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5 PR Trends Now


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) AS THE NEW PROBIOTIC

Today, more than ever, companies are active in social issues. As audiences and consumers have evolved their relationships with brands, the focus on sustainability has only grown as a factor in affinity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that corporate social responsibility has risen with heightened social consciousness. CSR efforts continue to gain serious funding from companies in the areas of philanthropy, volunteerism, the environment, and labor issues. Crafting a CSR effort is an increasingly popular opportunity for organizations and companies to engender positive brand recognition that aligns with the social interests of their customers and other stakeholders. It’s also vitally important for companies to develop the right voice when sharing the CSR agenda and efforts. With a highly scrutinized media environment, a misstep – even with good intentions – could negatively affect businesses. Antibiotics are to Crisis Comms as Probiotics are to CSR Campaigns. Just like probiotics build up your immune system, CSR builds up companies’ reputations and a reservoir of goodwill so that if and when a crisis comes, they recover more quickly and with less distress. Think of a company’s reputation like your body and take steps to keep it healthy. Key Takeaway: CSR efforts are more meaningful than ever to customers, policymakers, and stakeholders. Build a strong, authentic CSR program that shares the work a brand or organization is doing to contribute towards the good of people.


Today, more and more corporate and organization executives are finding themselves in the news, both good and bad. Either way, executives are no longer anonymous figureheads. Executive identities are impacting brands more than ever. These are times that warrant conscious leadership. These are times that also warrant careful and strategic communications. When a company has a crisis, audiences and the media look to its leaders for insight. When companies and organizations make impactful decisions, people look to leaders to gain understanding. For a long time, organizations only considered communications as a tool from unknown company sources. It’s imperative for organizations to develop executive communication strategies to help articulate a vision or to properly manage a crisis. Customers and stakeholders are gravitating toward activist and engaged executives, who care more about the people they serve than the bottom line. The main tenant of an executive communications strategy must center around thought leadership initiatives that raise a leader’s profile in a highly valuable way, while aligning closely with the brand or organization they represent. This cross-section of interests creates a backdoor to organization interest and affinity. Key Takeaway: Executive communications should no longer be treated as one-off necessitated communications. In today’s age, it’s important for an executive to execute a holistic communications strategy that raises their profile in a smart and valuable way that is consistent with the brand or organization they represent.


The old way of handling crisis and conflict doesn’t work anymore — burying your head in the sand and waiting for the viral social media storm to pass is not crisis management. Perpetual news coverage and social media sleuthing is the modern plague feared by businesses and high profile organizations. In a world of misconduct, scrutiny, and sharing, it’s more and more important to adopt proactive crisis training. If you disagree, just ask Boeing, Facebook, or United Airlines. An effective crisis response begins with strong planning. It is also advantageous and less resource driven to put in place a proactive crisis communications plan in a non-crisis environment. When the going gets tough, organizations have an advantage when they develop a general crisis communications framework that can be customized to incidents ranging in scope and specificity. Regardless of the situation, there are the core messages you will want to get across. Key areas for crisis preparation include media training, message development, collateral development, third party engagement, war room organization planning & approval structure, crisis checklists, media lists, internal and external stakeholder lists, and standby web properties. Key Takeaway: Create positive outcomes amid crisis by establishing message and infrastructure discipline that anticipates potential problems. Determine the best approach to distribute a factual narrative to persuade and inspire.


It’s been said that there is no substitute for experience. Experiential opportunities help organizations cultivate an emotional connection with target audiences by immersing them in a memorable experience. However, like any connection with a person, cause, company, or event, it can begin and end very quickly without intentional communication. Experiential marketing directly engages target audiences in a live event. Also referred to as “live marketing,” “participation marketing,” or sometimes “brand activation,” experiential marketing gets your customers involved in your brand or products and lets them experience it in real time. Key Takeaway: Let the customers, policymakers and stakeholders be part of the brand. Audience participation is a memorable experience that generates heightened interest and buy-in.


We all know an image is worth a thousand words. The proof of this idiom can be found on Instagram and its over one billion users worldwide. With an increasing preference by people to consume information via images and video, Instagram has become a social media powerhouse. The mobile-centric platform isn’t just used by fitness gurus and celebrities. Advertisers have found an emergent opportunity to easily target audiences inexpensively to sell goods, promote services, and communicate efficiently. As an increasing number of eyeballs converge on Instagram, organizations can leverage the power of images to create an emotional connection with audiences. Instagram simply doesn’t foster the same contentious environment that Twitter and Facebook often enable. Look for Instagram to be an even greater force for advertisers in organizations advocating agendas. Key Takeaway: Instagram is a valuable communications tool, but be sure to use it correctly. Utilize interesting and engaging imagery and videos to capture your audience’s attention. Find interesting angles, messages, and creative that will resonate with individuals – don’t simply repurpose creative from other platforms. 

CRAFTing Influencer Experiences


★★★ After a smashing event last year at the BRITISH EMBASSY, CRAFT partnered with THE HILL to produce another memorable White House Correspondents’ event — Politics Without Prejudice: A Toast to Freedom of the Press.

The event delivered world-class entertainment to Washington’s elite, with a special performance by Grammy Award-winning musician and music journalist QUESTLOVE. Guests enjoyed cocktails and dancing in one of Washington’s most historic and beautiful event spaces: THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.

★★★  CRAFT produces powerful LIVE brand experiences and thought leadership platforms that engage influencers across the country, on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, top trade associations, media companies, and embassies. These event experiences focus on brand advocacy, employee engagement, and influencer outreach.


CRAFT’s experiential marketing practice is lead by Sinead Casey. Sinead is the Director of Client Solutions at CRAFT, where she plays a key role in the agency’s client strategy and creative production. Sinead leads accounts across CRAFT’s media, digital, and public affairs channels, developing and executing strategy for clients including national trade associations, international corporations, and political organizations.

A natural collaborator and battle-tested problem-solver, Sinead has the ability to connect the dots between mediums, disciplines, and people. Sinead is well versed in advocacy-driven communications, digital media, brand-building, and advancing business initiatives.



CRAFT is proud to partner with two leading Political Action Committees (PACs) recognized with highest honors from the PAC community’s top organizations.

CRAFT client INTERNATIONAL PAPER was recognized this week in Miami as The Public Affairs Council’s Outstanding Corporate PAC of the Year. CRAFT partnered with International Paper on its IP-PAC brand and elevated the way International Paper engages with employees to communicate its political efforts.

CRAFT client THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS (NEMPAC) was also recently awarded the “Trailblazer Award” by the  National Association of Business Political Action Committees (NABPAC).

What is your American Dream?


This morning, a CRAFT-produced video opened U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue’s State of American Business address.

We’re proud to have partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a piece that celebrates #AmericanDreams and the ideals — aspiration, perseverance, courage and creativity — that link us all.

As a small business and as an agency that fights every day to defend business, this one is special.

Dream Big, America.


The National Retail Federation partners with CRAFT to execute a sharp new digital and television advocacy campaign that pays homage to the 1980s classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Ben Stein reprises his iconic role to carry NRF’s message that tariffs are hidden taxes that don’t work–creating a cheeky television spot that is unlike anything typically produced by D.C. trade groups.

Watch all three videos below.

The campaign features placements on “Fox & Friends,” “Roseanne,” and “Saturday Night Live.” In just over a week, the ad has been viewed over half a million times online, and generated coverage by outlets including:

Tariffs are B-A-D Economics (60-seconds)

Tariffs Aren’t Boring, They’re Scary! (30-seconds)

Tariffs are B-A-D Economics (30-seconds)

★  PR NEWS awarded CRAFT | Media/Digital the 2017 Digital Agency of the Year.

We are honored by this recognition. Thank you to our clients and our dedicated team. Hard work. Great ideas. Outstanding people. It’s a #winning recipe.

PR NEWS also awarded CRAFT the 2017 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year for our effort to stop the BAT Tax on behalf of the National Retail Federation.

Everybody hands go up…

★ Winning feels good. That’s why we strive to win for our clients every day. It’s in our DNA. Over the past few months, CRAFT has racked up a few wins of our own. Check out some of our work and our team gaining recognition from fellow communications colleagues and professionals.



  • This week, CRAFT won an elite Platinum PR & Agency Elite Award. Our client, Foundation for Constitutional Government was honored in the Podcast/Video Blog category for its bi-weekly series Conversations with Bill Kristol. CRAFT was also recognized as a finalist in the Video and Public Affairs categories for our work on behalf of NRF to Stop the BAT Tax. Stay tuned for November 8th — CRAFT is a PR News’ Digital Awards finalist for Digital Firm of the Year and Public Affairs Campaign of the Year.





  • Director of Client Solutions, Sinead Casey, was recognized as a finalist by Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) at the Emerging Leaders Awards. The ELA’s honor outstanding young women in the Washington, D.C. area who have excelled in public relations and related fields. Check out Sinead’s outstanding video here!


★ The B.A.T. tax was a BAD tax.

To protect American consumers and small business owners, The National Retail Federation partnered with CRAFT to produce a provocative and award-winning campaign to stop a job-killing, everything tax.

Congressional leadership put the final nail in the coffin Thursday, writing “We have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform.”

BIG WIN – now let’s pass real tax reform.




CRAFT expands its client and partnership networks into Hollywood and professional sports.

★ CRAFT supported a fly-in for The Creative Coalition and Hollywood actors lobbying Capitol Hill ahead of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The Creative Coalition CEO, ROBIN BRONK, and actors TIM DALY  (“Madam Secretary”), JUSTIN BARTHA (The Hangover), SARAH WAYNE CALLIES (“Prison Break”), WENDY MCLENDON-COVEY (“The Goldbergs”), CHAD LOWE (“Pretty Little Liars”), KATHRINE HERZER (“Madam Secretary”), KEEGEN-MICHAEL KEY (“Key & Peele”), ALYSSA MILANO (“Mistresses”), DENIS O’HARE (“American Horror Story”), NICK SANDOW (“Orange Is the New Black”), AARON STATON (“Mad Men”), and MATT WALSH (“Veep”) made the rounds on the Hill to advocate on the importance of funding the arts and art education.

CRAFT landed exclusives for Creative Coalition’s President Tim Daly on TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHTAlyssa Milano on MSNBC, and Matt Walsh with THE NEW YORK TIMES.

★  CRAFT partnered with powerhouse sports agency SSG Football and NFL players at 2017 SXSW in March. Our PR team supported MARSHALL NEWHOUSE (Oakland Raiders), ANDREW SENDEJO (Minnesota Vikings), and KERRY HYDER (Detroit Lions), as they were featured on tech panels hosted by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and TwinLogic Strategies.

CRAFT’s PR team specializes in getting our clients’ messages and brands in front of the right audiences. Whether it’s Fortune 500 companies, top Washington trade associations, Hollywood celebrities, or professional athletes, CRAFT delivers.

Ball Tickets?

★ THIS WEEK WE ARE SWEARING IN our new Vice President of Communications, WES BATTLE. Wes’ communications leadership includes twenty years of media, political, military defense, and strategy. He will head CRAFT’s communications and media team.

A veteran U.S. Naval Aviator, Wes served as a key advisor and strategist to the Secretary of the Navy, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and House Armed Services Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Randy Forbes.

Wes also brings sports marketing and international consulting expertise to CRAFT, having led and developed an international campaign to successfully reinstate the sport of wrestling to the Summer Olympics. He started his career at George Magazine and covered Madison Avenue for The New York Times.

★ CRAFT ADDS SIX MORE TO THE TEAM — NO CONFIRMATION HEARINGS NEEDED. Please welcome TAYLOR MOYER, Account Executive, LINDSEY MCGOUGAN, Digital Media Analyst, JESSICA STOBER, Account Executive, JACK MILLER, Executive Coordinator, GREG SMITH, Account Executive, and KAREN REINSTEIN, Junior Graphic Designer, to the CRAFT team.

Connect with Wes or read more about him.