Scaling the Federal Vertical

In this week’s episode of The Brand Ambassadors, Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield will attempt to scale the Federal Sales Vertical. To guide them on their climb will be Kevin Mahoney, CEO of Sanctum Federal and blogger-in-chief at In his more than 25 years of Federal IT sales and marketing, Kevin has learned that success in the Federal sales vertical requires both a clearly defined plan and honest to goodness interpersonal relations. With more than $127 million in revenue generation, when Kevin talks, The Brand Ambassadors listen.

The Brand Ambassadors - Bringing Your Media Interview 'A-Game'

Solid media interviews take solid media training.

Getting your message out cannot be limited to owned media and advertising alone.  To get your story in front of your audience means talking to and developing relationships with reporters and other members of the Fourth Estate.

But when it comes to talking with the media, are the people who represent the face of your company ready for those interviews? Do they understand the nuances of giving an effective interview or how to avoid the traps that some interviews can present?

In this week's episode of The Brand Ambassadors, your hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield are joined by public relations professional and president of Signal Bridge Communications, Bill Salvin, to talk about the tactics and strategies involved in media training, key techniques for giving a solid interview that supports your story while also giving the reporter a solid interview, and avoiding some of the common pitfalls of media interviews.

Bill explains how his approach to media interviews is a responsive conversation that not only address the issues, but also tells the most interesting story possible. He and Merritt also discuss the importance of continually building and developing relationships between news producers and the public relations professionals.

As a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve, Bill has extensive experience with handling major and high-visibility communication and media relations projects.  In his commercial endeavors as president of Signal Bridge, he has an impressive portfolio of clients he's trained to effectively deliver their side of a story in all types of media interviews.

To check out the full show, you can listen to it by clicking here.

This Week's Guest:

Bill Salvin

Bill is an accomplished, well-respected communications trainer with extensive experience in media, communications, and crisis response. He has trained thousands of people across a broad range of industries including energy, defense, aviation, aerospace, high tech, and academia. Bill has conducted programs for companies such as Lockheed Martin, United Space Alliance, BP, True Companies, Chevron, NASA, DuPont, Quicken Loans, Occidental Petroleum, University of Nebraska, and many others. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Bill spent nearly five months on the BP communications team. 

Bill has more than three decades of experience in communications training, corporate public relations, journalism, crisis response, and military public affairs. He has worked in nearly all 50 states and many foreign countries. 

Bill has been in the U.S. Navy Reserve for 32 years. He is currently a Captain and serves as Chief of Staff to the Navy’s Vice Chief of Information. Bill recently completed a year in Afghanistan working as the director of public affairs and the spokesman for U.S. forces – Afghanistan and NATO's Resolute Support Mission. In his capacity as a Navy and military spokesman, Bill has been interviewed by The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, AP, BBC, Time, USA Today, and many others.  You can reach Bill via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Image: iStockphoto

The Brand Ambassadors - Redefining Brand Identity

Success in today’s business environment requires adapting to change. Change can be driven by any number of factors, including technology, market demand, government policies, mergers and acquisitions.  On this week’s show, Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield  discuss how change affects an organization’s brand with Dave Tang, senior vice-president of corporate marketing for Western Digital Corporation, leading the ongoing transformation of the Western Digital brand.

The Brand Ambassadors - The Ultimate Crisis

Crisis communication and technology

The changing technology is changing the way we communicate during a crisis.

In recent years, communities have gone from relying on the TV and radio civil defense alerts to emergency alerts via email, SMS text alerts, robo calls from law enforcement, social media and corporate digital signage alerts in almost real-time.

Co-hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield use this week's episode to explore how the trends in communication technology has affected the way businesses and government engages with audiences.  They reflect on the communication responses for past crises such as the Navy Yard shooter and the State of Hawaii Emergency Management's erroneous missile alert text that sent the entire state into a panic for more than 30 minutes.

Merritt digs further into how disaster responses must have an integral communication plan that not only informs the public, but also helps ensure public safety.  She stresses that the integrated part of response and communication means they both work together throughout the entire event to support each other in each step of a response process.  Gary adds that an essential part of the communication side of a disaster response program is proactive and engaging media relations element.  Gary points out that technology plays a significant role in working with civilian media and agency spokespeople to deliver a clear and consistent messaging.

For the show, you can listen to the full episode by clicking here.

Image: Pixabay

The Brand Ambassadors - Social Media and the Impact to Your Brand

Social Media and Your Brand

Facebook, Twitter and other major social media platforms are facing reduced levels of trust for their audiences. Facebook specifically announced changes to its algorithms to focus on "engaging content," which presents challenges to company pages that rely heavily on organic content for its marketing efforts. And then there's all the issues facing brands on how they manage social media as a brand and how they manage employee social media activities as they relate to the brand. 

Hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield are joined by Vox Optima's events coordinator Rachel O'Sullivan and the in-house social media moderator, John Barnett to talk about the current changes to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the level of trust audiences have in both social media and traditional media, and the challenges these events present to brands and companies.  The group also explores the importance of social media policies.  Merritt and John talk about the importance of balancing a brand's need for creating enthusiastic employee ambassadors on social media against the brand's need to mitigate legal risks and outline social media activities, while Rachel and Gary advocate for responsible and safe use of social platforms, both professionally and personally.

To check out all the ideas and opinions, listen to the full episode by clicking here.

This Week's Guests:

Rachel O'Sullivan

Rachel O'Sullivan:  Rachel has been our events and exhibits coordinator and the director of Vox Optima's Western Region since 2008.   Originally from a small town in Idaho, she joined the Navy in 1985 and became a Navy journalist and mass communication specialist.  She worked for a large defense contractor as a marketing and corporate communications manager and has been a solo entrepreneur, creating and selling a number of small businesses.  In 2007, she met several Vox Optima employees and decided working for a woman-owned, disabled veteran owned business as its events and exhibits planner would be exciting and meaningful work. You can reach Rachel via emailTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

John Barnett

John Barnett: Knighted with the title of Vox Optima's company curmudgeon, John is a retired Navy master chief with more than 30 years of experience and expertise in public relations, journalism, social media, communication planning, news and feature writing, internal communications, and media relations and training. His favorite assignment was as a journalism and advanced newspaper editor studies instructor at the Defense Information School. That experience and his other military and civilian PR work history helps Vox Optima provide solutions to clients with real-world media relations, social media and publication challenges.  John can be reached best via email, and to some degree on social media at Twitter or LinkedIn.

Image: Pixabay

How Economics Impact The Business Brand

The Brand Ambassadors on VoiceAmerica Business

Let's face it -- the bottom line of business is usually its bottom line.

Whether you are a small-business "mom and pop" company or a medium- to large-sized corporation, economics impact all aspects of your operations, your employees, your shareholders, and your brand.  And how you and your company respond to the changes in the economic environment - for the good or the bad - affects your brand.  Be it stability, corporate social responsibility, or other factors, you have to consider economics as a key player in your brand. 

Co-hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield use this week's episode to explore how the current economic boom, the socio-political environment, and the business community's response to all of it will affect personal and business brands.  As the company's resident economist (she has the degree to prove it), Merritt explains the economic factors influencing business and corporate leaders' brands.  She and Gary also discuss a number of "in-the-news" articles that show how the changing economy has changed corporations and other business' strategic plans and what impact those economic course corrections have had on their brands.

Merritt highlights Vox Optima's desire to support the economy by offering another pitch for job seekers to consider a number of top-notch creative opportunities at Vox Optima.  You can find them all on the Careers page of our website.

For the show, you can listen to the full episode by clicking here.

Building Your Own Personal Brand To Stand Out

Having a strong personal brand helps you stand out in a crowd.

Do you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Are you preparing your personal brand to show that you can be a valued asset for potential employers? While it's great to help make a company or organization's brand red-hot, it's also important to make sure you are just as recognizable. 

Co-hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield talk about developing personal brands, the steps and tactics they took for their own brands when building their own careers, and what employers are going to look for when analyzing the brand of a potential employee. Merritt highlights a number of tactics to promote personal brands centered on a robust and engaging social media presence, while Gary talks about demonstrating professional capabilities and achievements ... all couched in his usual dry wit and obscure pop culture references.

It's a great show, filled with the usual humor and frankness you've come to expect from The Brand Ambassadors. Merritt wrapped up this episode by announcing both a season renewal for the show and a pitch to come work for Vox Optima. She has a number of job openings looking for enthusiastic and creative candidates.  You can find them all on the Careers page of our website.

For the show, you can listen to the full episode

Image: Pixabay