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FSB Core Strategies Wins Public Affairs Award of Excellence at the 2015 Orange County PROTOS Gala



FSB Core Strategies was honored with the “Public Affairs Award of Excellence” by the Orange County Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on September 18 at the 2015 Protos Gala in Dana Point for the firm’s work on the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Diversity Outreach Program Strategy & Work Plan.

You can find more information about this award-winning project in our case study.






FSB is thrilled to announce today that we have been listed in the Sacramento Business Journal’s Top 5 PR Agencies and we just launched our brand new website!

We encourage you to explore the new site and spend some time learning more about our brand, our growing staff, and the work that we do for our clients and in our communities. We value our clients and professional relationships, and our new site reflects our commitment to providing them with the highest quality public relations and public affairs services.

Thank you for your continued support!
Jeff, Cherri, and Kristy

Don’t be Fooled- Nothing is Private Online

Sarah Pollo, Senior Account Executive and Social Media Director

There has been a lot of chatter recently over the rise of short video loop social media applications like Snapchat, Facebook’s Poke, Instagram’s video service and Twitter’s Vine. And with any new social medium tool comes privacy concerns.

1388678720000-USA-NOW-stillSnapchat is the newest rising star in this category, leading all the others in number of users. Their largest target audience, however, is teens and what tends to be a hot button issue with this group is content. Snapchat has built its platform around the ability for users to share quick, ten second or less video clips with a short message to other users in their network. Then the video clip supposedly disappears.

The central question surrounding this new video sharing service is if disappearing means permanently deleted or just gone from your phone? And the latest privacy issue cropping up for Snapchat has been user complaints over the inability to opt out of linking a phone number with the username.

As social media continues to spur new privacy concerns and the law seems to always be playing catch up, it is important to remember that anything put out in the social media and online realm is public. This goes for businesses as well- not just teenagers.

Social media is here to stay and has become a professional necessity for many industries needing to stay ahead of the news cycle and communicating. But that doesn’t mean we can be careless with its application.

Don’t assume a short video clip you share ‘privately’ with your friends or contacts won’t make its way into a twitter feed or blog post. Always make sure the social media messages you are trying to convey for your clients are approved and won’t be a disaster if spread outside of their immediate network.        


Public Relations Professionals: Key Elements We All Need

Vanessa Johnson, Account Coordinator

Passion and personality: two words that are essential in the Public Relations field. So often we forget the importance of a smile, kind gesture and ability to put a grin on someone’s face. This is what PR is all about. The concept that as a professional we are not only determined to be efficient, but also to make our clients happy. Working in the PR world has taught me that the nice guy (or gal in this case) does not always finish last and that passion, positive personality and flexibility will take me far as a professional.

What differentiates a passionate person from an indifferent person is the willingness to push one’s self knowing the client will value the work ethic. As PR professionals, nothing is more rewarding than celebrating a client and their successes. The passionate person, however, will also feel disappointed when he/she knows the client could have had a better experience. Sometimes it is okay to be upset when we don’t make a deadline or we realize we could have gotten one more registrant for an event. These emotions push us to work harder the next time we need to get a reporter on site, a new registrant at an event or a new member to join a coalition. Passion is what drives us to make a client happy.

While passion provides the drive, a positive personality can bring out the best in any situation or obstacle presented. This positivity can be seen in something as simple as a smile or even a thank you letter. We might think a smile cannot be presented over the phone. However, tone, confidence and knowledge can make any cold call so much more than just a cold call. We can entice our listener to stay engaged and listen to what we have to say. There have been so many occasions where a smile has given me the opportunity to network and welcome another professional into a conversation at an event or in the field. No one wants to talk to a “negative Nancy”.

Sometimes, however, it is hard to remain positive. We may feel as though we are in over our heads and want to forfeit the day’s work altogether. This is where flexibility comes in to play. In the world of PR, the phrase “roll with the punches” cannot be better related to what we experience in any given day. While mastering professional duties with one client may seem manageable, taking on two or even three clients at the same time can no doubt seem daunting. The flexible individual takes these responsibilities in and realizes this is the opportunity to learn something new. It could be time management, organization or even the courage to ask for help when it is needed.  Mostly, the flexible professional is able to adapt to their surroundings and compose their behavior in a manner that is ready to take on more challenges by not freaking out. A flexible professional will indeed “roll with the punches”, but they will also learn in the meantime.

So, PR professionals, keep your heads up and those pearly whites showing and remember a positive attitude and smile can go a very long way. Take every day as it is comes and know that we can learn something new in the process. Try and think about how happy you are with your work and the effort you put in. But most importantly, in the words of Steve Jobs, “… the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

The Importance of Being Bilingual in Public Relations

Rosana Torres, Account Coordinator

Six thousand eight-hundred. That’s the rough number of languages spoken in the world today.

Third. That’s the place Spanish takes with a roaring 346 million-plus people speaking Spanish. In the U.S. alone there are 37.6 million Spanish-speakers, making it the second most spoken language.

Being bilingual is beneficial; I’ve never heard someone complain that fluently speaking two languages has hindered their way of life. In fact recent studies have demonstrated that a multilingual person is nimbler, quicker, better able to deal with ambiguities, resolve conflicts and even resist Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia longer.

I fully embrace my bilingualism and went as far as making sure I’d land a job that would allow me to resourcefully use my Spanish-speaking abilities to strategically deliver a message and gain a larger audience.

When I was researching which public relations/affairs agencies would be a right fit, I was shocked to learn that not many agencies were utilizing or even recruiting Spanish-speakers to broaden a client’s audience. There are more Spanish speakers than ever today, and the number will only continue to grow, until Spanish-speakers become the majority. Why not take advantage of this skill, when you can add an entirely different community to your reach?

When I was asked if I was interested in serving as part of the Ford Motor Co., California Communications Team with an emphasis on the Latino market with FSB Core Strategies, I found myself in a unique position that enabled me to live my public relations passion for both general market clients, and those looking to serve the Latino community as well.

Working primarily with Spanish-language media in Los Angeles; the capability to effortlessly communicate with others in more than one language is also an asset in the workplace and opens doors to a whole new world of public relations. I am lucky enough to partake in many events that showcase the power of bilingualism, where the measure of success is media coverage and relationships. How efficient is it to have a bilingual team that builds both general market and Latino media and influencer relationships? The ability to communicate with English and Spanish media outlets, doubles the coverage and reach for a client.

Finding Your Fit

Danielle Vaticano, Account Executive

As one of the lucky few who found a job right out of college, I was instantly enamored by my over-crowded Outlook calendar and drunk on self-importance from my new smart-phone pinging me with emails and calendar invites as I sat at lunch with my ‘professional’ friends and talked about the ‘business’. Within a few weeks I launched a quest to join every social and political organization in the tri-county region, intent on committing myself to leadership roles as soon as they could process my online application.

I bounced from meeting to meeting, and even went to a couple meetings about meetings, desperately hoping that I would feel moved by the topics and satiated by the work we were accomplishing in the community. I tried social organizations and professional organizations dedicated to my field, even exploring increased leadership positions at my church; I was determined to find my fit. Spoiler alert- It didn’t happen.

The trial and error went on for a few years and I became increasingly less optimistic I would ever make an impact on my community that I was proud of and actively enjoyed.

Earlier this year I agreed to fill in for my boss at a planning meeting for an event at a local chamber of commerce, intent on taking notes and reporting back to her so she would be prepared for the next meeting. Little did I know, the stars were about to align and I was on the path to finding an organization that welcomed my talents and celebrated my ideas and enthusiasm. Just one short year later, I am more involved with the chamber than ever, having found that working with an organization that promotes the health of the regional businesses community is actually a passion of mine. I am proud of the work the organization accomplishes and inspired by the community leaders that I have come to know and lean on as mentors.

While finding the best-fit organization for me was an arduous process, in the end, it was valuable in that I found what I was looking for and learned a few things along the way that could be useful for someone in my shoes, trying to find their own fit.

Give yourself a time frame. After a series of failed attempts to find what I was passionate about, I began giving myself a time frame for how long I planned to stay involved with a group to see if it was a good fit for me. In that time frame I committed fully to getting to know the membership and serving on committees, but stayed aware of my level of engagement and commitment to the issues. If at the end of my ‘time frame’ I didn’t find myself fully connected, I moved on.

Share your ideas. New members can offer a surge of fresh ideas for an organization and yours are just as important as your fellow committee member. Have the confidence to offer your suggestions when attending meetings and look for opportunities for your talents to be of use.

Show up. Committing yourself to an organization usually means that you are passionate about the issue and people you will be working with, making it easier for you to demonstrate your dedication. From volunteering for the shift that no one wants at an upcoming event to cold calling potential sponsors to raise money, when you show up and do the work, you may find that doors will open to opportunities in the organization that you never knew existed.

In the Field

Alex Burrola, Account Executive

There have been a few times when one could walk into either the Sacramento or Orange County office of FSB Core Strategies and find… no one. A deserted workplace. Not due to illness or holidays, but because in the business of public affairs, government relations and media, it’s often “in the field” that you do your most important work. Sometimes that means nearly your entire staff is out in the field working on behalf of clients and representing them, and the firm.

It is out there sitting in on meetings, participating in and contributing to discussion, visiting a site planned for development or preservation, talking with elected officials, constituents and stakeholders that the most valuable time is spent. That’s when you really connect with an issue and the people who are invested in it, and when you can really get a sense and grasp of the matter at hand.

Being out in the field is a choice that good public affairs firms make. Sure, some of this work might be accomplished “almost as well” with a few phone calls and the exchange of some emails. However, getting a third party report by email of how a public meeting went, for example, is a pale comparison to being there yourself and seeing how passionate your client’s supporters or opponents  are.  

When a client comes to a public affairs firm with a problem, many times there is a crisis already underway. Whatever the circumstance or issue, our advice – if you want to serve your client well and your firm well – don’t “phone it in” or “email it in.”  Be those boots on the ground and get out there in the field.

The Changing Campaign Landscape

Jeff Flint, President

I continue to think about the massive change going on before our very eyes in how we consume everything – goods and services; news and content – and think about how this will impact running political campaigns in the future…the near future.

I came across this article that I thought I would pass along – Are we moving from mass consumption to the wants of individuals? – as it makes the analogy of the transformation of consumer goods.

During the time of Henry Ford focus shifted [on supply consumer goods] from the elite to the masses. Today however, we are moving from mass consumption to a new era catering to the wants of the individual. People want control over what matters to them, voice their opinion and have social connections on their own terms.

This same transformation is occurring in how voters will want to educate themselves in the context of public affairs and political campaigns, and the campaigns of the near future will have to adapt. Some voters will want simple, quick information and be done. Some won’t care at all. Others will want a prolonged debate and conversation before you earn their support.

What won’t work, for more and more voters every election cycle, is top-down messaging. The 30-second TV ad, which has ruled the roost in political campaigns for decades, is fading. Now don’t get me wrong, that does not mean TV ads are out. I have no doubt that in 2014; especially for big statewide campaigns; 30 second spots will still be the primary voter contact tool. But their importance will diminish each successive election cycle.

Think of it this way. Do you really believe that the same consumer who expects to: custom design and order a car on the Internet, buy only the songs she wants instead of the whole album, watch her favorite TV shows when she wants on her smart phone, and tweet with her favorite movie star; is going to then passively sit back and be convinced to vote your way if only she sees 1000 Gross Rating Points of your consultant’s TV ad? If you believe this, there is a rude awakening in your future.

What does this mean? It means campaigns will need more content. On websites, on social media, and on all communications channels. Short videos people can view. Fact sheets and discussions. Online chats. You name it.  

It means the use of the heralded “Big Data” to know more about customers and voters so we can engage them in ways they want.

Some will succeed in this new world and others will fall by the wayside, same as it ever was. I love chatting with colleagues in the business about these trends and how they see the landscape changing. A few of my favorites that I know “get it” and are already geared up for the campaigns of the future include friends like Joe Rodota at Forward Observer and Patrick Ruffini at Engage. I highly recommend keeping an eye on folks like Joe and Patrick and others who know that the way we communicate in political campaigns is changing rapidly, and are working hard to stay ahead of that wave.

Less is More

Sarah Pollo, Senior Account Executive and Social Media Director

We all know the popular saying “less is more.” In the world of using social media to advance your brand, cause or marketing campaign, “less is more” is a powerful concept that too many overlook.  In fact, many individuals, companies, organizations and causes looking to expand their presence online think the more social mediums they have, the larger their social media foot print will be. This is not always true and can often cause the opposite effect.

If your aim is to increase your visibility in the social media realm, it is better to target a handful of platforms that are home to the best audience and tools for your needs. Then focus on covering those platforms and cover them well, with good and engaging content.  It is a common mistake to create an account on as many platforms as you can. With this strategy, you will likely find that you are spreading yourself too thin and losing sight of your original goal.

Each social media platform has unique characteristics in audience, in content, and in tools available to communicate.  It is important to know these well as you select your platforms.

If advertising and fan base is most important, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter will probably be your best bet. Facebook reports almost 2 billion users and continues to grow every day. The platform, among many other branding and marketing tools, allows users to create ads, establish goals- such as increasing page likes (fans) and promoting posts- target an audience using several defining characteristics including geography, age, education and  profession and also allows users to formulate an appropriate ad spend that best fits an established advertising budget. Ads can be tested for as little as $10 and increased as needed.

It is difficult to maintain daily or even weekly posts, interactions and general activity for your company, brand or campaign when you have ten or more platforms you have to update each time versus three to four mediums that best fit the goal you are trying to accomplish. And for every minute you spend struggling to create content for a social media platform whose user base and tools don’t fit your targets, you are not spending time on a platform that does.

A company selling home décor may, for instance, find Pinterest and Instagram more useful as they are highly visual social media platforms that skew more towards a female audience.  Alternatively, Twitter and YouTube can be better options for political campaigns that require distribution of constant, real-time campaign updates and exclusive releases of the latest television/radio advertising to potential voters, bloggers and other news outlets following the campaign.

FSB prepares and deploys different social media strategies for various client needs. If we are managing an initiative campaign, we assess which social media platforms can best facilitate getting the word out about the campaign, keep followers engaged about the issue, distribute campaign materials online and ultimately turn out the vote. If the goal for another client is the successful management and execution of a conference or event, the online strategy and social mediums may change. Clients asking for assistance in building brand awareness may further change the online strategy. Focusing on a smaller group of social platforms that best fit a client’s goals and engaging them consistently is better than trying to have a presence on as many platforms as possible. 

Less is more with social media. Find the platforms that work best in accomplishing a goal and engage them frequently.