Much to blog about.


Connecting with women who paved the way

October 24, 2014 | by Bohlsen Group

On Oct. 21, women from around the country attended the 2nd Annual Indiana Governor’s Conference for Women. Bohlsen Group’s Jaymie Shook, Karen Hurt and Lauren Cascio were among the more than 800 businesswomen, community leaders and philanthropists that attended this day of networking and learning.

The advice they gleaned from the conference will be instrumental in their work at Bohlsen Group moving forward.

Karen’s Highlight

The highlight of the conference for me was hearing Judy Smith, the inspiration for Olivia Pope and executive producer of ABC’s hit show Scandal, talk about her work and experiences. I was struck by how normal and down-to-earth she was while talking about what it was like to be press secretary for George H.W. Bush and handling the highest of high profile clients. One of my favorite takeaways from her presentation is also one of my favorite things about Olivia Pope: They own what they’re good at. Smith was upfront that she wasn’t good at everything, but she was never shy about saying she handled something well, did great work or was the best person for the job.

Lauren’s Highlight

From mastering the art of intrigue to embracing technology in my career, the entire conference was full of excellent advice from inspiring women.

One highlight for me was watching Katty Kay and Claire Shipman explore the concept of confidence and how it impacts perceived competence. The veteran news anchors and co-authors detailed the science behind confidence and how they used this research to build their “Confidence Code” for women. Their mantra of, “Act more, think less and be authentic” are words every woman should live by at home and in the workplace.

Jaymie’s Highlight

The most important part of the conference to me was not only the overall feeling of empowerment but also picking up concrete tips I can use right away.

In the session led by author and New York Times writer Pamela Ryckman, she talked about groups of successful women getting together to talk about business, careers and personal issues to empower each other. This “stiletto network” allows women from the C-suite to the bottom of the office flowchart to help each other get ahead at work and in life. So, asking a few co-workers to invite other colleagues to a dinner once a quarter is something I can take action on immediately.

Nonprofit Workshop

Free Nonprofit Resources on Partner Relations, Crowdfunding and Social Media

October 16, 2014 | by Bohlsen Group

On October 8, a group of Indianapolis fundraising and nonprofit professionals joined Bohlsen Group and Louisville-based Menish Auctions at Broad Ripple’s Speak Easy for the Fundraise Outside the Box workshop.

As a group, we discussed past successful events, what could have been done to make events more successful and what could be done in advance of the event to increase visibility. Some of the big takeaways related to integrating quality video into any media pitching to demonstrate valuable visuals. We also discussed out-of-the-box media opportunities to get local media directly involved in your event or cause and the importance of a specific event hashtag in connecting with influencers.

Fundraise Outside the Box was the first of four workshops in the Nonprofit Power Plays series, an insider’s guide to nonprofit public relations and fundraising.

Mark your calendar for the following dates for the remainder of the series. Check back to or the Bohlsen Group website closer to the events to learn times and locations for the winter, spring, and summer workshops.

Winter Workshop: Harnessing Partner Relations for Powerful Outreach

January 15, 2015

Kick off the New Year with a toolbox of tactics to recruit new community partners and maximize existing ones. From networking to sponsorships, Bohlsen Group experts and local guests will share tried-and-true tips and case studies of successful community partnerships that benefit both parties and generate real exposure.

Spring Workshop: A Nonprofit Guide to Crowdfunding

April 16, 2015

From Kickstarter to Indiegogo, crowdfunding platforms are everywhere online. The temptation for nonprofits is to either shy away altogether or jump too quickly into a campaign without proper planning. Bohlsen Group public relations specialists and guest panelists will present popular platforms and the “how” behind crowdfunding along with the right communications approach needed to make your campaign sing.

Summer Workshop: So Long, Social Media Mediocrity

July 16, 2015

You know the basics, you’re following a checklist of social media musts—but so is everyone else. Bohlsen Group and friends have compiled rarely heard tips, tools, and resources for you to engage your followers and stand out among the social media noise.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Rebranding Part I: Six Signs It’s Time to Rebrand

October 9, 2014 | by Mandy Bray

Most companies would say that branding is essential for success, but when pressed, would have trouble defining what a brand is.

A logo, some would say. Others would cite a reputation, a mission statement, or a slogan.

They’re all correct. These are all parts that make up a whole, a value proposition for a consumer that manifests itself through words, images, and narrative working together.

“It’s the multiplication, not just the sum, of all of these elements,” explains Terry Million, Creative Art Director at Bohlsen Group. “Branding is a combination of graphic elements, messaging, and user experience that make up a promise and a value proposition to consumers.”

But what happens when that promise isn’t kept, or isn’t clear? If your brand identity is faltering, then it may be time to consider a rebrand.

Here are six signs that it’s time to make a change:

Your brand name is frequently misspelt or mispronounced.

Perhaps your company name came from a founder with a long, unpronounceable name, or your “clever” brand name actually causes more confusion than kudos. Either way, sometimes simplicity is best.

You’ve undergone a merger or acquisition

When multiple brands come under one roof, they need to learn how to play together well and consolidate messaging to eliminate any confusion for customers. Either a complete rebrand or a modification of the stronger brand name to encompass both will be needed to keep your customers’ loyalty.

Your business or industry has changed

Did your company used to be a video-rental store or travel agency? If your company changes its core business offerings, it might need a new name and new branding to reflect that. Conversely, did you know that Hewlett-Packard was in business for decades before the computer was invented? They’re a classic example of a company that kept its name while changing other elements of its branding and adapting to changing market conditions.

Even in its most recent spin-off, the company is keeping its iconic “HP” or “Hewlett-Packard” name.

Your logo doesn’t match your product/service

Art and visual elements evoke feelings and emotions. When your visuals don’t match your intended emotions (eg. a logo with sharp, harsh edges and bold colors for a spa), it might be time to rethink your look. Consider hiring an agency to do a brand assessment if you have doubts.

You’ve expanded internationally

Better to find out now that your product name means #*&$ in Chinese.

Your reputation is irreparably damaged

Some have speculated that Malaysia Airlines may re-brand in the wake of nightmarish 2014 in the same way that ValuJet made a comeback as AirTran. In the worst scenarios of crisis communications, complete redirection might be the best option.

If you find that you fit one or more of the above categories, take a deep breath. Rebranding is a monumental step, but there are professionals and agencies like Bohlsen Group to help you through it so your company can come out stronger on the other side.

Stay tuned for Rebranding Part II, where we’ll discuss the two paths companies can take in re-branding, and which may work best for you.


Team Captain Pro Tips: Make Your Next Company Event a Success

October 2, 2014 | by Andrea Hawman

What could be better than company camaraderie, community involvement and a little friendly competition? This year Bohlsen Group participated in the Indiana Sports Corp (ISC)’s Corporate Challenge, a two-day competition that involves more than 150 participating companies in Indianapolis. Companies are placed in one of four divisions based on company size (total number of employees in Indiana) and compete in running events, “good sport” events and some more low-key events like bowling and corn hole.

Aside from a couple of injuries (what can we say, we took it seriously), our first year was a success. It was a great chance to spend some quality time with coworkers, contribute to a cause in the community and network with people from other Indianapolis companies.

This highly-organized annual event taught me a lot about planning a company-wide event, especially one that requires participation on TWO different Saturdays. A great deal of the success in organizing our company team was due to the ISC. They had every detail mapped out ahead of time for the Corporate Challenge 2014, down to tips for team captains, what information to share with teams when and deadlines for turning things in. Nevertheless, I have collected some event planning do’s and don’ts during my time as team captain leading up to the Corporate Challenge 2014.

Say yes to the checklist. Creating a checklist is a great way to get organized, set deadlines and focus on one thing at a time. Especially when the event is several months away, creating a checklist will help you know what to focus on now and what can wait until a later date. If you are like me, this is crucial for not feeling overwhelmed, or conversely, for not feeling like you are forgetting to do something. Caveat: put together your checklist knowing it will change over time as things come up. And you know they will.

Communicate early and often. First things first, set aside the notion that you are going to bother people with your communication about the event. Especially when the event is first introduced, people are going to have a lot of questions, so the more information the better. The key is to provide relevant information without overloading everyone’s inbox. Getting organized with what information people need to know now and what is better left for closer to the event will alleviate the chance of over communication. Also, thoughtfully crafting your outreach to make sure nothing is missing the first time eliminates the need to send follow-up emails.

Identify internal advocates. Some aspects of events are difficult to guarantee, no matter how much planning goes in. Getting people excited about participating in a company event that takes place over two weekends is one of them. How to get around it? Think small groups. Once we had solidified a couple of teams, chatter started to spread on its own as people began talking more about their individual events. Some even discussed training outside of office hours. Pay attention to people who are more vocal in the early stages of planning the event, they may become your advocates. Lean on them to help spread the message and keep the excitement going.

Be ready to adapt. Probably the most important thing to remember when planning an event: plan for those things you can’t plan ahead for. Schedules will change at the last second, things will come up that you thought were set in stone, pieces of the plan will inevitably fall through. Have a backup plan in place and roll with the punches. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when plans change. It’s all part of the fun!

Be present. If you expect people to participate in the event, be the first one there and the last one to leave. If you expect people to show enthusiasm leading up to and during the event, be a leader and show you are having fun first. You are the face of the event as the organizer/planner. Lead the way and people will follow.

What are some upcoming events your company is planning? Do you have any tips you can share?

Nonprofit Power Plays Indianapolis

Fundraise Outside the Box: A Free Nonprofit Workshop in Indianapolis

September 29, 2014 | by Mandy Bray

It’s already planning time for 2015! If you’ve started working on your marketing or fundraising plans for next year, have you noticed that your tactics look eerily similar to 2014 and 2013?

While sticking to what’s worked in the past is good, it’s rarely outstanding. Your audience is changing, and they expect to be impressed with new components to an event that they attend year after year. Better yet, find ways to attract new attendees so that it’s not the same group attending each year—and donating the same amount.

You’re invited to a free workshop to learn practical ways to overhaul your fundraising events, hosted by Bohlsen Group and Menish Auctions. Certified Benefits Auction Specialist Bill Menish joins Bohlsen Group to share out-of-the-box ideas compiled over years of conducting multi-million-dollar fundraising events. Don’t miss Bohlsen Group’s Popcorn Publicity Panel, where media relations experts give publicity tips live for real-world fundraising events.

Date: October 8, 2014, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Details: Speak Easy, 5255 N. Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220. Drinks and light refreshments provided.

Use the link below to register now. Seating is limited.

This workshop is the first in a four-part series for nonprofit organization called Nonprofit Power Plays. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winter, spring, and summer workshops!