LESLEY FRANCIS ON THE ROLE OF PR & MARKETING

Lesley Francis

on the role of public relations and marketing

Lesley Francis

on the role of public relations and marketing

Lesley Francis is the CEO of Lesley Francis PR. She talks about having a strategic plan with your advertising and public relations and understanding the difference between the two.

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

Here is summer, which – other than the worry about hurricanes – is one of my favorite times of the year, with long evenings and the chance to go the beach or enjoy the pool at weekends. It was great fun hosting our annual LFPR pool party last weekend for our dedicated employees and family members as we celebrate our 11th year in business.

Joy and celebrations are important at LFPR because we all work hard, and the mutual support and teamwork I see every day at our company is something I really value. Team LFPR loved attending the wonderful wedding of our recently promoted account director, Kristyn Fielding, as she became Kristyn Beasley. Talking of promotions, Allie Robinson, a two-year LFPR veteran and former senior account executive, is now an account manager. We formally welcomed Emily Vonck, who served as the agency’s spring 2022 intern, to the team as our new full-time marketing assistant. We are also enjoying having Caroline Boykin working with us as our summer intern. We wish Crystal Vogel and Hollie Barnidge all the best and thank them for their hard work over the years as they leave LFPR.

One of the biggest growth areas for LFPR’s marketing services is in our online work, and to recognize her contributions to it, Shelby McKee has been promoted to digital design director. She manages the design of responsive, user-friendly websites, as well as branding, digital and print materials, while tracking and analyzing website performance metrics and user engagement to make effective and data-driven design decisions. Zack Adams also joins us as our part-time website developer, and we are thrilled to have his technical expertise on our team. Every staff member is dedicated to this company, its success, and the clients we serve, as is evidenced by the quality work they produce and their wonderful attitudes. I am proud to offer these well-deserved promotions and excited to watch their careers continue to grow.  

 Check out some recent new websites we have built for our clients:

One of the things that I really value at LFPR is the long working relationships we enjoy with our clients. As the 10th annual Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is approaching this August, I look back at how LFPR worked closely with SVF over the years to build the profile of this amazing celebration of the voice! Looking back at some other wonderful client events and initiatives earlier this year, we were thrilled to be the media partners for Historic Savannah Foundation’s Preservation Month in May, Savannah African Art Museum’s Juneteenth celebration and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire’s Pooler Run for Heroes.  LFPR also partnered with the Savannah Challenger, a premiere professional tennis event presented by St. Joseph’s/Candler and hosted by the Landings Club at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center on Skidaway Island, which returned for its 12th annual year after a break due to the pandemic.  Turning to education, we wrapped up another school year supporting Savannah’s only K-12 charter school, Savannah Classical Academy, with event and marketing services.  Looking to the business world, Georgia Tech-Savannah’s first breakfast Learners and Leaders seminar was well-attended in person and online, and the panel and discussions about the hot topic of supply chain and logistics were of the highest caliber.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer!

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

Here we are already one-twelfth of the way through 2022 and according to Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, we can all look forward to another six weeks of winter. If only we could say the same for the shadow of COVID-19, which shows no sign of ending any time soon. 

In spite of that, there has been much to celebrate at LFPR, including the wedding of our senior account executive, Allie Robinson – who does not have to go through the hassle of changing her name as she married Austin Robinson (no relation, of course). It was a beautiful occasion and team LFPR were lucky enough to be there on her big day. We are looking forward to our senior account manager’s wedding date in April as Kristyn Fielding will become Kristyn Beasley.  

We welcomed a new website developer, Shelby McKee, to our team, and she is doing a great job. We are also enjoying having our new spring intern, Emily Vonck, working with us part-time as she completes her studies at Georgia Southern University. Looking back to the holiday season, LFPR was proud to support the Salvation Army by volunteering to ring the iconic red kettle bell to help raise vital funds for the organization’s annual fundraiser that supports local families and individuals in need. Team LFPR was also a media sponsor for nonprofit organization Combat Boots to the Boardroom’s second annual gala just before Thanksgiving. We also worked with our client, Beyond The Bell, for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of their new Macon location.

Our clients are forging ahead with plans for 2022 and we are partnering with them to raise awareness for some exciting initiatives. Savannah African Art Museum is celebrating Black Heritage Month with a series of workshops and a brand new exhibit which explores the importance of cowrie shells in African culture. LFPR has worked with the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire for eight years, and we are delighted that President Mark Dana has agreed to become the nonprofit organization’s first full time president and CEO. Look out for media coverage about the Valor Awards on Feb. 10. Looking forward, Historic Savannah Foundation is planning for the launch of their affordable housing initiative later this month and March’s Women in Preservation Month observance. Georgia Tech-Savannah is planning a full season of OSHA training classes and in-person summer school. 

We have recently been contracted to work with American Veteran Properties here in Richmond Hill (check out their new website built by LFPR at americanveteranproperties.com). Talking of websites, our own website now has a brand new look and feel.  We are also enjoying working again with Bill Eberlein, shark tooth diver and owner of Megateeth! Check out his Instagram account and in-depth features in Connect newspaper and Liberty and Richmond Hill Neighbors magazines.

Until next time, take care and wishing you all health and happiness for 2022.

THANK YOU, COASTAL EMPIRE! 

THANK YOU, COASTAL EMPIRE! 

LFPR’s journey over the past decade has been a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and as we say here in the South, a real blessing!  As I look back on my time in the USA, I am so thankful we chose the Coastal Empire as our home.

When I moved to beautiful Bryan County Georgia from London England, I knew I was in for a great adventure, both personal and professional.  Having sold my London-based marketing agency in 2007 just before the big economic downturn the following year, I ran the global PR division of the acquiring group for 18 months.  I then turned it over to the new owners and set out across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life with my American husband.  I had spent my first 40 years in Jolly Old England, as well as our first decade of marriage, but in 2009 it was now time to ‘go west’ and set up our new homestead in the USA.

We could have moved anywhere in the USA, and looked at and considered a number of places across the Mid-West and East Coast.  We chose the greater Savannah area for many reasons, and I am grateful that we did.  This part of the world offers a wonderful quality of life, a vibrant and growing economy, generally good (and always warm) weather, and easy travel access to the rest of the country.  The best thing we discovered, however, was a great sense of community and some of the warmest and most welcoming people in the world.  Some of our close family loved Coastal Georgia as much as we did, and as a result my beautiful grand-daughters will grow up not with my British accent, or my husband’s Mid-West twang, but instead with a lovely Savannah accent.

I took a summer to settle in, acclimatize our dogs, and take an active role in my mother in law’s last two years and my eldest grand-daughter’s first two.   My husband was still travelling the world in his job, but our center of gravity was now firmly in the Southeastern USA.  So, in my early 40s I needed to answer the big career question – “What’s next?”

And the answer was Lesley Francis PR, Inc!

The Coastal Empire has made LFPR possible, so giving back to this wonderful community that had welcomed us so warmly has always been high on my list of priorities.  I jumped into this effort early on and in a number of ways – serving on the board of the Richmond Hill Rotary Club, eventually being elected as President, volunteering and joining the board of the Savannah Book Festival and Ariel Savannah Angel Partners, and along with two others forming a 501(c) 3 organization and raising the funds to build a much-needed dog park in south Bryan County.  I was also invited by our local newspaper – The Bryan County News – to write a bi-weekly column, “An English Rose in Georgia”, which I still do over ten years later.  Today, I am proud to say that LFPR still donates 20% of our billable time to non-profit organizations in the Coastal Empire.  

I am immensely thankful to this fantastic part of the world.  The greater Savannah community has been so welcoming to me, and gave this ‘English Rose in Georgia’ the opportunity to establish and grow LFPR.  We now have a high-performing team of eight fantastic women doing great work with our wonderful clients.  

I love America and the Coastal Empire.  It is where I proudly call home, and I am very blessed.  Thank you, Savannah, and here’s to the next few decades!

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS – JUNE 2021

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS – JUNE 2021

It is no secret that I am very proud of my talented team at LFPR, and I was thrilled to celebrate LFPR’s10th anniversary this May. Depending on which studies you look at, only between 4-33 percent of new businesses survive 10 years. The fact that I have been fortunate enough to do this twice – once in London, England, and now in Coastal Georgia in the USA – makes me happy. Although to quote famous 20th century movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” 

We truly have a lot to celebrate at LFPR – not least that we and our families are all vaccinated against COVID-19 and healthy. We have adopted the saying “#LFPRStrong” over the past 18 months and I am thankful to my staff and our clients for their resilience and loyalty. We are returning to some normalcy and planning excitedly for a return to in-person events for our clients. Georgia Tech-Savannah will offer in-person summer school and fall seminars; the ninth Savannah VOICE Festival will take place LIVE this August; and Historic Savannah Foundation’s famous gala will return in October. Another client, Savannah African Art Museum, has just celebrated Juneteenth in style and LFPR was thankful to our local TV stations and other media for covering this wonderful celebration as it became a federal holiday.

In late May, we welcomed our new marketing assistant, Ashleigh Johnson, to the LFPR team. Ashleigh is from Macon, Georgia, and recently graduated from Georgia Southern University with her Bachelor of Science in public relations. We are also enjoying working with our summer intern, Ivey Grace Smith, who was born and raised in Hazlehurst, Georgia, and is an upcoming senior at Georgia Southern University, majoring in public relations with a minor in communications and digital marketing. Both young ladies are fitting in very well and we are delighted that they have joined us.

We have recently been contracted to work with some wonderful new clients. The National Opera Association has appointed us to promote an exciting new initiative. Convention Consultants (sister company to our client, Official Savannah Tours) has asked us to work with them as tourism and conventions return to the Hostess City. In other news, LFPR has developed a whole new image – logo, website and social media presence – for Ariel Savannah Angel Partners, www.asap-invests.com. We are also partnering with the talented people at Marsh Meadows Marketing to promote Indoor Ag-Con Orlando, which will take place at the Orlando Hilton in Florida on Oct. 4-5, 2021.  

Here in Richmond Hill, we are working with Bryan County as they plan for hurricane season (hoping for the best while preparing for the worst) and raising the profile of the wonderful Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer.

LIVING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD

LIVING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD

What a difference a year makes. Looking back at photos from a year ago, we were going out to dinner, attending concerts, and hugging everyone – with minimal hand sanitizer and no masks! It all seems much longer ago than 12 months. Still there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine rollout under way.  

I am so impressed with our clients, who have pivoted to virtual events and performances to ensure safety for audiences and artists during this time of COVID-19. The Savannah VOICE Festival last August was a virtual triumph and their holiday concert a great encore. Savannah Ballet Theatre’s (SBT) Nutcracker took viewers on a magical holiday dream filmed in iconic Savannah locations as their professional dancers made sure we could enjoy this beloved annual tradition. We had the opportunity to watch the performance twice on Christmas day with SBT’s on-air broadcast in partnership with local NBC affiliate, WSAV-TV. Audiences enjoyed these events from the comfort and safety of home during these times of social distancing.  

As I write, the American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) has just begun to present its 28th annual competition online for worldwide and local audiences. We are looking forward to Historic Savannah Foundation’s celebration of women in preservation during March and another of their great zoom lectures from Jamie Credle, director of HSF’s Davenport House Museum.

We continue to celebrate happy life events. Our vice president, Hollie Barnidge, turned 40 last month. Soon after account executive, Allie Robinson, got engaged last fall, our account manager, Kristyn Fielding, announced her engagement at Christmas. So, it is all diamond rings and wedding plans for a post-pandemic world here! Both ladies are engaged to wonderful young men, and I am so happy for them.

I continue to remain grateful for our loyal and wonderful clients. We are thrilled to have been appointed by Beyond The Bell in Savannah to help them raise informed awareness about the resources and programs provided by the organization to train, educate, and support youth, families, and educators in the prevention of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and abuse within the local community. In other news, LFPR’s website designer, Chaeli Shields, has just launched a beautiful new website for our client, Dr Dionne Bates of Self Soulstice. Check it out at www.drdbates.com           Kristyn Fielding has worked hard to develop a multi-media advertising campaign for Savannah Classical Academy to raise awareness of their lottery.  Any child living in Chatham County is eligible to apply for a place at this exceptional charter school which, unlike most district schools has returned to in-person learning.  

LFPR donates 20 percent of our billable hours to nonprofit organizations in our region and we thank the local media for reporting on the important work of the organizations we partner with. The Salvation Army of Savannah is thankful to have exceeded their goal for the holiday season’s Red Kettle Campaign and LFPR did our part by ringing the bells at one of those iconic kettles in Richmond Hill last December. Family Promise of the Coastal Empire announced their merger last month, and the 200 Club is looking forward to its annual Valor Awards in April.

We have a lot to look forward to this spring with the unveiling of some exciting initiatives for Georgia Tech-Savannah and the launch of Bryan County’s Annual Report. We are planning on experiencing Savannah African Art Museum’s new “Roots” hair exhibit, which opens this week, and attending some of their fascinating online workshops. And talking of pivoting to online – Billy and Cheri Hester of Asbury Memorial Church are maintaining their annual, 25-year-old Valentine’s Day tradition of holding a vow renewal ceremony … even during a global pandemic. Instead of inviting married couples to gather in downtown Savannah’s City Market, though, the 2021 vow renewal ceremony will be held online.  

Until next time, take care. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay positive.