Asking for a Friend: Should I Banish These Phrases From My Lexicon?

By Gretchen Hoffman | Jan 10, 2022

Wait, what? Lake Superior State University recently released its annual “Banished Words List”—the  top 10 misused, overused or useless phrases submitted by people across the world, and the No. 1 offender was a phrase consisting of two four-letter words the university’s judges ruled should never go together, under any circumstances: the exceedingly common “Wait, what?” If […]

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“Silence is Not a ‘Safe’ Messaging Play” in Wake of Riot

By Gretchen Hoffman | Jan 11, 2021

Each day brings a new announcement of a brand or organization repudiating the Capitol riot and the officials who opposed the presidential vote certification. Among the latest: Marriott announced Sunday that it had cut support for the Republican senators, including Republican Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), who opposed the Electoral College count following the deadly mob […]

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The History of a Grammar Nerd’s Bible: Evolution of AP Style

By Gretchen Hoffman | Sep 10, 2020

Do you know the difference between a pom-pom, a pompon and a pompom? Do you find yourself describing something unusual as the “most unique” ever (hint: please don’t)?  While you won’t find an entry for “love” in the AP Stylebook, as a former journalist, I’ve been in a long-term love affair with AP style. Housed […]

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Does Your Messaging Need a Refresh?

By Gretchen Hoffman | May 5, 2020

COVID-19 has shown us that conditions can change overnight. While external factors that include your industry, your customer base and your geography (and that of your customers) have dictated the extent to which your business has been affected,  chances are that you’ve among the majority of businesses that have already adjusted at least some of their […]

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The Art of the Elevator Pitch

By Gretchen Hoffman | Oct 29, 2019

“A police chief, with a phobia for open water, battles a gigantic shark with an appetite for swimmers and boat captains, in spite of a greedy town council who demands that the beach stay open.” Long before “Jaws” hit the theaters, the screenwriters had to perfect their pitch – the one- or two-sentence logline explaining […]

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Happy Mother’s Day

By Gretchen Hoffman | May 10, 2019

We’d like to take a moment to thank all of the moms and mother figures in our lives – you continue to inspire us each and every day. Happy Mother’s Day! Ann Dear Mom, There really aren’t words that accurately sum up just how much I love you.  Even though I’m raising girls of my […]

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Cool Drinks for Warm Weather

By Gretchen Hoffman | May 24, 2018

The official start of summer may still be a few weeks away, but the warm weather is luring many of us outside, drink in hand. In today’s blog, our team shares our summer beverages of choice – alcoholic and nonalcoholic alike. Cheers!   Lisa H. I’m a die-hard champagne enthusiast (and really anything in the […]

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How to Communicate a Business Name Change

By Gretchen Hoffman | Sep 20, 2016

There are a number of reasons organizations change their names, from mergers or company splits (Anderson Consulting to Accenture in 2001) to wanting to better align their names with an evolving service or product line (Apples Computer to Apple in 2007) or even distance themselves from a product in the portfolio (Phillip Morris to Altria […]

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How to Leverage Big Data for PR and Marketing Communications

By Gretchen Hoffman | Aug 17, 2016

Image courtesy of photoexplorer at Big Data has become a vital tool for large and small businesses alike, with Big Data software able to help analyze the vast amounts of information to today’s organization. New, simplified tools like Amazon Mechanical Turk allow organizations and individuals to more easily collect data from around the world, […]

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Russia’s Failed PR Campaign

By Gretchen Hoffman | Jul 18, 2016

The IAAF’s decision to uphold the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics presents yet another opportunity to examine how athletes, and entire sports and countries, respond to accusations of doping. Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister, initially reacted furiously to the allegations against Russia, describing them as a “political hit […]

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Audience Analysis: What to Do During a Presentation for Effective Communication

By Gretchen Hoffman | Jan 7, 2016

A few weeks back, we wrote about effective audience analysis and the role it plays in effective communication. More specifically, we went into detail about the first phase: before you are speaking in front of an audience. In this post, we’ll delve a little deeper into what to do during the second phase – once […]

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Audience Analysis: Get the Right Message to the Right People

By Gretchen Hoffman | Nov 24, 2015

Not long ago, A.wordsmith manager Lisa Lavora-De Beule published a useful post outlining 5 steps to enhance your public speaking. Every effective speech, however, shares a common beginning, one that happens long before the speaker gets to the podium: audience analysis. Understanding one’s audience is one of the most important elements of effective communication. It […]

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