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Speeches, selfies and texts: A case study on spurring stakeholders to action at live events

May 21, 2015 | by Mandy Bray

Know Outlets to support Indy’s homeless

Some clients come to our agency with a very specific task and parameters in mind, while others come with simply a vision. In the latter case, we have the privilege of delivering a vision to execution by pooling all the creative resources of our talented team.

The Know Outlets to Support Indy’s Homeless project, whose billboards and donation parking meters you may have seen spotted across Indianapolis over the winter, was one such project. In 2014, a local nonprofit called the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) approached Bohlsen Group to create a comprehensive community awareness campaign to educate downtown Indianapolis residents, visitors and business owners about existing services to help the homeless and simplified giving. Charged by this vision, Bohlsen Group developed a comprehensive public relations and advertising campaign in the city.

Like any good nonprofit fundraising campaign, its success hinged on initial support from partner organizations, sponsors, and public figures. Seven weeks before the official launch, CHIP planned to unveil the new campaign to its stakeholders at its annual “Celebration” fundraising gala on September 18.

Working strategically make a big impact on decision-makers in the audience, Bohlsen Group supported CHIP through event coordination, speechwriting for the Executive Director’s keynote address, and providing staff to support with the event flow.

The speech and supporting visuals needed to convey the multi-faceted campaign in a clear manner with rationale that stakeholders could understand and embrace. More importantly, the gala needed to spur attendees to perform specific actions crucial for the build-up to the campaign:

  • Sign up as sponsors and campaign partners
  • Participate in video testimonials and a “selfie” station after the program to generate media collateral for the launch
  • Opt into its new texting and email databases to receive updates and share the campaign when it launches.

The official program ended at 5:30 p.m., which presented the additional challenge that many attendees may be rushing home for dinner instead of staying to complete the key actions to help launch the campaign successfully.

Bohlsen Group wrote a speech that built anticipation, delivered a clear picture of the campaign using logical and emotional tactics, and outlined specific asks for stakeholders. We integrated scripting elements into the speech to enhance the visual elements, for instance introducing each partner organization onstage with a representative holding a sign with their logo that when turned over, said “Knows Outlets.

Bohlsen Group also used a texting service during the unveiling to send audience members an exclusive sneak peek of the campaign logo on their phones as directed onstage.

Following the speech, over 40 stakeholders participated in the media stations that generated high-quality media collateral and validation for the campaign launch. Before its official launch, the Know Outlets campaign raised $10,000 in donations and recruited approximately 20 organizations as sponsors and early advocates as a result of the gala’s campaign sneak peek and speech. As a result of 85 stakeholders opting in to text and email updates, the campaign gained groundswell support upon launching thanks to social sharing by its early advocates over email and social media with the “selfie” pictures and testimonials created at the event.

In April 2015, Bohlsen Group brought home a Pinnacle award in the Project Writing category from the Public Relations Society of America Hoosier Chapter for its speechwriting and event scripting for the CHIP gala and Know Outlets unveiling

What could we do with your vision? 

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4 Steps to Becoming a Media Relations Pro

May 18, 2015 | by Heidi Harmon

An organization’s plan of action typically includes making an impact on the community in some shape or form. What good does that do if the community doesn’t know anything about the organization’s efforts? The media is a source of reliable information for the public and can be extremely helpful as a mouthpiece for your organization if you know how to approach them.

Learn how to become a media relations pro:

Download our takeaway to get more tips for becoming a media relations pro.

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From intern to seasoned PR pro: Tips from the Bohlsen Group team

May 14, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

The transition to full-time can be overwhelming and uncertain. To help answer the inevitable questions every intern-turned-professional experiences, we’ve asked a few members of our team to share what they learned from taking that leap, as well as their tips for making the most out of a new role.

Now ranging from publicists to executives, KarenLaurenCraigAndrea
and Jordan all started at Bohlsen Group as interns. Here are the top 10 things they learned by transitioning from intern work to the responsibilities and workload of a PR professional:

There’s No Teacher Like Experience

Karen Hurt, Nonprofit Account Executive

Karen Hurt, Account Executive, Nonprofit

College professors equip you with the tools you need to be successful in a professional environment, but being an intern teaches you what Public Relations work actually is. “There’s a lot that we’re taught in the classroom, but there’s so much you can’t learn (client management, pitching, working with media, etc.) until you’re actually doing it,” Karen says.

Even when you become a full time employee, you are not done learning. Being around your colleagues every day, assessing whether what you are doing is successful or not, and letting your experiences inform your future work are all ways you continue to learn on a daily basis.

Be Prepared to Switch Gears Often

Lauren Cascio, Account Services Executive

Lauren Cascio, Executive, Account Services

Former interns Jordan and Lauren both recognized a change of pace once they became a full time employee. “An agency requires you to work on various projects and juggle different clients at the same time,” Jordan says. “You have to be able to manage your time so every one of your clients feels that they’re the most important.”

Switching between tasks and projects often is a positive aspect of working with clients because it keeps you on your toes! As Lauren points out, “I liked learning how to go between all types of writing, from a technical strategic document to a fun quiz pitch.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

No one expects you to be perfect; you’re new! Karen suggests that if you don’t understand something or are looking for clarification about where your work fits in the overall process, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important to make sure you understand the expectations of your assigned project or task.

Be Resourceful, B-E Resourceful

Part of being resourceful is not only knowing when to ask questions, but also coming prepared with possible solutions to those questions.

Craig Cainkar, Publicist

Craig Cainkar, Publicist

Craig and Lauren both agree that to make a mature and responsible impression, you can’t just go through the motions. Even if it seems difficult, when you’re feeling out of your element, it is the perfect time to get comfortable following your own instincts.

If you don’t know where else to turn, don’t be afraid to use Google. “Google will be one of your best friends,” Jordan says.

Constructive Criticism Is Your Friend

Constructive criticism is the best thing for you and your work when you are a brand new PR professional. Rooted in experience and trial by error, constructive criticism provides direction and clarity. It also opens the door for coworkers with various viewpoints to explain their approach to a project, learn from one another, and, ultimately, garner the best result possible for the client.

 Always Hold Yourself Accountable

For both full time employees and interns, there is a certain level of trust that the individual is capable of completing their work. While Bohlsen Group certainly strives for an open, supportive office environment, you have to hold yourself accountable to your own deadlines, manage your own workload, and make sure clients are happy with the work being completed on their behalf. You are responsible for your own success. 

Develop Your Voice

Andrea Hawman, Account Coordinator

Andrea Hawman, Account Coordinator/Copywriter

The transition from intern to full time is your chance to become the type of employee you want to be seen as by others. Interns may not always feel empowered to speak up, so if given the chance, don’t be afraid to do so as a new employee. “I wish someone had told me to take more chances and be more bold as an intern,” Andrea says. “Even if you are unsure, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking up and showing others you can contribute.”

Being confident in your work, understanding where you have room to grow, and taking advantage of the knowledge around you are all ways you can develop a better sense of your work style, preferences and skills.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Jordan Overton, Senior Account Coordinator

Former interns agree: collaboration is the key to being successful in an office environment. “You have to work with people to accomplish tasks and you can’t do everything by yourself,” says Jordan. “Use the knowledge of your coworkers and offer advice when someone needs help with a project.”

B is for Balance…and Bagels

The Bohlsen team is pretty serious about its bagels. It is also very serious about its work. The key? Balance.

It’s important to maintain a balance of both work life and home life. Adjusting to a full-time office schedule can be tough coming from college, a place where, as Craig points out, it is almost impossible to have a routine. However, becoming a full-time employee means juggling client work, admin work, and a busy schedule. So, it’s important to learn skills like prioritizing and time management to keep yourself in check.

In addition to managing and understanding work expectations, don’t forget to check in with yourself to see how you’re doing – maybe take yourself out for a bagel. We recommend the Asiago cheese.

Be a Sponge – Constantly Absorb Information

Read as much as you can – blogs, news articles, books, magazines, whatever. Karen points out that reading can not only enhance how you think, help put your work in context, and give more insight into the PR industry, but it is also a great way to center yourself when you may be feeling overwhelmed.

Bottom line, soak up all the knowledge you can from the professionals around you. You can always learn from others, whether it is from an AP Style change, feedback on a strategic document, or, perhaps, the scoop on the hot new bagel shop.


Interested in joining Bohlsen Group as an intern? For Corporate and Nonprofit, please send résumé, cover letter and relevant writing samples to Muriel Cross and Kerry Barmann. For Events and Entertainment, please send résumé, cover letter and relevant writing samples to Jessica Redden.

Fall 2015 applications due by June 19, 2015.

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Bohlsen Group becomes pioneer for corporate social responsibility in Indiana with B Corp certification

May 6, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

INDIANAPOLIS (May 4, 2015) – Bohlsen Group, an Indianapolis-based public relations and advertising agency, is proud to announce on the date of its fifth anniversary that it has become the first company incorporated in Indiana to achieve B Corp certification. The designation places it among an elite, vetted group of companies committed to being a force for good and creating value for society beyond profit alone. The certification meets a growing consumer demand as more than nine in 10 Americans look to companies to support social or environmental issues in some capacity, according to the 2013 Social Impact Study.

SM-Stamp_B-Circle-OriginalCalled “the highest standard for socially responsible business” by Inc. magazine, B Corp certification recognizes companies who voluntarily meet standards of transparency, accountability and social impact. More than 1,200 companies across 41 countries and 121 industries are B Corp certified, including Warby Parker, Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia. Ninety-one percent of Americans want to see more products and services support worthy causes—up eight percentage points since 2010.

“The B Corp ethos matches the heart of our corporate culture and has challenged us to become a better company,” said Vicki Bohlsen, president and founder of Bohlsen Group. “Through these efforts, we hope to empower our employees as corporate citizens and to make an impact in the lives of our clients and their target audiences.”

Research shows that employees who work for organizations that offer corporate citizenship opportunities are significantly more engaged. Bohlsen Group encourages corporate citizenship for staff through paid volunteering hours, ongoing professional development, and incentives for health and wellness initiatives such as walking meetings and biking to work.

Bohlsen Group has also invested substantial pro bono work for local and national nonprofits, including free professional development trainings and donated or discounted public relations campaigns.

To become certified, companies must undergo and pass an assessment by B Lab that evaluates their mission, employment practices, governance structure, social impact and environmental stewardship. Pedrotti Hays, Inc., a local consulting firm specializing in B Corp certification, guided Bohlsen Group through the certification process.

“As consumers look to corporations to take the lead in making our communities better, our hope is that many other Indiana companies will follow Bohlsen Group in voluntarily following a standard of transparent, accountable business,” said Kathy Pedrotti Hays, Owner/President of Pedrotti Hays, Inc.

Bohlsen Group is a full-service public relations and advertising agency that supports organizations through public relations, advertising, design, video production and social media strategy. The types of organizations in which the company specializes include nonprofit, entertainment and events, corporate and lifestyle, and authors.

To view Bohlsen Group’s B Impact Assessment and profile, click here.

About Bohlsen Group

Bohlsen Group is a full-service public relations and advertising agency based in Indianapolis, committed to improving the lives of clients, their customers, and the community through passionate public relations and branding campaigns and a commitment to corporate social responsibility. The agency provides creative strategy, branding, and implementation for nonprofit, corporate and entertainment and event organizations as well as authors. Bohlsen Group’s creative capabilities include media relations, social media, graphic design, website design, media buying, photography and videography for all types of clients and budgets. Learn more at

About B Corporations

Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests, and build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. There are more than 1,200 Certified B Corporations from over 120 industries and nearly 50 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. B Corporations are leaders of the global movement of People Using Business as a Force for Good.

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of People Using Business as a Force for Good. Its vision is that one day all companies will compete to be Best for the World and as a result society enjoys a shared and durable prosperity. B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) promoting usage of Mission Aligned corporate structures to increase efficacy of social entrepreneurship and impact investing (more than 2,000 benefit corporations have been registered in the 27 states and District of Columbia that have passed benefit corporation laws); 3) promoting Measure What Matters campaigns to increase use of free, powerful tools for businesses to measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance (more than 20,000 businesses use B Lab’s free B Impact Assessment). 4) developing B Analytics, a customizable platform to help investors and institutions measure, benchmark, and report on the impact of the businesses with whom they work and in whom they invest. For more information, visit,, and


Bohlsen Group Case Study

MEDIA OUTREACH CASE STUDY: Integrity Staffing Solutions

April 30, 2015 | by Lauren Cascio

Client: Integrity Staffing Solutions is one of the fastest-growing employment and human services consulting agency in the United States, providing temporary staffing solutions to corporations across the country.

In November 2014, Integrity Staffing Solutions’ Indianapolis office contacted Bohlsen Group to help publicize the opening of 6,000 seasonal positions at four distribution centers in Central Indiana.

Challenge: Bohlsen Group had a very short turnaround time to convey Integrity Staffing Solutions’ message to the media because of the timely nature of the announcement. After being initially contacted and retained on November 11, Bohlsen Group had only 24 hours to finalize their strategy and begin media outreach on November 12. The campaign, which continued through November 24, had a goal of securing local broadcasting media in particular to reach potential job applicants in the area.

Solution: Operating on an expedited timeline, Bohlsen Group edited and distributed Integrity Staffing Solutions’ press release on November 12. Bohlsen Group staff also reached out to TV, radio, print, and online outlets in Indianapolis and outer markets including Lebanon, Lafayette, and Bloomington with targeted pitches tying in national statistics on unemployment and trends in seasonal hiring.

Results: Through its timely response and extensive local connections, Bohlsen Group secured coverage for Integrity Staffing Solutions in all major TV stations in Indianapolis in addition to online and radio stories. Feature stories aired repeatedly on WTHR (NBC), RTV 6 (ABC), WISH-TV (CBS), and WFIU Radio (Bloomington NPR). Integrity Staffing Solutions’ story was also picked up by Yahoo! News online, reaching a national as well as local audience. In just two short weeks, Bohlsen Group achieved $33,547 in cumulative estimated advertising equivalency for Integrity Staffing Solutions.


About the author: Lauren Cascio is an Account Executive/Operations Strategist at Bohlsen Group. Find Lauren on Twitter @LaurenCascio.