Cohen, General Merchandise Buyer, Bartell Drugs


Heather Fernandez


Heather Fernandez is an Account Supervisor with The Fearey Group and chief event organizer for SMLunch. She’s also a Mother, PR dynamo, Reader, Fashionably-challenged, Seattleite via SoCal, lives to laugh, lover of the sea & a fan of great beer #GoHawks

Zero to Social in 90 Minutes …with Fearey’s Aaron Blank

AaronBlankHeadshot-63By Rosalind Brazel

Social Media is an essential tool to marketing your business, creating brand awareness and announcing company news to the public. But many organizations struggle to add this layer to the fold because there are no manuals, no set rules, very few guidelines to venture into social media.

Washington Federal, KIRO radio and are hosting your next social media event in Seattle. On Monday, November 18th you will have an opportunity to jump-start your social media knowledge at the Zero to Social in 90 Minutes lunch and panel presentation. Top social media experts, including The Fearey Group’s president Aaron Blank (and soon-to-be CEO), will participate in a Q&A panel session to cover the basics and beyond on the topic of social media.

To tease you, Aaron provided a sample Q&A of what you may hear at the event:

1. How do you decide which social media applications are best for you/your company?

I try to play around with every possible social media platform. I find the top performing ones by looking at Apple’s application store. In the store, it lists the top performers. This tells me what the hottest apps are and which ones I should be playing around with almost on a daily basis.

2. What is the biggest misconception about social media?

That it is new. It is not new. I’ve been using it since the dial-up Internet days of the 80’s. It was slower, but it was still social. I spent time in chat rooms on America OnLine. Then in the late 90’s, I spent time on Instant Messenger… and so on. The tools are changing but social media has been around for quite some time!

3. What is the future of social media?

The expansion of mobile is influencing the future of social media. In other parts of the world, commercial billboards communicate with you as you walk past them (via your mobile device). That, too, will be here shortly.

4. Which social media application do you use the most and why?

I have too many. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Vimeo. YouTube. Foursquare (I have a love/hate relationship with it). Yelp. Waazi. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Lively. Uber. Evernote. Flipboard. Why do I use so many? Our world revolves around it.

5. You were an early adopter on Twitter, what was that like?

I received a 5-year anniversary reminder from Twitter this year. I’ve been using it since 2009. As a result, I’ve developed five years’ worth of online relationships that have now become offline relationships. Twitter back then was the same, just not as easy to use. If people find themselves not on it yet, they can still jump aboard. It is never too late. It is worth the time!

6. Some people say social media hinders the ability to engage in traditional verbal/written communication. Your response?

Communicating in 140 characters or less is a challenge. Doing it well helps your overall communication skills.

Aaron’s fellow panelists include Shauna Causey,, and Evonne Benedict, KING 5’s social media manager.

The event is brought to you by Washington Federal and and is hosted by Linda Thomas, from KIRO radio’s morning news program. To register for the event, go here.

For more info, click this audio link:

PRGN Best Practice Awards


The Fearey Group is once again the proud recipient of first place recognition at the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) Best Practice Awards. Made up of roughly 50 independent public relations firms, and more than 900 communications professionals, the PRGN is present in dozens of markets around the world. PRGN Best Practice Awards are earned by merit of strategy, creativity, execution and results.

This year, we were honored with Gold in the Social Media category for our work supporting Swedish Medical Center’s Cochlear Implant Web Series. The campaign was launched to raise public awareness about cochlear implants, a device which can restore hearing to deaf individuals. The series followed a patient throughout various stages of her experience with the procedure and was broadcast across various social media channels including Youtube and Instagram. The campaign generated a significant buzz in the national media landscape and across social media channels.

This is the third year in a row that The Fearey Group has had the honor of accepting Gold in the category of Social Media at the PRGN Best Practice awards. This is a reflection of our firm’s unique mission to marry traditional public relations tactics with social media and new methods of communication to create original and compelling campaigns that produce tremendous results for our clients.

The Fearey group would also like to extend a warm welcome to our two newest PRGN affiliates. We are very pleased to have Lewis Public Relations and Grape PR join the team! Lewis Public Relations is a Dallas-based agency with emphasis on strategic communications and Grape PR facilitates strategic relationships between clients and the transforming society of South Korea.

Trading Bosses


Anthony Cogswell, intern from The Fearey Group, and Kelly Potts, intern from HMA Public Relations, will be doing a four-week intern series on our blogs! Throughout this series they will be comparing and contrasting internships as well as different topics/conversations that are new to them in the PR world!

This week, the interns wanted to get great PR advice, from each other’s bosses! Kelly interviewed Aaron Blank, president of The Fearey Group, while Anthony interviewed Abbie S. Fink, vice president/general manager of HMA!

AC: I genuinely enjoyed my conversation with Abbie. Getting to know another public relations professional always comes with great advice and tons of lessons to keep in mind. I especially enjoyed her definition of public relations. ”We tell clients’ stories to the people that need to hear them.” Describing what we do as “telling stories” is a straightforward and extremely accurate way of putting it. We communicate each client’s story through strategically tailored messages to their key audiences.

We also talked about the PRGN relationship. Abbie knows that there is a lot of value in the Network and “one of the greatest benefits is this is a group of individuals from all over the world that are running firms and dealing with similar daily challenges such as new business development, new technology, hiring new people, and client retention. It’s great to know that with a quick phone call or e-mail, I can get support and advice on any question I might have.”  I personally think that the Public Relations Global Network is a fantastic platform to exchange best practices, learn more experience practitioners, as well as to lend and receive support.

Another thing that Abbie said that stood out to me was in regards to qualities she looks for when hiring. “I have an expectation that they understand what public relations is and have had some level of familiarity with it throughout their college career. However, I look for a lot of things that you can’t teach somebody in school: being smart and intuitive, asking good questions, and being professional. I can teach you all about public relations, but I can’t teach you that the president of the United States was in Phoenix recently and we shouldn’t be pitching stories while he’s here. You have to be smart enough to understand that there’s a world around us and it influences how we work.”

Abbie gave me a lot to think about through a simple phone call. I’m excited for the opportunity to continue developing relationships and building a network within this industry.

KP: While Anthony was interviewing Abbie, I talked with Aaron! First thing I noticed when talking with Aaron was how busy he is. So busy, that we had to talk while he was on his way to another meeting! But he still took the time to talk to me and have an honest, thought-provoking conversation.

There have been times that I have had a lot of work to do, and wanted nothing to interrupt my thoughts, but even though he was busy, he took the time to talk to me. That said a lot about him and his work ethic right away. When I asked him what was his definition of PR, he said he goes by the PRSA standard ““Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.  It’s about building relationships with the publics that help our clients” I agree with that 100 percent.

Aaron and I also talked about where PR is heading, and he said that he believes it’s going in a direction of experimental PR. Giving people and the media experiences to understand the stories – not just the facts. Again, I found that to be a great piece of advice. If you can give the media the facts, great, but give them an experience that they can’t forget, that is what makes you and your client stand out.

Aaron had so much advice for me that it’s impossible to include it all in a blog- it could be more of a book! Two things he said to me that will stand out forever is to make your family come first, before anything. As he said, at the end of the day, they will be there for you and a career may not.

The last piece of advice he offered, was to make relationships with everyone (which, to most people isn’t brand new info), but to offer each person something that you can do for them. Make that networking relationship mutually beneficial. I truly enjoyed my conversation with Aaron, and am looking forward to keeping in contact with him.

PR Internship Do’s and Don’ts – Advice from the Pros

Anthony Cogswell, intern from The Fearey Group, and Kelly Potts, intern from HMA, are doing a four-week intern series on their blogs! Throughout this series they will be comparing and contrasting internships as well as different topics/conversations that are new to them in the PR world!

 Last Thursday, Anthony and Kelly participated in the #HAPPO Twitter Chat, hosted by David Landis, President of Landis Communications Inc. and our PRGN partner, in San Francisco. The topic of the chat was “How to turn your PR internship into a full-time job opportunity.”

Here are a few questions and replies from the HAPPO Chat:

Q1: #PR pros: how did you parlay your #PR internship into a FT job? #HAPPO.

@wester_brad: A1. As an intern, if you find yourself with downtime don’t be afraid to ask for more work. Show your passion. #HAPPO

A1: Make yourself indispensable. When you leave make them miss your presence. #happo

A1: Do every project 110% even if it seems small. This means comprehensive media lists and being a pro at media monitoring, clip tracking #HAPPO

Q2: Interns & #PR pros: Who has a great intern success story? Keys to success? #HAPPO

RT @SydneyAyers A2: Successful interns do things to stand out & not afraid of new challenges. They focus on open communications. #HAPPO

A2: Show you can handle yourself professionally in front of clients. Be articulate. Avoid typos and grammar mistakes in emails. #HAPPO

Great point! Asking for feedback is key. RT @jessikahkylie Don’t be afraid to ask how you’re doing, it’s the only way to improve! #HAPPO

Q3: Who has a #PR intern HORROR story? #HAPPO

RT @kathleenmcf A3: Interns who don’t take direction, think they’re above certain assignments (or disregard them completely). #HAPPO

A3: The right attitude is key. If you have the wrong one, show yourself the door. #PR requires a positive attitude #HAPPO

RT @NicoleLasorda A3: I have a few. The worst is always the one who really didn’t care and never put forth an effort. #happo #HAPPO

Q4#PR employers: How can intern candidates separate themselves from the pack & make you notice them? #HAPPO

A4: Submitting highest quality work every time helps distinguish the successful intern. #HAPPO

A4: For #PR intern candidates: Great writing. And bring your portfolio, don’t expect us to look online. #HAPPO

A4: Have a (appropriate) social media footprint. If you don’t, I’ll presume you’re hiding something. #happo


Our View:

 AC: Recent graduates from all over the world often run into one common obstacle as they attempt to break into the world of public relations. “How can I get a position that requires experience as a prerequisite if no organization will hire me for a job that provides experience?

Throughout the chat, a lot of the advice and guidance that was being provided seemed to be relatively simple. Give 110%, be curious, listen, ask questions, network, be outgoing, ask for more responsibility, be creative, act professionally, show attention to detail, be a great writer.

This advice isn’t necessarily anything earth-shattering and doesn’t really reinvent the wheel. However, all of the ideas that were brought up during the chat are fundamentally important when trying to make the transition from intern to team member. It was encouraging to hear that these qualities aren’t overlooked by successful people in the industry.

If you do a good job and try your hardest 24/7, people are going to notice. One of my favorite tweets was by Brad Wester: “Demonstrate the desire to learn and put in as much effort as possible. If you truly do both, you will stand out.”

This reminded me of a quote my dad often sites: “If your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”Henry J. Kaiser

All in all, I thought the HAPPO chat was a great opportunity for PR professionals to share and PR interns to learn exactly what it takes to be successful in this industry.

KP: Being just out of college – it is great to hear the advice from PR pros because they will tell you how it is! Throughout college I was told to be careful what you put on social media, because it will come back to haunt you. As one person told me, “what you put on social media before you have a job affects you when you want a job.” And then for Nicole Lasorda to say that in the HAPPO chat, it keeps reminding me that every social media posts means something.

As Anthony said, most of this information isn’t new – but it amazes me that there are many interns who just start out and have no clue that the way they carry themselves and the way that they work actually matter. It’s a wake-up call for many recent grads in my opinion.

I really found this chat helpful, because now that I am out of college, it’s a different ball game. Before I did my hours at work, went to school and then to my job. Now, this is my career and it’s a different transition than I expected. But I love what I’m able to work on here at HMA and am looking forward to what the future brings!

 Check out David’s blog post on this very subject!

A View from Two Interns’ Desks

Anthony Cogswell, intern from The Fearey Group, and Kelly Potts, intern from HMA, will be doing a four week intern series on our blogs! Throughout this series they will be comparing and contrasting  internships as well as different topics/conversations that are new to them in the PR world!

The Interns

My name is Anthony Cogswell and I have been interning at The Fearey Group, in Seattle, WA for just under three months now. I graduated from Central Washington University last December with a BA in Public Relations. Prior to joining The Fearey Group, I gained experience in the industry through various internships in the fields of healthcare, higher education and politics. So far, I couldn’t be happier with the level of hands-on experience that I’ve gotten and the progress that I’ve made.

Hello! My name is Kelly Potts and I am the intern for HMA Public Relations, in Phoenix. In May I graduated from Northern Arizona University and started at HMA in June. Thus far I have had the pleasure of interning with the City of Flagstaff, the government side, with Flagstaff Medical Center, the non-profit and corporation side, and now at HMA, to experience the agency side. I have enjoyed my time at the agency and can’t wait to continue down this path!

Our View: We came together to write a blog series (with some help from Abbie and Aaron), to compare/contrast and give our view of internships and being new to the PR agency world.

AC: Something that has stood out to me throughout my professional experiences is that often times, the more responsibility you ask for – the more will be given to you. I have continued to make it a point to gain valuable experience by pushing the boundaries and taking on new projects, and always asking for more.

KP: One thing that I have learned so far is how important connections, and reputation, are in this industry. As PR professionals it is good to keep up with other PR professionals you know (could be a teacher from college or another intern in the PRGN family) as well as making connections with different members of the media.

Today we will be participating in the HAPPO Chat, from 12:30-1:30 CT, hosted by David Landis. The topic: How to turn your PR internship into a full-time job opportunity. This will also be the topic of our next blog!

Do you have any stories about your first out-of-college internship?

Earth Week: It’s too easy being green

by Laura Ray

Earth Week 1Recycle. Compost. BYOB (bring your own bag). Print double sided. Use energy efficient light bulbs. Walk don’t drive.

There are countless ways to be green in our daily lives. And most are so easy we take it for granted that they can actually have an effect. But a little goes a long way (70 percent of Seattle’s residential waste is recycled with 125+ tons composted) and our combined efforts can have an outstanding impact to making the environment a safer and healthier place for our kids and grandkids, while protecting those natural resources that are tantamount to many of us who call the Puget Sound, home.

There is no denying that living sustainably-minded is today’s new mandate, and we live in the city that is leading by example to the rest of the country: where the city enforces recycling paper, cans, cardboard and bottles; where single-use plastic bags are banned; and where successful city programs like Community Power Works help homes and businesses become more green.

And it’s not just residents. Sixty percent of businesses recycle their waste. And local transformative place-makers such as Vulcan Real Estate, Sellen and  Studio Meng Strazzara are creating spaces that are not only beautiful and high-performing but sustainable in design, construction and development. The city is also home to the greenest office space in the world, the Bullitt Center.

But behavioral change doesn’t happen overnight. Remembering to unplug chargers when not in use. To turn off lights when you leave the office. To separate food waste from your recyclable (or compostable) take-out containers. To bring your own mug to your favorite coffee shop. These are all small steps that may initially seem out of place in your day-to-day life, until one day you realize that the behavior has become an entirely new — and sustainable — way of life.

30% of Major Brands Use Twitter as Customer Service Tool

Twitter has been around for a few years now. Most of us are on it in some capacity. But brands are still figuring out how to best use it. Customer service is an easy approach if maintained and managed properly. Research from social media analytics firm Simply Measured shows that 30% of the of the companies in the Interbrand 100 now have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter as a way to divert negative attention and activity away from their primary brand account. Mashable reports more on this survey.

Who are the top brands of the Pacific Northwest who use Twitter as a tool for customer service? Use the comments bar below to tell us.

Here are a few to start:

Alaska Air

KING 5 News

Microsoft (in a variety of forms)



Here are a few Northwest brands “working” on using Twitter as a customer service tool:


Bartell Drugs




Fred Meyer



Safeco Insurance

Here are some brands who seem to be using Twitter as a work-in-progress:


Cutter and Buck

Diamond Parking

John L. Scott (Seattle)