Season of Thanks

Season of Thanks

Feeling thankful means something a bit more in 2020.

On Friday, Nov. 13, we hosted a Thankful virtual happy hour benefiting some incredible organizations and in celebration of the things we are thankful for this year. At SideCar PR, we’re especially grateful for our team, who has kept a sense of humor through all the challenges this year has brought with it and who still show up for one another and our clients in big and little ways every day – sometimes in costume.

As part of our effort to give back this year, we are proud to have supported Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap, a program that provides Thanksgiving meal baskets to those in need. Each basket includes ingredients for Thanksgiving meals that would otherwise be missed by deserving teens in Denver. Bridging the Gap provides meals specifically for youth aging out of the foster care system. If you have the means this year, we encourage you to check them out!

Additionally, we helped provide 2,400 meals for Austin’s Central Texas Food Bank, whose mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the Austin community in the fight against hunger. If you’re looking for a great cause to support this year in Texas, the Food Bank laid out a number of ways you can make a difference this holiday season.

From our team to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

SideCar PR: Best PR Agencies 2021 by Forbes Magazine

Forbes top PR agencies 2021

SideCar PR was named one of America’s Best PR Agencies 2021 by Forbes Magazine

Through the turbulence of 2020, we have been challenged and rewarded in unexpected ways. We have continued riding with heart and partnering with our clients to deliver quality results. We are honored to have been named one of America’s Best PR Agencies 2021 by Forbes Magazine!

Forbes worked with Statista, a leading global provider of market and consumer data, to compile their first-ever list of America’s Best PR Agencies 2021. Between June and July of this year, Statista surveyed more than 12,700 experts (agency workers and freelancers) and 20,500 customers (marketing department employees), asking them to nominate firms that they would recommend based off of previous work. Self-nominations were not accepted.

Of the 5,000 firms that were nominated, 200 made the final ranking. Statista then awarded firms with the highest number of recommendations with five stars. Firms with fewer recommendations received four stars. We are incredibly honored to have received five stars and to be recognized with three other firms that are headquartered in Denver. And we send our congratulations to the 11 Texas firms that were recognized.

Read more about the selection process and 2020 PR climate here. Find the complete list here.

As a firm known for our relationships and results, this recognition feels especially good – thank you!

Storytelling Across Multiple Platforms

Storytelling Across Multiple Platforms

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with your target audiences. Studies have shown stories are 22 times more memorable than facts or figures alone. When combined with data, a compelling story can be both intellectually and emotionally moving to an audience, a winning combination to generate confidence in your brand. 

A company’s ability to share its story – and have it resonate with those who matter most – loses momentum if its only shared one way. While words no doubt serve as the foundational pillar to explain who you are, what you do and what makes you different – think blog posts, bylined articles, speaking opportunities – it’s increasingly important to harness the power of multimedia and visual storytelling.

Whether it’s a dynamic infographic to showcase your industry knowledge about a particular topic or an interactive website that immerses someone in your brand, visuals tap into another part of people that sometimes words or audio simply don’t access.

But the real king of visual storytelling? Video.

Statistics show that people generally favor consuming information via video.

  • 72% of customers preferring to learn about a product or service through a video.
  • Viewers on average retain 95% of a message when they watch it through video.
  • Video is shared and engaged with more than any other type of content on social media.

At SideCar, we recognize the importance of aligning your public relations and visual communications strategies, which is why we offer dedicated multimedia, graphic design and web services in-house.

Our visual communications specialists work in tandem with our media, messaging and programming specialists to craft powerful strategies that result in a cohesive brand narrative that supports your business goals.

Let us show you how! Contact us at hello@sidecarpr.com.

How CRE is Stepping Up to Address the Homelessness Crisis in Cities Across the West

How CRE is Stepping Up to Address the Homelessness Crisis in Cities Across the West

Homelessness is not a new issue in urban environments, but 2020 has significantly exacerbated the crisis, prompting new conversations about the best way to address the growing needs of the unhoused in our communities.

Fortunately, we are seeing positive indicators of a growing will to meaningfully address various aspects of this crisis across the country. Few industries are as well positioned to collaborate on this than the commercial real estate industry – from property owners, managers and developers to architects and designers in our urban cores. And few industries stand to lose more if efforts fail.

Here are some of the creative ways the commercial real estate industry is helping to address homelessness in Denver, Austin and across the West:

Repurposing existing real estate assets

  • Colorado Coalition for Homeless purchased the Renaissance Downtown Lofts and repurposed it into 101 apartments for the homeless. Getting the financing was complicated and resulted in three different owners, but the result is a great example of how entities can come together to accomplish big things in Downtown Denver.  
  • ReHabit, an R&D concept from Denver architecture and design firm KTGY Architecture + Planning, proposes reusing vacant big-box retail spaces to create self-sustaining transitional housing.
  • Building affordable and workforce housing is a notoriously challenging economic and regulatory proposition in California, but the growing quantity of empty office and retail space could represent, what the Rand Corporation calls, “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reallocate portions of the built environment away from declining commercial demand and toward the urgent demand for affordable housing.”

Rallying public and private partnerships

  • ATX HelpsThe business community, leading a coalition of concerned citizens, is stepping up to do its part to help those in need. Driven by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Austin Alliance—as well as a number of other businesses, nonprofit entities, faith-based organizations, and individuals—ATX Helps launched late last year to bring a first-step navigation center to Austin. Their goal is to raise $14 million for construction and operation of at least one Sprung shelter that will provide immediate housing and other necessities for Austinites experiencing homelessness.
  • ULI Los Angeles is coordinating with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to help implement key recommendations from its report on homelessness. Two years ago, they gathered top-level architecture, landscape architecture and commercial real-estate leaders to assist in the City of Los Angeles’ “A Bridge Home” program, which is building safe and clean shelters to help homeless people transition to long-term housing. There are now 30 ‘A Bridge Home’ shelters open or in development across Los Angeles.
  • In Denver, Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced he would consider locations for sanctioned, professionally managed homeless encampments in Denver and asked City Council members to offer up a list of potential sites in their district, which will need the support of property owners.

New Approaches to Building Transitional and Affordable Housing

  • One of the most-talked about neighborhoods in Austin, Community First! Village is a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. A development of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, this transformative residential program exists “to love and serve our neighbors who have been living on the streets, while also empowering the surrounding community into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.” Campaign partners span the real estate industry. Earlier this year, ICON delivered a series of 3D-printed homes for the community.
  • In Denver, three new affordable housing projects — including a stack of family-sized units — are slated to begin construction this fall. According to the Colorado Sun, these projects represents a turning point — instead of one-bedroom and studio apartments centered downtown, these are mostly family units and extremely affordable. 
  • Just this month, Los Angeles magazine invited 13 of the city’s top architectural firms to share their ideas for innovative concepts for affordable or permanent supportive housing. The results are pretty incredible, and many have applicability outside of Southern California.

While none of these ideas are a panacea, one thing is clear: No one can do this alone. Real solutions come from strong, inclusive public/private partnerships. And CRE is poised to be a leader in the effort.

Q2 Data Insights: Denver & Austin Commercial Real Estate Markets

By the Numbers: Denver and Austin Q2 2020 Real Estate Activity

Since the initial impact of coronavirus was first felt in March 2020, commercial real estate has experienced an unprecedented season – from navigating state-wide shutdowns to slow phased re-openings. 

Austin and Denver, two markets in which SideCar PR maintains a dedicated presence, are no exception. Both cities had reached record or near-record construction and leasing levels as recently as February. 

As tenant expectations shift, submarkets strengthen and workplace needs evolve in the wake of COVID-19, it’s important to understand how Q2 numbers will help firms in these markets survive the short-term and thrive as recovery hits full swing.

Let’s take a look.

Industrial

Despite slowdowns in almost every facet of the commercial real estate industry, Denver’s industrial outlooked remained strong. In fact, the market sector saw positive net absorption of nearly 1.3 million square feet during Q2 2020 as demand continued apace for manufacturing, warehousing and logistics space. Industrial construction in Denver remains active with more than 6.6 million square feet of space currently under development.

The same goes for Austin, which marked its 24th consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the industrial sector. This growth, similar to Denver’s, was driven by strong tenant demand and a robust development pipeline totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet of active construction.

Industrial owners and developers remain cautiously optimistic. According to SideCar PR client Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, whose Ryan Good spoke with Bisnow prior to COVID-19 in February 2020, “We’ll find out if demand keeps up with supply.”

With additional industrial projects expected to deliver in both markets before the end of the year, and into the next, all signs point towards continued growth in this sector.  

Office

If any immediate impact on the commercial real estate market has been felt, it’s almost certainly in the office sector.

Both Denver and Austin registered negative net absorption for the first time in 13 quarters and 37 quarters, respectively, in reaction to the rapidly evolving role of the workplace in our daily lives. Sublease availability also experienced a sharp uptick in Q2 2020 – 33.3% quarter-over-quarter growth to 3.4 million square feet in Denver – as companies prioritized their payroll and other operating expenses over maintaining their office leases.

Some experts speculate that Austin, along with other popular cities, could become a tenant’s market over the coming months, especially as more office space comes online in future quarters. But just because we’ve temporarily traded cubicles and desks for home offices or kitchen tables, doesn’t mean the workplace is gone forever. It might just look a little different.

Retail

While millions are back to work and many others can once again enjoy a meal or shop they love, the retail market continued its downward slide, with Austin and Denver both posting negative net absorption for the quarter, much like other markets across the country, including nearby Colorado Springs.

Although COVID-19 resulted in state and local stay-at-home orders and subsequently the closure of many restaurants and retailers, the sector began to reopen during Q2 2020.

What’s most encouraging and inspiring, though, is the placemaking efforts taking place around the country in an effort to bring people back together in new, albeit different, ways. With capacity severely limited, the City & County of Denver allowed expansion of restaurant dining rooms into parking lots or, in the case of our home street and client Larimer Square, onto a newly closed pedestrian street. What was once a through-street is now home to a 400-foot mural from local Denver artist Pat Milbery. Live music plays in the square every day as diners enjoy a meal illuminated by the famous lights of the Square under a sign that reads ‘Together Starts Here’. It almost feels normal. Maybe even better.

It’s going to be a long road, to be sure, but there are signs that these markets – that these communities – will rally. What they have in common, from economic strength pre-pandemic to a undeniable entrepreneurial spirit, will continue to serve all of us through the trials ahead.

Sources: Denver Industrial MarketView Q2 2020, Denver Office MarketView Q2 2020, Denver Retail MarketView Q2 2020, Austin Office MarketView Q2 2020, Austin Industrial MarketView Q2 2020, Austin Retail MarketView Q2 2020

3 Reasons We Don’t Work on Retainer

3 Reasons We Don’t Work on Retainer

At the beginning of a new relationship with a client, the question of retainers inevitably comes up, and our answer is always the same: We don’t work on retainer at SideCar. We work on results. Here’s why:

1. When you work on retainer, someone is always getting short-changed.

We all come into a new relationship with a little bit of baggage, right? PR is no different. Sometimes a client comes to us and they’ve worked with a firm previously and found a retainer convenient. They liked the idea that the firm would never exceed the pre-determined budget, no matter what they threw at them. Meanwhile, their PR firm was regularly over-servicing to keep the account.

Other times, we see clients who have clearly been burned by retainers, shelling out $10k – $20k a month to get little in the way of consistent ROI. Over time, this led to distrust or resentment on both sides.

That’s the problem with retainers. Someone is always getting short-changed. And it doesn’t have to be this way. Working on results leads to a much healthier, more transparent client/agency relationship.

2. Historically, PR has been a little mysterious to clients. Retainers were part of the problem. And we have the solution.

When PR agencies work on retainer, it’s understandably hard to know exactly what your firm is doing or the value of certain services. They might get you on the Today Show one month and then you see nothing for three months, but your bill is the same. The value of relationship-building activities in particular is hard enough to tie directly to bottom-line goals without a retainer giving all activities the same value.

So, here’s what we do instead: At the beginning of each month, we outline a list of goals and deliverables, and we tell our clients what those deliverables will cost, based on a pre-determined monthly budget. If things come up along the way – say, a great media opportunity or some sort of crisis – we communicate with our clients and determine whether new activities will take priority over our agreed-upon work or if we’ll add those services to the budget for the month. Then, at the end of the month, we provide a list of what we accomplished. That way, there’s no confusion about what things cost or how much work was accomplished. Mystery solved.

3. Retainers make for lazy, uninvested account teams.

Our ‘Ride with Heart’ ethos comes out of a genuine desire to see our clients succeed. We really, REALLY like what we do. It’s fun to support talented folks who are shaping the built environment in our cities. And it’s one of the main reasons we don’t work on retainer. We’ve seen how that sort of approach can make agencies and account teams complacent, and we never want to waste your time or ours. What’s the incentive to come up with something new and game-changing if you’re going to get the same amount you got last month when you churned out a basic release? We’re not saying your agency is getting lazy if they’re on retainer… but we’re not NOT saying it either.

We want our clients’ businesses to grow and we want to grow with them. We want to show the value of what we do by working hard every single month. So that’s what we do here at SideCar. We work hard. We deliver results. We help get you to where you want to go.

Austin, Meet SideCar PR (SideCar’s July Austin Newsletter)

Austin, Meet SideCar PR

We’re known for two things: Relationships and Results.

SideCar PR is a full-service communications firm specializing in commercial real estate, community building and placemaking. Our clients are the developers, architects, designers, builders and influencers who are elevating local communities through their work in the built environment.
Founded in Denver nearly 10 years ago, we’ve developed lasting relationships with clients across the Western Region. Now that we’re officially in Austin, we’d love to connect.

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

We Love You Denver banners over Larimer Square

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.

An image of Room for Milly's bar space
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

Workers helping at a food pantry

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.