Mental Health Awareness: Four Tips to Support Your Whole Self

May is Mental Health Awareness month which has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1949 making this year it’s 70th anniversary. This month aims to raise awareness about mental health issues, to advocate for equal care, and provide support to those in need. In honor of this month’s objective, it’s important to remain present, check-in to spread awareness and support your whole self. Below you’ll find a list of easy-to-follow tips that can help you achieve that.

Tip #1 : Focus

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus on one goal in the next two minutes — don’t think about the rest of the day —  and then rinse and repeat.

Tip #2: Move

If you find stress or anxiety creeping in and crippling your day — it might be time to give your mind a rest and move your body.

The inextricable link between exercise and improved mental health is well-documented. But recent research shows that more exercise doesn’t necessarily equal better mental health. A quick burst of activity goes a long way. Here are a few ways to get your mind and body moving:

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Yoga

Tip #3: Meditate

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness trains the body. Benefits include improved concentration, relaxation, lessened anxiety, lower blood pressure and heart rate, along with overall feelings of well-being. Are you a beginner at meditation? Here is an easy-to-follow video that shows you how to start.

Tip #4: Disconnect

We’re in the digital age where social media is everywhere and hard to avoid. This “always on” mentality can have a negative impact on both your mental health and overall productivity so practice a mini-detox. A few examples of this include:

  1. X out of all the apps (bonus points if you delete them from your phone)
  2. Track your app usage: If you’re an iPhone user you can use this feature to track your app usage.
  3. Place time limits on the apps you use: Expanding on tip two – you can actually place time limits on the apps you use.

As Mental Health Awareness month comes to a close, we hope the above tips provide a sense of relief in your day-to-day. It’s also important to note that mental well-being and checking in with yourself should always be a 365-day priority.

Surveys: 4 Tips to Create and Extract the Story

Data is sexy.

It powers algorithms, finances and my favorite PR campaigns. While we can source it a few different ways, surveys are a powerful way to get strong data and tell trend stories, capture consumer sentiment or validate a company’s product.

But at times, numbers can be overwhelming or take a bit more effort to analyze. And even in 2019, old time survey practices are causing skewed and incorrect data. Jeffrey Henning, Chief Research Officer at Researchscape International, explained that improper survey practices from the 1960s are still being copied over into today’s survey development.

Here are a few things to consider when developing surveys to maximize your data and extract meaningful stories from it.

It all starts with a headline

When developing surveys, it’s important to develop questions based on desired headlines. More often than not, we get carried away with ideas and forget to think of the big picture. Doing this can create a few challenges, like leading questions and a non-cohesive storyline.

“The study should be built on the headlines that the research ideally would inform, but those headlines should be regarded as hypotheses to be tested – some will prove true, some won’t,” says Tony Cheevers, VP at Researchscape.

While our desired headlines will likely change once the survey is complete, it provides a good starting point and establishes a broad storyline. This helps eliminate the stress of looking at numbers and not knowing where to start.

Don’t wait for complete results

Most of the time, we send our questions to be fielded and in a few days we get the hard numbers back. It’s the standard process with most vendors. But Cheevers notes how important flexibility is when collecting responses.

“Once the first 100 responses are collected, we pause the survey and identify trends in the response data,” Cheevers said. “We often come to a new realization about the market that we may not have been expecting. From here we can craft new questions, and retire others, to illustrate the new trend we noticed.”

When fielding surveys we often gain a new understanding of that particular topic. Previewing the data helps us identify holes in our thinking and dig into new and interesting topics that we may have missed at first.

Compare, contrast, calculate

While we often get data back and instantly look for a surprising number to use as our media hook, remember to look beyond the numbers given to us. It’s important, especially with sliding scales, to add and subtract different responses together. Further, look at comparisons. While Taylor Swift thinks spelling is fun, she fails to mention that math is fun, too!

Cheevers explains that he’s seen some of the best headlines just by looking at the differences in generations, geographies and workplace environments. It seems obvious, but it’s an often overlooked step. Taking the time to crunch numbers on a calculator will let you create a more impactful story and get the most insight from your survey data.

Consider how else you can repurpose

Surveys should never be seen as an opportunity just for media coverage. As we continue to embrace digital strategies to extend traditional media campaigns, surveys can be paired with other marketing and sales initiatives.  

“Obtain the maximum ROI on a study by repurposing it for webinars, lead-generating white papers, a series of blog posts, an infographic, and illustrations designed for sharing on social media,” Cheevers said.

Looking to maximize data, client Mr. Cooper used quarterly surveys to build out their blog content with infographics, videos, whitepapers and tips for homeowners. And it’s paid off: this year Mr. Cooper was awarded Gold and Bronze Stevie awards in recognition of their blog content and data driven-series.

While surveys can be overwhelming, starting with the storyline early is critical for success. It’s also just as important to partner with a survey vendor who is able to help you meet your objectives. Looping partners, like Researchscape, into the brainstorming process early on helps eliminate bias and maximize the success of your survey. By considering these tips and putting your calculator to good use, you too can tell impactful stories through data.

Reflecting on Taste of Potrero 2019

This year, Highwire had the opportunity to team up with Taste of Potrero — a yearly charitable fundraiser for SF’s Daniel Webster Elementary School in Potrero Hill. The annual event brings together the hottest bars and restaurants in San Francisco for a night of unlimited bites and sips. The best part — one hundred percent of the proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary.

This year was Taste of Potrero’s 9th annual event, but where did it all begin? Once on the verge of closure by the school district, parents in the Potrero Hill community fought hard not only to save the school, but later organized the first Taste of Potrero event to help raise much-needed funds. Since 2011, Taste of Potrero has raised over $760,000 for Daniel Webster Elementary, providing money for classroom supplies, computer instruction, arts enrichment programs, extra staff and literacy professionals for Daniel Webster students. This year alone, we sold out of general admission and VIP tickets and Taste of Potrero was able to raise over $140,000 for the school.

The event rangles some of SF’s best restaurants — like The Slanted Door, Uma Casa, ALX by Alexander’s Steakhouse, August 1 Five, Nopa, School Night, The Commissary, 25 Lusk and Starbelly — who all donate their food, drinks, time, and talents to make the night a success. Did we mention that this event is all you can eat (and drink)? 

Our small but mighty Taste of Potrero team at Highwire has led PR efforts for the event for the past two years. This year, we were able to secure a segment on CBS Bay Area Focus for Starbelly, one of Taste of Potrero’s generous contributors. Head Chef Adam Timney whipped up his signature Taste of Potrero dish — asparagus, ham, black garlic and basil. 

We already can’t wait for next year’s 10-year anniversary event, which we hear is going to be bigger and better than ever before. For now, we’ll be reminiscing in our food comas.

Want to learn more about Taste of Potrero? Check out their website at

Photos 1-4 courtesy of Nader Khouri.

Highwire Brings Home Five Awards So Far in 2019

Unsplash: Luis Villasmil

We are pleased and honored to announce that Highwire PR has earned five awards this year, with programs recognizing our client work as well as our internal culture.

Highwire PR was chosen in April as the Best Agency to Work for in 2019 by the Holmes Report. We are acknowledged for our incredible work and culture, with special accolades given to our diversity and inclusion program, our acknowledgment and support around mental health, and overall company balance. We thank our Diversity & Inclusion Team for leading the charge here and every team member for being so open, vulnerable, and committed to making this part of our ethos.

Our Boston office was recognized as a PR Club Bell Ringer Award finalist. PR Club is New England’s premier association for communication industry professionals and recognizes regional PR leaders with this award program each year.

Beyond the fantastic team we’ve built, we’ve also been recognized for our client work.

Highwire received two awards of commendation from the PRSA 2019 Bronze Anvil Awards. We were recognized for our work launching Iron Ox’s first autonomous robot farm. We love working with their team of plant scientists, roboticists, and engineers to tell the story of how they are creating a new future of food. The second award was for our work launching Norwest Venture Partners’ first CEO Journey Study, an annual benchmark measuring year-over-year trends and helping to shape the resources Norwest offers CEOs and the greater entrepreneurial community.

Our Mr. Cooper team landed a bronze Stevie Award for the data-driven content series we developed with the client. Created in 2002, the Stevie Awards are the world’s premier business awards and recognize the achievements of organizations and professionals worldwide. Our win was part of the American Business Awards program, which honors achievements in the USA in various parts of business.

Lastly, we are honored to have been recognized in O’Dwyers Agency Ranking’s Top 50 and PRWeek 2019 Global Agency Business Report’s Top 100 agencies.

These award wins are a testament of the creativity, tenacity, and inspiring culture cultivated across Highwire’s offices. We strive to bring business impact to our clients, while also driving our team to think differently and build an energetic, driven environment.

We are so proud of our team members and the amazing efforts they put forth every day, and we are so honored to have these top firms recognize the fruits of our labor.

To learn more about the Highwire team and the exciting work we’re producing, follow us @HighwirePR

With Great Stories Come Great Responsibilities: #SMWNYC19

Authenticity. Data-driven. Storytelling. These were just a few key themes spread out amongst the presentations and roundtables at Social Media Week 2019.

At the heart of this conference was one central theme: stories. Not just how marketers, social media managers and strategists can tell better stories, but how they can and should take responsibility for the stories they’re creating. Yes, social media has shifted the way we approach our audiences, but no matter your title, we need to get back to a place where we’re telling the stories that matter. Not just for our clients, but for the people we’re so eagerly trying to connect with. We owe them this since they’re already inundated with irrelevant content every day (in fact, 51% feel brands give them too much irrelevant content, according to Socialbakers). The least we can do is give them the stories, products and services they care about.

So what did we walk away with? We heard from big brands, agencies and partners, and they all stressed how companies and agencies alike can launch better campaigns with more impactful messages. Start by asking yourself a few questions: Are you having a conversation in a space you shouldn’t be in? Have you inserted your messaging in a cultural movement that is a natural fit for your brand? Or, are you partnering with someone that aligns with your core values and more importantly, the stories you’re telling?

Here are four of our favorite takeaways and sessions from #SMWNYC19:

    1. Design Thinking: You’ve probably heard of Silicon Valley’s method for ideation, prototyping, testing, and sure-fire way to capture an audience’s mindset before bringing an MVP to market. But for those on the agency side, this method of thinking can be used to shift your focus to the people you’re creating for. It’s also a way to get quick feedback and develop concepts fast. One of our favorite parts was when someone in the audience asked the burning question on our minds: “how do I even get started with design thinking?” Matt Higgins, SVP and Head of Strategy + Innovation at SKYLABS, handed over a pen and pad of post-its. Once you’re armed with some basic tools, you’re one step closer to high-fidelity feedback and experiencing that AHA-moment.
    2. LinkedIn’s Roadmap: I’ve been personally interested in the development of LinkedIn’s platform. Over the course of this year, they’ve invested in features that will help brands reach their target audiences, create personalized engagements, and drive more results through automation. We listened to their roadmap beyond 2019, and there are a few exciting things on the horizon that we will no doubt be testing as LinkedIn programs and campaigns (for executives and brands) is an important part of the digital work we’re doing for clients today. I’m looking forward to testing LinkedIn Live (a new live broadcast service for video) when it reaches GA (right now only a select number of brands and influencers are testing this out), and I’m also looking forward to new features for video ads, including brand awareness, lead generation, and better insight into video performance (they’ve integrated with Moat, a SaaS analytics measurement provider, for better attention measurements). Plus, they’re starting to roll out LinkedIn Reactions to mobile and web users globally, so there’s even more ways to express how you feel about a post (for instance, we’d give this post right here a “celebrate” reaction!).
    3. Creativity and Cultural Relevance: Highwire attended a brand & agency leaders lunch featuring Viacom Velocity’s CMO Dario Spina, The Daily Show’s Desi Lydic, and UM Worldwide’s Strategy Manager Max Kabakov, to listen in on an engaging panel about using creativity and cultural messaging to authentically cut through the clutter of digital marketing. It started with a recap of The Daily Show and Twizzler’s commercial (which if you haven’t seen it, here it is). While it’s funny, relatable, and addresses a real cultural movement, the takeaway is pairing cultural issues with creative can be a risky road to travel. But, it can also be highly successful and impactful for brands to join today’s conversations. For both brands and partners involved, it needs to feel right. People (namely, millennials) are not afraid to call a brand out, so companies need to be wary of the cultural conversations and ask themselves, “Do we have the right?” For instance, if your company wants to take part in the anti-straw conversation but your business might not have the best reputation when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint, then you might want to sit this conversation out. And yet, stepping into cultural conversations can be good for business (think: Nike) and overall, humanizes the stories you’re telling.
    4. #OwnYourData: Remember the main whistleblower in the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Brittany Kaiser? She’s still advocating for data security (not just “data privacy”) and she had some important messages for us during her presentation. Her opinion is that the only model that works is one where data is your property. Think about it this way: if you had an Airbnb, would you just hand over your keys to any person? Or would you ask them basic questions like, what do you plan on doing with my Airbnb? What will you pay me for this Airbnb? What are your intentions, and do I support them? As individuals, we opt-in to giving our data away several times a day without thinking. Would you walk into a room and flip to the last page in a contract and sign your name without reading anything else in the document? Well, that’s exactly what we do when we’re downloading an app or signing up for a service – we opt-in immediately. The way Kaiser sees it, if people understand what they’re opting into, and if our data is used properly, they’ll be more inclined to share their data. In fact, we can change the world by sharing our data, for things like medical research, humanitarian issues, and much more!

At Highwire, we’re already applying these learnings in the work that we do, for our clients and our agency. For example, we had a taste of design thinking and fast development during our Shark Tank at kickoff this year (we only had a few minutes to bring an idea to life and pitch it in real time!). And as a brand, we’re taking steps to join relevant cultural conversations — like reducing our carbon footprint as an agency and across all four of our offices (and remote workers).

Consider these takeaways and you’ll be on your way to responsible, better storytelling!




Setting the National Agenda on Privacy & Policy

When we think about cybersecurity today, the first thing that comes to mind for many of us is privacy. So far, setting the national agenda on the topic has been a tumultuous and inconsistent journey but as we’re witnessing more data breaches and more infringements on user privacy than ever before, the concept of trust and the need for data governance is pertinent now more than ever.

We’ve seen the US government make strides toward more regulated and responsible data usage, and we’ve seen other regions globally implement strategies to combat data misuse – for example, the EU’s implementation of GDPR which took place close to a year ago has been met with some praise. However, it seems that as a country – and as an ever-evolving group of consumers and technology advocates – the US has yet to determine who and how we will set the standard for the future of privacy.

What we have seen so far

Most recently, we have been drawn into the back-and-forth between businesses and legislators over what data usage and transparency among consumers will look like in the state of California, via the California Consumer Privacy Act. The Act, which was signed into law in June and will go into effect in 2020, essentially gives residents of California the right to know what data businesses collect about them, why those businesses collect that information, and allows the resident to request businesses delete any information about them. It also gives individuals the right to opt out of having their personal information shared or sold. This obviously poses a massive roadblock for organizations who use user data to determine business decisions, marketing value, and more in the world of data currency.

In fact, approximately 76 percent of IT leaders globally agree that “the organization that has the most data is going to win”, according to a recent report on the state of data from one of our clients, Splunk. Essentially, data is big money these days, which isn’t all too comforting to the consumer.

Role models in the world of policy

As we had mentioned previously, although the US is still experimenting with how we’re going to approach privacy legislation, the EU has been operating with GDPR in place for nearly a year now. Although we’ve already witnessed several tech giants bear the brunt of this new reality (Google was fined a whopping $57 million for its GDPR violations), we’ve also seen immense benefits and substantial praise for this new law.

Should the US consider implementing new legislation like GDPR? Possibly – its particularly worth considering if your organization deals with processing personal data for anyone in the EU, notes our client BitSight. But the US is taking steps to create its own policy roadmap, and we’ve seen states like Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Utah and Washington already begin to weigh in on their own versions of data protection legislation similar to the CCPA and GPPR.

What this all means

Essentially what we are getting at, is that the future of privacy and policy is still very much to be determined. Outlined below are a couple of articles we believe are worth reading, to catch you up on the latest regarding data policy – if you haven’t already been following a long. Take a look, let us know what you think, or better yet, weigh in on the conversation with your state representatives.

Here at Highwire, we believe everyone has a voice and everyone has a story. It just so happens that as the story surrounding data legislation in the US and abroad continues to unfold, we have a unique opportunity to get involved in the conversation. Let us know what you think.