A look back: IABC Nashville in 2020

An edited and abridged version of this article “IABC World Tour of IABC Chapters: Nashville” was published in the December 22, 2020 issue of The Bulletin, IABC’s weekly newsletter. 

Based in the heart of “Music City,” IABC Nashville is a small – but mighty – chapter that has been accomplishing impressive things, despite the global pandemic this year. Our chapter has showcased that we can accomplish anything, irrespective of our size or circumstances. Our members are diverse, representing an array of industries and backgrounds – from health care companies, public relations agencies, marketing firms, public and private corporations, government, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

Before we entered the “new normal” of Zoom meetings and virtual events, communications professionals could attend our in-person IABC Nashville events and experience true southern hospitality at its finest – something in which IABC Nashville takes great pride. Whether attending in-person or virtual, communicators can continue to make authentic and genuine connections at IABC Nashville events (and you never know, you may even meet a talented musician or songwriter there!)

Our chapter – like many others – had to shift to all virtual events in the early spring of this year, but that didn’t stop us from continuing to offer valuable networking and professional development events just like we normally would. In fact, we embraced the opportunity that virtual events provide to collaborate with others, and reach and support more people in the communications industry.

Here’s a brief recap of some of the remarkable work that IABC Nashville has accomplished this year:

Making the most of virtual reality:

  • We made a seemingly seamless pivot from 100% in-person to 100% virtual meetings and events, overcoming the challenges that accompany a change of this magnitude – like setting up a Zoom account and learning how to use it! Following two successful in-person events in January and February, our chapter hosted twelve successful online-only events this year.
  • Our July professional development workshop, “Write to Win: Mastering the Art of Award Submission Writing,” featured regional IABC awards program leaders as guest presenters, with over 130 attendees from all over the world who learned about award entry best practices. A special thanks to the IABC Southern RegionIABC AtlantaKansas City IABC, and IABC South Carolina for their collaboration and support in making this event happen.
  • In November, we broadcasted our 2020 Music City Gold Pen Awards on Facebook Live. A total of 36 awards were presented during the broadcast which was hosted by emcee Danielle Breezy, Chief Meteorologist from WKRN-TV Nashville News 2, and featured special guest singer-songwriter and American Idol semi-finalist Sarah Lake (because #MusicCity). In addition to the communications award entries, we also recognized individuals contributing to our chapter and the communications profession with our 2020 IABC Nashville Leadership Awards. This was our chapter’s first ever virtual awards program, and it was a huge success!

Using social media as a powerful tool:

  • IABC Nashville saw impressive social media growth this year, which allowed us to maintain an online connection with our members during this time of social distancing. Overall, we saw a 14% increase in Facebook followers, a 21% increase in LinkedIn followers, and a 10% increase in Twitter followers. Additionally, we reached almost 4,000 people on a single post: our virtual 2020 Music City Gold Pen Awards ceremony! We also saw increased engagement on Twitter when we started live tweeting during our professional development events. If you aren’t already, follow IABC Nashville on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter

Retaining a commitment to diversity and inclusion:

  • After the unjust murders and social injustices that have been taking place in our world, IABC Nashville reaffirmed our commitment to supporting and encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion in the regional and global communication community. Our chapter promptly developed a statement that was used by the global IABC community as well. Read the chapter’s full statement.
  • Our chapter hosted discussions with experts on critical topics such as gender identity/parity and diversity and inclusion strategy. In August, we facilitated a panel discussion titled “Talk the Talk AND Walk the Walk” where local experts shared their insights on strategic ways to create a corporate culture of diversity and inclusion – whether you’re a small business or large company. 

Seeing steady and increasing growth:

  • Despite the difficult economic situation of 2020, IABC Nashville was still able to see growth this year by recruiting new members. In fact, we were proud to be awarded with the Small Chapter Growth and Small Chapter Retention awards as part of the international October Member Month campaign.

IABC Nashville is rightly proud of what we have achieved this year and are looking forward to the future ahead. We look to continue to grow our chapter membership in 2021, and we are excited to continue engaging members, partnering with our IABC colleagues, and trying new things.

As a famous Nashvillian herself, Dolly Parton once said, “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try!”

On behalf of the IABC Nashville executive board of directors, we wish you a safe and happy new year. See you in 2021! 

Recap: “Is Your Branding Building Loyalty? Using Brand Relevance to Create Genuine (and Long-Lasting) Customer Connections”

Thank you to all that attended our final professional development event of 2020, “Is Your Branding Building Loyalty? Using Brand Relevance to Create Genuine (and Long-Lasting) Customer Connections,” featuring Jeremi Griggs, President of The J. Benjamin Group. We hope you enjoyed learning some new strategies to genuine consumer connections through authentic and innovative brand strategies. Key insights gained from this hour-long presentation include:
  • Move beyond the “curse of knowledge” to dive deeper into potential connections with your desired customer.
  • Develop a framework of discovery to uncover meaningful insights.
  • Utilize those insights to develop a central strategic platform from which growth can occur.

About the Speaker: Jeremi Griggs

Whether working on a single project or launching a fully integrated campaign, Jeremi brings 20 years of strategic marketing and advertising experience – along with a deep passion for connecting consumer behavior with business results – to every client partner.

Working in a wide range of industries from healthcare, travel and tourism, retail, cybersecurity, packaged goods and more, Jeremi understands where and how a brand is relevant to its desired customer and how best to meaningfully speak to them.

He is well known for his ability to bring key stakeholders together and collaborate with cross-functional disciplines to achieve a creative and effective marketing solution. At the same time, he never forgets to remember the joy of finding the connection between brand and consumers and the fun of building lasting connections between the two. He leads the way in passionately developing Brand Relevance for each of his clients, and has the track record to prove success.

As President of The J. Benjamin Group, he leads of team of like-minded creative problem solvers from copywriters and graphic designers to traditional and digital media specialists in order to solve client business challenges.


We are thrilled that the presenter has provided us with slides from the presentation, which can be downloaded in the link below. Also provided is a recording of the event just in case someone you know missed it.
 

Webinar Recording

Presentation Slides

 

A Season of Gratitude and Reflection

By Mollye Dietrich, 2020 IABC Nashville President
 
It’s hard to believe that we have a little over a month left of 2020! With everything that has happened over the past months, it is easy to become jaded and not find gratitude this year. Confusion, loss, and sacrifice: we have all made adjustments to this “new normal” of a global pandemic world. Like many of you, this year has taken a toll on me and has been a test on my patience and optimism. As we approach the “Season of Gratitude” with Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, I have reflected on the “little victories” of this year I have experienced that maybe you have as well.
 

Here are my Top 8 Things I’m grateful for in 2020:

1) Outdoor Walks: Going on long nature walks has been a saving grace for me during these times of the pandemic. Stepping away from my computer and iPhone to get some fresh air has given me clarity and gratitude for living in the present moment. 

2) Family Bonding: I am very blessed to be a Nashville native and have my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, plus my nieces nearby to lean on during this time. I’ve enjoyed more quality time with them than I have in the past few years, plus I have found an even deeper sense of gratitude for them.

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November Professional Development Event: Is Your Branding Building Loyalty? Using Brand Relevance to Create Genuine (and Long-Lasting) Customer Connections.

About the Event

“Brand Relevance” is a messaging approach based on a belief that long-term success begins by focusing on being relevant to your desired customer. Relevance generates genuine consumer connections. Genuine consumer connections generate value for customers. Value generates loyalty. Loyalty generates advocacy. It takes a willingness to be bold, to be focused on a single value proposition, and to have that proposition build and shape how your organization presents itself to others.

  • Move beyond the “curse of knowledge” to dive deeper into potential connections with your desired customer.
  • Develop a framework of discovery to uncover meaningful insights.
  • Utilize those insights to develop a central strategic platform from which growth can occur.

About the Speaker: Jeremi Griggs

Whether working on a single project or launching a fully integrated campaign, Jeremi brings 20 years of strategic marketing and advertising experience – along with a deep passion for connecting consumer behavior with business results – to every client partner.

Working in a wide range of industries from healthcare, travel and tourism, retail, cybersecurity, packaged goods and more, Jeremi understands where and how a brand is relevant to its desired customer and how best to meaningfully speak to them.

He is well known for his ability to bring key stakeholders together and collaborate with cross-functional disciplines to achieve a creative and effective marketing solution. At the same time, he never forgets to remember the joy of finding the connection between brand and consumers and the fun of building lasting connections between the two. He leads the way in passionately developing Brand Relevance for each of his clients, and has the track record to prove success.

As President of The J. Benjamin Group, he leads of team of like-minded creative problem solvers from copywriters and graphic designers to traditional and digital media specialists in order to solve client business challenges.

 

Free for IABC members and $15 for non-members.

 

Get Tickets

That’s a Wrap on the 2020 Music City Gold Pen Awards!

Thank you for joining us in recognizing business communicators from across Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky for their professional achievements and brand campaigns.

About the Event

IABC Nashville broadcasted the 2020 Music City Gold Pen Awards on November 2 on Facebook Live. Danielle Breezy, Chief Meteorologist from WKRN-TV Nashville News 2, served as emcee, and singer-songwriter and American Idol semi-finalist Sarah Lake was the musical guest. A total of 36 awards were presented in categories ranging from change communications to nonprofit campaigns. Photos from the awards celebration are posted here.

From Our President 

“It is an honor for our chapter to recognize these communications professionals for their outstanding work and campaigns,” said Mollye Dietrich, IABC Nashville president. “From internal communications teams to public relations agencies, this year’s group of winners displayed the very best in business communications throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky and are paving the way for our region to be recognized as one of the nation’s top locations to be a communications professional.” 

Congratulations To Our Award Winners! 

The award winners represented a range of industries, including strategic communications, public relations, non-profit, marketing, media relations, healthcare, and more. The teams at GSH Media and Keycom both took home numerous awards for their work in media relations, nonprofit campaigns, publications, audio/visual, social media programs, and special events. Words By Joe Diorio received the Best of Show award for the writing entry “A Few Words About Words” receiving the highest score out of all submissions. This year’s award winners and categories include:

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