Adidas, there’s no U in Colombia!

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Proof reading and checking spelling are basics in PR, something that is done every day. Spelling is such an easy thing to get wrong. Some would argue whether it really matters? Does it? Of course. A simple spelling or grammar mistake has the power to bring a brand to it’s knees through causing offence, changing meaning and looking unprofessional.

This month global brand Adidas made a spelling blunder on their latest advertising campaign. Adidas have a lucrative sponsorship deal with Colombia which includes supplying club kit for the Copa America, an international football tournament in the United States this month. Despite the five year partnership between the brand and the country, Adidas spelt Colombia with a U.

You can’t help but feel for the people that created this, read it, probably re-read it and signed off on the final copy. A one letter mistake that changes everything and offends a whole nation.

Adidas went straight in to crisis-mode and swiftly removed the offensive advertising and issued the following statement: “We value our partnership with the Colombian Football Federation and apologize for our mistake. We removed these graphics and are quickly installing new versions today.”  Honest, concise and apologetic, a great crisis statement.

From a PR perspective Adidas have done all that they can to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Let’s hope the Colombian Football Federation and football-supporters of Colombia are feeling forgiving.

The PR lesson is a clear and obvious one. Always check the copy yourself, get as many people you can to proof it and always refer to books and Google if in any doubt. A good tip that was given to me was to avoid approving copy in a rush, take your time, mistakes are harder to correct once they are out there in the world for all to see. I find it best if I leave something over night and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Read more about this situation and different media perspectives here:

One website has found a twitter user who wants to take their revenge by supporting ‘Abidas’, the knock off version of Adidas, that is apparently popular in Colombia. Read the article here at remezcla.com.

Have you made any PR or advertising spelling mistakes that you are willing to share? What do you think about this one? Do you think Adidas have done enough to remedy the situation? Share your take on the situation in the comments box.

PR is demanding, look after yourself! 5 tips to keep you on the straight and narrow

Carrie

It’s not surprising that juggling a public relations career with all of lifes other demands can sometimes get the better of you.

In 2015 being a PR executive was ranked the 6th most stressful job that someone can have in America according to CareerCast. In the UK the top ten misses PR off and all the jobs listed are front line public sector roles. This is an interesting insight in to our cultural differences and how we perceive stress.

Although PR may not currently be considered as one of the UK’s most stressful jobs, there are many demands on a PR professional that raise those cortisol levels. Two little words will set even the coolest of PR professional’s pulse racing: crisis management!

Every role comes with its own stresses. Stress comes from pressure. Add this to other life stresses and it can easily soon start to take its toll. Even good things like buying a house, relationships, friendships and trying to hit important life milestones can add to stress levels.

It’s obvious that by burning the candle at both ends it’s soon going to have a negative effect and it is also obvious what needs to be done to prevent stress. However, often we ignore the advice we give ourselves, the things we know we should do.

So here’s a little reminder of five key things that are going to dramatically reduce the damage stress can do to our bodies as well as trying to maintain some balance:

  1. Self support
  2. Sleep
  3. Socialise
  4. Sport
  5. Supplements

Self

Make time for yourself. This is always the first thing to go for me. I completely neglect my hobbies, my blog, my hair, listening to music, reading, my skin routine and other important things that look after my wellbeing. Personal and mental wellbeing is so important and after a long time in the dark it is finally becoming a talked about topic in the mental health arena. Realistically this underpins all of the other points in this list, all of them contribute to your general wellbeing and to taking good care of yourself.

Sleep

There aren’t enough hours in the day. How many times have you thought that this week? In PR we are expected to constantly be switched on and connected. The all knowing and all-seeing client eye! With email and social media at your fingertips it’s hard to put down your phone when you should be winding down for bed. But you must. The blue screen is doing you no favours.

Lack of concentration, headaches and twitchy eye are just a few of the side effect of lack of sleep. Everyone knows a lack of sleep is bad for you, so it’s time to catch some Z’s. Run on all cylinders by trying to get 7-8 hours sleep a day. Everyone’s different, you know the amount of sleep you need so adjust my recommendation accordingly – happy napping!

Socialise

Even if it’s just a coffee catch up, keep in touch with your friends. When I’m stressed I cut myself off from my friends, so I know how hard this can be. I convince myself they don’t want someone around who’s stressed. In reality good friends are your support network and they will be there for you when the chips are down.

A half hour catch up over a cuppa, a Skype call or date in the future to meet up are ways to touch base when you are short on time. Friends are a great support and distraction, they are the perfect way take yourself out of your situation for a little light relief. They will be happy to listen to you have a good old rant and they will have a few ideas of their own about how to keep the stress monster from the door.

Life is about balance, being with your friends is really good for you and your wellbeing.

Sport

It’s easy to drop the ball on getting to the gym, heading out on a run or doing whatever sport you’d normally do when you’re in the office late or working weekends. However, exercise releases all those great happy endorphins and can totally change your mindset. I find I get my greatest ideas and work through all my problems when I’m working out. Afterwards everything becomes clearer and allows me to put it all in perspective. At the moment I’ve definitely dropped the ball on this one, so last night I combined catching up with friends and going to a new trampoline park that’s opened in my city. Not only did I get a full on bounce-based killer work-out but I also got to see my friends. Win!

Scheduling in even a small amount of regular exercise is going to benefit your mind, your body and your immune system.

Supplements

Ensuring that you eat well will help to combat stress, your diet is unbelievably important. For any dietary advice or for anything medical please go and speak to your Doctor. They study for a really long time and know their stuff and are the best to give you advice if you are struggling physically or mentally.

Although I eat my five a day, I have a hectic lifestyle and a low immune system. So I make sure I take a good multivitamin to help support my body. The fitness rhetoric doesn’t change, eating right, drinking plenty of water and all those other things you read on those aspirational fitness blogs and websites are all important to make your body work right. So make sure you’re fitting in your five fruit and vegetables a day!

These five points aren’t new but they are an important reminder of the key elements to try and keep some work life balance. Now I’m off to bed to try and implement my own advice and balance my busy life!

 

Sarah Stimson’s 50 UK PR female blogger list – I’m on it!

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Today I was excited to find out that I am part of a list of 50 UK bloggers submitted by Sarah Stimson to Vuelio for some number crunching fun.

In this article Sarah points out that there were no female bloggers in Vuelio’s recent ‘Top 10 UK PR blogs list’. Sarah knows that there are a lot of us out here and has submitted a list of 50 that she is aware of to Vuelio who’ve agreed to help her with some statistical analysis. You can read her blog, which includes a list of 50 female UK PR bloggers by clicking on the image below:

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There are some cracking blogs in this list and it’s well worth a trawl through for some great and diverse PR reads.

If you are a also a female UK PR blogger you can submit your details to Vuelio too by clicking on ‘How does Vuelio decide its Top 10 Blog Ranking?‘.

Getting into PR: What to expect on a work placement

What to expect on placement

This week I had the amazing opportunity to go back to Southampton Solent University to lecture about what PR students should expect on their placements and how they can maximise the opportunity while they are there. I wrote about the lecture on behalf of Lee Peck Media:

Placements, internships and work experience are all part and parcel when it comes to getting onto the PR career ladder. Having experience continues to be an important pre-requisite to entering the PR industry. It’s the chance to impress, network and find out what the industry is actually like at the same time as adding vital skills to a CV.

In 2015 alone the amount of placements rose by 10.2 per cent, according to a survey of leading employers by High Fliers Research. Although employers are offering more opportunities the number of applicants has also increased with some roles attracting thousands of candidates. In a competitive job environment experience can provide the edge required to beat off those other candidates for that sought-after first job.

This week Lee Peck Media’s Rebecca Henderson was invited by Southampton Solent University to give a talk to second year PR students about being a PR account executive and what to expect when on a placement.

“Embarking on a work placement or PR role for the first time can be a pretty daunting prospect whether you are fresh from graduating or not. Having some relevant tools and advice before starting will help you stand out from the crowd and impress your potential future employers, which could help you land your first proper PR job,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca undertook placements at a number of different companies at the start of her career, including time at the Clinique press office and the communications team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue. Here she shares her top five things to expect on placement:

  1. Admin – This may not sound like an integral part but this is the bread and butter of PR and what justifies our work. Media cuttings, reports and keeping plans up to date are an important everyday essential that, if not done properly, will catch you out later down the line!
  2. Press releases – Practice, practice, practice! Don’t feel down if you get critiqued; use it as a valuable learning experience to improve. Remember your managers will have been writing for years, so don’t be disheartened.
    Press releases
  3. Events – Be prepared. Carrying around essential tools, i.e. stationary, spare press releases and contact details, could avert disaster and prevent you from missing that important PR opportunity.
  4. Selling in to journalists – Get that telephone manner down! Use your charm, wit and guile to hook a journalist on to your story.
  5. Be ready to learn – Ask questions and get involved. There are some topics like budgets and crisis management where the best form of learning is from others on the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can learn why that’s the approach to take in that instance.

Rebecca added: “All these tips will help but your attitude matters. It may sound obvious but be proactive and enthusiastic. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t and how much it matters!”


Laura Bradley, the new PR_SSU Blog Editor and second year Public Relations & Communication student has also written about the lecture for the Official Southampton Solent Univeristy blog, click here to read it!

 

Kim Kardashian ‘breaks the internet again’ with more vanity PR…

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Kim Kardashian‘s latest mission to gain some media attention was a ‘naked selfie’ posted on Instagram on 7 March and within a day it had over 1 million likes. One hell of a powerful (and nothing left to the imagination) selfie.

Sorry to further the Kardashian noise even more, but if you did manage to miss it or couldn’t be bothered to seek it out, it’s below.

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Kim Kardashian has built a career out of vanity public relations. She has no traditional tangible skill, talent or trade, she is literally promoting interest in her. Her life, her looks, her family and her loves.

I wrote in a previous blog ‘People taking selfies can become powerful stakeholders if they gain adequate enough attention.’ However, I’d like to add to this theory and say that to sustain power, the person must continue to draw attention to themselves to keep themselves in the public eye or find other mechanisms to support attention being put in their direction.

Kim Kardashian has done exactly that, her fame now sustains itself through several other mediums, her social media accounts, broadcast, print and her family to name but a few.

She brought herself in to the public eye so much that she landed herself a reality TV show, she married one of world’s most famous rappers and perpetuates herself further with vanity PR, such as the naked selfie above. As Kim shows on a daily basis the humble selfie can be a very powerful tool in PR!

So this made me decide to re-post my blog about the selfie revolution and vanity public relations called ‘But first, let me take a selfie’ featured below.

But first, let me take a… The Chainsmokers and the infamous #selfie song!

But first, let me take a… The Chainsmokers infamous song!

Love them or hate them, you have to question what kind of culture they are fostering online? And is it restricted to gender? Tragically a man recently became a selfie recluse and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t obtain what he deemed to be the perfect picture. It’s an extreme example, but an example none the less. This sounds like it has taken the form of addiction but in the case of Eat Pray Love star, James Franco, he know’s exactly what he’s doing. An article in Marie Claire has researched that he is full aware that in the age of hyper-connectivity and online noise, attention is power. Cornelissen, author of Corporate Communciations: a guide to theory and practice, identifies a power, urgency and legitimacy model when it comes to stakeholder salience. People taking selfies can become powerful stakeholders if they gain adequate enough attention. Last night James Franco posted an almost nude and very odd selfie and removed it an hour later (Marie Claire have captured it though, take a look). What did it create? Attention, everyone’s currently talking about…James Franco. Everyone will be paying attention to his twitter account for a little while, so whatever he says is going to have an enhanced focus and a larger reach and therefore when you are trying to be heard amongst the crowd this can be a powerful tool. Large companies are starting to recognise that they could potentially be a profitable trend too. Samsung have identified that selfies are powerful and have decided to capitalise upon it releasing a selfie-specific camera. To be fair, the camera is actually very cool, with some super features, but it does lead to asking the question what or where next for the selfie?

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Space selfies already exist – what next?!

There is also the element of people who are fishing for compliments. Cancer Research UK not only identified this trend but also harnessed it as a PR campaign, which ultimately used vanity PR and converted it into direct donations, the charities main aim. It played upon women empowerment, image and personal identity. By women posting not only were they saying they were confident enough to show the world their face make up free, warts and all but they could also align themselves with being a better person, it just screamed ‘Look everyone, not only am I confident, but I’m generous!’ Through the nominations aspect, other women questioned their peers, willing them to participate, but are they really asking ‘Are you a confident and generous person too?’ No one wants to be seen as insecure or a scrooge! Ultimately it generated a lot of money for charity, which can only be a good thing, I’m just not sure I fully agree with the method, but no one can deny it was a clever PR campaign.

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‘THAT’ Oscars selfie!

Do you pout?

Do you pout?

Or do you look longingly?

Or do you look longingly?

Having not grown up in the age of the selfie I can’t help but think of the impression it may have had on me. Teen Vogue take a psychological stance and address the issue of low self esteem recommending a shift in perspective if all you are looking for are comments. The advice they give is healthy, they don’t say selfies are bad but to make sure they are fun and avoid excessive use. I think it’s important that influencers like Teen Vogue do put out positive messages like this so there is some guidance for people growing up in an ever-image obsessed world. The ‘What I see’ project discusses both sides of the selfie but within a feminist context with a dose of philosophical musings and makes for a very interesting contribution to the debate.

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Would Marilyn Monroe have taken a selfie?

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Will selfies become modern art?

Grace Dent who writes for The Independent also makes the argument that selfies are about self-branding, celebrity-alignment, social climbing and proof of happiness. The more I read the more negative it gets. Are there positive aspects to the selfie? Perhaps I don’t understand the selfie. Do we need to prove to other people that we are happy? What constitutes happiness? Do people want to see others pouting in front of the camera?

What do you think?

Share your comments below, or if you find any good articles or points of view please post them too!

Blog Lovin’ – a blogging curation and networking service

Web

The battle of keeping up with all the blogs you want to read may have just taken a step closer to being a bit more manageable.

Blog Lovin’ is a new service that curates blogs on topics of your choosing, the bloggers you follow and connects you to potential advertisers and paid blog opportunities. If you are short on time, and let’s face it who isn’t, this a one stop shop for keeping up to date with all your favourite blogs.

The step-by-step process when you sign up guides you through adding your blog to the site. Don’t worry if you can’t find your blog at first. I emailed them and a few days later it was added for me and they sent me a lovely email to let me know!

To connect your blog you need to ‘claim your blog’ which then gives you a code. It then asks you to post a new blog post with that code which allows Blog Lovin’ to recognise your site and display your blog posts.

Once you’ve added your details, added a picture and changed the settings to your liking you are all ready to go. This was a fairly quick set up process for me, it took me about 15 minutes once my site was recognised.

When it connects it lists all your blog posts in a wall that can be clicked on by your followers, under a tab called ‘Everything’. It also shows all your followers and other blogs similar to yours under two separate tabs.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.50.19

Along the top row are five headings, a bell symbol that lets you know when you have new notifications and a silhouette of a person or your image once you upload one, that takes you to your account menu.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.12.44Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.12.38My FeedScreen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.01The blog posts are laid out simply and are really user friendly…

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.44It gives you the option to read it by clicking on the title, save it, share it through social media or email and mark it as read so you can keep an eye on what you have read already.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.37When saving it gives you the option to create a category so you can organise your saved blogs for when you come back to them later. This I find really useful because I don’t always have the time to read things but love to come back to post. Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.28Explore

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.51.51This gives you multiple ways to find new blogs. It gives some popular categories across the top, further categories under more, or you can use the top right hand search function to conduct some manual searches of your own…

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.27.41Find Blogs

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.06This works in a similar way to ‘Explore’ but rather than listing it by topic this is a search function for the person behind the blog.

Activate

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.28Activate allows you to instigate the networking side of the Blog Lovin’. By filling out your blog details it will match you to incoming PR and advertising opportunities, some of which are paid in money or gifted items.

Shop
Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.56This is another great feature of the site, it curates items from blogs and gives you the links or place where you can buy the products. Which instantly answers the ‘Oh my god, I love that, where can I get it?’ question that I usual have when reading blogs that feature amazing products.

It looks like a useful resource to discover new blogs, network, find new blogging opportunities and get more followers. I’m going to trial it for a few months and see if it helps improve followers to my blog. If you like it and create a profile don’t forget to add me too!

Click here to follow my blog on Blog Lovin’!

Know of any other good blogging sites? If so, please feel free to share in the comments!

Or if you want me to follow you on Blog Lovin’ then again please put your blog link and a message in the comment section.

I’ve joined Blog Lovin’

Web

Curation is a fantastic and helpful tool especially in the world of blogging. I am always looking for new ways to follow the blogs I like and find new ones. Today I’m trying a new service called Blog Lovin’.

I’ve got to post the link in a new post, here goes nothing…

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14724953/?claim=fxpnsu84m39″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I will update you with my progress and what I think of the service shortly!

Online activism – social media monster or force for chance?

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In The Times yesterday I couldn’t help but be grabbed by the article by @ROSAPRINCEUK with the headline Social media monster could devour Corbyn.

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It backed up the point I often make that online public relations for a divisive entity or to support a cause or for ‘online activism’ can be a double edged sword. It either is destructive force or a driving motivation for change.

Social media can be used to make a point. Rosa uses the example of Corbyn encouraging people to take to Twitter to share their heart warming stories about junior doctors. It’s a clever move given the current climate but, let’s leave the politics out of this and focus on the powerful use of PR for change.

The #theyarethedoctorswho hashtag was used over 20,000 times and almost overtook the insane ramblings of hip-hop rapper Kanye West. This surge of support is powerful, people have actively gone online to take part, engage and share. It’s obviously a topic close to so many people’s hearts and it’s well timed on Corbyn’s part as he’s called for this ‘online activism’ at a time when emotions are still running high.

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As you can see people were tweeting some very powerful and emotive messages.

For Corbyn this is another strategic step in getting people on side and motivated enough to actually vote. It worked in the run up to his vote for the Labour Party leadership and now this is being used in a wider application to make him relatable, show him as sympathetic and fighting for the average hard working Brit on the street. Who can’t relate to that?

With this sort of endeavour though you run the gauntlet between social media being a force for bad or good. Again Rosa brings an excellent topical example to the fold, Stephen Fry. Even Fry, a national treasure, dramatically quit the Twittersphere after he made an inappropriate comment at the BAFTAS and received unprecedented backlash. It only takes one comment, or action, which doesn’t have to be online to make or break someone’s reputation. Ah, there we go PR fans, we’ve reached the heart of the matter, it’s all down to reputation again!

Now it’s already blown past as yesterdays news and I am sure it won’t be long until Stephen Fry will be back to brandish 140 characters with the best of them. But, the point to make here is that, even for the popular people of the universe, the online world can be a dangerous place. Reputation is fragile and not easily repaired as we already know. It is in these situations that PR is absolutely crucial.

At present Corbyn is harnessing social media but he’s never that far from the edge. Those that have opposed Corbyn online in the lead up to his Labour Party election have found themselves trolled and he had to make a public call for more ‘civility online’.  As you can see, it may not even be your own actions that bring you close to the edge online but those who support you too.

At the end of the day all Corbyn cares about is whether this online support gets people off their bums and to the polling station come the time that matters. If this kind of PR by social media works and becomes a motivation factor for voters then it could be a very powerful force for political change. Can social media, if harnessed in the right way, be the persuasion tool that sparks people to vote? It certainly helped Obama.

Whether Corbyn being voted in is a good force for change or a bad force for change, well that’s a different topic and debate altogether. I am not attacking either political party, I am merely using it to make a point about PR. This blog is about public relations not politics.

I also have to point out here that what Corbyn is doing here is a form of PR piggybacking, a topic I wrote about in my last blog. Corbyn is capitalising on the junior doctors strikes by engaging the public by encouraging to share their emotive experiences about junior doctors. Like many strategic political PR campaigns, he is rubbing salt in the wound of the current Government’s inability to resolve the junior doctors situation and trying to turn it in his favour to get more votes for his party. This sort of political activity is nothing new, it’s just being done through a different medium.

Online activism is the a great way to engage debate, talk and discussion on difficult topics which I hope is then harnessed to encourage positive change. However, activism in its very nature can also bring negativity, so I believe that honesty, transparency and being considerate are all key in maintaining reputation online and in most real-world situations. Social media need not be a monstrous place as long as we all take a little responsibility and think about our actions.

The Independent – The beginning of the end…

the-independent-logo

…or as The Independent calls it ‘the end of an era’.

The 13th of February hailed ‘the new wave’ of digital only journalism. It was announced in an article online that The Independent will no longer have a print edition from the 20th March.

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Read the article.

The digital revolution has changed the face of public relations and it continues to evolve with new online inventions and trends. The creative industry has seen traditional journalism downscale and roles within newspapers change, diminish and come under enormous pressure.

With The Independents move to digital, others will follow.  Could this be the end of newspapers as we know it?

I want to think that it isn’t the end for newspapers. Look at the resurgence in traditional printed books after the wave of e-readers hit the market. The threat was real. Multiple books held in a conveniently compact tablet readily available wherever you go. It makes sense on so many levels.

For a long time it looked like the Kindle had killed off the print press in one swift digital punch.

However, a few years down the line, the market is saturated and there are people like me who still prefer to put the screen down and get involved in a real book. It’s a pleasant feeling to go fully offline and not succumb to the continuous draw of online content. I like books, I like the way they feel, the way they smell and the fact they don’t run out of battery! And, don’t even start me on the damage caused by screens to your eyes. I now wear glasses part-time. Anyway, as always, I digress. Book popularity has started to increase and it looks for now that the book stores have weathered the digital storm.

I hope that newspapers may have this same experience of a resurgence, but I think this may have to be tied in with some kind of content revolution.

Perhaps the best I can hope for is that by only being online the concept of the traditional journalist will endure? Hopefully online newspapers will have the resources to keep more journalists employed and the skills alive.

The cynic in me thinks that newspapers going online only will dilute the news market even further, the few remaining journalists will get lazy and the press release will be used as ‘cover-ready-copy’ without being stat checked or formed in to a real story. This sort of practice can already been seen, so it wouldn’t really be that much of a jump.

Unfortunately I think this is the next big change for newspapers and in a few years the next generation won’t have a clue what a newspaper is. They will laugh that we read things on paper and fetched the news daily from a shop. They will think us ridiculous as all they will know is that news is available at the touch of a button and you need not move a muscle to get it!

What makes me really sad though is the thought that in the future no one will derive joy on a Sunday from settling down with fresh coffee, breakfast and The Sunday Times and taking a long leisurely read of what’s going on in the world. Online reading just isn’t the same. I know all the same information is available online and I’m not against that existing too. But, for now, I’d like to keep things just the same with the option of both print and online.

I really do think that going solely online is the beginning of the end for newspapers. Now that The Independent has set the online precedent the others will follow.

I’d love to know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Happy Valentines Day 2016

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Happy Valentines Day!

It’s just a short and sweet one from me today…it’s all about communication 😉

Share the love everyday! 😘

 

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