Ackerman McQueen accuses NRA of threatening employees

By Steve LackmeyerBusiness writerslackmeyer@oklahoman.comAckerman McQueen, Oklahoma City’s largest and oldest advertising agency, alleged Wednesday its former client, the National Rifle Assoction, is threatening the company’s employees with a loss of jobs and benefits.
The firm and the NRA are suing each other for more than $100 million following the collapse of 38 years of services for the nonprofit that include operating NRATV and paying million-dollar annual salaries to the online network’s leading personalities, Dana Loesch and Oliver North.
The network’s programming was canceled last week following legal filings by Ackerman McQueen stating the NRA was delinquent in paying bills and without a requested $5 million line of credit from the NRA, the company faced laying off up to 40% of its employees.
The firm has yet to disclose whether employees are being laid off or furloughed.
Bill Powers, executive vice president with Mercury Group, the Alexandria, Virginia, office of Ackerman McQueen, said Wednesday the firm will provide federally required COBRA insurance regardless of whether employees sign an agreement.Read more on

Interview, photos and music: OKC entertainer Lucas Ross gets otherworldly with new album ‘Banjos in Space’

By Brandy McDonnellAn abbreviated version of this story appears in Thursday's Life & Style section of The Oklahoman.'Banjos in Space'OKC entertainer Lucas Ross reaches for the stars with new albumWhen considering the vast history of music, movies and television series based on outer space, several sonic signifiers might come to mind, from the brassy power of John Williams’ “The Imperial March” from the “Star Wars” saga to the eerie theremin included in Bernard Herrmann’s score for 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”The bright, tinny sound of a banjo isn’t often associated with the far reaches of the galaxy, which is precisely why Lucas Ross wanted to explore such unlikely, otherworldly territory with his latest collection of comedic, kid-friendly tunes.“Some of it came from all the ‘Star Wars’ things that have been going on, and especially recently, all the space stuff, with Rover and with us going to Mars,” Ross said.Read more on

What to do in Oklahoma on July 4, 2019: Check out Yukon’s Freedom Fest

By Brandy McDonnellHappy Fourth of July! Today's featured event: YUKON – Celebrate Independence Day at Yukon's Freedom Fest, which takes place between two interconnecting parks – Yukon City Park, 2200 S Holly, and Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament – creating a 100-acre fun zone. The festivities are planned throughout the day and will include a children's parade, car show featuring "Mr.Read more on

Hiring For “Caring”

My good friend, Buck McGugan, and I were having a conversation about sales performance. We were talking about what separates consistent high performers from everyone else.
There were the usual competencies, we tend to think about–curiosity, business acumen, comfort with talking with money, resilience, mindset, and so forth. But then we started talking about “Caring.”
All of a sudden, at the core of sales performance is this thing called caring. We started talking about what this really means, discovering it has many dimensions:

Do you care about your customer? For too many sales people, our “caring” for the customer is limited to how much revenue can we produce. But in our conversation caring was more deep. Do you care for them as people/individuals? Do you understand their goals, organizationally/individually, and are you driven to help them achieve their goals? Do you care enough to be politely relentless, helping them identify opportunities they may not be aware of?
Do you care about your peers and their success? Thankfully, the day of the lone wolf is long past. None of us exist in a world where we don’t depend on others for our success, as they depend on us for theirs. Do you care about your peers and others in your company, both as human beings and for their role? Do you recognize without them, you couldn’t be successful? Do you proactively help them, coach them where you can? Are you as happy for their successes as you are about your own?
Do you care about your manager and the management team? Just as with your peers, without them we can’t be successful. Their jobs are different than ours, do you understand their role and help them succeed?
As the complement to (3) if you are a manager do you care about your people? Are you interested in their success? If they aren’t successful, you never can be? Are you interested in their development and growth as professionals/people? Are you demonstrating your caring by investing in them–coaching, developing, retaining them? Too often, we think of people as commodities we can swap in and out. We don’t realize the tremendous impact and real business cost of this practice, it is in the millions for each person.
As an extension of (3) and (4), do you care about your company? And not just as a source of a pay check, but do you care about it’s success? Do you care enough to identify things the company may be doing that adversely impact it’s success–at least with customers. You are probably the first person that will see how customers react to their experience with your company. Do you care enough about your company to try to correct that?
Do you care about your community? Again, we don’t live in isolation, we live in a number of communities, both real and virtual. Do you care about the members of the community and how you can help them with their goals? Almost certainly, if your community isn’t achieving it’s goals, it has an adverse impact on you.
Do you care about yourself? Are you obsessively committed to learning, improving, growing? Do you have a growth mindset?

“Caring,” isn’t some sort of soft, “feel good” attribute. Caring is ruthlessly pragmatic and growth focused (as well as the right thing to doe). Without caring, we cannot be successful as individuals. We will move from paycheck to paycheck, but fall far short of what we could achieve.
As managers, what are you doing to assess people’s “caring” in your recruiting process? What are you doing to build and develop their capacity to care? What are you doing to set a personal example of caring?
Somehow, without caring, it all becomes kind of pointless.

Revisiting the Top PR Trends for 2019

“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson
At the close of 2018 experts and pundits put forth their projections for what would be the top PR trends for 2019. Now that we’re halfway through the year, we thought we’d look back at those predictions to see how well they’ve played out. Were they right? Based on what we’re seeing, yes, they were. So, what were and currently are the top PR trends?
An Increased Emphasis in Consumer Interaction, Accountability and Trust
According to predictions from this article from Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,” interaction with the consumer base, accountability, and trust in the company were conveyed with increasing importance.[1] In fact, interaction with consumers has been and continues to be a priority, but the prediction includes the use of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to better reach customers.[2] In a separate article from Meltwater, “2019 PR Predictions: 10 PR Influencers Talk About Trends That Will (Re)Shape the Industry,” Martin Wax, president of Waxman Communications, predicts that the use of AI in particular will see an increase despite the possible ethical issues of privacy it brings.[3]
Accountability also was predicted to be an emphasis in 2019. More specifically, delivering on pitches, rather than landing an assignment only to either miss the deadline or renege, is especially important.[4]
Lastly, trust was predicted to be particularly crucial in 2019. This Edelman study, “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer”[5] shows that “media has become the least-trusted institution.”[6] Moreover, this trust has shifted from the media to experts in the field. Although gaining and maintaining trust has been an ongoing challenge, predictions called for the sharing of knowledge and insights.
Current Trends and How They Reflect the Predictions
As of this year’s halfway point, predictions for 2019 based on the mentioned emphases have mostly come to fruition. According to this article, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,” by James Cummings of Agility PR, consumer interaction, accountability, and trust are all trending in the new year.[7] However, the article gives no mention to the use of AI or machine learning when it came to consumer interaction. This is not to say that those things are not of import so much as something to consider later down the road. Instead, there has been more of a stress on “leveraging social media in order to give brands emotions that extend to the audience.”[8] The article also does not mention accountability but instead places stock in transparency and authenticity to gain the trust of consumers. This could be accomplished by showing “elements of your product/service to help consumers ease into them.”[9] Further, though accountability is not mentioned, it is not mutually exclusive with securing trust, as one can hardly exist without the other.
After looking at the 2019 predictions by public relations experts and pundits then comparing them to the trends at the halfway point, things seem to be on track with few exceptions. Rather than thinking in terms of using new technology to interact with consumers, leveraging social media to extend emotion to the audience is the current inclination. Further, instead of accountability, trust in experts has become more significant to consumers. Yet, accountability is part of securing trust if you want your brand to see continued growth in this year and for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: This post first appeared on the St. Conti Communications blog.

[1] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[2] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[3] Meltwater, “2019 PR Predictions: 10 PR Influencers Talk About Trends That Will (Re)Shape the Industry,”
[4] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[5] Edelman, “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer,”
[6] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[7] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”
[8] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”
[9] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”

Has Digital Killed Printed Marketing and Sales Collateral?

When was the last time you used a printed flier to make a buying decision?
We’ve traded phone books for Google. Or
Instead of printed invitations we spin up a Facebook event and invite people right from our phones.
But how effective is all this digital messaging? Has it killed the old standby printed marketing and sales collateral?
The fact is, mobile phones, computers, the internet, texting and social media have changed the way we communicate. Especially with potential customers.

Of course, depending on your resource, opinions are mixed when it comes to what works (which is why marketers should always be testing!).
PRINT: says print wins the marketing battle.
DIGITAL: According to the Washington Post, advertisers are betting on digital rather than print (and TV) for the first time ever in 2019.
PRINT: Relevance Content Promotion News & Insights says print still matters.
DIGITAL: A mobile special or offer is 10 times more likely to be used than the same offer in print form. (Omni Core)

It’s all so confusing!
Here’s the thing: While we spend more and more time collectively on our devices, we’re still wired for that in-your-hand hard copy of information. Since the invention of the printing press, the printed word has been our most powerful motivator in marketing and sales.
Sure, we don’t need as many tri-fold brochures as we used to need, but a well-designed, well-placed postcard can still persuade. Research continues to show that content on paper affects our brains in different and more powerful ways.
Check out the research from the U.S. Postal Service on how printed content measures up to digital:

Here’s a breakdown of what this means:

People process digital ads more quickly.
Paper ads engaged viewers for longer.
Preference? Nope! Respondents reported no preference for either medium.
People absorbed about the same amount of information from both media.
Longevity of message: A week later, people showed greater emotional response and memory for physical media ads.
Physical ads cause more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire.

What About Digital?
One way that digital beats print is through video. Video marketing and advertising – and communications in general – can be extremely powerful.
Here’s a snapshot of our website traffic at impulse Creative. Our analytics tool HubSpot considers YouTube a social media, so here’s how it compares to other social media. It converts at a much greater rate, and even sends us customers!
As you can see, all we need to do is continue to dial up our content on YouTube – keeping it relevant and engaging – and we can increase the leads and customers. Video engages in a way print can’t.
Another way digital beats print is in our discovery and search habits. When consumers begin their purchasing journey, they start with mobile phones, voice search, and desktop search.
If you’re not working on your search rankings, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to reach new customers.
Here’s the bottom line. One form of marketing isn’t always better than the other. Growth happens when you integrate the two, even crossing platforms within the medium you choose. Determining the context, the campaign, and your target audience – your ideal client profile and buyer persona – will help you identify how to split ad dollars between print and digital advertising.
As a B2B example, if you’re an IT brand working on growing your internet security business, you could employ several tactics:

Create online content to help with search engine results

Blog articles on solving for your buyer’s needs in IT
Deep content like downloads or pillar pages with industry insights
Landing pages with lead gen offers

Create videos answering questions your ideal clients have

These can live on YouTube, social media like LinkedIn and Facrbook, and in a video hosting service like Wistia, Vidyard or 23 for your website pages

Launch a paid social media campaign reaching the exact demographic you’re looking for
Use digital tools to find the people you want to speak with, sending targeted direct mail to their offices like a postcard

A strategic and well-designed postcard is visual and easy to see as opposed to something in an envelope
Direct mail could also include sending examples of work or other items related to your service/product to grab someone’s attention

Put PR to work by contributing an article or interview to industry publications, both online and offline

This should include podcast interviews on shows your ideal clients listen to

Research your buyer persona to learn whether they’re Pandora fans or Spotify listeners, what music they may tend toward, and buy ads on those platforms
Create printed sales collateral for your team that sets you apart

This could be a brochure that includes a video message in a mini video screen
This could include unique designs of printed material not used in your industry

Create audio content yourself

Industry podcasts
Alexa briefs for Amazon

As you can see, a multifaceted approach to reaching an audience can include both print and digital.
Print isn’t dead. It’s merely evolved. Digital continues to grow as more people rely on mobile phones, voice search, social media and more for solving their needs. Working with a creative agency who can serve each marketing need and plan strategically for your growth is vital.

How to Choose the Right Digital and Social Marketing Goals, Objectives and Metrics for Success [Podcast]

Have you been spinning your wheels trying to utilize social media to grow your business? Do you feel as though you know the tactics and strategies yet are still struggling with how to align social media to your business for real results?
When you hear your colleagues or others in your industry talk about the success they have achieved with social media, digital marketing, content marketing or email marketing do you want to just run away crying?
If these thoughts seem familiar to how you feel, no worries. You landed on the right blog post today and will find answers!
Unfortunately many small business owners, entrepreneurs and even marketers working inside of larger organizations struggle with how to achieve measurable business results using social media.
Much of this comes from the fud that exists in the social ecosystem. Too many bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, live streamers and more spend their life touting how easy it is to make money using social media. Unfortunately most of these same people are still living in their mother’s basement and/or struggle with keeping the lights on, let alone make an actual income from their efforts.
Many talk a good talk but when you pull back the black curtain, they are far from walking the walk. They tout that social media is free. This couldn’t be further from the truth as social media utilizes your greatest asset which is time!
The reality is achieving success inclusive of measurable business results using social media is not easy. It requires much more than hopping on the latest shiny social network, or knowing how to hit record on the Facebook Live video.
The modern social marketer of today needs to know how to set goals, build a well thought out plan, balance the use of owned, paid and earned media. They must know how to tap into the power of influencer marketing, paid advertising, visual marketing and list goes on!
Can you easily answer these questions?

How do you define success?
How do you set goals?
What is the difference between a social media strategy, plan and tactics?
How do you determine what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should focus on?
Do you really know your audience?
What are the fundamentals to success using social media?
Is your business ready for social media?

If you struggle with answering these questions, then you need to take a listen to the latest Social Zoom Factor podcast episode #230 which will help you understand how to define what success looks like.
In this episode you will learn:

How to define success for your social media efforts
Example business and marketing goals
Definition of a business goal, marketing goal and how they differ
The difference between a goal, objective and KPI
Definition of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Example KPIs
Importance of aligning social media to business goals
Defining and choosing SMART goals
Example SMART goals
Defining and prioritizing desired social media and business outcomes
Choosing metrics for success
Qualitative vs quantitative goals and objectives
Choosing and prioritizing where you focus for best results
Assessing maturity and readiness of your business to implement social media
and loads more…

Llewellyn King: Happy birthday, America, still Land of Dreams

By Llewellyn KingInsideSources.comLight the candles, tune the instruments, warm up the vocal cords, a very special day is upon us. It is time to celebrate a birth, a unique birth, and a birth that in many ways has lit human hope, kindled human aspiration and fired up a few revolutions.
Happy birthday, America!
I do not know any other country that has a birthday.Read more on

10 Things to Always Keep in Mind Before Zeroing on an App Company

Using a web-portal isn’t all in this age when wireless or mobile devices are ruling the entire world. Whether anyone owns a little business or a colossal one, the person always requires a high quality app for the mobile to receive the services accessed on the go! To receive the best application for mobile you always require searching for the best Application Mobile Development agency.
A top mobile app development company for IT solutions will house the best developers of application mobile. When someone needs to get the application, one should always think of the best of the IT companies. There are many companies which are known to provide some exclusive offers. Wide array of application services are for example E-Commerce apps, Mobile Gaming apps, GPS Enabled apps, Social Networking apps, Enterprise apps, Business apps, Systems for coupons, apps for giving Classified Ads, Reservation and Appointment apps.
Developing Android Apps
According to the latest survey reports, Androids are gradually capturing the global market. Everyone needs to take benefits of the latest tech. Every person needs to receive the benefits of Android Development. If anyone is really serious about it, now is the time to create a touch with reputed IT companies which proudly claim to contain the best Android Developers.
Developing an iOS App
After noticing the increasing fame of iOS devices, you just can’t feel satisfied with the existing website and also Mobile Applications. To place the business on the iOS domain, the person needs to get in touch with Developers who have the best exposure to different iOS development. There are many IT companies to serve the people with the best, using an experienced team of developers of iOS. There are several agencies which offer top-notch services with friendly User Interfaces and also elegant features. There are developers who are able to make wonders just placing any business and service ahead of all the competitors.
Developing windows apps
With the easy, simple and safe operating system of Microsoft, Windows Mobile phones are guiding the world of hand-held devices. If anyone is into business (any type) and has the budget, the person simply can’t afford to miss a chance of getting the ever increasing number of users of windows. Customers can grab a few of the potential clients who may reach the business using the Mobile Window Application.
You always need to choose the best agency
There are many agencies which offer the best app mobile developing services around, as well as around the globe. Well-known players have a proper understanding of the ever-growing and competitive world. Clients deserve only the best and world-class services.

The IT Company should have talented developers and designers with deeper knowledge in their individual domain.
A team should have hardcore experts with a proven record of deeper knowledge in their skill in different development platforms, for example, Swift, C++, Net, Java, Python, etc.
Be able to create app mobile in any hybrid platform in Ionic structure and Cordova structure to present cross-platform position.
The agency should have a track record of delivering the results on time.
Should be available 24/ 7 and 365 days a year.
Provide lucrative offers for placing all the business models, for all the budgets.
Services should be more cost-effective.
IT Agency should have a preference for the working project specifically and to lessen the long expanding liability.
Follow the professional methods to prove the reliability time and again.
The team should share a passion to support the skills.

There are many IT companies who claim to be the best team to support client’s needs. But, one should only choose those companies which have well reputation in the market. There are many fraud companies who are well equipped in duping people’s money.
Mobile app development is a promising field in the nation and offers huge scopes and possibilities for developers and clients. It is advised to only employ the developers who have years of experience in the given field so as to get the best and successful results. Technology is always a great promising field.

Video: Horn on Space Exploration

By Dale DenwaltU.S. Representative Kendra Horn talks about the history of American Space Exploration, the future of the space program, and Oklahoma's involvement in those missions.Read more on