It should go without saying.

It should go without saying: Black Lives Matter.

Black lives matter. It should go without saying, but unfortunately, it still doesn’t.

White Americans have systematically oppressed and weaponized black bodies for over 400 years and continue doing so today. It’s not up to the black community to dismantle these racist systems and beliefs. It’s up to all of us. That starts with acknowledging the problems and becoming a part of the solutions.

While we can never fully understand the hardships and fears felt by our black communities, we are committed to listening and learning. Here are some of the resources we’re finding helpful. Hopefully you will too. And once we know more, it’s up to us to do better. All of us. Every day. In big gestures and small interactions.

  1. Check out:
    1. Anti-racism resources” by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
    2. 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice“ by Corinne Shutack
    3. White people, here’s how we can try to be better allies and proactively anti-racist“ by Chloe Laws
    4. 11 Shows and Documentaries to Help You Learn About Racial Justice and Police Brutality“ by Malcolm Venable
  2. Read:
    1. “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo
    2. “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
    3. “How to be Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
  3. Listen:
    1. “The Nod” by Gimlet
    2. “Code Switch” by NPR
    3. “1619” by NYT
  4. Watch:
    1. “Dear White People” by Justin Simien
    2. “13th” by Ava DuVernay
    3. “The Hate U Give” by George Tillman Jr.

Educate your children.

  1. Read “These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids“ with NYT
  2. Listen to “How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race“ with NPR
  3. Tune in to TODAY’s “How to talk to kids about racism, protests and injustice

Follow the conversation and its leaders.  

  1. Rachel Cargle is an academic and an activist. She just released Public Address on Revolution: Revolution Now.
  2. Ibram X. Kendi is Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He recently wrote The American Nightmare for The Atlantic.
  3. Opal Tometi is a globally recognized human rights advocate and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. Tune in to her TED interview with fellow BLM founders, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors.
  4. Read President Barack Obama’s “How to Make this Moment the Turing Point for Real Change“ for Medium.
  5. Deray McKesson is a civil rights activist, author of “On the Other Side of Freedom” and former school administrator who launched Campaign Zero.
  6. Black leaders compiled a recommended list of books and more for white Coloradans.

Support Black-owned businesses.

  1. 303 Magazine: “275+ Black Owned Businesses to Support in and Around Denver
  2. KXAN: “Austin-area, black-owned businesses to support
  3. Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce: Member Directory
  4. Greater Austin Black Chamber: Member Directory
  5. Colorado Black Arts Festival: July 10, 11 and 12

Donate your time and money.
As a company, SideCar PR made donations to each of these organizations this week.

  1. #BlackLivesMatter started in 2013 following the murder of Trayvon Martin. The movement is committed to “struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”
  2. Campaign Zero provides policy solutions for limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability.
  3. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) urges Congress to protect black lives and civil rights through legislative action.
  4. Donations to Colorado Freedom Fund help pay bail and post money bonds for people who are unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom.
  5. The Austin Justice Coalition is a Racial Justice Group that educates and builds community power for people of color who live in Austin, Texas.

Support policy change.

  1. Colorado Democrats unveil sweeping police accountability bill in response to George Floyd’s death by The Colorado Sun
  2. Colorado’s State Primary Election voting ends on June 30
  3. Texas’ Runoff Ballot Election voting is in July 
  4. Know your elected officials in Austin and Denver

At SideCar, we recognize it’s a privilege to be able to educate ourselves about racism instead of experiencing it. And we know that education is just the first step in showing up for the black community. Changing things will require persistence and action long-term. We welcome your input on this journey. Have some additional resources or advice to share? We’re listening.

Happy Hours with a Purpose: A Time to Connect, Learn and Support One Another

In March, when the COVID-19 outbreak meant we could no longer gather in person, SideCar PR began hosting weekly virtual happy hours open for any and all to join.

Room for Milly

From the beginning, these happy hours were an opportunity to take a breath, laugh and meaningfully connect with each other and our community. Understanding how many companies had been impacted by the stay-at-home orders, they also became a way to shine a spotlight on some of our community’s incredible small businesses.

Each week, we would choose a business to feature and randomly select an attendee to receive a gift card in support of that business. Over the course of two months, we were able to provide almost $1,000 to some of our favorite locales!

We kicked things off with Bigsby’s Folly, a winery in RiNo. During week two, we featured Rioja, a SideCar favorite on Larimer Square. The next few weeks included Oliva, a new Italian spot in Wash Park, Room for Milly and Blue Sparrow Coffee by Mainspring, and then Raíces Brewing Co. in Sun Valley. The following week, we supported Eat Denver’s initiative, #DoubleDownDenver. Bent Fine Jewelry and Azomalli, both great friends to SideCar, were the next two businesses we featured. At our grand finale happy hour, we splashed into summer by featuring another favorite on the block, Tamayo, as well as Chook Charcoal Chicken. Cheers to margs and fried chicken!

While we know this was just one small way we could contribute, we are thankful to everyone who attended and helped support these small businesses. It was inspiring to learn how each of them have adapted during this time, and we encourage all of our fellow Denverites to go out and support local businesses however you can!

Supporting Local Nonprofits During COVID-19

Since March, SideCar PR has offered free communications support to local nonprofits in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. As this unprecedented situation unfolded, organizations had to change their operations overnight. From in-person programs going virtual to new offerings for students, we helped multiple nonprofits reach their communities during this critical time.

We’d love to share an update on some of the incredible organizations we have worked with over the past month and a half.

Think 360 Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves K-12 schools and other community venues through teacher training, students services and public awareness programs, engaged us to help spread the word about their new virtual learning platform, Teaching Artist TV. Read more about this free and accessible online platform in Westword.

We consulted with local nonprofit Colorado Technology Association, who sought advice on adapting their communications strategy during COVID-19. For over 25 years, this organization has been viewed as a trusted resource and advocate for their members, and when COVID-19 began affecting companies of all kinds, they needed to showcase this leadership more than ever. Developing a communications strategy to keep their audiences informed about COVID-19’s effect on the technology community was the first step in helping them continue to be a key advocate and leader for their membership base.

It was a joy to help Cherry Creek Schools District get the word out about their school supply drive, which received coverage in Denver7. As students transitioned from a classroom to remote learning environment, schools needed to find creative ways to provide the basics for their students – pens, pencils, notebooks and more. With the help of volunteers and supply donations, hundreds of kits were assembled and distributed to students. 

When the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) reached out, we were honored to help them think through a new approach to their communications function as they were gearing up to take all of their community programs virtual. Getting key internal stakeholders aligned was the first step to being able to effectively continue their mission to enable Latinx individuals and their families to lead safe, healthy, self-determined lives.

All of these organizations are truly making a difference in our communities, and we enjoyed the opportunity to lend our expertise to help them.

Do you know of a nonprofit that needs communications support?

Email us at hello@sidecarpr.com.

Best Practices for Communicating About COVID-19

Today, effective communication is more important than ever.

As COVID-19 impacts more people and businesses every day, SideCar PR is here to help guide you through how to communicate during these challenging times. While the type and frequency of communications will evolve over time, the way you respond now has a lasting impact.

We’ve put together some best practices for communicating with your audiences – from employees to tenants to investors to partners – when dealing with a crisis like COVID-19.

  1. Take a breath.

We know these challenging times can feel overwhelming. It’s important to stay calm and take a moment of pause before acting. Additionally, well-respected organizations and leaders have the opportunity to set the tone for how their employees and communities will feel about and respond to a situation.

2. Gather (accurate) information.

During times of crisis and panic, news travels particularly fast as more and more new information is released in real-time. This has been evident during the entire COVID-19 timeline. It is important to rely on information from trusted sources such as the medical community and government officials.

3. Consider your specific audiences

Different audiences require different messages in times of crisis. While there needs to be a core message that is woven throughout all of your communications (health and wellbeing should remain a top priority), consider what is most important to a particular audience and lead with that.

4. Be clear, concise and empathetic

Especially when there is a global crisis like a pandemic, people are absorbing more content than normal. In all of your communications, be clear and to the point, while never sacrificing the chance to show someone you’re listening. Empathy during these times will help people feel calm and confident that you know what you’re doing and have their best interests in mind.

5. Be consistent and available

Keep your audience updated as new information evolves. Keep the lines of communication open and respond quickly to all incoming questions and comments.

6. Build camaraderie during ‘social distancing’

As we all move into a more virtual world, consider how your communications efforts can help people feel more connected. Just because we are socially distant doesn’t mean we can’t be social. We are privileged to have the technology that can help us create and build connections in new and creative ways. Plan virtual happy hours with clients, employees and partners and leverage social media to provide services online. These times are challenging and uncertain, but we should still feel empowered to find new ways to connect with one another.

Free Communications Help for Nonprofits

As we continue to closely monitor the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our communities, we understand this unprecedented situation is impacting our local nonprofits in several ways, including increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures, limited volunteers, and more. With so many moving parts, we also understand the importance of effective communications during times like this.

To all nonprofits: if you need any help with communications to keep your people up to date on the latest information/needs from your organization, please let us know! We recognize this is just one piece of the puzzle you’re trying to figure out, but we’d love to donate our time and expertise how we can. Please contact us at hello@sidecarpr.com to schedule a 30-minute session to kick things off.

Part 3: 4 Ways to Use Video to Build Your Brand In 2020

In last week’s blog, we focused on ways to translate data analytics into actionable social campaigns. This week, we’re excited to discuss how you can use video as a powerful educational tool.

Use Video as An Educational Tool

When it comes to raising awareness for a particular product, service or issue, video is an enormously powerful educational tool. About 68% of people said they would prefer to learn about new products or services by watching a short video, but 96% of people say they’ve watched lengthier videos to learn more about a product or service. The audience is there! Remember that the next time you’re considering how to get across a piece of information. Adding a video component could make all the difference.

We used video to explain how our client NINE dot ARTS’ creates engaging and unique art experiences for their own clients.

Thank you for tuning into our blog! Next week we’ll focus on leveraging social media as a search engine.

Part 2: 4 Ways to Use Video to Build Your Brand In 2020

Last week, on our blog, we discussed the power of integrating video into your communications strategy and simple ways to measure the success of your videos. We’re continuing our four-part multimedia series this week with a look at how you can translate your video strategy into actionable social campaigns.

With more people using social media than ever – around 3.48 billion – visual content strategies, including social media and video campaigns, are becoming increasingly important to reach your target audiences.

What makes a strong social media strategy even more important is that it’s increasingly the gateway to your brand – about 58% of consumers visit a brand’s social media channels before visiting their website.

So, how can video raise your game on social media? Let’s dive in.

Get Social with Video

With Instagram and Facebook providing ways to post live stories and videos, companies have more opportunities than ever to leverage these features to share a brand’s story with more than 400 million active Instagram users and 500 million daily Facebook users.

About 90% of businesses today are posting videos at least once per week on Facebook and YouTube while 80-83% of brands regularly post videos on Instagram, which is unsurprising, given that social videos are shared 1,200% more than images and text combined!

And it’s not just consumer-focused brands using it to their advantage. Video is just as relevant for the CRE community. Given the highly visual and experiential nature of the built environment, there’s tons of opportunity to help people understand what you do and how you do it through video.

Here’s an example of how our client Elsy Studios used video to share the completion of an impressive adaptive reuse project with their social networks:

By leveraging social media analytics from your accounts and campaigns, you can track and improve performance to ensure you’re putting your time and resources into the right channels and content types.

Don’t forget to tune into our blog next week! We’ll tell you how you can use video as a powerful educational tool.

Sarah Cullen Named to DBJ’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2020!

The SideCar PR team is excited to share that our president Sarah Cullen was recently honored as a 40 Under 40 recipient by the Denver Business Journal (DBJ)!

Every year, DBJ recognizes 40 business professionals under the age of 40 years old for their business acumen and community involvement. Sarah was recognized for her leadership in both business and philanthropy.

Over the past two years, Sarah has been instrumental in creating Women on the Rise, an initiative of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Commons on Champa that provides female entrepreneurs with the support and resources to become the future business leaders of the city. As the Communications Chair, she helped organize Denver’s largest women’s entrepreneurial showcase in 2016, and has since helped the organization continue to grow its attendee base. She is also actively involved in the Downtown Denver Partnership, CityBuild, and regularly mentors students at her alma mater, Colorado State University.

Sarah’s passion, grit and business success were also recognized. Sarah founded SideCar PR in 2011, after the Great Recession, on the idea that relationships are the foundation of great PR, and relationships are built on trust. Over the years, she’s worked to build that trust by delivering exceptional results for our clients in the commercial real estate, community building and placemaking communities.

Under her leadership, SideCar PR has grown into a leading communications firm for the commercial real estate industry with offices in Denver, LA and Austin. In 2017, the national PR community recognized Sarah’s efforts, naming SideCar the Best Boutique Agency (Silver Award) in the country.

Congratulations to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2020!

To learn more about Sarah and her incredible leadership, check out her feature in DBJ and her bio.

Part 1: 4 Ways to Use Video to Build Your Brand In 2020

It’s no secret that the way we communicate is changing. And while buzzy platforms like Tik-Tok might not make sense for a developer, architect or brokerage firm just yet, the way businesses in the commercial real estate industry communicate with their audiences is rapidly becoming more social and increasingly visual.

Today, video remains the most engaging, most shared type of content on social media and one of the most valuable tools your company can use as part of its overall communications strategy. But video alone, sans strategy, won’t land you meaningful results.

With 87% of businesses leveraging video strategies to deepen their communication tactics, it’s essential to create meaningful content that tells your story and highlights your competitive differentiators.

With that in mind, we’re kicking off a new series with four ways your team can leverage multimedia to drive visual brand communication in 2020.

For this first post in the series, we’re looking at integrating video into your communications strategy and ways you can make sure your video strategy is effective. 

Integrated Video Campaigns (Embrace Those Analytics!)

Visual content is reshaping how and when businesses communicate their story. By the end of this year, it’s predicted that an impressive 82% of internet traffic will come from video.

Not convinced that applies to business yet? Simply adding multimedia content to your email blasts has been shown to increase the click-through rate by a whopping 63%.

Here’s an example of integrating video into a newsletter for one of our clients, JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE. Capturing the essence of their Founding Partner, Jim Johnson, was best done via video and resulted in a 39% open rate – more than double the industry average!

Already on board with video? How are you measuring its effectiveness? Data analytics and metrics are making it easier than ever to understand what type of video is resonating best with your audiences, so an agile approach will yield more success.

Here are seven key metrics that can help you measure the success of your videos:

  • View Count – This tells you how many times your video has been viewed. If you want to boost your video view count, consider sharing your video with your audience through email and social media; distribute your video to relevant influencers; encourage your team to share it on their own social profiles.
  • Play Rate – By analyzing the percentage of visitors who actually clicked play and began watching your video, you can measure how relevant your video is to where it’s placed and how successful it is in attracting viewers.
  • Average Time Watched – This shows you how much of your video viewers stuck around for. Measuring engagement is a great way to gauge the quality and usefulness of your videos, as well as experiment with optimum length.
  • Social Sharing – This can tell you a lot about how viewers felt about your video by showing you how inclined they were to share it.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR) – The CTR will show you how successful your video is at stimulating viewers to take action (or click).
  • Conversion Rate – This is the number of leads you gained resulting from the video.
  • Feedback – Analyzing the tone of comments and overall reactions to the video will allow you to create a video more tailored to your target audience in the future.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series! We’ll take you through how you can translate these analytics into actionable social campaigns.

Sneak Peek at Sun Valley’s Booming Development

There’s nothing we love more than getting an inside look into Denver’s bourgeoning development scene. This week, we joined the Downtown Denver Partnership for a tour of the rapidly changing Sun Valley neighborhood.

From a new mixed-income, multifamily community spurring the neighborhood’s growth to Meow Wolf’s immersive art experience and a vibrant mixed-use community, it’s safe to say that Sun Valley is becoming a dynamic destination with awesome places to live, eat, work and play.

Couldn’t make it on the tour? No worries, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the neighborhood’s major developments.

Stop #1: Gateway North and South

Our first stop was at the construction site for Denver Housing Authority’s Gateway North and South, two multifamily buildings containing a mix of affordable and market-rate rental apartment units.

Designed by WORKSHOP8, Gateway North will house 95 units (ranging from one to five bedrooms), a leasing office and a small commercial space. The site will also include Gateway Rowhouses, featuring six-plex and for-sale rowhouse style condos.

General Contractor I-Kota Construction took us inside Gateway South, which will offer 92 units with one to two bedrooms as well as a fresh food market for the neighborhood. Slated for completion this fall, the Gateway projects allow a diversity of incomes and continued growth for the neighborhood.

Stop #2: Meow Wolf

We can’t lie, one of the best parts of this tour was getting an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Meow Wolf’s new Denver exhibition. Turner Construction Company and Shears Adkins Rockmore gave us the full scoop on the new location, and although we can’t share any images or information from the tour (we were sworn to secrecy), you can definitely expect Meow Wolf to offer an immersive, explorative and collaborative experience for art lovers and creatives.

Stop #3: STEAM on the Platte

We ended the tour with Urban Ventures at STEAM on the Platte, a working community with a mission to spur innovation, energy and collaboration. The project team transformed this 65,000-square-foot former industrial warehouse, built in 1918, into a creative workspace. The site is home to high-profile tenants including Lyft, Turner Construction Company, MedCAD, Nimbl, and more.

We’re looking forward to spending (a lot) more time in Sun Valley!