Our company’s long-lasting relationship with Bud Adams and the Tennessee Oilers/Titans started quietly with a couple of phone calls and then a hastily called meeting in a Memphis hotel room before an Oilers game in Memphis against the Washington Redskins in 1997.

My partners Mark McNeely and Dave Cooley were at the meeting at the Memphis Hilton, and Mr. Adams, who died on Monday at age 90, made the decision that day to hire a public relations firm for the first time in his nearly 50 years as a professional football team owner.

His predicament at the time was simple: The decision had been made for his team to leave Houston after the 1996 season and play in Memphis for two seasons while Nashville built the team a new permanent stadium. McNeely Pigott & Fox had overseen the successful referendum campaign for approval of the Nashville stadium’s bonds, so we were familiar both with the project and with many of the members of the Oilers executive team.

The problem with having Memphis serve as the team’s temporary home was that the people there had wanted an NFL team of their own rather than to serve as babysitter for Nashville’s team. The result was that Mr. Adams was reviled by many in Houston for taking the team away, unwanted in Memphis because he wasn’t moving there permanently, and distrusted by some in Nashville after a hotly contested stadium debate.

I became involved in many of the steps after our hiring, and we have proudly worked with the team ever since. The immediate steps after that Memphis meeting were our helping with announcing that the team would arrive in Nashville a year earlier than originally planned, assisting with drawing a good crowd to their first game at their new temporary home at Vanderbilt stadium, and helping to get Mr. Adams in front of as many people as possible in Nashville to let them get to know him.

We oversaw the polling and analysis that led to Mr. Adams’ reluctant decision to change the name from Oilers to Titans, and we worked on many other projects with his quality senior staff.

Though a demanding boss sometimes, Mr. Adams could also be a real charmer and was great at telling stories from his many decades in professional football. His team has played to a sellout crowd at every game since LP Field opened.

He was controversial at times, but his record speaks for itself: Nashville is a far greater city overall because former Mayor Phil Bredesen and Bud Adams worked out a way to bring an NFL team here. I would contend he never put making money ahead of trying to make his team better. And his team has been generous in helping our city’s charitable organizations.

MP&F is proud to have “played for” Bud Adams.

The Nashville Scene spoofs Bud Adams' hiring of MP&F in 1997.

The Nashville Scene spoofs Bud Adams’ hiring of MP&F in 1997.

Recommended Weekend Reading

October 18, 2013

Moving a little slowly this weekend? Slower than molasses in October? Head on over to the Music and Molasses Arts and Crafts Festival at the Tennessee Agriculture Museum to enjoy old-fashioned activities like sheep shearing and country clogging while you savor homemade molasses and maybe a fried pie or four. Afterward, take some time to relax and enjoy our favorite online reads from this week.

Did you know that …

Well, now you do! Stay tuned for next week’s list of the Internet’s latest and greatest.

MP&F 2013 Midyear Retreat

August 19, 2013

MP&F 2013 Midyear Retreat

By Annakate Tefft Ross

In Part II of our productivity series (check out Part I on Three Online Tools To Be More Productive at Work), we dive into digital tools to help you get to know people in your network better. Whether you’re conducting media relations, looking for new business or just networking in general, these tools will save you time.

#1 Talkwalker Alerts

First up is Talkwalker Alerts. If you’ve been using Google Alerts to track Web mentions for companies, names or topics important to you, you’ve probably noticed in recent months that they’re not working very well. While Google hasn’t issued an official notice that alerts are going the way of Google Reader, it’s pretty obvious something is up. Talkwalker Alerts is a great alternative. This free tool works just like Google Alerts in that it emails you alerts on the topics you select as often as you want – as they happen, daily or weekly. Setting one up is as easy as filling out the form below. 

Three online Tools for Networking 1

#2 Newsle

Newsle bills itself as “News about your people.” The service will email you when folks you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn are named or quoted in blog posts or news stories. The service also allows you to search for people you’re about to meet. It’s free, and it takes all of 10 seconds to create an account, then Newsle takes it from there. Here’s a screenshot of a recent result in my newsfeed (I also get this via email).

Three Online Tools for Networking-2

I met Matt Rozen (above) from Adobe at a Ragan PR Conference in May, then connected with him on LinkedIn. I’d like to stay in touch with him, and knowing what he’s up to will help me do that.

#3 Rapportive

Rapportive “shows you everything about your contacts from within your inbox.” So when you’re working on an email to someone, Rapportive uses their email address to automatically pull in your contact’s social profiles in a box to the right so you can see what they look like, what they’ve been tweeting about lately, where they live and lots more.

Three Online Tools For Networking 3

To use Rapportive, you will need to be using Gmail or Google Apps Mail. (See this from Tech Republic about all the Google mail products.) If you use Gmail at work, you will find Rapportive really shines, with loads of background on your contacts. For example, in the screenshot above I’m composing an email to a friend who works in technology.  Rapportive tells me I’m not yet connected with him on Twitter, and it reminds me that he’s active on lots of other networks that I can consider connecting with him on. This could be helpful to me considering we’re in similar industries.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. What other tools do you recommend? Leave a comment below!

By Tom Hayden

President Obama speaks at Amazon's Chattanooga Fulfillment Center earlier this week.

President Obama speaks at Amazon’s Chattanooga Fulfillment Center earlier this week.

As a former professional political communicator, I’ve managed and staffed my fair share of events with elected officials, with big titles such as mayor, representative, senator, governor and even president. One thing that always becomes clear at these types of events is the difference between those staffers who are there to get their personal photo op and those who are there to get the job done. While it is easy to get your head turned among so much excitement, I’ve always held the most respect for those who are more willing to forgo the personal glory in order make sure the event is successful. I was reminded of this again as colleague Sam Kennedy and I helped client Amazon prepare for a presidential event at its Chattanooga Fulfillment Center this week.

Instead of strategizing about ways in which we could be close to the president, Sam and I spent our drive down from Nashville discussing ways to ensure our client’s needs and message didn’t get lost. Once on-site, we set about getting our tasks done, from working with national and local media to helping with staging and working with a wonderful team of Amazon volunteers who played key roles in the event.

With an event of this magnitude, we were interacting with varied interests from the White House, Amazon and the media; but Sam and I kept our focus.

While I wish I had a photo of us smiling with the president, I am more proud of the photo at the top of this post showing a successful event that clearly kept our client front and center. After all, one of MP&F’s mottos is to fulfill our promise to do great work for our clients.

By Stephanie McKinney

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. It affects how we communicate with each other, how we share our experiences and how we do business.

In honor of Throwback Thursday, join MP&F for a walk down memory lane through the history of social media. Here are just a few moments that we found to be meaningful.

The Evolution of Social Media

Of course this is just a brief glimpse. We can’t forget milestone developments such as Compuserve, Bulletin boards, Usenet, AOL, Tumblr, Blogger, Pinterest and Google+.

Today, social communities are created around subjects – Goodreads for books, Spotify for music. Others emerge with a single purpose like Snapchat for 10-second images and Instagram for artistic images of everyday life.

As the evolution of social media continues and new networks arrive on the scene, remembering the earliest social networks and how far we’ve come might make us all more eager to explore and share.

By Audrey Webster

While blogs have been around for more than a decade, the role they play as an effective media channel has increased dramatically over the past few years. They have become a powerful tool in helping businesses and organizations reach targeted audiences, increase brand awareness and grow revenue.

As the newest member of MP&F’s blogger outreach team, it’s only taken me a month to realize how much time and attention the team is devoting to maximizing the many opportunities that exist in the blogosphere for clients.

Mom Creative formatted

Kat and Kate, the leading ladies of MP&F’s blogger outreach team, refer to  bloggers as “informed brand ambassadors,” and continually encourage our team to seek outside opportunities to improve our outreach strategy. Recently, I had the chance to attend an IABC Nashville luncheon, where Jessica Turner, professional blogger and founder of The Mom Creative, spoke about the do’s and don’ts of blogger outreach. In discussing various types of campaigns and what she looks for in a pitch, Jessica did a great job explaining the key points communications professionals need to know about the blogging business. If a blogger is not treated like a businessperson, the quality of the post (given the blogger agrees to write one) will show it. Here are some of the main takeaways from the luncheon:

  • Blogs are much more relational than traditional media. Successful bloggers earn the trust of their readers, giving their content the credibility that traditional media often lacks. Jessica explained that she will not hesitate to say no to a pitch if the brand doesn’t appeal to her or her audience.
  • Blogger outreach must start with building relationships. It’s crucial that the content in a pitch be relevant to the blog’s message, style and followers.
  • What to look for in a blog: a strong following, content that is clear, engaging and consistent (the length and quality of the comment thread are good indicators!), and SEO tags. Displaying these tags or a search bar shows that audience interaction is important to the blogger.
  • Offer the blogger various campaign and partnership options. These include unpaid features, product reviews/giveaways, sponsored posts, affiliate posts (compensation based on effectiveness of a coupon or promo code) and advertising. Social media promotion is also an affordable option, and is particularly appealing if a brand’s Twitter following is 10 times that of the blogger’s.

The real eye-opener was a story Jessica saved for the end of her presentation. She had posted on her blog, Facebook page and Twitter account promoting a four-hour sale of a brand she’s worked with multiple times. Her posts generated more traffic (and sales) to the brand’s website than the 1 million emails the company had sent out that morning. Needless to say, Jessica later received this particular product free.

It’s clear that blogger outreach can lead to measurable results for brands and businesses if executed correctly. Like businesses, bloggers want to be given expectations up-front, they want to be paid on time, and they want their content to be shared on other media channels.

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