This week one of our clients, GRAYL, announced the all new GEOPRESS – a next generation water purifier that can hydrate travelers and survivalists using even the sketchiest of waters. This easy-to-use, cutting edge filter and purifier substantially decreases the need for single-use plastic water bottles and provides a more environmentally conscious way to guarantee safe drinking water anywhere, anytime. GRAYL’s Kickstarter for the GEOPRESS goes through January 9.

At PARSONS + CO, we are so proud to partner with a client that truly puts their heart and soul into their products to make the world a more sustainable place. The announcement of the GRAYL GEOPRESS reminded us there’s never too much you can do to live and work in more earth-friendly ways!  We’ve listed some things that PARSONS + CO will continue to do to build a more environmentally mindful company. Here are just three examples:

  1. Our clients. We take pride in representing companies that share our value of keeping our environment healthy – one example being GRAYL and another Montinore – a biodynamic winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon.
  2. Community organizations. We live local and we buy local. Joanie, our founder, just helped the PCC Farmland Trust raise almost $30,000 in one day with the match support with the One Eighty Foundation.
  3. Attending and hosting events. Knowledge is power and we have a lot of fun spreading that knowledge. This October, Grapevine Women – an organization co-founded by Joanie Parsons- focused on the SLOW Movement. This encompasses everything from slow food to slow lifestyle, slow clothing to slow flowers,  essentially slowing the pace of life and ultimately consumption.

There’s always more to be done and we’re ready to take 2019 to the next level! Ready, set, go!



Vision. Confidence. Integrity.

These are a few of the characteristics Joanie Parsons used to describe a good leader in her Daring Woman Q&A in Seattle Business Magazine last week, and we think she embodies those traits to a tee.

Seattle Business Magazine has been featuring influential women in a variety of professions in Seattle that question the status quo and have become trailblazers in their industries. In the article, Joanie talks about her inspirations, challenges she’s faced, and advice she would give women just getting started in their careers. She even gave us the title of her autobiography (read the article to find out!).

We know Joanie as the fearless leader of Parsons + Co., but you might not know her as a co-founder of trücup Low-Acid Coffee, and two women’s organizations called Grapevine and CRUSH, as well as Revel Retreats. Joanie’s vision and creativity inspires the whole Parsons team to keep pushing boundaries and do exceptional work.

All PR professionals (and professionals in any industry) should take some expert advice from Joanie: always question the status quo, don’t be afraid to step outside the box, and put effort into making relationships!



Are your days at the office filled with potty breaks and wet kisses? Dog-friendly workplaces are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. The benefits of having dogs around the office are endless. Did Parsons get the memo before everyone else?  Since Parsons was founded in 1992, we’ve had almost as many dogs in our offices as people.

Some of the first Parsons pups: Jake, Samson and Lucy

Bringing your dog to work offers many benefits for you and other employees, including reduced stress, more effective communication and an extra reason to take a break from your computer screen.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study on the benefits of dogs in the workplace. In one study, they found that “employees who did not bring dogs to work had significantly higher perceived stress than employees who did.” Another study found increased social interactions with the presence of animals.

The current Parsons pups from left to right: Hawk, Jasper and Jake

It’s no wonder Parsons has continued the tradition of bringing our dogs to work for 25 years! Learn more about the benefits of dogs in the workplace and read about the study here.



By Parsons Team

Seattle locals know the magic of summers in the Pacific Northwest. Perfect temperatures, blue skies, boats scattered across Lake Union, friends enjoying a drink at their favorite brewery, families walking their dogs around Green Lake…the list is endless.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Seattle or you’re a long-time local, take some ideas from the Parsons team on a perfect Seattle summer day:

Maddy: A walk along the waterfront at Gas Works Park, followed by coffee at Miir. Spend the afternoon at the Fremont Sunday Market scouring vintage finds and delicious food trucks. End the night with a boat ride on Lake Union and fish and chips at Ivars!

Joanie: For a fun evening or for out-of-town guests, I love taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island for dinner, followed by a ride back around sunset. My favorite spots on the island are Harbour Public House and Café Nola.

Sarah: Kayaking by Golden Gardens beach at sunset. And, more often than not, catch crab to bring home for dinner!

Eric: Morning bike ride to Alki Beach followed by a Top Pot maple bar and tea on a bench with a view of the Sound. Take in the beach volleyball, designer dogs, peacocking rollerbladers and circus bike rentals in all their glory. Return through the Locks, then hit the Ballard Farmers Market and finish with a pint at one of the many breweries in Ballard. All the best of Seattle in one ride!

Kelly: Take a day trip from Seattle to Vashon Island, Port Orchard or the San Juans! Explore a fun new town for the day – they are full of beaches, boardwalks, friendly people, cute shops, amazing seafood and great coffee.

Photo Credit: Jan Ekof

Maggy: For me, a perfect Seattle summer day consists of paddle boarding on the lake, scouring local boutiques and galleries and attending an outdoor concert at Marymoor Park. No summer is complete without visiting the San Juan Islands and grabbing ice cream in Friday Harbor. Favorite Seattle eateries: Bakery Nouveau and The Pink Door.

Lilah: Here’s one of many awesome summer days we love: First, hiking with my daughter at Cougar Mountain or another beautiful nearby spot, then heading back to the city for a picnic, followed by a sunset dinner and swimming with family or friends at Alki Beach or Lincoln Park. If I’m lucky, I might even be able to catch a late show or performance. Seattle is the best!

Natalie: Camping anywhere in the beautiful PNW with a pack of dogs, gaggle of kids and hilarious friends. Enjoying sunset cruises on our old boat. Cooking delicious meals for my family with the harvest from my urban garden.

Pam: For me, summer is all about creating magic and happiness from my local farmers market in Edmonds, and then getting outside to work off the calories! Wild King Salmon, organically grown vegetables and locally baked bread come home every week, and then I invite a lucky friend over to join me for my favorite dinner, paired with a delicious bottle of crisp white wine. Perfection!




By Kelly Jacka

Images have been used to convey concepts and experiences for a large part of human history. Our minds look for patterns and symbols to easily process information and make decisions.

With an overwhelming number of options in today’s world, it’s becoming more important to visually differentiate your brand and make it memorable. Achieving this is only possible through brand identity design, which requires elements to work together to form a distinct image of a company in our minds.

When developing a design, it is important to remember that people are visual. Our brains don’t read first; they search for shapes, colors and other elements that grab our attention. The logo is the image that captures the essence of the brand and allows consumers to make that connection.

Here are a few important aspects to consider when designing your brand’s logo:

  1. Keep it simple and easily recognizable.
    Consumers are looking for quick recognition and recall. Too much clutter in a logo makes it difficult for someone to process, reducing the chances that they’ll remember your brand. For example, when you see an apple with a bite taken out of it, chances are the multinational tech company is the first brand to come to mind.
  2. Make sure the logo is visually appealing.
    Bold colors and geometric shapes are visually pleasing to the eye and draw attention to a logo, whether the consumer is aware of it or not. Also a well-balanced and proportionate logo make sense in the viewers mind aesthetically and also are easy to enlarge or size down while remaining recognizable.
  3. All the pieces should work together.
    Most logos include both an image and written type, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the way the two balance and flow together. Both the type and imagery should work on their own, but not outshine each other when combined, which is why it’s crucial that they have the same look and feel.
  4. Hidden meanings and symbolism can strengthen a logo.
    Some of the most recognizable logos maintain hidden meanings. For example, Amazon’s logo has an arrow pointing from A to Z, symbolizing the company’s ability to ship any product, anywhere. Hidden symbols give consumers that “Aha!” moment, which allows for another level of consumer recall.

*Examples of logos done by Parsons + Co below




 



By Eric Knudson

In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare writes, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

While I don’t want to bicker with The Bard, when it comes to marketing, names definitely do matter. Names are an important way for brands to set themselves apart and can play different roles when it comes to positioning.

Names can be descriptive.
Holds Tight Glue, Easy Off Oven Cleaner, Hamburger Helper – names like this tell you what the product is or does.

Names can set expectations.
If Nordstrom were called “John and Blake’s Discount Shoe Outlet” you wouldn’t figure on a piano player, restaurant or much in the way of customer service.

Names can target a specific audience or customer.
Most 14-year old boys can’t tell you what’s in a Monster Energy Drink, but it definitely sounds like something pretty cool that their moms would hate.

There are some more practical considerations as well. When PARSONS + CO does a naming project for a client, we start with a simple list of Must Haves for any name we’re considering:

Easy to say and spell.
There’s a reason Dr. Azpilicueta calls his practice “Green Lake Dentistry.” If people regularly struggle to say or spell it, it’s not a good name.

A reasonable version of the name is available as a URL.
Come up with a great name for your business or product? Chances are someone else has the same idea. Finding a workable URL can be a real challenge as so many of the obvious names are already taken.

The name reads well as a URL.
Occasionally names sound great, but don’t work when pushed together without any spaces in a URL. Sometimes URLs can be misread; sometimes they just look bad due to weird letter combinations. It’s hard to explain, but you’ll know it when you see it.

No direct industry competition.
If you’re starting a rental car company, don’t call it “Hurtz,” or “Ayvis.” You want a name that stands out from your competition, not one that confuses people about who you are.

No similarities to well-known national or local brands.
Starting a building supply company in Seattle? Resist the temptation to call it “Starbricks.” It might seem clever to pick a name similar to a well-known company, but it’s not a good option in the long run. (And you might get a grumpy letter from their lawyers.)

Keep the lawyers happy.
A few minutes of online sleuthing can usually tell you whether the name you’re considering has any obvious red flags. But once you have a couple of finalists, it’s worth it to hire an attorney to research the name more thoroughly. It’s money well spent – and much cheaper than getting sued by someone with the same or similar name.

The last piece of advice we always give clients who are considering names is that while a good name can be a big benefit to a brand, it’s usually more important to avoid picking a bad name.

And just be glad Shakespeare didn’t call Romeo and Juliet something like “Rocky and Julie.”



By Maggy Lehmicke

Puget Sound Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship and Healthy Community Champion Awards honors local corporate philanthropists and companies that have made significant contributions to the Northwest. Following this afternoon’s luncheon, PARSONS + CO is proud to announce the company’s selection as a 2018 Healthy Community Corporate Champion in the Environment category.

PARSONS + CO was honored on-stage, alongside seven other honorees and 77 list-makers recognized for their philanthropic donations.

“I’m so honored to be recognized among this incredible group of companies,” says Joanie Parsons, founder of PARSONS + CO. “Our primary mission is to create change through our clients and our Parsons Goodworks program. Every single one of us is determined to leave a positive impact on our environment and the community.”

Congratulations to all the honorees and list-makers at this year’s event!

Honorees:

Arts & Culture | Delta Dental of Washington

Basic Needs | Campbell Auto Group

Economic Opportunity | JPMorgan Chase Co. 

Education | Laird Norton Company

Environment | Parsons + Co. 

Global Giving | Starbucks

Health & Wellness | Sugar Mountain – Beecher’s Handmade Cheese 

Neighborhoods & Communities | Windermere Real Estate



By Natalie Cheel

When most people think of branding they typically think of something visual, such as a logo or corporate colors or advertising campaign. But branding is not always just about companies. One area of branding that is frequently overlooked is the man, or woman, in the mirror. (Cue the Michael Jackson)

When people think about you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What imprint do you leave after meeting someone for the first time? Those impressions are what shapes your personal brand.

Every individual has a personal brand. It’s how people remember you and how you make them feel. It’s what you are known for and what people seek you out for. It’s about being authentic to who you are as an individual but also curating it to be your best self.

Take for example, our friend, Kim Kardashian. (Stay with me. I can see your eyes rolling.) Kim has built an empire on her personal brand. She’s been criticized for being famous for no talent, but one thing she executes beautifully is curating her image. She’s become the queen of social media by carefully selecting what images she shares and what products she endorses. Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t argue with the success of her personal branding.

If the Kardashians are not your thing, take a look at our State Senator Patty Murray. She’s been in office since 1993 and has fully embraced the ‘just another mother in tennis shoes’ perception. She’s won the trust of hundreds of thousands of voters by intentionally shaping her personal brand as a relatable person. Her annual fundraiser, fittingly named the Golden Tennis Shoe Awards, always drives her brand as a leader who authentically understands her constituents.

From what stories you share to the clothes you wear, a strong personal brand is about putting your best self forward. How you interact with people, your loyalty, and your demeanor are types of imprints that you have the opportunity to shape. With just a little intention, you can impact the perception people have of you.

So the question is, do you choose to guide and cultivate your personal brand or let others define it for you?



Spud Hilton from the San Francisco Chronicle speaking at the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima.

By Maggy Lehmicke

On behalf of PARSONS + CO and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I was lucky enough to attend the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima last month. Below are my key takeaways from the two-day event:

1. The press release is not dead.

Subject to much debate, the press release is actually not dead. According to some of the region’s top travel editors, they still often use press releases as a resource for generating new stories. The key is in the content. Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to convey? Every press release must have a story worth telling, and the less work that editors have to do with your release, the more likely they are to use it.

2. When it comes to pitching, make sure you know what each outlet covers.

A travel magazine focused on experiential, narrative pieces isn’t any more likely to write a product review than Martha Stewart Living is to run an article on the Indy 500. When you’re sending a targeted pitch, make sure you’re familiar with the different categories and sections within a publication. If you’re pitching a travel product, pay attention to the blogs that publish product reviews and the magazines that have gear editors.

3. Every story needs a specific angle.

An event announcement alone is not an angle. When you’re building pitches, make sure that you’ve thought through your specific angle in advance. Think about your niche and why your idea is relevant. For example, a list of the Northwest’s top distilleries is a story that has probably been done before, but what about a roundup of the women behind Northwest’s whiskey distilleries? Not only does the female-owned angle make it more newsworthy, but it also targets a specific niche.

4. Engagement matters more than followers.

Forming a partnership with an Instagram influencer will only benefit you if they have a loyal following. Note that I said loyal – not large. That’s because the number of followers doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming the content. Engagement not only influences the visibility of your content, but it also gauges how well the content resonates with a specific audience.

5. Know your target audience.

While getting an article published in O, The Oprah Magazine may be a dream for some, it’s not going to do much good if your primary target audience is millennials. Knowing your target audience gives you clarity on where you should be pitching and how you should be engaging. For example, millennial-oriented brands are much more likely to be active on Instagram and Twitter than their boomer-focused counterparts.

 

So what’s the moral of the story? Do your homework first. Take the time to develop strong story angles, read articles written by the people you’re pitching and research what your audience is reading. The extra time it takes will pay off in the long run!




By Maddy McAlpine

Brand positioning is key to staying relevant in today’s world of information overload. With the never-ending stream of resources available, it’s easy to be misinformed or be overwhelmed by the number of paths your brand could take.

We recommend starting with these three steps to effectively define your brand and position it for your targeted audience.

1. Embrace your competition.

There’s almost always going to be a Pepsi to your Coca-cola. A BMW to your Mercedes. It’s a hard one to accept, but almost no one offers a completely unique product or service. No matter what you are selling or offering, chances are good that you have competition.

Instead of focusing on your product, take the opportunity to focus on your competition and your audience. How are you different from your competition? And if you aren’t that different from your competition, how can you position yourself to stand out? What you learn from asking these questions can sometimes make all the difference.

2. Avoid clichés like the plague.

It’s impossible to position yourself as different or better if you are using the same tired language that everyone has heard a million times before. This includes:

  • Great customer service
  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • One-stop shop
  • Hidden gem

Vague, clichéd phrases mean virtually nothing, causing people to shut down and not be receptive to your message. The best way to gain a fresh perspective and develop strong copy is simply to hire a professional copywriter. It’s money well spent and will make your messaging clear, concise and cliché free.

3. Information is just as important as inspiration.

It’s important for your messaging to have facts mixed in with the bits and pieces of your brand that get you fired up. However, not all your potential clients will want to know the same things. And the facts that you find interesting or the things that get you fired up may not be what your clients care about.

It’s most important to look at who your clients are. What do they care about and what pieces of information are key when making the decision to choose your product or service?



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