In Part II of the Clarity Pumpkin Spice Index, the recent declines in pumpkin spice (PS)-related media coverage led me to hypothesize that, perhaps, people are remembering they like hot chocolate more. But the fact is, quantity of media coverage does not necessarily relate to consumption levels. To get a better idea of whether that is or isn’t the case, we decided to dig up some real people pumpkin spice season (RPPSS) data.

According to a survey conducted by spice brand Spice Islands, 46 percent of Americans consume more PS-flavored products during fall than they do chocolate products. How much chocolate those people consume year ‘round wasn’t disclosed, so we can’t accurately say they like PS better than chocolate.

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Today, Clarity is proud to announce a few pieces of exciting news. First and foremost is the official launch of our Financial Services and Venture Capital Practice.

Under the leadership of industry veteran Michael Celiceo, the practice will operate globally in cooperation with our teams in London, New York and San Francisco. They’ve already signed on some fantastic clients, including BootstrapLabs, PIVA, Scrum Ventures, Even and Monzo.

In other news, we’ve added have some key hires joining our executive team. In the role of CFO is Jason Stark, a seasoned expert in the needs of international organizations who also has significant experience with mergers and acquisitions. He’s an incredible talent who is sure to play a critical role as we continue to grow globally.

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Believe it or not, Starbucks didn’t invent pumpkin spice. McCormick did. Still, Starbucks, or more accurately, their brilliant marketing of the pumpkin spice latte (PSL), is likely responsible for making it synonymous with fall. And with coffee.

As we delve deeper into the media coverage this Pumpkin Spice Season (PSS), we noticed that, from a brand perspective, Starbucks owns the PSS conversation. As the chart below shows, as far as quantity of coverage is concerned, Starbucks’ share of voice dwarfs that of other hot seasonal products. Dunkin’ barely registered on our chart, and it’s the most challenger-ing of all the PS beverage purveyors.

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We all know about Christmas creep – and, in fact, it’s probably our colleagues in marketing who are behind it – but this year we had another “season” start prematurely: Pumpkin Spice Season (PSS).

It’s mostly Starbuck’s “fault” that we have PSS to begin with. Still, they’re certainly not the only brand pushing the taste (and smell) of that (in)famous blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

This year, I decided to take a look at the media coverage of all things pumpkin spice (PS) to see what trends I can schuss out. I admit, the endeavor is a bit like a pumpkin spice Oreo: not really necessary, but kinda good in its own way.

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I was invited by my pal Jeanne Meyer, founder of Watch This Space and advisor to Venwise, a membership-based community for C-level executives, to join a roundtable for a number of CMOs. With me was my old friend, Laura Nelson, Chief Communications Officer at Nielsen, and Steph Tuck, VP of Comms at PopSugar, to provide an insider perspective on PR dos and don’ts.

With marketing leaders from innovative brands including insurance marketplace Policygenius, healthy dog food brand Ollie, home services marketplace Handy, flexible spending shop FSAStore.com and premium custom menswear company Knot Standard, I was excited about hearing their questions and doing my best to answer them.

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Among the things I’m known for at Clarity is my ability to write winning award nominations for clients, as well as for our agency. It’s not something every agency does, and, as far as I can tell, it’s not something most PR professionals perceive as a core competency. But everyone loves winning, right? So, perhaps we should elevate the craft to one on par with press release writing and other staples of the PR trade.

Now, I’ve had a lot of practice putting award entries together throughout my career, and because of that I’m more comfortable and confident when doing them. But practice, in this case, at least, doesn’t make perfect. It’s made me faster, but not necessarily better. What has really improved my nominations is the experience I’ve had judging other nominations.

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Recently, I was lucky enough to be speaker at The PRCA’s first international event, entitled “PR and Communications in a Shrinking World – How to Make Best Practice Work Across Borders.” This one-day conference focused on topics relevant to communicators in the increasingly-globalized business environment, with discussions on diversity, cross-cultural communications, and, of course, Brexit.

My panel, “Going Global,” had myself and several other international agency executives sharing our personal experiences and advice on how to successfully work on international business. When asked for the secret to running global campaigns, it occurred to me that, while it’s very easy to focus on what makes communications around the world different, the real trick is to focus on what makes us the same.

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We’re really pleased to announce that Clarity is now providing pro bono PR support to not-for-profit organisation, the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN).

CAN was created to ensure the advertising industry follows ethical best practices, especially in technology becomes a bigger and bigger part. There are currently 30 member companies from the spectrum of stakeholder groups, including such notable names as Accenture Interactive, method, The Body Shop, VaynerMedia, KIND and Fenestra.

Clarity first worked with CAN on the official launch event earlier this year, and the response was incredible. We had a standing room only crowd with guests from every corner of the advertising and media industries, and we got great coverage from Campaign, The Drum and Marketing Week.

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It was gorgeous and hot, just as you’d imagine the French Riviera to be in June, helped somewhat by the wretched weather back home.

The Mediterranean mercilessly calling you to ignore the sessions you said you would attend, the Croisette packed with the bold and the beautiful⁠—this is where the Maxi dress takes on an entire life form of it’s own. And the rosé really does flow all day. Locating drinking water was something akin to finding Wally in a sea of bubbles and straws.

And yet, I’ve returned underwhelmed and perhaps a little embarrassed.

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Three questions to Volker Schmidt and Alexander Fink on the new powerhouse for IT and disruption PR

Akima Media and Clarity PR have announced their cooperation. It will create a new full-service provider of PR and digital communications consulting in the DACH region, with an international network for extensive national and international client support in more than 20 markets worldwide. That is good reason to talk about the new setup with the two directors. Who benefits and how? What precisely is the business model and why are new agencies needed in the first place?

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