Dala Delivers Results – 2017 Year in Review

From promoting an event partnership with Arianna Huffington to building a treehouse for a little boy to make his wish come true, our clients have been doing BIG things in 2017 and we've been alongside them, delivering BIG media results. But fostering key relationships and unlocking media coverage is only a part of what we do. As a full-service public relations agency, we build brand recognition, creating integrated communications strategies that work. Here are some of our favorite highlights from 2017.

For Westmount Realty Capital, we built brand credibility with a behind-the-scenes interview for CEO Clifford Booth with the Dallas Business Journal. The piece was instrumental in highlighting the incredible accomplishments of Westmount and its rapid growth over the years through substantial investments and expansion.

Client NAI Robert Lynn is also making notable strides in business. This commercial real estate brokerage firm recently opened an investment division. Via multiple media placements, we highlighted the growing influence of the leadership team and overall brand awareness.

We don't just tell the big business stories; we help shape the narrative to position our clients as thought leaders and innovators. For StreetLights Residential, we harnessed our media connections and storytelling acumen to highlight the company’s competitive advantage. StreetLights CEO Doug Chesnut outlined the firm’s differentiators in his CBS Radio CEO Spotlight. Project spotlights are also a key facet of our integrated media strategy for StreetLights. One of our favorites was the behind-the-scenes tour highlighting the new Deep Ellum luxury high-rise, The Case Building.

Thought leadership also comes to life through awards and career recognition. We draft award proposals and secure the recognition our clients and their employees deserve, including Connect Media’s Women in Real Estate Awards and the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Awards.

Retention and recruitment of top talent is a goal for many of our clients including McCarthy Building Companies. Dala utilized media placements to help build credibility and awareness for McCarthy’s pipeline of talent. This Q&A with two McCarthy millennials effectively positioned McCarthy as not only a leader in its industry, but also a cool place to work. Our content market formula for McCarthy also includes raising awareness for the company’s value-add client services. The Houston Division’s use of virtual reality at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts was front page news  in the Houston Chronicle business section. With stories like this, we take a thoughtful, proactive approach to help bring client innovation to life.

Community engagement is also a core tenet at McCarthy. For McCarthy’s Houston Division, we support the firm’s Heart Hats community relations initiatives. We helped shape and share the story of McCarthy’s Houston volunteers who partnered with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make “Gus’ Imagination Treehouse,” a dream-come-true for a 7-year-old boy with a rare brain tumor.

Another business fully invested in innovation and improving their community is Capital One. An involved corporate citizen, Capital One turns to Dala to devise communications campaigns to build and reinforce its good works and investment in the community. Capital One’s partnership with The DEC (The Dallas Entrepreneur Center) and its WEDallas events such as its entrepreneurship boot camp for women in business, was a tremendous success in 2017 and yielded countless opportunities to reinforce Capital One’s CSR and FutureEdge initiatives.

We revel in the opportunity to tell stories that matter. For AECOM, we don’t have to look far…. Making it on the front page of The Houston Chronicle, AECOM’s project win for its Hyperloop Texas proposal secured nationwide media attention as a result of our strategic media outreach.

Another long-term client, Trinity Christian Academy (TCA) is known for its rigorous, out-of-the-box curriculum. Our creative storytelling approach, outlining how TCA stands out from other private schools in North Texas, goes above and beyond (and into space). WFAA was thrilled to cover the story of how a TCA teacher, makes learning “out of this world,” literally.

We understand both the current media landscape and business community, and the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) turns to Dala to help raise awareness and attendance for its top-tier programming. We regularly work with Speakers Bureaus to promote local partnerships with national media personalities including the CCBA’s Sixth Anniversary Luncheon featuring Huffington Post founder, Arianna Huffington.

Business organizations aren’t the only ones that turn to Dala to deliver effective yet creative event management. Dala was tapped by national luxury retailer, Frontgate, to open its first flagship store in Plano’s brand new Legacy West development. Frontgate relied on Dala’s relationships with lifestyle and social influencers as well as other external stakeholders to expand and build a brand presence as big as Texas!

No matter the industry – from commercial real estate, hospitality and finance to healthcare and consumer – Dala has done it all this year. 2017 was a year marked by BIG projects, BIG announcements and BIG results that made the year special. We’re confident 2018 will be filled with even greater opportunity for clients. As a full-service public relations agency, if your firm is looking for a strategic partner in 2018, you can count on the Dala team to deliver solutions that are sound, smart, creative and, most importantly, successful.

 

An Unforgettable 2017 | My Internship at Dala
Dala Communications team at the 2017 PRSA UNSummit

Dala Communications team at the 2017 PRSA UNSummit

My internship at Dala Communications (Dala) was an experience I will never forget and will always appreciate. I started with the Dala team in June 2017 and am now ending in January 2018.

Throughout my experience, I’ve been immersed in the office culture and developed new skills through a number of assignments. My tasks included writing press releases, media alerts, photo stories, media briefing books, media pitches, public relations campaign plans, social content and blog posts. I learned about tracking coverage, compiling media lists, social analytics, event planning, client relations and more. The assignments strengthened my understanding of AP style and exposed me to a plethora of various writing styles.

Fox 4 segment with Frontgate

Fox 4 segment with Frontgate

Some of the highlights of my internship included drafting content for real-time social engagement at the Collin County Business Alliance Sixth Anniversary Luncheon. Additionally, I visited the KDFW FOX 4 station for a live news segment with our client, Frontgate, a luxury home retailer that now has a flagship store in Plano, Texas. I also participated in Frontgate’s media preview day and later a grand opening gala for its flagship store.

Because of this internship, the amazing mentorship and training I received at Dala, my interest in working at a public relations agency has solidified. I love working on something new almost every day, interacting with multiple clients and writing in various styles. I look forward to applying my newly acquired skills toward a future career in public relations and highly recommend an internship with Dala to anyone that is ready to stretch their horizons, take on new challenges and grow in an environment that takes the initiative to guide you in the right direction.

John Camp was a public relations intern at Dala. Connect with John on LinkedIn.

My graduation day at SMU

My graduation day at SMU

Leah EkmarkComment
Dala Does Good All Year Long

2017 went by in a flash and has been a big year for our agency, especially with our re-brand as Dala Communications and recent office move. Even with all these changes and hectic schedules, we still found the time to give back to our community throughout the year for our quarterly volunteer days. We couldn’t have done it without the continued support of our clients and friends.

We understand that our success, both in the community and professionally, is dependent upon our relationships and we are grateful for your trust and partnership as we take the next step in our agency evolution, while building upon C. Pharr & Co.’s lasting reputation.

As we reflect on 2017, we wanted to share highlights of all the ways we gave back to our community this year.

In March, we helped Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of North Texas  announce its Bigs in Blue program with the Dallas Police Department, matching youth with police officers. In May we were busy helping BBBS announce its new partnership with Dallas ISD (DISD) police officers to continue supporting the recently launched Bigs in Blue initiative BBBS is a volunteer mentoring organization.

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In June, we made a splash while jumping in the pool to help members of Ability Connection Texas with their physical therapy. Ability Connection Texas has been serving individuals with disabilities and special needs throughout Texas since 1954.

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In July, we were part of a panel during the University of Texas at Arlington Communication and Media Camp. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the next generation of PR pros. The Communication and Media Camp gives high school students a chance to explore the real tasks involved in communication careers.

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On Sept. 11, we headed out to Whitney M. Young elementary school in South Dallas to volunteer with Dallas 1st Service Platoon from The Mission Continues as part of Freedom Day, a day of service in Dallas where first responders, veterans and local companies gather and volunteer together to commemorate Sept. 11, 2001. We spent the day volunteering alongside veterans to make the school’s outdoor play area more festive and interactive. The Mission Continues is a volunteer organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

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In December, we did some holiday shopping to make the spirits a little brighter for the homeless children living in Dallas. We went out as a team and bought pajamas and books to give to children at Interfaith Dallas, an organization that aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing working families with the tools to eliminate barriers, equip them to overcome poverty, educate children with skills to successfully pursue dreams and overall empower families to live self-sufficient lives.

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In addition to spending time volunteering, we gave monetary donations in honor of our clients and referral partners. These organizations include:

  • 4word Connecting, leading and supporting professional women to achieve their potential
  • Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity – Brings people together to build homes, communities and hope
  • Step Up – Propels girls from under‐resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college‐bound, career‐focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women

We look forward to giving back to the community in 2018 and beyond. Check out our volunteer pictures on Instagram any time using the hashtag #DalaDoesGood. 

Now Hiring | Rock Star Intern for Spring Semester

We consider our interns to be a valuable part of the Dala team. They get to sit in on client meetings, go to TV news tapings, develop and pitch stories to the media, help plan and execute events and develop content for our social media handles and blog.

Our PR firm handles a variety of accounts in industries ranging from commercial real estate and construction services to education and corporate social responsibility. A successful Dala intern is detail-oriented and a resourceful self-starter with a positive attitude. An understanding of media relations, social media and AP style along with strong written and verbal communication skills are required.

Our current intern, John, attended a taping of FOX 4’s “Good Day” where he helped us set up for a segment featuring our client, Frontgate. Watch the segment here.

Our current intern, John, attended a taping of FOX 4’s “Good Day” where he helped us set up for a segment featuring our client, Frontgate. Watch the segment here.

Internship responsibilities include:

  • Drafting and editing media materials including pitches, media alerts, news releases, backgrounders, fact sheets and media briefing books for clients
  • Creating/updating media lists
  • Tracking media coverage and updating clip logs for clients
  • Assisting with the development and execution of plans, events and activities that support client communication goals and objectives
  • Gathering and organizing editorial calendars
  • Reviewing newspapers/industry publications for client mentions
  • Researching media, clients, client competitors and/or other subjects requested by team
  • Assisting with social media planning and account maintenance for clients
  • Drafting posts for The Dala Daily (our blog) and social handles
  • Attending occasional PR industry events and participating in seminars, webinars and other professional training
  • Working within a client-focused team setting, interacting with all disciplines to get real-world experience and understanding of the collaborative nature of the agency environment
Former rock star intern, Elizabeth, helped develop a pitch for our client, Trinity Christian Academy, which resulted in a “Hometown Heroes” segment on FOX 4.

Former rock star intern, Elizabeth, helped develop a pitch for our client, Trinity Christian Academy, which resulted in a “Hometown Heroes” segment on FOX 4.

Dala Shares the Scoop on Hyperloop

It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, and it might possibly be faster than Superman! Imagine taking an autonomous vehicle to a train station in Dallas to immediately hop into a “pod” with more than 20 other travelers, accelerate up to 700 miles per hour and arrive in Austin just 19 minutes later. That’s the vision our client, AECOM, wants to bring to Texas and beyond.

Earlier this year, AECOM participated in a global challenge to show Hyperloop One that Texas should be home to this technology. Part of that demonstration entailed the support of local government agencies and partners, as well as publicity from the media. On a national level, AECOM’s corporate team highlighted the company’s numerous finalists, but this didn’t generate attention at the local level. So, Dala helped Hyperloop Texas, led by AECOM’s Senior Urban Planner Steven Duong, spread the word.

The results were almost immediate and quickly snowballed into interviews and press coverage across the state. Not only did the Houston Chronicle run a front page story about AECOM’s proposal and the technology that could be coming to Texas, but we were also able to secure stories with KVUE in Austin, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Innovates, the Dallas Business Journal and CultureMap, to name a few.

Over the summer, AECOM’s Hyperloop Texas team was named a winner of the competition and Dala was able to help coordinate in-depth feature stories and broadcast news segments highlighting AECOM’s innovative strategies beyond Hyperloop. Duong represented AECOM on segments with Fox 4’s Good Day, NBC 5, a front page story of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, front page business story in The Dallas Morning News, and more.

AECOM took note of our success and pulled us in to assist its Denver office with media outreach for its winning Rocky Mountain Hyperloop proposal. Though the market and team dynamics varied, we were able to utilize our strategic approach to secure a broadcast story during a prime time TV spot (right after the highly-viewed Denver Broncos football game) as well as several stories in local newspapers.

To date, we’ve secured more than 130 media hits for AECOM’s Hyperloop teams in Texas and Colorado, which have led to business opportunities, speaking engagements and increased overall awareness of AECOM.

Like any major transportation innovation, it could be weeks or even months before we know tangible next steps in the process of bringing Hyperloop to Texas, but rest assured, Dala will keep you in the “loop.”

Meet the Dala Team
It’s official…C. Pharr & Company is now Dala Communications! Before we look to the future, we need to venture back nearly 13 years ago when Cynthia Pharr Lee and Leah Ekmark Williams began working together. Early on during their business relationship, they formed a partnership and succession plan which is what you see today. Under Dala’s former name, C. Pharr & Company has for decades, established a reputation for helping clients build their businesses by communicating their unique stories. We have served a clientele of some of the most respected names in business and have built a team of skilled public relations experts who have fostered a 20-plus-year legacy of trusting relationships with clients, communities, media and other influencers.  This team is still in place today. Our clients and business partners can count on the same client-focused team driven by results, with Leah serving as agency president and Cynthia as chairman. Dala Communications is taken from the nickname “Dala,” which refers to the Dalecarlian horse, a cultural symbol of Sweden and a part of Leah’s heritage. The Dala horse represents a legacy of Swedish entrepreneurship and this same entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Leah’s family, beginning with her grandfather who built a successful photography business after leaving Sweden and arriving in NYC in 1903 via Ellis Island.  Leah’s father is also a successful business owner. Simply put, Dala Communications is a nod to Leah’s Swedish roots and the entrepreneurial spirit. Dala continues to be a mid-sized agency based in Dallas-Fort Worth that produces real results for its clients across the country. We are thankful for our clients and are proud to continue working with some of the top names and businesses in real estate, construction, engineering, finance, retail, healthcare and education, to name a few.  While the name may be different, you can still count on Dala to deliver our proven approach with today's newest communication techniques, giving modern motion to traditional ideas of integrity, service and the entrepreneurial spirit. Cheers to an amazing 2017 and we look forward to building on C. Pharr’s lasting reputation, and putting strategies in motion for our current and prospective clients. Thank you for your support! The Dala Team Leah, Cynthia, Krystal, Katie, Elizabeth and Lori

It’s official…C. Pharr & Company is now Dala Communications! Before we look to the future, we need to venture back nearly 13 years ago when Cynthia Pharr Lee and Leah Ekmark Williams began working together. Early on during their business relationship, they formed a partnership and succession plan which is what you see today.

Under Dala’s former name, C. Pharr & Company has for decades, established a reputation for helping clients build their businesses by communicating their unique stories. We have served a clientele of some of the most respected names in business and have built a team of skilled public relations experts who have fostered a 20-plus-year legacy of trusting relationships with clients, communities, media and other influencers. 

This team is still in place today. Our clients and business partners can count on the same client-focused team driven by results, with Leah serving as agency president and Cynthia as chairman.

Dala Communications is taken from the nickname “Dala,” which refers to the Dalecarlian horse, a cultural symbol of Sweden and a part of Leah’s heritage. The Dala horse represents a legacy of Swedish entrepreneurship and this same entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Leah’s family, beginning with her grandfather who built a successful photography business after leaving Sweden and arriving in NYC in 1903 via Ellis Island.  Leah’s father is also a successful business owner. Simply put, Dala Communications is a nod to Leah’s Swedish roots and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Dala continues to be a mid-sized agency based in Dallas-Fort Worth that produces real results for its clients across the country. We are thankful for our clients and are proud to continue working with some of the top names and businesses in real estate, construction, engineering, finance, retail, healthcare and education, to name a few. 

While the name may be different, you can still count on Dala to deliver our proven approach with today's newest communication techniques, giving modern motion to traditional ideas of integrity, service and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Cheers to an amazing 2017 and we look forward to building on C. Pharr’s lasting reputation, and putting strategies in motion for our current and prospective clients. Thank you for your support!

The Dala Team

Leah, Cynthia, Krystal, Katie, Elizabeth and Lori

25 years of memories and history, serving as PR partner for A Conversation With a Living Legend®
Cynthia Pharr Lee MD Anderson Living Legend Lunch

For the past 25 years we have been the media relations partner of A Conversation With a Living Legend® in Dallas, benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Working with this client is extremely rewarding because we know our efforts on this annual event are helping support research and patient care. We’ve worked on countless Living Legend lunches that have honored big names in town and internationally, including Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., founder of The Cooper Clinic and The Cooper Institute; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; professional golfer Ben Crenshaw; and, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

We were thrilled to be a part of this year’s 28th annual event that honored international architect, artist and engineer Santiago Calatrava, Ph.D. The luncheon event at the Hilton Anatole featured an interview led by Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour.” This year’s event, led by chair Su-Su Meyer of Dallas and a steering committee of North Texas business and community leaders, raised more than $677,000 to support MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™, a comprehensive effort to significantly reduce cancer deaths and transform cancer care.

Since A Conversation With a Living Legend® originated in North Texas in 1990, the event has raised more than $16 million for MD Anderson. In total, more than $35 million has been raised to support life-saving work at MD Anderson from similar events in Washington, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio.

Leah EkmarkComment
Quarterly Volunteer Day - #DalaDoesGood with The Mission Continues

The Dala team had the chance to volunteer with the Dallas 1st Service Platoon from The Mission Continues, a non-profit that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

As part of Freedom Day on Sept. 11, 2017 (a Day of Service in Dallas where first responders, veterans, and local companies gather and volunteer together to commemorate Sept. 11, 2001) we volunteered alongside veterans at Whitney M. Young elementary school in South Dallas. We spent the day painting tires for a gardening project, creating a fun caterpillar that shows the alphabet and organized books in the school's library.

We really enjoyed learning about The Mission Continues and helping make the school's playground more interactive and colorful for the students! #DalaDoesGood

Leah EkmarkComment