INNOVATION. INSPIRATION. CREATIVITY.

Look behind any breakthrough company and you'll find them there. Small businesses. Niche industry leaders. Global corporations. Companies today only thrive when they are nimble enough to embrace new ideas, new perspectives, new approaches.

Are you ready to embrace marketing’s most powerful tools in new ways for your company? To increase sales in an ever-evolving marketing landscape, that’s exactly what you need.

Innovation. Inspiration. Creativity. At Prism Insights, those characteristics are what fuel solutions on the leading edge of public relations, interactive, social marketing and – ultimately – sales.

Our Approach

Prism leverages the power of marketing, sales, public relations and strategy to impact every part of your business. Here’s how:

We take the broad view. - Our experience is deep. Our expertise wide. We’ve worked in sectors ranging from health care to high tech, finance to fashion, manufacturing to mom-and-pop startups. So we pull from an equally broad pool of experience and innovative solutions.

We stick around. - We’re not just strategists. We’re implementers. Rather than dropping a plan on your lap and vanishing, we are often asked to be the ones to put it in place. Why? Because we believe the architects of a plan are best equipped to build a structure that’s sound, working from the ground up to create conversations that drive revenue.

We’re the right size for you. - Leveraging a Rolodex built over decades of experience in varied industries, we assemble overnight teams of experts, including writers, designers, strategists, technologists and researchers. We assign talented people to your project because they’re best suited to meet and exceed your expectations, not because we need to keep staff members busy.

What does that mean for you? You get solutions devised by a tailor-made team that expands and contracts according to your needs. And you pay for the solutions, not the cost of overhead.

Our Expertise

Marketing Strategy – We Make You Think

Let’s start with a confession: At Prism Insights, we’re bad at the status quo. We’re not ashamed to admit it. (Truth be told, we’re rather proud of it.) So if you need help maintaining the same practices you’ve always employed, we’ll probably refer you elsewhere. What we’re good at? Really good at? Innovation. We produce the most powerful results when charged with formulating new strategies for reaching your audience, motivating action and driving sales.

How? By weaving together strategies based in public relations, interactive and social marketing. By understanding the power these mediums have for connecting with your clients and prospects. By knowing that marketing now consists of two-way conversations. And by realizing the responsibility that lies within those conversations.

We also understand that, when you’re putting out daily fires, innovation and inspiration can be hard to maintain. That’s where we come in. Every client relationship starts with a process called the Growth Accelerator, an interactive, fast-paced and scalable set of exercises that prioritizes the many components of your vision. We then synthesize the results in flexible but cohesive strategic plans that solve problems, exploit opportunities and build your business.

Public Relations Strategy – Media and More

At Prism Insights, public relations is always part of a more in-depth marketing mix, including issues management, event marketing, social responsibility and social media. We take advantage of a new media landscape to reach all of your publics—including employees, industry leaders, strategic partners, customers and prospects—using content and tools once reserved only for journalists.

A smart public relations strategy turns you into the publisher of your own news. Are you making sure your recent appearance on NBC has long legs, posting the footage on your website and YouTube? Are you tweeting the publication date of your forthcoming thought piece in the newspaper? And repurposing its content for your blog? All of these touchpoints—and many more—commingle to create the whole.

Media Relations - Placements with Purpose. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to appear in a sexy, glossy business or consumer magazine. Nothing wrong with shooting for the article in Fast Company, WSJ or TIME. Or Oprah, for that matter. But the reality is, in order to meet your goals, you might need a comparatively more buttoned-up alternative. Plain and simple, we don’t chase placements unless they get you what you want from a sales perspective. If you need coverage in a shiny glossy magazine to hit your benchmarks, we glam it up. But if you need a targeted, industry trade pub, we’ll steer you in that direction. (The sexy part comes when you see an uptick in sales.)

Issues and Crisis Management - Stuff Happens. Companies have always faced crises. No news flash there. The difference today is that, when things go wrong within a company’s walls, the web makes it a public affair. In an instant, one Facebook comment reaches hundreds. The next instant? Thousands. All of this makes the ability to manage crises very important. At Prism Insights, we have a proven track record of proactively addressing issues and diffusing crises. Over the years, that’s included everything from merger and acquisitions to accidental employee death.

We manage the public’s and the press’ perceptions, as well as those of your employees, with integrity and honesty—maintaining their trust. We also believe in starting long before the trouble does, proactively identifying possible scenarios through issues management and developing crises plans that factor in every contingency. “Success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” they say. And that old adage is exactly what the new media world needs.

Event Marketing - Your Brand in 3D. Organizations are comprised of people. And people do business with other people. Even after your prospects Facebook friend you and eat up your tweets like candy, they still crave the face-to-face connection that only happens when people gather in a room together. Event and experience marketing translates your message into three dimensions, making it more real and relevant than any print ad or press release could. We develop experiences that help your prospects and clients connect with your brand at an emotional level.

Social Responsibility - The New Normal. On the heels of an economic crisis that shook consumer confidence, social responsibility is an expectation. It’s the new norm. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because, more than ever, your clients, partners and prospects want to know what kind of corporate citizen you are before they’ll ink a deal. Still, many organizations struggle to identify ways social responsibility can impact the bottom line. What are your environmental, social and economic responsibilities? How do you incorporate those elements into your strategy to support your business goals? We help you create opportunity through social responsibility so that you do well when you do good.

Web Strategy – The Web We Weave

All roads lead to your website. Every piece of communications you direct outward, from a news release to an e-mail blast, invariably leads back to your site. What’s the first thing prospects or journalists do when they hear about your company? They find you online. Before you even know they exist, they’ve formed opinions about you based on what they see online. So it’s imperative that your site is consistent with the image you want to project. And that it engages and encourages visitors to walk down the information path with you.

Site Development - A Custom Approach. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to website development. But there is one guiding principle: Create a site that amplifies and reinforces the rest of your marketing efforts and messaging. If you are already doing that on your current site, we help you identify new opportunities to create content that keeps people asking for more. If your site needs a facelift, we’ll audit the architecture, design and content, then assemble a team of experts to address the challenges, from designers and writers to programmers and coders.

Content Development - Keeping It Fresh. The best thing about a website is it can always be updated. Which, of course, happens to be the most challenging thing about a website. We serve as the go-to resource to get around that challenge. From ghostwriting your company blog to updating your online media center—not to mention the employment of other strategies that snag the attention of search engines—we ensure that your website’s content encourages audiences to come back often for more.

Social Media Strategy – Navigating the Web 2.0 World

At Prism Insights, we’re not beholden to any one social media technology. But we’re hopelessly devoted to the conversation. And my, how the conversation has changed. The one-way discussion you used to hold with your audience is decidedly two-sided today. Content has been democratized. Consumers don’t just digest it. They create it. And then, in a no-holds-barred kind of way, they comment on it, tuning in or out of whatever outlets they choose.

It can be daunting to become as transparent and accessible as the Web 2.0 world requires companies to be. We help you identify the benefits of doing so, using only those social media applications that will move the needle for you specifically. We choose the appropriate social media technology last, only after we’ve worked through that old-school marketing process of identifying audience, goals, and strategies.

Two-Way Conversations - So you know your audience is on Facebook. You know that they’re hanging out on Twitter. Now what? What do you say to them? And how can you get them engaged in the conversation? The answer is easy to understand, a bit harder to achieve: You communicate what is uniquely different—even endearingly quirky—about your brand. You talk with your fans, not at them. You share without selling. All while staying on-brand, on-message and on-target. Prism has a proven record of doing that for clients across industries.

Our Insights

Intro

Interesting factoid: 250 words. That is the number of words the average American can read in one minute. So we pledge to take no more than one minute of your time with each of our blog posts. That way you can stop by and have a quick read, share your insights and then continue on to tackle your day. But we’ll give you something to think about as you go forth and conquer.

Words of Wisdom

By Emily Wade | On July 26, 2013 | With No Comments

After taking the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, my results showed something that I’m already pretty aware of: I’m an Inspirer. What does that mean to me? I think it shows itself in my constant search for positivity in life, as well as my ongoing search for inspiration. Recently watching some business entrepreneurial videos, I came across a quote that did just that – it inspired me.

I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but I am an optimist because of will.”

Quoted by the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci, it has held various meanings to many different people throughout time. In a business and personal sense, I see the quote as a warning of wishful thinking. Some people go through life just hoping, praying and wishing that their dreams will come true. They will make a million dollars one day, they will open their own business or they will become famous. It doesn’t work this way. You must be grounded in reality of your dreams, but remain a dreamer in the belief that anything is possible. See the world as it really is, but also have the courage to attempt difficult things and beat the odds. When these two ideas collide, it creates the true formula for success and getting whatever you want in life. Figuring out the baby steps, having a plan and being accountable for your follow through, whether it’s from mentors or a support group will be the recipe for success in achieving your goals and accomplishing whatever difficult tasks lie ahead in your future.

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Music to Our Ears

By Gosia Bianco | On May 10, 2013 | With No Comments

Here at Prism, you can tell whose office you’ve walked into even if you were roaming through our office blindfolded.  (Why you’d be walking through our office blindfolded is a whole other question.) How?  By the music each one of us listens to while we work away, of course. Emily may be listening to Justin Timberlake’s lyrical and smooth new album while she updates contact databases. I may need some energy to get me through reviewing event RFPs that only some Yeasayer electro rock sounds can give.  And Patty is famous for writing while cranking out to some 80’s, her favorites being Duran Duran and Depeche Mode (she still has yet to deliver on her promise of showing us her 80’s hair photos, however).  According to a recent poll asking, “Do you listen to music while you work?” 92% of people do with 45% claiming that they ALWAYS have background music playing when working.

Vinyl Records

 Music has always been a way to connect with emotions and with as much time as we Americans spend working each week, it’s no surprise that we undergo a slew of different emotions while we labor away.  Japan-based company Neurowear has taken notice of this connection between music, emotions and amount of time the average person listens to music and launched their new concept headphones, Mico.  These headphones look normal for the most part, with the exception of an EEG reader that senses neural activity by resting on the forehead.  By selecting one of three moods (focused, sleepy and stressed) the headphones match music from your library to coincide with your mood and even has a Pandora-like feature that introduces you to new music fitting your emotional state.  Although whether the product proves successful will depend on the accuracy of the brainwave sensors, this begins a very interesting conversation on how else ‘mood-reading’ devices can deliver content to consumers. 

Taking the Time to Think Creatively

By Emily Wade | On April 8, 2013 | With No Comments

So much of our lives seem to be  planned down to the minute. And even if I wanted to disagree with that notion for a second, all I have to do is pull up my Google calendar to get a technologic reminder that indeed it is.  And with technology evolving and our lives and work flow moving faster and faster, it’s an interesting thought  to step back, perhaps turn off all electronics for and an hour or two, and just simply think. And not just think about work but ponder, brainstorm and map out anything you want to pursue.

Calendar

I’ve recently been trying to create different forms of art and develop my creative side more. I haven’t necessarily been inspired but instead noticed it was more of a lack of inspiration. I’ve seen some great work my artistic friends have completed and it makes me wonder why I haven’t taken the time to have more fun hobbies like making collages or taking pictures.

So as the Windy City starts to warm up, so will my camera batteries photographing the beautiful scenery. My new summer goal is to block out time in my calendar to think and brainstorm creative actions and ideas to chase. I believe that by improving my artistic side, my professional side will benefit as well. As we all know, marketers must be on the forefront of creatively thinking, so hopefully I can equate successful collages to successful campaigns.

Valuable Lessons Of Disney

By Gosia Bianco | On April 1, 2013 | With No Comments

Everyone knows that one of the best ways to combat writer’s block, is to simply start writing.  Writing anything and everything that comes to mind, without judgment, knowing that you can and will go back to reformat and edit.  Here at Prism we often use a similar technique for clients to get their staff thinking, talking and aligned around big ideas and strategies. Often those starting those conversations can feel as daunting as staring at that blank piece of white paper.  So we use a facilitation called Compression Planning, and we just held such a session with a client a couple weeks ago. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios at Night

 

Compression Planning is a process that results in the compression of big concepts, thoughts and ideas into a brief block of time.  The technique started at Disney in the 1960’s when Mike Vance, the Dean of Disney University, came up with the notion of using the process of storyboarding to think through business problems.  Vance refined the process and went on to become one of the top teachers of creative leadership in the country.

When using the technique, we engage an audience by asking questions such as, “What are the objectives of your department?” and “What do you want to be known and remembered for as a company?”  After storyboarding everything that is mentioned on giant post-its, everyone in the room rates the responses in terms of importance.  This is a great way to even the playing field – the president of the company gets the same three votes as an entry level staffer – and visualize which areas are in agreement and what need to be further discussed to pinpoint next steps. 

Whatever It Takes

By Patricia Rioux | On March 1, 2013 | With No Comments

We are currently busy managing a conference for a client that will take place in March at The Wit Hotel in downtown Chicago. It wasn’t until we started our planning that I learned “Wit” actually stands for “whatever it takes”, implying of course that your needs will be met, no matter what. From a hotel, most of us – especially those of us who travel a lot and have horror stories to tell – would say all the “what” we really need are the basics; easy check-in, a clean room, friendly service.

Wit

But at The Wit, the philosophy that gives them their name goes a step beyond. They are not just talking clean towels and a TV that works. They extend “Wit” to the unexpected. And that is where they got my attention.

My favorite example? Next time you pass The Wit, stop in and walk down a hallway of sleeping rooms. Walk quietly and just listen. Yes, I am serious. If it is during the day, you will hear birds singing. At night, crickets chirping.

Why birds and crickets?  The “Wit” philosophy goes so far as to try and make sure guests do not have a boring walk as they head to their rooms. They seek, “… to amuse, embrace and stir the souls of our guests,” even while walking down a boring hallway.  Whatever it takes.

I actually think our team does a really great job embracing a “Wit” philosophy when it comes to the work we do. But I hope that in coming months that we also remember to focus on the unexpected moments when we can give a small touch that carries a big impact. I’m excited to find those random moments when we can amuse and embrace our clients.

What’s your Influence?

By Emily Wade | On February 25, 2013 | With No Comments

Before I head out the door, I usually find myself checking Rotten Tomatoes before I see a movie or skimming through Yelp for good restaurant recommendations. With today’s social media, everyone’s opinion matters. And if you have cultivated an influence or earned a following, I’m all ears!

Forrester Research identifies these reviewers, yelpers and sharers as “critics”, and in their 2011 research they estimated that 36% of US social media users fall into this category.

If you consider yourself a critic like me, you should check out newbie Influenster on the social media scene. In their words, “Turn Your Social Influence Into Rewards” by receiving care packages of exclusive products to review both on the Influenster site as well as through all your social media outlets. Setting up an Influenster profile was relatively easy. It was free to join and fun because the site let me choose what interested me and what types of products I liked.

The fact that I was chosen to receive products to test and review was honestly a bit of an ego boost.  Me an “influenster”?? Influenster chooses members based on demographics, interests, and survey answers. There are badges or interest fields like Chowhound where foodies from all over can rate and review new culinary dishes as well as post their reviews on their own food blogs and websites. As for me, the fashionista and beauty options were an obvious choice. As an aspiring boutique owner, it is interesting to see a market research site that lets companies experiment with new flavors and creations before they’re sold in stores.

It has been a little over two months now since becoming a member and I am about to receive my first beautiful box full of fashionista and beauty products. Although it isn’t the main reason I joined, everyone loves some swag, right?

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Is It Too Late For In-Flight Fate?

By Gosia Bianco | On February 8, 2013 | With No Comments

One of the first questions asked of a couple these days is the infamous, “How did you two meet?”  The answer to that question often gets passed down to said couple’s children and grandchildren, and remains a talking point in the family for ages to come.  A friend of mine met her boyfriend in one of the most randomly romantic ways possible; by sitting next to him during a flight.  Whenever she gets to recount this tale, her face glows with pride and amusement and you can tell her head is spinning with thoughts of luck and fate.

Stories like hers may soon be history though, with the introduction of in-flight social media services such as Malaysia Airlines’ MHBuddy and KLM’s Meet and Seat service.  Both programs, set to launch early in 2013, enable passengers to browse the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of others on their flight during online check-in to choose a potential seat mate.  Both parties have to choose to participate in the service in order to get matched.  Allegedly, the services are meant for business networking based on selecting individuals in your industry or with similar interests.  But anyone who says laws of attraction will not apply when checking out the two-inch by three-inch photos of potential flight buddies is simply a liar.

bigstock-Avia-5304025

This most recent example of social media invasion should make for an interesting social experiment.  Best case scenario – spend a long overseas flight chatting up a potential business connection or future love interest rather than getting stuck next to that screaming baby.  On the other hand, I can very easily see that perceived like-minded business flier in the seat next to you turning into a pushy, sales-pitching nightmare.  Or that dapper and witty guy from Facebook you cannot wait to meet actually turning out to be a creepy, misrepresented failure.  Only time will tell if services like these last but I know one thing for sure.  My friend who turned the random in-flight Romeo into her latest beau would have a little less glow if her story was based on a pre-meditated social media match.

My Heart Was Broken by QR – but I May Have Found a New Love

By Gosia Bianco | On February 1, 2013 | With No Comments

I fell for him. Patty Rioux and I both did. And we fell hard. We stalked him all over town, posted pics on Facebook and even texted each other sightings. We were convinced he was the next big thing – and he broke our hearts. Who is this marketing Romeo? The never-lived-up-to-his-potential QR code.

You remember him right? The little block of even smaller squares that has become the standard violator on advertising across every city.  But before anyone else gets a QR code permanently tattooed on his/her body (my infatuation did not go that far!), one must face the harsh reality that this marketing fad is quickly dying.  Poor usability and uncreative campaigns are just two of the reasons that the QR code is just not cutting it.  Check out this article for some ideas on how to use the QR code to its best potential.

 

So if not the QR code, then what? My newest obsession is Near Field Communication, also known as NFC, which is introducing the world to whole new level of “easy”.  Among other things, the technology allows devices to exchange data by simply coming into close proximity of each other.  Yes, this is taking the iPhone’s “Bump” app to a whole new level. 

Device makers are catching on and including NFC in many new smartphones, and the advertising world is paying attention.  Samsung recently unveiled their “I Have a Song for You” campaign, in which they promote touching two Galaxy S III phones together to exchange music.  Watch Crosscliq’s Video on how they are using NFC in their marketing plan.  From “Smart Posters” to better unique tracking, I may just have found my latest love.   

Why James Dean is My Marketing Idol

By Emily Wade | On January 25, 2013 | With No Comments

Streetwear fashion and culture have always fascinated me. In the fashion industry, where style is most often defined by big brands and the wealthy and famous, streetwear is exactly the opposite. It follows the “trickle-up” theory where the masses are the ones setting trends and the typical fashion influencers – big brands and celebrities – are the ones actually following suit. It is the true underground scene.

Complex magazine recently had an article featuring 25 reasons why streetwear is still relevant. Among some of their explanations was the fact that streetwear will always have that notorious James Dean “cool” factor. One of fashion’s biggest moments was when James Dean appeared in Rebel without a Cause in a crisp white tee shirt, ditching the expected button-down shirt along with the 1950’s stuffy values and constraints. From there streetwear along with its alternative attitude was born. Even though streetwear is now pretty much synonymous with the hip-hop and skate scenes, I think it will continue to morph as there will always be people questioning the status quo.

I think this idea parallels with marketing quite a bit. Marketing, along with fashion, is changing constantly. Everyone, it seems, has his/her own opinion about what works and what will be the “next big thing”. All marketers – and we include ourselves in this! – typically have very set beliefs on best strategies and tactics. But we always try to remember to pause and think about options that seem “alternative”. James Dean’s crisp white tee shirt reminds us that rules are meant to be broken, limits are meant to be pushed and there are an infinite amount of new ideas that haven’t been tried…yet.

 james dean

Reading Beyond Biz Books

By Patricia Rioux | On January 18, 2013 | With No Comments

Last week Melissa admitted her like for the “year in review” articles and blog posts that flood the Web and all of our inboxes.  I must admit I am a sucker for all the “New Year’s resolution” articles. Even though I tend to think of them as yearly goals and hopes, every January I religiously write down – pen to paper – my list. And yes, I keep them the entire year. And yes, I could show you 2012’s. But I won’t. Some goals – like my wish to have Michelle Obama’s upper arms (which I definitely do not) – are not meant to be shared.

Two of the resolutions articles caught my eye this year. This one from Slate, “How to Make Better New Year’s Resolutions” claims we’d all do better if we vow to do less, not more. Anyone who knows me knows that isn’t going to happen. But I am intrigued by the concept.

The second article from Forbes, “Five New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs”, seemed tailored just for me and actually contains the best piece of advice I have read from this type of article in a long time:

 

Read a book that has NOTHING to do with entrepreneurship: They may be great reads, but take a break from Eric Reis’ and Guy Kawasaki’s latest books. I find it incredibly useful to read something that allows you to escape from the real world because sometimes you simply need a break from the pressures and stresses of the start-up hustle. We all run our business because it’s our passion. But it’s important to let our brains relax.

I couldn’t agree more – which is why when someone asks me for my favorite book, my answer is always the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Total escapism to a land where anything is possible, written with such power that I actually see the story in my head. Add to that the fact that she single-handedly got million of children to actually read a book for fun – I will always be smitten.

So my wish for you in 2013 is you find a book to read that let’s your mind relax and imagine. Not a Potter fan? Gosia suggests “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut for a touch of dark humor. Melissa likes “Cause Celeb” by Helen Fielding for a chick-lit break. And Emily – our resident horror buff – says you should try “Lullaby” by Chuck Palahniuk.

 

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