Bellmont Partners Named to 100 Best Companies to Work For list for Third Straight Year

Cooks_Offsite

For the third year in a row, we’re thrilled to have been named one of Minnesota Business Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” It’s extremely gratifying that our employees continue to recognize Bellmont Partners as one of the best places to work in Minnesota.

We’re working to make this an even better place to be: As part of our ongoing effort to strengthen the benefits and perks we offer our team members – such as our flexible schedule policy, employee wellness initiative and collaborative office environment – we’ve implemented a number of new programs this year, including:

  • A formalized initiative – Bellmont Gives Back – designed to provide employees with the time and resources necessary to support the community organizations and causes that are important to them, both individually and as part of our agency pro bono work;
  • Regular Breakfast Club discussions, where we share ideas and delve into industry best practices and trends designed to strengthen our skills; and
  • Our new sustainability program, designed to reduce our impact on the environment.

We firmly believe that a fulfilling, supportive workplace fosters our ability to deliver service-based, strategic, creative and high-impact results for our clients, and we’re always striving to build a better corporate culture.

We’re looking forward to celebrating with our fellow honorees at the awards gala on June 1!

Silicon Valley Meets Golden Valley at MHTA’s Tech.2017

MHTA Tech.2017 cropped

Last week’s early-morning eye-opener, the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) Tech.2017 Breakfast at the Metropolitan Ballroom, was a celebration of Minnesota’s entry into the top ten ranking (#7) of best technology states in the Milken Institute’s State Science and Technology Index. But it was also a reminder that there is still work to be done to crack the top five.Read more

Bellmont Partners Helps Foster the Next Generation of STEM Innovators

P1090265[1] copy

Saturday marked the culmination of two exciting Minnesota STEM-focused projects that Bellmont Partners has been working on for the past few months. From the changing media landscape to the rise of STEM-focused careers, Bellmont Partners recognizes the importance of inspiring students to pursue their interests through STEM-related activities. We saw first-hand this weekend the importance of fostering these curiosities in young people.

First, The Center for Girls’ Leadership held its third annual Steps to Success: Girls in STEM event at WSB & Associates, geared toward middle and high school girls looking to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Women make up only 38 percent of recent college graduates with STEM degrees, and this event was a great opportunity for girls and their parents and teachers to connect with successful women in the local STEM community. Panelists this year represented diverse STEM careers from social science research to frontend web development to transportation systems engineering. Girls at the event experienced STEM first-hand through activities including drawing and tracing maps with MNDOT, exploring virtual reality and transportation communication with WSB & Associates, and building marshmallow and spaghetti structures!

Attending parents also chatted about personal security with our friends at Software for Good, and learned lessons in phone safety, social media best practices, password managers and other helpful privacy tools and resources. Our Emma Strub is on the board of this important organization, and played a big role in making the event a success.

Across town, the University of St. Thomas hosted ThreeSixty Journalism’s Digital Media Summit, designed to empower teens to use digital media wisely, responsibly and effectively to accelerate their future success. Digital pros from Bellmont Partners — along with volunteers from Weber Shandwick, Sprinklr, 3M Corporation, Best Buy and #ustSTELAR – worked side-by-side with ThreeSixty students to plan and implement the event, where social media content, virtual reality, drones, viral videos, coding basics and more took center stage. Briana Gruenewald and Emma Strub worked hard to help put this year’s event together, meeting with ThreeSixty students every weekend in January leading up to the Summit. Brian Bellmont is also on the ThreeSixty board of advisors.

We were impressed by the attendees and participating organizations at both events; the future is looking bright for up-and-comers in STEM!

The Food Revolution: Three Takeaways to Chew On

Minnesota PRSA Food Revolution Three Takeaways

When the opportunity to spend a morning discussing food and marketing arose, I was quick to sign up. Not only do I enjoy consuming food, communicating about food is one of my passions. (A statement shared by more than a few Bellmont Partners team members!)

Last week, Breanna Welke, Erin Lilliencrantz and I attended Minnesota PRSA’s event The Food Revolution: Transparency and its Effects on Marketing & Communication, and we gained some valuable insights from a panel of experts, including:

  • Kieran Folliard, Founder of 2 Gingers Whiskey and Food Building
  • Pete Stoddart, Media Director, Corporate Affairs, Cargill
  • Lauren Pradhan, Director and General Manager of Grow North
  • Bertrand Weber, Director for Minneapolis Public School Culinary and Wellness Services

While these four panelists have diverse backgrounds and experiences in the food industry – three common points rose to the top of the conversation, and can be translated across a wide variety of fields.Read more

5 Marketing Insights from the Tourism Industry to Put Any Organization on the Map

EMTConfPic[1]

For the second consecutive year, Bellmont Partners was thrilled to attend and present at the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, hosted by our client Explore Minnesota. The conference was appropriately named “The Next Big Event,” as Minnesota is poised for an exciting couple of years – specifically with U.S. Bank Stadium hosting the X Games in the summer of 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2018 Super Bowl.

Reflecting on the conference, our team identified five key learnings from the tourism industry that could apply to any PR and marketing program – regardless of the industry:

Read more

It’s You, Girl, and You Should Know It

Alyssa Hayes and Caitlin Rick, Explore Minnesota Visitors can commemorate Mary Tyler Moore at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Information Center.

Alyssa Hayes and Caitlin Rick, Explore Minnesota (client)
Visitors can commemorate Mary Tyler Moore at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Information Center.

For millions of Americans in the turbulent 1970s, Mary Tyler Moore embodied an entire generation’s youthful vigor and upward mobility.

Though television audiences first fell in love with her as teenaged elf “Happy Hotpoint,” then as Dick Van Dyke’s impish showgirl-turned-housewife, her eponymous sitcom transformed Moore into a cultural phenomenon at a time when the country craved a bold departure from milquetoast “nuclear family” comedies.

Once the mold was cast, there was no going back: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” captivated audiences by capturing a career woman on the rise in a television newsroom, a setting that would soon attract many more single, independent women like Mary Richards.

Mary Tyler Moore’s inspiration echoed throughout the TV news community this week, with heartfelt tributes from dozens of real-life television news icons, including Oprah Winfrey, who called the show “an important seed (for) the future of my career,” CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell and local KARE11 News anchor Jana Shortal, who praised Moore for taking “the lead in lady pantswearers on TV.”Read more

It’s All About the Journey: Looking Back on 2016 at Bellmont Partners

BP_PennantPhoto

In 2016, we marked our 20th anniversary and had an all-around great year filled with unique experiences left and right. We worked hard, and squeezed in time to play hard, too. Here are some of our favorite memories we’ve been sharing around the office:Read more

Hunger is here. So is Second Harvest Heartland.

shh-billboard_fairway

While it sounds cliché, if the work is meaningful, it’s often more rewarding. That’s how the Bellmont Partners team feels about working with our client, Second Harvest Heartland – one of the nation’s largest, most efficient and most innovative hunger relief organizations. It provides an average of 75 percent of all food distributed by its food shelf partners, and in 2015, provided more than 77 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

SHH on cameraJust this week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its 2016 Hunger and Homelessness Survey, in which Second Harvest Heartland is included as an exemplary hunger relief organization for continually responding to the problem of hunger. The survey found that despite economic recovery since the recession, many cities across the country are experiencing rates of homelessness higher than the national average. The U.S. has also seen a 2 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance, and those seeking food help primarily consist of families and working individuals. We’re seeing these trends in our community as well. Fortunately, Second Harvest Heartland continuously works with community partners, volunteers and donors to develop and implement new and innovative programs – and we’re honored to help tell that story in various ways:

It’s possible you’ve seen Second Harvest Heartland on billboards, television or your computer screen more than ever lately. That’s because this summer, we – along with our strategic partners BEDDHead Media and Riverbrand Design – helped Second Harvest Heartland develop advertisements to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in our community – specifically the fact that one in 10 Minnesotans doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from.

In September, Second Harvest Heartland launched its new FOODRx initiative with a box-packing event. This pilot project connects food prescriptions and basic need services to low-income patients through the Minnesota healthcare system. Taking an integrated approach, we invited local media to the event and provided guidance on many of the elements related to the launch of the program, from creating visual elements to helping refine key messages and talking points, to the event flow and social media. While the launch was just the beginning, initial media outreach resulted in KSTP, KARE and MPR coverage.

#HolidayHunger101 - Tom HorgenThis week we helped Second Harvest Heartland host several community influencers at its Maplewood location for a “Hunger and the Holidays” event. The evening included a meal, tour of the warehouse and an interactive Hunger 101 simulation. This was a chance for prominent people in our community to learn more about Second Harvest Heartland while sharing facts, information and images with their social media followers. We’re thrilled with the outcome of this first event and look forward to facilitating future tours.

As many of us prepare to enjoy holiday meals with friends and family, we want to remind you that Second Harvest Heartland is working diligently to ensure our hungry neighbors get the food they need. If you want to get involved by donating money or time by volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland, visit www.2harvest.org.

Six Focuses for the Next 20 Years

bp-storysorting

We’re continuing to celebrate two decades of Bellmont Partners with plenty of nods to the good ol’ days – remember when flip phones with postage-stamp screens were the pinnacle of high technology? But it’s also an excellent time for us to look forward.

With 20 years under our collective belt, here are six focuses for our future – all rooted in the commitments we made in the past – and the lessons we’ve learned along the way:

Put people first. Even when there were just a handful of us, we worked really hard to create and maintain a culture we’d be proud of, and that would help us do phenomenal work for our clients. At the heart of everything we do is a people-first philosophy. We treat everybody at Bellmont Partners with respect and do everything possible to keep them authentically invested in what we’re doing by giving them both voice and opportunity. We’re staunch believers that employees who are supported and respected are able to focus on doing excellent work, which also promotes a no-politics, low-drama environment. And it’s paying off, everywhere from increasing team longevity and stability to cultivating a culture of going the extra mile for our clients – and each other.

Keep clients at the center. We use that same approach with our clients. We’ve built our team with outstanding people who are focused on delivering meaningful results, and created effective systems to ensure that our clients benefit from the way we work. We over-deliver. We don’t nickel-and-dime. We are respectful and collaborative. We say it a lot, but the “Partners” in Bellmont Partners is much more than just a name. It’s a strong reminder of our client-centric approach: Everything we do – including, of course, excellent work – is designed to build trust and strengthen our relationships with our clients.

Strengthen expertise in multiple communications disciplines. Even back when we started the agency, our focus wasn’t solely on media relations. Certainly it was an important part of the value we brought to our clients, but it wasn’t the only priority. We provided additional services, including writing, video production and event planning. And especially as public relations has evolved over the past two decades – sometimes dramatically – our agency has evolved, as well. We’ve stayed on top of changes within the industry, providing deep expertise in everything from content marketing and development to social media and digital strategy and implementation, as well as media relations.

Invest in technology and tools. This has been a major priority of ours since the beginning, even when our cutting-edge tech arsenal included hard-copy Bacon’s media directories, Palm Pilots filled with journalist contact information and fax machines that printed on actual paper instead of thermal rolls. And it continues to be a prime focus: Our agency takes great pride in the hardware, software and platforms we’ve been among the first – or even the first – to put through their paces.

Learn, learn, learn. We’re investing not only in tech and tools, but also in the skills necessary to effectively use whatever’s around the corner, and to connect the dots for our clients. We’re going to continue to commit to professional development and opportunities to sharpen our expertise, whether its national conferences, client-industry trade shows, seminars and internal lunch-and-learns, where our colleagues focus on teaching the rest of the team. We’re also big proponents of joining our clients as they learn more about their products, services and industry. The more information we can absorb, the better we can help identify and tell our clients’ stories.

Stay optimistic. Since the day we opened our doors in 1996, embracing a positive mindset has been integral to our success, and it’s really driven everything we’ve done. Most importantly, it’s allowed us to navigate the numerous challenges and hurdles we experience on a daily basis by reframing challenges into opportunities. We’re constantly asking ourselves, “How can we look at this from a different angle?” “How can we turn this into a positive situation?” It feeds our resilience, problem-solving skills and resourcefulness. Keeping a strong current of optimism running through our agency has made a huge impact on our work, our people and our clients.

It’s particularly gratifying to look back and see that the foundation we’ve built over the past two decades – with culture, clients, services, technology, expertise and mindset – are the very same things that are continuing to fuel our growth and success today.

Can we continue to improve on those and additional critical focuses over our next 20 years? I’m optimistic.

Bellmont Partners Celebrates #GTMD16

Bellmont Partners at Second HarvestGiveMN helps organizations raise millions of dollars each year on Give to the Max Day. To celebrate, we put together a list of some of our favorite local (and national) organizations to keep in mind when giving this Thursday, Nov. 17. We’re honored to serve our community through our work each and every day. Starting with a few current and past clients, we hope you’ll consider supporting these phenomenal organizations:

  • Second Harvest Heartland must provide more than 20 million meals for the one in 10 Minnesotans who otherwise might not be able to put food on the table this Thanksgiving. During Give to the Max Day this year, your donations work twice as hard, thanks to matching funds from The Mosaic Company Foundation, UnitedHealthcare and a group of generous private donors.
  • ThreeSixty Journalism, a nonprofit program of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas, uses the principles of strong writing and reporting to help diverse Minnesota youth tell the stories of their lives and communities. Our president, Brian Bellmont, is on the board of advisors for the organization.
  • Global Rights for Women envisions a world where women’s human rights to equality and freedom from violence are fully realized.
  • Minnesota Fire Service Foundation’s mission is to preserve the memory of the Minnesota firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
  • MHTA Foundation is looking to strengthen Minnesota’s economic environment by promoting interest in STEM careers.
  • Bolder Options teaches youth to succeed in ALL of life’s races. The Bolder Options Youth Mentoring program prevents young people, ages 10-14, from going down the wrong path by providing positive opportunities, guidance and support that empowers them to make the right turn.

And we asked our team for some of the nonprofit organizations they feel strongly about and support on a personal level:Read more