Did the Selfie Just Jump the Shark?


By Keith Negrin for Exponent PR

You’ve probably seen it. You may be one of the 3.25 million people who retweeted it. But this selfie — be it staged or impromptu, a subtle product placement for Samsung’s new humungaphone or an honest expression of in-the-moment jubilation — may very well mark the moment the selfie became uncool.

Because you know what’s not cool? Old people. Even if they’re famous.

Oh, and scientists.


It will be interesting to see what the recent influx of intergenerational selfies means for the future of the form. Will it die a quick and unphotographed death? What new form of self-expression might take its place? 

One thing that isn’t going anywhere? The photobomb. That’s something that Kevin Spacey kids of all ages can enjoy.


The Post-Apocalypse NBA

Jason Collins is a hero.  Jason Collins is a pioneer.  Jason Collins is a distraction.

“The story” since Jason Collins came out of the closet 10 months ago has been any combination of the above.  But one thing was perfectly clear to the media covering the story: professional sports aren’t ready for a gay teammate.

And then on Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets signed Collins to a 10-day contract. 

Because Jason Collins is a basketball player.

Sometimes “the story” is only the story because the media wants it to be.  But taking control of the message – or the interview – can shift “the story” to something entirely different.

At his introductory press conference, media questioned the affect of Collins’ sexuality on the team dynamic. “The story” had been written – just looking for a quote.  But a funny thing happened…

Jason Collins: “I need to be a solid basketball player. It’s about focusing on basketball and not history or anything along those lines.”

Coach Jason Kidd: “Win ballgames. That’s what it’s all about.”

Now, just a few days after Collins was signed, the conversation has shifted from his sexuality to his ability to help the Nets win basketball games.  No riots on the court, no mutiny in the locker room.

As it turned out, “the story” wasn’t a story at all.

It’s something we see all the time — whether with the media, social communities or consumers at large, you’ve got to participate if you want to help shape the story.

PR Rule #1: We Love it When You’re Human

By Keith Negrin for Exponent PR

Rude. Arrogant. Petulant. Asshole.

Meet Bode Miller, as of February 15, 2014. Known primarily for his me-first attitude, most of the American public agreed: what a jerk.

But then this happened.

Amazing how this arrogant asshole became a hero in two minutes and twenty-five seconds. Google “Bode Miller Interview” and here’s what you’ll see:

  • “Post-race interview raises viewers’ hackles”
  • “Internet fumes after Bode Miller is driven to tears”
  • “NBC pushes too far”

The takeaway (other than: how great a word is hackles?) is that Bode’s humanity, honesty and authenticity instantly brought a nation to his defense — despite the fact that Bode Miller himself recognizes that the reporter was just doing her job.

At least we can all still agree that nobody likes ice dancing.

Caribou Coffee’s Hard-to-Miss Pin Board

Caribou Coffee’s new Real Inspiration Blend is the first coffee created on Pinterest. To launch the new blend, Caribou Coffee celebrated fans’ inspirations by displaying them on a five-story high, living Pinterest board. From Mashable, to Fast CompanyAdweek and Digiday, it’s clear that Real Inspiration Blend is inspiring people everywhere.

Add Empathy to Your Skill Set

Understand. Be aware. Be sensitive. 

By Roxanne Landon for Exponent PR 

Vicariously experiencing the feelings and thoughts of another person can make you a better leader, follower, client partner and friend. Chad Fowler recently wrote an excellent blog post about the importance of practicing empathy. Here’s a short recap of his wise words.

Why be empathetic?

  • You’ll be better equipped to handle conflict.
  • You’ll be more in tune with others’ unspoken communication.
  • You’ll better understand the needs of your clients.
  • You’ll be more effective at convincing others of your point of view.
  • Because you’ll be more adept at seeing things from other people’s perspectives, it will be easier to deal with negativity.

How can I practice empathy?

  • Listen, don’t speak, listen some more.
  • Put down your cell phone and watch real people and wonder what they’re thinking and feeling.
  • Imagine a tense situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Look at both sides of debate before taking a stance one way or the other.

Try it for a day and see if it makes a difference in your professional and personal life.

Are we all farmers at heart?

By Tricia Cornell for Exponent PR

Are we all farmers at heart? Or do we just like to think of ourselves that way?

Modern Farmer proclaims that — forget the Seahawks’ blowout — farmers won this year’s Super Bowl. The magazine runs down five “farmy” spots, most of which pack a punch.

Only about 30 percent of Americans live in rural areas, so why spend $4 million on misty shots of cows, cornfields, combines, Clydesdales and, er, llamas?

Because we eat it right up can be the only answer.

From our suburban developments and our urban apartments, our cubicles and our coffeeshops, we love to think that all these misty horizons, wide-open spaces, sweaty brows and work-worn hands are speaking to something very real inside of ourselves. No matter how many generations we are off the farm — or even if our urban/village roots go back to recorded time — the way to American’s hearts is still down a rutted country lane.   


Exponent won two awards at the inaugural In2 SABRE Awards ceremony, which was held last night in San Francisco.

The In2 SABRE Awards celebrate excellence in content creation, and were established to recognize the ever-growing role that creative product, digital and social media, and analytics have within the public relations industry.

The agency was honored for its work on behalf of Nestlé Purina PetCare in the Sponsored Content/Native Advertising category. Exponent helped Purina identify an opportunity to leverage its expertise in the nutritional management of GI conditions in pets, by creating a series of interview-style advertorials. The series, “GI Exchange”, armed veterinarians with the knowledge to feel confident recommending Purina Veterinary Diets® formulas and supplements for patients with GI and digestive issues.

Exponent also received the award for Best Agency Website for the recently refreshed exponentpr.com. The site represents modern public relations, including engaging video content and a section that curates the most recent and trending topics from across all of the agency’s social channels.  

Additionally, the agency was named a finalist for the following: 

  • Stump the Agronomist for WinField in the Insider Events and Awards category
  • Reaching a New Generation with Simple Goodness for Land O’Lakes in the Social Media Presence – B2C category
  • Flannelytics for Duluth Trading Company in the Infographic category

Exponent was one of only seven agencies nationwide to receive at least five nominations. The In2 SABREs are judged by industry leaders from PR, advertising and digital agencies, and presented by The Holmes Group. Winners were selected from the shortlist of more than 140 entries.    

Exponent Kicks Off New Year with New Business Wins

Exponent today announced that it is expanding its food and beverage portfolio with two new clients, KINKY® Liqueur and Terra Delyssa Olive Oil.

KINKY® Liqueur is a fusion of super premium vodka and fruit flavors that was introduced to the market in 2011 by Twin Cities-based Crosby Lake Spirits Company. The brand — which was named number one for innovation in the alcohol industry in 2013 by IRI data — recently expanded with KINKY® Blue. The agency is tasked with increasing awareness of and driving trial for the adult beverage brand through media relations, social media and influencer communications.

Exponent has also partnered with Terra Delyssa Olive Oil — a single-source Tunisian olive oil brand that produces high-quality organic and infused oils. Terra Delyssa is owed by CHO Group — the largest olive oil milling operation in Northern Africa, with offices and warehouses across the world. The agency will work to introduce the newly refreshed brand to consumers through a fully integrated launch campaign.  

“We’re thrilled to get an opportunity to work with two great brands,” said Tom Lindell, managing director, Exponent PR. “Our vast experience in the food and beverage category will help us do great work that moves the needle for our client partners.”

Exponent has started the new year off strong. Agency billings have grown annually for the eighth consecutive year and more than 28 percent over the last year alone. Growth has been fueled by new client wins in the food and beverage category, which includes the partnership with Caribou Coffee as its public relations agency of record, and increased revenue from long standing clients such as Land O’Lakes and General Mills. Exponent was recently named to the short list for PR Week’s2014 Agency of the Year Award.


Exponent has made the shortlist for the first ever In2 SABRE Awards, which celebrate excellence in content creation.

Given the evolution of the public relations industry, the In2 SABRE Awards  were created to recognize the ever-growing role that creative product, digital and social media, and analytics have in influence and engagement. Winners will be announced at the inaugural In2 SABRE Awards ceremony on January 23 in San Francisco.

Exponent was named to the shortlist five times for its work on behalf of four client partners, as well as for agency work.

  • WinField in the Insider Events and Awards category,
  • Land O’Lakes in the Social Media Presence – B2C category,
  • Nestlé  Purina in the Native Advertising – B2B category,
  • Duluth Trading Company in the Infographic category,
  • And for exponentpr.com in the Best Agency Web Site category.

The In2 SABREs are judged by industry leaders from PR, advertising and digital agencies, and presented by The Holmes Group.

The original SABRE Awards, hosted every year in New York, continue to recognize Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement.

Exponent Adds Four to Team

Exponent today announced the addition of four employees to its team.

“We’re very excited to add to our agency’s talent,” said Tom Lindell, managing director, Exponent. “These new hires are a reflection of our agency’s continued growth and bring great value to our clients and team.”

Exponent’s four new hires include:

John Poferl, senior account executive. Poferl works with Winfield. He also has experience working with Syngenta, State Farm, U.S. Army and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Angela Doheny, account executive. Doheny works with DuPont and Cenex. She has experience with clients including the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, American Farm Bureau Federation, Illinois Soybean Association and Foremost Farms.    

Eliza Casper, account executive. Casper works with Land O’Lakes and Winfield. Her previous experience includes working with United Way and Formrite Companies.

Blaire Hoven, account executive. Hoven works with DuPont and Cenex. She also has experience with the Minnesota State Fair and University of Minnesota Student Unions & Activities, and recently completed the Exponent internship program.