Tag Archives: The Forté Marketing Group

Be Human, Be Humane, Be Trusting

John Richardson of The Forte Marketing Group

John Richardson of The Forte Marketing Group spoke Friday, March 3 with tips on how to become a success in the PR world.

First, join a band and travel around for several years.

Then find a somewhat boring job that in no way relates to your degree.

Finally, once you’ve settled down, follow this acronym.

Never Call Bernie Tall.

In reference to Dr. Bernie Ankney. No, he doesn’t truly mind this, but tall rhymes with call; and we all love Bernie. So how easy is it to remember to Never Call Bernie Tall and always keep in mind John Richardson’s major pointers when looking to be a successful PR worker.

N– Networking

The over-stressed but beyond important skill of networking was a key point in John’s lecture.  Strengthening existing relationships is key.  Using social networking is a must, and John encouraged Linkd-In with the proper grouping to find people who are relevant to your position or the services your company offers.  Use all opportunities to promote yourself in real life and the cyber world.

C– Creating

Creativity and constantly coming up with new ideas or research will keep your work fresh and audiences on their toes.  This keeps them interested; a bored audience won’t stay around for long.  Everything about you should be creative or catchy.  Blog posts (see ‘Bernie’ portion), web designs, speeches, ads, you name it.  Engage your audience rather than just inform them.  People are much more likely to remember something if they are actively interested and engaged rather than just seeing an ad on the side of the page.

B– Blogging

John encouraged everyone to write, write, and write some more. Practice makes perfect and the more you write the better you will get.  He even went as far as to say that having a blog set to private that you keep up with on a consistent, regular basis is a good thing.  It’s not about the views so much as the practice to begin with.  So WRITE.

T– Trending

Journalists and PR fanatics, and those of that sort, absolutely positively must stay on top of trends in writing, the subject areas they cover, the companies they represent, their competition, their audiences, pretty much any trend in any area related to their lives.  Missing out on a trend could mean losing money, major clients, or your credibility.  If you work to promote a company that sells hair straighteners and the population suddenly starts only wearing their hair pulled back you need to be on top of that information so you can find a way to sell the plus of a straightened ponytail to America’s youth.  Otherwise your companies sales will plummet and your job-position suddenly opens up.

Never Call Bernie Tall covers most of John’s technical points, but he also stressed the three B’s.

Be human.

Be humane.

Be trusting.

To find out more about John or The Forte Group visit http://www.fortemg.com

Forte on Friday

Jon Richardson, from the Forte Marketing Group came and spoke to our Public Relations Class last week regarding about what he does as the Digital/Marketing director for Forte. John is a graduate of Samford. After he left Samford, John played drums in a rock band for a few years before deciding he wanted to do something closer to his degree in marketing. So John became a buyer for a large recreational outdoor company. After working for another company for a few years John began work at Forte in March 2010. Some of things John does at Forte are Strategy, research, and social media marketing. John’s talk was very interesting and was filled with many career tips for those wanting to get a job in pr. Here are the 5 most important things I learned.

1. Network, Network, Network- John said to get out and meet people in the public relations field whether it’s by meeting them personally or tweeting with them.

2. Add Value to yourself You can do this by letting the people who you network with know how you are different then everybody else and what you can do to help that company.

3. Blogging and tweeting You got to put yourself out there so companies can find you. You can do this blogging, tweeting, Facebook, YouTube. The more places you are the better

4. Linkedin- John says create a profile on here and network with people from pr and advertising companies. He also said it would help to join relevant groups related to public relations and advertising

5. Self promotion Come up with ways to promote yourself for jobs to these companies in ways that are unique and different from what other people have done.


“Increase your volume”


Whenever style comes to mind, I think fashion, Vogue or even Michael Kors. However, style is not only found within clothing and shoes. Digital and Interactive Director John Richardson introduces a new realm of style—the PR world. Having the ability to express one’s style within writing or speaking is vital for a successful PR campaign. Along with creativity, Richardson gave additional tactics on how to succeed after college. Lets dive in.

First and foremost—Network.

By strengthening relationships, you are also opening various doors for future jobs or internship opportunities. It’s common sense, really. Often times in life, it comes down to who knows who. One trusted relationship could benefit you far more than you know.


Blogging has become the new phenomenon.

Ironically, “blogging” is not even considered a word on Microsoft Word. Nonetheless, blogs continue to grow, along with Facebook and Twitter. When referring to blogs, Richardson said, “Read them, they will benefit you.” So there you have it—blogs can be used as a creative outlet, a work place, or even a source for learning.


Consider your options.

Richardson works for The Forte Marketing Group, a “boutique” agency located in Homewood, Alabama. The company is made up of five people, just five. Richardson finds himself doing countless responsibilities. From video editing to creating websites, Richardson has no typical day. A smaller work atmosphere allows for more variety within your day; however, can you handle the extreme flexibility? Consider your options, there are many.


Finally, the 3 B’s—be human, be humane, be honest (Ike Pigott).

John Richardson, thanks for the advice. I’ll be using it from here on out. –LP

Life in Modern Advertising.

The Digital and Interactive Director from The Forte Marketing Group, John Richardson, came to speak about life in modern advertising.  The goal of the advertising agency is to increase a client’s volume by using creativity with accountability, function, and form.  The good thing about this “boutique” agency, is that since it is made up of only five people, everyone gets to do a little bit of everything.

Some primary responsibilities include :

  • strategy
  • research
  • content development
  • social marketing
  • creative direction
  • blogging
  • writing
  • social media

He asked the class if we thought that public relations and social media are the same thing. We replied with a yes and no.  Richardson explained that everything online should be viewed as some sort of press release.  With that said, there is really no difference between pr and social media.

Like every other speaker we as a class have had, John Richardson took time to emphasize the importance of writing.  When their agency is hiring, they ask can you write? Do you write? I have learned the strong importance of developing good writing skills by publishing my work, even if it is on a personal blog that no one really sees.  Any sort of writing will prepare me for a job in this field.

He then made a point to tell us that we need to be known online.  We need to have a presence so that when a company googles us they can see our work and correct information about us.

I took away good information about what to do after graduation.  He encouraged us to network, strengthen relationships, blog, watch for new trends, and promote ourselves well.

Click here to visit The Forte Marketing Group’s website.

Jump Through Your Window of Opportunity

John Richardson is one Samford University grad who definitely jumped through his window of opportunity. After graduating from Samford with a degree in business, John played the drums in a band for several years. It was that time after college that John noticed a window of opportunity. Web design, thanks to the advancement to Web 2.0, was just taking off, and having an eye for graphic design and a mind for advertising lead John down the tech-savvy road to his current position. John currently works for Forte Marketing Group as their Digital Director, but does a little bit of everything to say the least.

Lots of people in the field of public relations say they do “lots of different things” and can usually encourage students to be good at “lots of different things.” But what does that list of lots of things entail? Well, thanks to John, here’s your opportunity to catch the details, and maybe find your own window of opportunity to jump through.


What does John DO? …the abbreviated run-down.

1. STRATEGY – John described creating and organizing strategies as his main responsibility. Any message you need to communicate will flop without having the backbone of a solid strategy.

2. RESEARCH – You can’t sell something if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Simple. As. That. So, John spends time researching new clients, researching audiences…researching, it just isn’t going away.

3. SOCIAL MEDIA – Social media has become a fixture in the PR world, because it is an effective way to reach a variety of audiences quickly and effectively.

4. SEO – Search Engine Optimization, is a very important component in PR today. John wants his clients to be the most effective as possible and that means getting the best results online.

5. “Do it new and cool first” – His words, not mine. And he made it a point to express that this is a step in his job that he simply cannot over look. He needs to constantly be asking how he can take a brand somewhere new and interesting. How can you spark interest? Here’s an example of Forte’s new and cool approach seen in the Jimmy Hale Mission video spot.


What’s his ADVICE? …for those of us looking to pursue a career in this field

1. NETWORK – No we are not too young, and it is never too early to start networking, in fact, the sooner the better. Put yourself in positions to meet the right people and make an impression on the right people.

2. USE SOCAIL MEDIA – Get on twitter, get on LinkedIn, have a blog, all of these things enhance your presence in the PR world. Plus those people you want to network with are on twitter, they have LinkedIn accounts, and they read blogs.

3. SELF-PROMOTE – Hey, it’s just gotta happen! John’s advice is to self-promote on social media sites 1 out of every 5 times. Shameless self-promotion just may get you some attention from the right people!

4. WHATCH FOR TRENDS – Potential employers want to know that you are up on the trends in the PR world, and up to date with tools and tech—perfect example of lifelong learning.

5. 3 B’s – John quoted Ike Pigott with this 3 B’s list of must-do’s: Be Human, Be Humane, and Be Honest. Simple truths that never change.

Increase the Volume

John Richardson of The Forté Marketing Group visited our JMC 492 class Friday.  Richardson is a Samford graduate. Our class learned many things from Richardson, but here are a few of the main points I got from the experience:

  • In the public relations arena you have to be aware of modern advertising. Web 2.0 changed everything. All the projects we do as pr practitioners will need to reach the 2.0 audience. Applications are becoming a huge part of our lives because of smart phones. Apps are a perfect way to get our word out there.
  • We must always increase the volume of our client. Our goal everyday should be to get our client as much positive publicity as possible. We do this in a variety of different ways. Richardson gave a list of different tasks he does every day: strategy, research, custom designs, mobile development, search engine optimization, creative direction, blogging, art direction, writing,  public relations, video production, monitoring, agency, doing new and coolest first and doing whatever it takes for results. It is definitely a lot of work, but it is necessary in order to give the client the best results possible.
  • Public relations and social media are pretty much the same thing. We can no longer have one without the other. Social media is crucial to good pr.
  • We can reach almost anyone if you target your posts correctly.
  • We must always be asking ourselves, “How can I do what hasn’t been done?” Creative unique ideas are a big part of grabbing an audience’s attention.
  • When considering possible jobs in the public relations field it is probably best to consider what environment we work best in. Perhaps the best option for someone who likes working with big groups would be a large agency. Whereas, someone looking for an intimate setting with few people would probably do better at a boutique agency.
  • Finally, We have our tips for what to do now and right after we graduate:

– Always try to make your name seen with the company your trying to get to hire you.

  1. Network (Meet people and make relationships.)
  2. Strengthen these relationships.
  3. Blog and join relevant groups.
  4. Promote ourselves(Get our names out there.)
  5. Watch for trends ( What is happening in the industry?)
  6. 3 B’s : 1) Be human. 2) Be humane. 3) Be honest.
  7. Know our tools and technology.