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IPR Becomes Hands On With Graphic Design

Filed Under (clients, graphic design, integratePR, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 17-06-2014

We are entering the realm of graphic design here at Integrate. For a PR agency like ours that integrates traditional public relations with the always-changing social media world, stunning visuals are always top of mind. With so much of our work lately including designing profile pictures, cover photos, and small graphics, our clients’ social media channels are blowing up!

Our client, UNlimiters, really pushes the boundaries of what it means to live with a disability, and its hashtag campaign, #disabilitymeans, is no different! We wanted to create a cover photo for its Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages that really represented the idea that people with disabilities are not defined by their restrictions.

Lone Star Cab wants to make sure that you get home safely after a night on the town. While their goal is to encourage everyone to have a good time, they also want Houstonians to take advantage of their services at the end of the night.  This image was made so that it could be utilized on various social media platforms, such as Lone Star’s Facebook page, Twitter profile and on its Instagram account.

These are just a few of the many graphics we’ve been creating for our clients lately. We’re excited to continue to explore the wonderful world of design, so keep an eye out for more to come!

Graphic Design At Work

Filed Under (graphic design, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 12-06-2014

Being a creative in today’s world means so much more than simply being an “artist.” When telling people that I am a graphic designer, I typically get one of two responses; I either hear “Oh, so you are going to do the whole starving artist thing, huh?” or I get “What in the world is Graphic Design?” The latter is typically the response from an older generation, one where computer arts and graphics were nonexistent when they were a part of the workforce.

In reality, “Graphic Design” is a very broad term. It is the umbrella to so many specialties, ranging from website design to print design, to the newly popular application design. As technology evolves, so does the field. There is always new and improved software to learn and inventive techniques to be memorized and stored for later use. This means that every last designer out there is in a perpetual state of learning.

In school, I specialized in print design. As I was searching for internships that would expand my horizons as a designer, I quickly realized your “specialty” most likely will not be what you spend your days doing. Luckily for me, print design can very easily be transformed to other platforms, such as the Internet. Being the graphic design intern here at Integrate, a public relations and social media agency, I get to put my skills to use, creating graphics that could potentially be used on multiple platforms, whether it will be for print or online for our many different clients

A great example of this is the vector that I created for Lone Star Cab for Free Press Summerfest weekend. This vector does two things when presented to the public. It effectively gets a point across, AND advertises the business.

Another challenge as a designer is designing for a business that already has its own branding guide. This leaves you with a set of regulations to follow, so that anything you create for that business has the look and feel of every other design they have used. This can be a challenge, because you are left imitating designs that already exist. The Facebook cover photo I designed for Susan G. Komen Houston is a prime example of this. I used preexisting artwork created for the organization, and paired it with the copy provided to me, all while using a typeface that meets Susan G. Komen’s brand guidelines.

As a creative working in a PR agency, I have been trained to think outside the box. You can be taught the rules, the do’s and don’ts to designing, but you cannot be taught creativity. The goal for a designer is to create unique imagery, and not simply mimic what others have done before them. Nearly everything has been “done” before. What counts is how you make the design your own. My personal goal is to make things that are, while maybe not “unique,” designed to the best of my abilities.

Written by Caitlin Kaczmarek

Transplant Texan

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by integratePR on 25-04-2014

There’s no doubt that the Integrate Public Relations team has a sense of Texas pride.  When I first moved to Texas from Alabama (Roll Tide!), I was a bit overwhelmed by this pride and the love all Houstonians have for their city and state.  Being Texas proud is something I’m starting to embrace so, of course, when my parents made the trip down last weekend I took them to some of my favorite places.

I guess you could say that I’m becoming both Texas, and Integrate, proud because I ended up taking my parents to visit two of our clients , Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Jonathan’s The Rub, while they were here.  Watching Draft Day (a must see, by the way) at Alamo Drafthouse was a fun experience unlike anything my parents and I had done before.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing better than enjoying a cold one and eating pizza while watching a movie, all while being waited on by the great Alamo staff.  Saturday night we ate dinner at Jonathan’s and thoroughly enjoyed every bite!  My mom has already requested to eat there again the next time she’s in town.

Besides showing off two of our clients, I also took my parents to see Memorial Park.  The park is one of my favorite places in town to go for a run and enjoy the scenery, so I wanted them to see it (and experience the Houston heat!).  We also wandered around The Heights, did some shopping at River Oaks Shopping Center and went to see the We Heart Houston sign.  After all, I do heart Houston!

Houston is a great city with tons of cultural places to see, entertaining things to do and delicious restaurants, like Jonathan’s and our other restaurant clients, (of course!), to enjoy.  Whatever you’re in the mood to see or do, it can definitely be done in Houston! All of these wonderful things, plus many more, are just some of the reasons I come to love and cherish Houston, and why I’m now Houston proud.

I’m an Alabama girl at heart but am proud to say I’m a transplant Texan.  Be sure to check out the whole Integrate Public Relations team to see where our other PR and social media pros are from!  

 

Written by: Julia Parsons

 

Thinking About a Website Update?

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by integratePR on 23-04-2014

These days everyone is busy and schedules are hectic, and taking the time to update a website can get put on the backburner. We have done public relations and social media audits for clients in the past, such as Houston Friends of Chamber Music, to help them determine how to approach and execute their own campaigns, and taking a good look at the website is a great place to start. So, we wanted to share a few tips to help you perform your own website audit, whether you are redesigning, rebranding, or just wanting to spruce things up a bit.

  • What do you have?

Look at each page on your website and really consider the worth, purpose and goal of each page.  Your current content serves as a solid base and starting point for future content. Are you duplicating topics? How many visits are you getting per page? Consider combining, removing or revamping any of those pages that fall on the low side of those numbers.

Also, consider where you want to take the website visually. Just like any other type of design, websites trends fluctuate so you’ll want to research today’s trends and use existing websites in and out of your industry for inspiration. Don’t forget to consider how your website will look on a phone or tablet screen and how mobile-friendly the user experience is. Remember that your website is telling a story through copy and images as visitors scroll down the page and that you want to: keep your header bar fixed; maintain simplicity in the color scheme; provide seamless, concise information; use visually appealing typography; and video as opposed to text, where applicable.

http://nuancedmedia.com/web-design-trends-2014/

  • What is your voice?

Be mindful of your voice as it relates to your desired customer. Additionally, use that voice consistently across all social media platforms. Your voice should be uniform, so clients and consumers are finding the same “person” behind every channel.

  • What’s next?

Now the hard part: making changes. Determine what to keep, what to remove and what needs to be created, added or combined. As you add content, be sure to keep an eye out for how that new stuff is doing and how your revamped website is performing overall in relation to your previous site.

Utilizing tools like Google Analytics allows you to see how much traffic you are getting to your site, and where those visitors are coming from. Additionally, Google Analytics can show the number of people that are viewing your site from a mobile device, so making your website mobile-friendly is also an important thing to consider.

SEO is very important to website development and popularity, as it affects the visibility of your website in a search engine’s results. The higher up in a search your name appears, the more likely it is that a consumer will visit your site over the others listed. Updating your website with relevant content and adding in keywords as often as possible can really add to your SEO value and keep you towards the top of those search engines.

Stay updated with what we have going on, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

Social Media Spring Cleaning

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by integratePR on 24-03-2014

It’s officially spring!  The IPR team can’t wait for our rooftop patio to be completed so we can enjoy this beautiful weather.  Fingers crossed that the patio is finished before the Texas heat and humidity settles in.

We all know that with spring comes spring cleaning.  This year Integrate Public Relations is suggesting that everyone participate in a little social media spring cleaning

Here are some suggestions on how to clean up your social media sites this spring:

  • Sweep through your Facebook friends and Twitter followers to eliminate useless noise and inactive accounts. Tools we like include JustUnfollow and Untweeps as these allow us to see if someone hasn’t tweeted within a given amount of time.  JustUnfollow also has features to increase profile visibility by using the copy follower feature, which allows a user to see and copy their competitor’s followers, and the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts, although we prefer Hootsuite for this.  As  social media specialists, Integrate Public Relations uses our clients’ social media accounts for building and maintains valuable relationships with their audiences; the useless followers just make it all the more difficult to see who is a beneficial contact.
  • Update passwords every six months for privacy reasons. If you have trouble remembering what password you use for which account, try using a tool like 1Password, an app that remembers all of your passwords for you, you just have to remember one password to log in!
  • Making sure all company information is correct and up-to-date across all channels; incorrect information on various listing sites show your potential customers/clients that you are not taking these sites seriously and don’t care if people find you. Consider using a tool like Yext to manage local content through its GeoMarketing Cloud.
  • Note what social media accounts you are promoting on your website or across various channels. To many companies include the standard social media logos and links to the profile, but if your company isn’t investing the time and energy into keeping that profile updated, delete it. It’s no longer providing relevant, valuable content to your audiences and is a waste of valuable real estate.
  • Make sure that all avatars, cover photos, etc. are up-to-date; various social media channels update settings periodically which can effect these photos. When they are outdated or the photos are skewed to keep up with the new dimensions, this can effect how audiences view your account. Social media accounts with no picture whatsoever don’t come across as trustworthy when the follower cannot put a face to the person or brand. For tips on how to make your social media posts stand out, check out this helpful cheat sheet we reference often .

Social media platforms should be utilized as a direct line of communication with customers, which means sending out useful, intriguing information that will interest them.  For example, on Twitter don’t talk at your followers.  Instead, converse and engage with them.  Likewise, on Facebook: it’s best to post relevant material with photos that will attract your fans and inspire them to share your content.

Be sure to follow Integrate Public Relations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to see how we’re successfully using social media and gaining coverage for our clients. And if spring cleaning isn’t at the top of your to-do list, this little guy is always happy to help!

 

INTEGRATE IS HIRING!!!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by integratePR on 13-03-2014

Integrate Public Relations is an award-winning social media and public relations agency that stays true to traditional PR roots while embracing the limitless strategic possibilities available through direct communication with your target audiences via social media and other new mediums. We help our clients identify influencers, communicate with them with relevant content and influence purchasing decisions by building brand loyalty.

The core of what we do is and always will be strategic communications but as trends and new tools emerge, we are changing with the times! We are in need of a graphic designer to help us tell our stories better! We are looking for someone with 1-3 years of experience, preferably in an agency, with extended knowledge of the Adobe Suite. This will start as a part-time position with the opportunity to transition to full time. This position will support all account teams.

Ideal Candidates:

  • Able to juggle multiple projects at once and enjoy a fast paced work environment
  • Creative thinkers – able to generate new and innovative ideas that are relevant to clients
  • Organized and able to prioritize tasks
  • Prepared to be flexible and take on additional roles as situations arise
  • Must be a rockstar in all Adobe Suite

Those looking to make an impact and work with a team that enjoys Buzzfeed breaks, a shame wall full of LiLo photos and ridiculous pop culture news stories, BEER:30 on Friday afternoons, and a “work hard and play hard” mentality should send resumes and samples to jobs@integratePR.com before your dream job is gone!

Integrate is hiring a graphic designer

 

Texas as a Tourist

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by integratePR on 12-03-2014

When the Rodeo comes to Houston, there is always an increased sense of Texas pride around town, you can even see it around the Integrate blog lately.  I’m excited to add to the patriotism, introducing Texans and non-Texans (yes, these exist), to San Antonio, home of my alma mater.

I attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where, at this time last year, I was Spring Break-ing with the best of them. The four years I spent in that colorful city hold a special place in my heart and most of the team knows this.

We have two Texas transplants in our office, Kaitlyn, from Mississippi, and Julia, from Alabama. While they have enjoyed their time in Houston thus far, they were curious to see more of the great state of Texas that we all rave about. As all Texans know, given its size and the way the weather here acts, you can drive clear across the state and experience virtually all four major climate types, so when I heard they were interested in making the short 3-hour trip to San Antonio this past weekend, I just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to join them and find out what they thought of a city that, although just three hours away, is so different in every way.

The itinerary looked like this: 

  • Julia had never been to Buc-ee’s, so we stopped there on the way to show her what the hype was all about. Know for it’s plentiful gas pumps, squeaky-clean restrooms and one-stop-shop convenience for all things Texas road trip, Buc-ee’s is no ordinary rest stop, and it didn’t disappoint.
  • Once we arrived in San Antonio, we grabbed brunch at Cappy’s, a local Alamo Heights favorite with amazing food, including 5 or 6 kinds of eggs benedict, and adult milkshakes that are to die for.
  • Then we headed to North Star Mall to see the famous giant cowboy boots. This might not seem that exciting, but standing tall at 40 feet, the boots are the epitome of the phrase, “Everything is Bigger in Texas.” 
  • San Antonio is full of awesome history, so obviously a visit to the Alamo was in order.  While, admittedly, a bit underwhelming, the Alamo is always a must-see for out-of-towners and a reminder of the history of this great state.
  • While in the area, we took a quick stroll along the Riverwalk, which turned out to be pretty enjoyable, given that the rain kept the huge throngs of tourists at bay. 
  • Throughout the excursion, we took a driving tour through my old stomping grounds at Trinity University, waved at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and finished out the day with a visit to Market Square, the heart and soul of the vibrant Hispanic heritage of the city.
  • The girls said they wanted real Mexican food with an experience, so I took them to Mi Tierra. While there are probably more authentic, and less commercialized, options all over San Antonio, Mi Tierra has it all – great Mexican food and giant margaritas, a Mariachi band, an authentic bakery and TONS of color and pride. It was truly a great way to end our day in San Antonio.

I love Houston and have enjoyed getting to know this fine city in the nine months I’ve been here, but there is something so lively and rich about San Antonio that sets it apart from other cities in Texas. The city has deep roots, and embraces its history.  It is also rapidly evolving; just in the ten months since I have left San Antonio, there are new structures and apartment complexes popping up all over – but the historic missions and landmarks, like Pearl Brewery, are being integrated into, and enhancing, the changing scene. Pick a beautiful day, and take a trip to San Antonio to “Remember the Alamo” and soak up a little bit of Texas history.

Written by: Allison Huseman

Who Cares About Bieber Anyway?

Filed Under (blogs, Entertainment, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 30-01-2014

I’ve never been one to follow what’s going on with celebrities and the pop culture scene too closely.  In fact, when my friends or co-workers bring People Magazine or US Weekly to our mani/pedi dates or into the office, I don’t recognize more than 50% of the “celebs” that span the pages.  While I am shamefully addicted to awful reality TV shows (don’t lie – I know you love The Bachelor and Keeping up with the Kardashians, also), I always seem to be the last to know about what’s going on with the Miley’s and Britney’s of the world…and I’m more than okay with this.  In fact, I’d prefer not to know these things. 

Which is why on January 23rd, I was more than frustrated to see that not only my Facebook and Twitter feeds were overrun with the news of Justin Bieber’s arrest, but stations like CNN, were also covering the drama.  Was I the only one who felt that Bieber’s life was not only totally insignificant, but also something that did not deserve to be considered “breaking news” by sources that I once considered “hard-hitting” and reputable? The answer is yes and no. 

On the one hand, hundreds of my Facebook friends (and who knows, it could have been more) were posting about it, enjoying the story and spreading it like wildfire. It made me a little bit sick.  My first reaction was: really, this is how you spend your days interacting with those you consider friends or, even, acquaintances on social media? I still feel that way, but I was shocked to see that my response to this, that came in the form of the following Facebook rant, which I take pride in rarely posting, was that others found the discussion of Bieber just as irritating and idiotic.  

I wondered, if so many people took such joy in posting about celebrity shenanigans, then why did so many of my followers and friends seem to relate to my obvious complaining about the situation? Is it because Facebook rants encourage engagement? Is it because Americans, and especially intelligent ones, are just as frustrated with this type of news? Is it because I’m not posting frequently enough? I’m still unsure.  On the one hand, my Facebook friends loved seeing the happy and exciting news of my engagement, but on the other hand, over 100 of my friends showed their support for my annoyance by “liking” this news, and several went as far as to leave their own comment.

While I typically dislike those who turn to Facebook as a platform to complain, rant and rage, I certainly recognize that it is, in fact, a terrific platform to find support and to learn that maybe, just maybe, others find what’s going on in the world just as strange and troubling as you do at times.  My assumption? People are dying for celebrities to fail, but are just as irritated by the attention they receive as I am and my friends are more than willing to be open about this publicly. 

Why do you think my Bieber Facebook rant received so much love? Share your thoughts with us!

 

Written by: Jenny Selber

New Space, Same Great Face

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, easter seals greater houston, Houston, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 23-01-2014

Over the holidays, we moved into what I have been calling our “grown up office.” Silly as it sounds, our new space on Kirby is a major upgrade from our home for four years at Vine Street Studios and something I am extremely excited about and proud of. While our former building was a perfect place to build and establish our base as a growing public relations agency (fellow entrepreneurs looking for office space, I do recommend it!), it was time to move to a space that did not have loose wires all over the place, a conference room that echoes or smelly pipes after it rains.

There was some debate as I was looking for new space whether we should keep the open desk environment or go more “old school” with cubes and offices. After reading this article in the New Yorker about “The Open Office Trap” I was really questioning myself, which said that “though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.”  YIKES. That is the complete opposite of what I always believed about the open office environment. That is completely contradicting everything we are striving for at this progressive, creative agency!

Ultimately, I decided that keeping our account execs in an open environment was the best way to make sure that our Integrate culture continued. We pride ourselves on our ability to cohesively work together, seamlessly “integrating” public relations strategies with social media tactics. Managers do have their own offices so that we can have private conversations as needed with our teams, and sometimes we do need to close the door to be able to focus on a proposal, editing a press release or creating a strategy document for a client. But the open environment continues at Integrate, for now.

My hands-down, favorite story that happened at IPR a few years ago couldn’t have taken place if we were separated in offices. 

Excuse me if you’ve heard it before…

A YouTube video about a nine-year-old girl at New Caney ISD whose mother was fighting for her right to use a walker at school, made its way to the desk of an Integrate Public Relations social media account executive who works on a client that helps kids and adults with developmental disabilities – Easter Seals Greater Houston. With less than 500 views on YouTube, the Integrate Public Relations employee posted the video to the Easter Seals Facebook page with the intention of bringing some awareness to this injustice, as well as sharing an example of where Easter Seals Greater Houston might be able to intervene. Within minutes, there were over 50 comments.

Integrate Public Relations is intentionally laid out in an open working environment, so the rest of the team immediately heard the buzz about this quick response on Facebook. The Public Relations team – working across the room from the Social Media team – saw the story garnering an unprecedented amount of attention in the community, and thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the local news desks to tell them about the emerging story and see if they were interested in talking with the staff at Easter Seals Greater Houston. 

Within two hours, Easter Seals Greater Houston CEO, Elise Hough, and Development Director, Kelly Klein, were on separate sides of town filming interviews with Fox 26 and KPRC Local 2 regarding this issue. In addition to both news stations covering the story during their primetime evening news broadcasts, KHOU 11 also picked up the segment and aired the story. The next day, the segments were posted on the Easter Seals Greater Houston Facebook wall, enticing residents of the Greater Houston area to proactively reach out to Easter Seals as a source for developing news on the story. The story was then covered nationally on the Huffington Post, which ultimately resulted in an online petition for rights for this child, as well as a stronger Easter Seals brand as a national advocate for those with disabilities.

This collaborative environment and integrated approach to today’s communication environment is truly the essence of Integrate Public Relations.

Our new building, located at 3801 Kirby, is under construction for the next 6 months as they upgrade the exterior and amenity spaces. We’re going to wait for this project to be complete before having a real open house and inviting everyone over for a party but that being said, we would love to have you come by and visit us, anytime! 

Written by: Allie Danziger

Fredericksburg: A Utopia for Houstonians

Filed Under (blogs, Houston, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 21-01-2014

As someone who infrequently travels due to an unhealthy obsession with work, reality TV and my dog, this weekend, for the first time, I took a “relaxing,” “grown up” trip.  I had planned a weekend getaway to relax and drink a lot of wine in Fredericksburg, Texas, a quaint German town in the Hill Country that embodies everything Houston is not. With only about 11,000 residents in Fredericksburg, there are no chain restaurants (except for one Dairy Queen and a few pizza places), no Hailacab apps or traffic, and no pressure to be trendy and seen at the new “it” spot of our ever-changing Houston.  

The best word to describe Fredericksburg is lovely. Everything about it is just lovely. I stayed two glorious nights in a little log cabin at the Chuckwagon Inn Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s dominate Fredericksburg, so don’t even bother thinking about staying in a hotel), which is owned by the nicest, most generous couple. It still blows my mind that the owners allow ten strangers to sit at their dining room table every morning and happily feed them a full, classic Southern breakfast. Can you see that happening in Houston? Me neither. If you venture out of your B&B, you’ll quickly discover that downtown Fredericksburg is adorable and something out of a storybook. “Main Street” is scattered with local stores, restaurants and antique shops, each with beautiful, perfectly decorated storefronts. 

One of the most wonderful parts about Fredericksburg is its accessibility to the Hill Country wineries, which I was told rival Sonoma and Napa’s wine regions. If you want to go on a wine tour of the Hill Country, I highly suggest you opt for a limo or bus guided tour, as it will make your life about 8 million times easier. I signed up for Hill Country Wine Tours, which included transportation to four wineries, snacks and water on the limo (much appreciated), and the tasting fee at each vineyard. The four vineyards my group went to were Sister Creek Vineyards (with a pit stop afterward in Luckenbach where I rode a longhorn and watched a clogging class), Grape Creek Vineyards, Becker Vineyards and Messina Hof Winery. Each vineyard tour included six or eight generous “tastings” that I would classify as full glass of wine, with at least one “courtesy glass” of your favorite wine. The tour was perfect and similar to the town of Fredericksburg, felt like a dream (probably because I love wine).

The most interesting part of the weekend was that almost every person I met was visiting from Houston. Every Houstonian was there for the same reason: to get away from the city. Based on my own feelings as well as those of the people I met, Fredericksburg is a utopia for Houstonians. It’s like being in an alternate universe or going to your grandma’s house… Fredericksburg is comforting, loveable and purely delightful. It’s the perfect place to retreat to, as it’s only four hours away and is ridiculously relaxing. I drove back to Houston without a care in the world and the second I pulled into my apartment complex, I ached to be back in the lovely little bubble of Fredericksburg, Texas. 

 

Written by: Laura Littlejohn