Blog Archives

Books for marketers: The Small Big

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the big small marketing books

Expand your sphere of influence with this little book.

The Small B!g: Small changes that spark big influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini.

Recommended? Should be mandatory.

We were initially sceptical about The Small B!g. It seemed like just a moneymaker for co-authors Martin, Goldstein and Cialdini.

Not only was the title was annoying (that stupid !) the promise seemed ambitious. Can tiny differences in the way we speak, write, present, pitch or behave really yield such positive results for marketers and persuaders?

However its authors have rare pedigree. Cialdini is the author of Influence and Yes among other best-sellers which justified the pre-flight purchase. By the time of my arrival I was a smarter communicator. (Or it might have just been the high-altitude wine and crackers.)

If you are a marketer, fundraiser, public speaker, copywriter, salesperson of any variety you need to read this. It will make you richer, more successful, more influential. What’s more, it will make you reconsider how you communicate.

There are 52 pithy chapters in this upbeat book each highlighting a small change to business-as-usual that can yield great results. Chapters are short and sweet, referencing scientific experiments proving the hypothesis. Some readers, like us, might find the experiments less than scientific in nature.

Can two groups of 21-year-old sociology students really represent the population more broadly?

review the big small

Co-author Robert Cialdini. Warning: this man is enviably manipulative.

Indeed too much of the advice in The Small B!g is based on twee, artificial, campus-based social experiments. You know the deal – a researcher fed one group chocolate chip cookies and another group salty crackers before giving them all 20 hypothetical dollars to give away to random strangers before drawing a long bow and declaring that feeding people sweet foods makes the more philanthropic than savoury.

We are far from the only grumps to have had enough of ‘experiments’ that are supposed to inform the way we market and live. Many social experiments have recently come under criticism for not being replicable – one of the fundamentals of science but we digress

Many of the findings in The Small B!g are counterintuitive. Why would any marketer chose not to highlight the full range of benefits on offer? According to the authors, science tells us that consumers devalue your offering when confronted with a litany of benefits. They subconsciously “average out” the benefits diminishing the perceived value of their favoured benefits by considering the lack of appeal of the least favoured benefit. Perhaps throwing in those extra steak knives isn’t so alluring after all.

There’s a lot to learn in the books 250 or so pages. Concepts such as the “peak-end effect”, “duration neglect” are worth knowing. There are chapters on creating greater customer loyalty, staff motivation, creative thinking and negotiation.

Every fundraiser should read chapter 40 titled: How can the small act of unit-asking make a big difference to your appeals? It’s one of the chapters that contains real world evidence.

If you face a challenge of getting people to turn up to their appointments (community health services, VET providers et al) turn straight to chapter 8: What small bigs can persuade people to keep their appointments with you?

If you’re tired of chasing people for overdue payments (tell us about it) you can learn from the often-told story of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs cunning copywriting approach which led to the collection of over $1 billion unpaid tax revenue. That’s just chapter 1.

We read an awful lot about leadership these days – most of it amounting to little more than a picture and a quote. This book can give people techniques that will help on a daily basis. It is very practical. Whether it lives up to its promise of small change / big impact remains to be seen.

The Small B!g certainly gave us pause for thought and will influence some of our upcoming copywriting and Facebook advertising.

freakonomics books for marketers

Read it. Think it.

The Small B!g shares a sensibility with another book we’ve reviewed here: Freakonomics. Put simply, the authors believe that people’s behaviour is not set in stone but instead can be influenced by the triggers you pull, buttons you push and incentives you offer.

The Freakonomics series, like this book, will have you excited at the possibilities that thoughtful adjustment to your words, presentations, work habits and interactions can make, whether that be on a personal or global scale.

And don’t forget our review of Talk Like Ted.

2016 media hit target reached by mid January.

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What’s your target for media coverage in 2016?

getting media coverage

Nice hit. Could have been yours.

United Way Australia wanted to double its coverage to 120 or so media hits. This is ambitious for a tiny organisation, that’s complex to define, with no dedicated publicist and no particular media profile. Very ambitious.

Still, we recognised United Way Australia’s media potential when we trained them on December 16. They had some projects on the ground, a fresh approach, a range of experts on staff and a passion for childhood literacy. The day was divided between Media Savvy (to gain more media opportunities) and Speak Savvy (to train spokespeople to make the most of each media interview).

You know that ambitious media target for 2016? It’s already been hit.

Since our workshop on December 16 United Way Australia has scored hits with ABC Radio National Breakfast, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian. Oh – and 139 local papers nationally.  Hits with Lateline, Daily Telegraph and other News Corp publications are en route. Opinion pieces have been drafted, new media relationships have been forged.

What would that be worth to you?

So what’s behind the spike in coverage?

  • Recognition that media coverage could help United Way Australia in its mission.
  • Realisation that what they knew and what they had to say was media-worthy.
  • Courage to get into the media fray.
  • Prioritisation on how time would be spent.
  • Strong opinions backed with real world experience.
  • New skills and perspective from our training along with regular use of our free follow-up coaching.
media training melbbourne

One day, much coverage.

We may have created a media monster. Good.

You should be getting more media coverage too. No more excuses.

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Lessons from Jim Carrey’s 90 second Golden Globe speech

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Golden Glpobe speech by Jim Carrey

His speech was as immaculate as his tux.

Mathematically speaking, giving a short, sharp speech, such as an introduction, should be much easier than giving a whole speech. But it isn’t. Actor, comedian Jim Carrey nailed his 90 seconds in the spotlight at this week’s Golden Globe awards.

Critics described it as his best work in years. There are lessons for anyone who presents. The video is below but first, here’s why  it’s so damn good:

1. He doesn’t waste time at the beginning. Just two syllables, “Thankyou” by way of introduction. It’s as if he was midway through a thought and just started speaking in the microphone to continue it with the rest of the room. That’s very Ted. Yes he does give his name and credentials at the start but’s that really part of his act.

2. His approach, his tone is self-deprecating, knowing and tongue-in-cheek. This approach almost always works but gets triple points in an environment which is self-important and self-congratulatory.

3. It’s very funny – and everybody loves funny. Note: not everybody is a globally recognised comedian however much of Carrey’s humour in this instance stems from his approach. (See point number two.) For people who take humour seriously at 20 seconds in Carrey uses an exquisite turn of phrase when he describes sleeping as “well-needed shut-eye”. Later he uses the phrase “No sir”. It is hard to explain why these phrases make his speech more funny but they do.

4. He absolutely connects to his audience when 40 or so seconds in he reveals his naked ambition and desire for self-fulfilment in a room of highly ambitious and presumably unfulfilled fellow celebrities. They understand him and he shows that he understands them. Coming from one of their own, they are only too happy to have a laugh at themselves. Note – I am yet to meet an audience that doesn’t actively enjoy having a laugh at itself. You won’t either

5. Jim is not afraid to pause. You might use a pause to let a laugh slowly fade or to emphasise an important point.

6. There is also a generous amount of eye contact to people in all parts of the room.

7. He is also wearing an exquisitely tailored tux. And one hell of a beard.

Watch it yourself.

If you want to be a better public speaker investigate our Present Savvy workshops which are available anywhere anytime on request.

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PR pros should expand their media diet

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pr tips for publicists

As niche as it gets.

Many of us have pledged fidelity to a healthier diet in 2016.  One secret to a healthier physique is to broaden one’s diet. You know – by consuming something beyond carbohydrates and Barcardi Breezers.

Professionally speaking, some of us have pledged to gain more media hits this year. One way to a healthier media profile is to broaden one’s media consumption.

This bizarre magazine on the left- focussing on the lifestyles of Japanese construction workers - got us thinking about the many off-Broadway media opportunities that exist for publicists.

Brett will train dozens of publicists this year and he’ll ask most of them for their media consumption habits. Some folk don’t wander beyond beyond commercial TV and FM radio – the media versions of empty-calories. Oh dear.

If you are to be a savvy publicist you need to deliberately expand your media consumption so you can familiarise yourself with new media opportunities.

Do you read the tabloids? How about the Weekend Australian including all its supplements? Ever grab a copy of the Australian Financial Review? You should as there’s some good reading there. If you’re an ABC devotee you need to turn the dial to the commercial powerhouses. Don’t worry – you just need to listen long enough to be familiar with the program, the segments and the presenters.

Many PR folk are comfortable with local media but count themselves out of state-wide media opportunities and still fewer feel they have something to offer national media outlets. Au contraire! Tip – don’t count yourself out; let the journalist say “no”.

Radio remains under-utilised in general. Hint – radio offers the most opportunities and is most likely to say: “Yes” to your pitch. And don’t forget weekend programming.

Ask yourself: Can I find ABC Radio National on the radio?

If not, you may wish consider a career change (management perhaps?) If yes, ask yourself:

How many programs on that network can I name?

There are some specialist shows about religion, foreign relations, books & arts,  music, philosophy, regional life along with many general programs. RN is a sea of tax-payer subsidised opportunity. Big audiences too!

ABC NewsRadio. See two questions above.

And you do pitch to AM / PM and The World Today, right? Right?

pr training workshop melbourne

Introverted accountant type people love to read.

Do you pitch to / consider trade publications? Some of these babies – such as Australian Human Resource Institute’s HR Monthly or the CPA’s In The Black are HUGE within their industry and might be the way into the hearts and minds of the right people. Is reaching any particular profession important to you? Every major profession has a dominant publication or website.

Free glossies: Every major city has a number of free glossy weekly magazines usually servicing more socially upward locations. They revolve around real estate but there’s editorial too.

Other magazines that are rarely considered are the membership magazines that come from insurers, automobile clubs such as the NRMA, unions, government departments supermarkets, frequent flyer and other loyalty programs and in-flight magazines. If none of these hold promise for you, quit today.

Did you ever call up radio news rooms? Not radio programs – aim for the poor suckers who put together the news. The news bulletins are the most listened-to minutes of the radio hour and – we promise – the most likely media opportunity to get you a Yes. Stations that have no news-based talk radio content may still feature you as part of their news bulletin. Huge opportunities are calling out for you on the hour every hour.

What about big online brands such as Mamma Mia or Mumbrella? These have big readerships and outsized influence with traditional media. Are there any significant bloggers or social media stars relating to your sector?

What about podcasts? Are there any podcasters who talk about your issues? Pitch to them. You’ll make their day!

What about writing opinion pieces? Thanks to publications including The Guardian, Daily Mail and Huffington Post Australian editions there is a dramatically increased appetite for opinion pieces from experts and people with insights. PS: another reason that opinion pieces are so popular is that they are cheap for publishers.

Public radio has some significant players. Melbourne is blessed with Triple R (all manner of specialist talk shows) SYN (youth affairs) PBS and 3CR (big on politics, Indigenous affairs, arts). Some of these smaller players may be a way for you to rack-up some air miles for inexperienced talent.

media training melbbourne

One day, much coverage.

If this little blog post helped you be a better publicist imagine what a magical day together could do. Join us in Melbourne on January 28 at Media Savvy. More media coverage or your money back. Book your own anytime, anywhere.

 

new marketing savvy workshop website join the internet

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marketing workshop in melbourne

Visit our Marketing Savvy website for all the details.

Finally something worth looking at has hit the internet. We speak of the standalone website for Marketing Savvy. The workshop is available to anyone, anywhere anytime but we’re also staging a public session in Melbourne on Tuesday February 9 2016. Join us super quick and we might just double your coaching.

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Public marketing and communications training workshops in Melbourne

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Hootville announces new dates for four more public workshops in Melbourne aimed at marketers, communicators and media spokespeople.

If you run an NFP, government authority or small business this is for you. And yes – you can book a workshop for your own organisation anytime and yes, we will be bringing these to Sydney in 2016.

media training workshop

The worm awaits.

Earlybird bonus: the first four people to book for each session will have their follow-up coaching period doubled. That can mean two years of free coaching.

Media Savvy is for publicists and all those who desire a share of the media spotlight. Thursday January 28, 2016. What’s regular media coverage worth to you? (One earlybird place remaining as of December 21.)

Marketing Savvy is for marketerssalespeople, one-person businesses and CEOs.  Tuesday February 23, 2016. Get to know your own brand, your audience and your marketing options. (Earlybirds remain as of Dec 21.)

Online Savvy for those who manage websites, eMarketing and social media; Tuesday March 1, 2016. Because the internet isn’t just a phase we’re going through. (One earlybird place remains as of Dec 21.)

Speak Savvy media training for media spokespeople; Thursday March 3, 2016. Learn to inspire, persuade as well as inform. (Earlybirds remain as of Dec 21.)

This is the same training delivered to the Australian Swim Team, Al Gore Climate Reality Training Corp, Australian Conservation Foundation, Landcare, WWF, Berry Street, Australian Red Cross, Fundraising Institute of Australia, Sustainability Victoria, Finance Sector Union, St Vincent Institute, Australian Climate Commission, Netball Australia, endless local governments and hundreds more organisations.

Trainer Brett de Hoedt delivered a half-day marketing session to members of Vicsports in November 2015. Here’s some of the feedback:

“A fabulous session.”

“I could have listened all day – engaging, informative and entertaining!”

“I laughed so much and learnt a great deal also and you cant get better than that!!”

“What an informative and interactive session you delivered yesterday!”

“Loved your presentation.”.

“Learnt so much.”

All workshops feature:

  • practical, actionable, proven advice;
  • endless Q&A;
  • follow-up coaching;
  • tantilising early bird offers;
  • small classes, delightful venue and supportive colleagues;
  • comprehensive notes;
  • a culture that is energetic and challenging;
  • a range of fees to suit you.

We rarely offer public training workshops, so take advantage of these opportunities. Of course you can always email or call 0414 713 802 to request a private session.

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How to create a marketing plan

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We hate creating marketing plans. It’s boring and requires concentration spans extending into the several-minutes-long category.

developing a small business marketing plan

Is there a marketing plan to rule them all?

However creating a marketing plan avoids constant second-guessing, reduces unexpected spikes in workload and can ensure that what needs the most marketing gets the most investment. So stop complaining and get on with it.

A good marketing plan should encapsulate everything that markets you or communicates about you to the world. This ranges from the obvious – direct mail, websites, email and social media – to the less obvious options including: events, webinars, eBooks, award ceremonies, lectures that you stage, expos at which you exhibit, conferences at which you present, media coverage you may seek, letterboxing and face-to-face marketing.

Your marketing plan might detail the 12 attention-grabbing email signatures that your staff will roll out across the year, how you’ll promote events via signage on your building and the themes of your constantly evolving messages-on-hold.

It’s all marketing. get it right and you’ll have bottoms on seats, gold in your coffers and a place in people’s hearts.

Before you open up that Excel spreadsheet and start developing your marketing plan consider that this is your opportunity to:

  • review and prioritise your audiences;
  • review and prioritise your offerings / campaigns / initiatives;
  • review the effectiveness of each aspect of your marketing;
  • create new marketing initiatives and kill the duds.

1. Reviewing and prioritising your audiences

Some marketers want to reach everybody. This is impossible. Be ruthless – if parents can have favourite children, marketers can favour certain audiences.

It’s too easy to keep aiming for the same people year in, year out. Savvy marketers separate audiences and create specific marketing initiatives for valuable audiences, even if they are small in number.

Take this typical audience: lapsed or former clients / donors / students / members.

A savvy marketer investigates this audience and reviews her marketing plan with the question: “Do we have anything that will connect to this audience?”

If not, she must create a piece of marketing to do just that. That might be a piece of direct mail, be a free webinar, a business breakfast, phone calls from her CEO to the individuals. The choice is up to her but she must be sure that the initiative is shamelessly tailored to that audience as one size rarely fits all.

volunteer recruitment marketing

Target thy audience with new, tailored marketing initiatives.

We ran a marketing workshop for a large division of the Country Fire Authority which is Australia’s largest volunteer-based organisation. The CFA division was keen to recruit more women but we soon realised that there were few, if any, effective marketing options aimed at the target group.

We advised that a series of face-to-face events would be wise, featuring women volunteers as speakers. A public event would also immediately enable prospective volunteers to meet other women in a similar situation, creating a peer group.

The timing of the event was important as was the provision of childcare. And yes, there should be some champagne served. Sexist maybe – but effective.

We recommended reaching women en masse via female-only gyms and schools. It’s all seemingly simple but has to be thought through and cleverly executed.

At a recent Sports Without Borders conference representatives of Cricket Victoria advised us that they were missing out on the massive influx of cricket-loving Indian and Sri Lankans.

These prospective club cricketers preferred their own company and casual matches in public ovals as opposed to the regimen of club cricket.

Our advice – hit the parks whenever and wherever the prospects gather with a sub-continental-savvy promotional person who is ready to address the concerns of this audience.

We also suggested that they create a special event for this audience and work with clubs to make them more welcoming of this stream of talent when they show up for the all-important first training session. Clubs would be well served to read this blog post as they have some well-founded anxieties to address.

Finally – find this audience where they gather. In the case of newly arrived Indians and Sri Lankans that may be care of certain RTOs, workplaces and professional organisations.

2. Review and prioritise your offerings / campaigns / initiatives

As with audiences, not all your services, products, campaigns, initiatives are created equal. We regularly see some marketing initiatives (AGMs, annual reports) receive a far greater share of marketing resources than is justified.

When allocating precious resources to market certain activities ask:

  • can marketing make this activity significantly more successful or is its likely success beyond the influence of marketing due to factors such as cost, location or market demand?
  • can marketing help us make a lot more money than we might otherwise make?
  • does this activity hold special significance?

When the answer is yes, go crazy. If not, consider a minimal effort.

building a marketing plan

We’ve downgraded priority on Facebook and upped investment into LinkedIn.

3. Review the effectiveness of each marketing initiative

Few of us have time to pursue all the marketing channels open to us so we’ve created this table to help you choose more objectively. Too often marketers waste time and money on channels that don’t really create an impact. “We’ve always done it that way,” is not a marketing mantra.

Start by listing your marketing options across the top. Then work through the criteria giving a rating from very negative (—) to very positive (+++).

Hopefully you’ll compare a dozen or more channels rating each as appropriate. We explain each criterion and more below.

Media Website Events Awards Paid advertising
Cost / value +++
Existing / learnable skills =
Ongoing growth -
Appropriate to audience +
Time & effort / reward ratio ++
Control / guarantee of delivery +
Ability to time the marketing to suit you. =
Speedy communications option? =
Risk -
Longevity -
Saves us money +
Kudos / influence ++
Ongoing commitment required -

Cost / value – quite simply is it worth the money? Is it worth the time? Have you ever estimated how much each marketing option is costing you? Do it.
Data – online communications let you know if they are effective, print publications do not. Generally speaking we prefer to know if what we are doing works.

Existing / learnable skills – can you internally develop the right skills to execute the option well? Can you afford to outsource them?

Ongoing  growth – some channels such as eMarketing and websites can continue to grow in power if executed properly. Brochures don’t.

Appropriate to audience – will the channel work for your particular audiences. Perhaps you’ll adopt one option for just one particular audience.

Control / guarantee of delivery – media coverage is never guaranteed. A brochure is. Events can be rained out, your website remains entirely within your control.

Complexity – some options such as events are more complicated than other options. Is it worth it?

Ability to time the marketing to suit you – direct mail can be timed, media coverage less so.

Speedy communications option? It is great to have some quick options in your arsenal. eMarketing scores well in this regard.

Risk – staging events is risky as you may not be able to guarantee bums on seats.

Longevity – a brochure can serve you for years. Tweets disappear into cyberspace. An eBook could gain you credibility and emails for years.

Saves us money – don’t forget that some channels in which you initially invest money (websites, eNewsletters) can save you money longer term.

Kudos / influence – media coverage makes you important and creates influence, library displays don’t.

Ongoing commitment – some channels such as social media need repeated investment of time.

Geographic specificity – you might have a very specific location to which you market. Letterboxing, street signage or face-to-face marketing might target your locality very well.

small business marketing plan

Some new initiatives – such as eBooks – will provide a long term ROI.

4. Create new marketing initiatives and kill the duds

Having considered your audiences and your marketing options you have some decisions to make. Are you going to jettison some marketing options that you are currently using? We hope so. Similarly, we hope you will take up some new options and target some new audiences.

 

 

 

 

Features of a good marketing plan:

  • schedules in the little stuff
  • flexibility
  • hits all priority audiences and initiatives
  • guides editorial content for the year

 

how to create a marketing plan

The little stuff matters, if only to maximise the benefit of the big stuff.

Scheduling in the little stuff: it’s tempting to just detail the big stuff – blog posts, email updates, twice yearly direct mail to solicit donations etc – but you need to budget in the time to attend to the small stuff too.

The small stuff might include: quarterly keyword research to help get better Google results, a cleaning out of dead email addresses, reporting, a blitz on updating the website, hiring a photographer, market research, planning editorial content etc.

This will help you (and the boss) understand the workload you have in front of you. It also makes ongoing improvement more likely.

creating a marketing plan

Flexibility is more than just cute, it’s vital in a marketing plan.

Flexibility: if your marketing plan requires 100% of your time and energy you won’t have room to deal with unexpected opportunities or dramas. You also won’t get a break.

Hits all priority audiences and initiatives: when your plan is complete you should be comforted to see that everything will be covered in accordance to its priority. If in doubt look at your plan (which will likely be a spreadsheet) and ask: “Does this marketing plan sufficiently target audience A?” “Are we marketing enough to support initiative B?” You should also be able to look at the plan and answer the question: “Are we utilising channel X well enough?”

Guides editorial content for the year: Editorial content should be guided by and support your marketing goals.  A good clear marketing plan can help instruct your content creator. For instance if July is your big membership renewal period you need to create suitable content across various channels in the lead up. You might instruct your copywriter to create a series of 12 posts about the benefits of membership to be rolled out via LinkedIn. If your annual lecture is in September you might tweet out 10 factoids about the speaker in the lead up. You get the idea.

marketing plan sample

Looks like someone has a lot of work to do.

OK – so start creating your marketing plan spreadsheet. Place months or weeks along the vertical axis, marketing options across the top. Use the first column to list the activity / product / campaign you are trying to promote.

Add all the small, supporting activity around the big stuff. Estmate time required. It might take six hours to write a brief and meet with three photographers. That one full working day! Always remember that everything takes longer than you’d reasonably expect so start activities early.

Hope this helps. Goodluck with your marketing plan.

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Public speaking tip: framing your messages

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This new video for public speakers outlines a simple way to increase the chance that you maintain control and deliver your key messages during your next presentation.

Become a more perceptively better presenter by attending our upcoming Present Savvy workshop at Melbourne’s Hotel Lindrum Wednesday November 11.

New standalone Copy Savvy website

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copywriting courses in melbourne

Our new Copy Savvy site explains all.

Copy Savvy – our heralded copywriting workshop for the real world - has its own dedicated website. Enjoy.

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Meet Mercer PR the pro Nauru PR company

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pr companies

Physician heal thyself.

What a stupid mistake to make Mercer PR.

And more to the point Mercer PR – what a crappy way to make a living. From the Mercer PR website:

We assist our clients to minimise adverse publicity and are called upon to deal with issues and crises when company, executive or personal reputations are at risk. 

Fact: most companies, executives or people in crisis deserve to be in crisis. Especially the sort who get help from global PR firms such as Mercer PR.

Pro-tip: it’s possible to say no to a prospective client Mercer PR.

pr campaigns

Professionals parlaying their reputation. Setting a precedent?

Good to see other professionals unite and use their collective power for good.

 

 

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