From the Hive

Communicating Amid Sustained Crisis

By Megan Lacy, Wild Hive Account Director

If you’re feeling exhausted right now, you’re in good company. Amid a global pandemic, economic concerns and civil unrest, crisis fatigue is becoming a new normal that you, your employees and your family are experiencing. This fatigue can translate into your communications, but now more than ever, maintaining strong communications remains critical.

Over the past several months, we’ve been working with our clients to address their pressing needs and a few themes are arising as we navigate their unique challenges. Here are some of our key takeaways for communicating in this sustained crisis:

  1. Be nimble with your internal communications channels: It’s likely  you’ve already made changes to your internal communications. Depending on the size of your organization, these changes may vary from more regular team meetings to video calls to new channels and platforms you’re using to keep people feeling connected, engaged and informed. Gain employee feedback on how these channels are working and be prepared to adjust to meet the evolving needs of your workforce. Whether you are the leader of your organization or the head communicator, be prepared to look at new ways to communicate with your teams and keep your communications short, to the point, and consistent. The content of what you are communicating is as important as how you’re communicating it.
  2. Find ways to be a helper: We are in an ongoing crisis with no foreseeable end, which means every industry has a role in helping to address the current crisis. Find what your organization is uniquely able to offer to assist in the crisis and do this. Listen to your employees about the opportunities they see for your organization to support people through the crisis. Don’t expect media coverage for it. Don’t expect a pat on the back. Do it because it’s the right thing, and with no known end to the pandemic or economic fall-out or civil unrest, this is the new normal. As an added bonus, your employees will feel empowered, and you’ll have positive results to reinforce with them through your improved communications channels.
  3. Amplify your own voice: The media landscape is dominated by the crises at-hand, and the space for earned media coverage is small. Lean into or create new channels of your own to tell your story. If you’ve been considering launching a newsroom or new channel, now is the time to do it. Make sure your content is relevant to your audiences, but don’t be afraid to be your own advocate.
  4. Listen and be prepared to change your approach based on what you learn: Communications is a two-way street. The news about the pandemic in particular is constantly changing, and as leaders and communicators, we must be prepared to shift course based on new information. Now is the time to enhance your media monitoring and social listening tools to ensure you’re capturing your audience’s perspectives. Ensure these tools are helping you analyze information quickly and easily. Reach out to your key stakeholders just to check in and understand the challenges they are facing.
  5. Be transparent, authentic and empathetic in your messaging and approach: Everyone is trying to find a relevant voice in these narratives. Some are authentic, genuine and truly helpful; others are opportunistic, self-serving and may be virtue signaling. As important as it is for organizations to be proactive, it’s equally important that they be deliberate, thoughtful and measured during this time. Asking “why this?” and “why now?” before communicating is a helpful way to ensure the answers to those questions align with your organization’s values. You are not expected to have all the answers in this crisis; you are expected to offer clarity, thoughtfulness and empathy in your communications. Be prepared to break down the challenges your organization is facing and even slow down to ensure you are addressing the issues at hand with transparency, honesty and integrity.

We don’t know when the crises we’re facing will end, so focus on your core values, providing value to your audiences, and keeping the lines of communication open internally and externally.



Credibility: Are You Worthy?

By Allison Beadle, Founder & CEO of Wild Hive

I always like to level-set with some definitions, so let’s do just that. What is credibility?

-The quality of being trusted or believed in

-The quality of being convincing or believable

-The quality or power of inspiring belief

So according to these definitions, “credibility” is a quality. That’s great. I think we can all agree that “credibility” is a quality we want to embody—we want to be believable because belief is the catalyst for trust and trust is the catalyst for loyalty. Belief, trust, and loyalty are the critical and irreplaceable elements of strong relationships. And relationships will make or break marketing.

But it all starts with “credibility.” So, let’s take this exercise a bit deeper.

We can trace the origin of the word “credibility” to the Latin credibilis, which means “worthy of belief.” Note the word “worthy”—this is why it’s important to go deeper when we’re talking about the meaning of things. Credibility is a quality bestowed upon a person, a business, a brand, an organization, etc. if an only if the subject at hand is worthy of credibility.

So, how do we know if we’re worthy of credibility? Here’s a check list. Your potential answers: yes, no, sometimes, or I don’t know.

-Are the claims made by your brand, company, organization, or you personally backed by reputable data? Reputable data = data gathered and analyzed using industry-accepted techniques.

-Have you published your data for peer review (either in a peer-reviewed journal or professional conference setting)?

-Has your data been validated by a third party?

-Do you share your data with your audiences (consumers, professionals, retailers, industry members, media, etc.)?

-Is your brand telling the truth, 100%, in everything it does and says at all times?

-Can you back up everything you are doing and saying with reputable data?

If you answered “yes” to each of these questions, your credibility worthiness is likely in excellent shape, and you can be positioned as the expert, the resource, the go-to in your area of specialty.

If you answered “no,” “sometimes,” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, your credibility worthiness is in question. And when it comes to credibility, you don’t want to say, “we’re not worthy!” However, you are now in a position of knowledge to do something about this. Let’s get a plan in place.

Allison Beadle

Allison’s marketing career began as a registered dietitian working in oncology. You read that correctly. Working in the clinical world gave Allison a heart for people and the role of food in healing, but after a couple of years, it was time for a change. So, she made the leap to the food industry where she worked in marketing and managed nutrition communications for the Central Market division of the H.E.B. Grocery Company. She was blessed to work with some of the most remarkable, interesting, and intelligent people in her career.  It was here that she found her passion for food storytelling and marketing.  She found that her background in nutrition science, love of food, fascination with culture and travel, innate desire to continually connect with others, and expressive nature were a good mix for educating consumers, professionals, and industry members. And innovating.

As the president and CEO of Wild Hive, she does everything you might imagine she does.  Each day, she gets to work with awesome people, incredible clients, inspiring industries, innovative entrepreneurs intent on changing the world, and she travels a good bit.  And she’s grateful each and every day for the opportunity to build a business that thinks and acts differently and hopefully makes life better for everyone it comes in contact with.

Prior to launching Wild Hive, Allison was senior vice president for Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. where she counseled numerous brands and commodity organizations including Chobani Greek Yogurt, the California Raisin Marketing Board, Paramount Farms (Wonderful Pistachios), the Tri-Lamb Group, TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, the National Mango Board, Sunsweet, the California Table Grape Commission, the United States Potato Board, and the Texas Beef Council.

As a former retail dietitian, Allison has a special place in her heart for the trailblazing dietitians who are doing amazing things to educate consumers and transform the retail grocery industry.  To that end, she helped spearhead the launch of two game-changing initiatives focused on helping retail dietitians succeed: the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) and Fleishman-Hillard’s ‘What’s in Store.’

Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in nutrition science from Boston University. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), she is past-chair of the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).

Allison is wife to Brian and mommy to Audrey (6 years) and Walker (3 years).  More than anything in the world, she loves traveling and exploring with her family…taking her kids along for exciting adventures to big cities, small towns, countrysides, islands, and everywhere in between.  She’s an eighth generation Texan.  And it’s never a dull moment in her world!

Brian Beadle

As Creative Director for Wild Hive, Brian combines nearly a decade of professional design experience with his passion for food, fitness, and healthy lifestyle. Along with overseeing brand development, graphic design, photograpy, and marketing, Brian provides strategic insight on trends analysis and forecasting for Wild Hive and our clients. In addition, he is responsible for implementing ongoing nutrition issues and media monitoring for several Wild Hive clients.

As the strategy lead for BeetElite, Brian worked with numerous national cycling media outlets, such as Peloton Magazine and Bicycling Magazine as well as negotiating sponsorships with professional cyclists. For the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA), Brian was responsible for developing the organization’s logo and branding, which was incorporated into web design, newsletter design, and additional marketing materials.

Currently, Brian provides design direction, creative strategy, and media research & outreach for the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC) and WOOM Bikes USA, an innovative local Austin, Texas bicycle company.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. Brian is an avid cyclist, musician, dad, foodie, and a registered landscape architect in the state of Texas.

Mary Kimbrough, RD

An award-winning food service professional and communicator, Mary has extensive knowledge and experience in operations, program development, implementation and training, in the realm of food, nutrition and culinary arts.

A producer of real solutions to her clients, Mary can tap into her trusted network of professionals in the culinary nutrition field to craft the ideal product or service for the project at hand. This active network is the culmination of a rich and varied career and her dedication to efficient problem solving. Mary is that exceptionally vital link between food and food manufacturers to recipe to plate on the table.

Mary’s expertise in the field helped her create a healthful dining concept, menu, and recipes for Royal Caribbean International Food and Beverage Departments’ new class of ships – Oasis of the Seas. The liner’s Solarium Bistro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a transparently healthful menu that allows the guests a choice when dining. Additional clients have included: American Heart Association, Amtrak, Giordano’s Pizza Sara Lee/Hillshire Farm, Custom Culinary, Quaker/PepsiCo, Welch’s, Puente Inc., Amtrak., Texas Beef Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Weight Watchers/Gilsa Dairy division.

In 2006 she created Food Roots LLC, a premier Texas culinary and agricultural tourism company offering unique health-focused Texas food and wine experiences through custom tours, cooking classes, and dining adventures.

Prior to establishing these enterprises, she was director of Nutrition and Hospitality Services for the University of Texas Southwestern University Hospitals. In this position, she was recognized for her vision and leadership in marrying the culinary arts to the science of nutrition in foodservice. Her masterful blend of healthcare nutrition and culinary excitement has earned Mary numerous accolades. In 1998, the International Food Manufacturers Association presented her its Silver Plate Award, and Restaurants & Institutions magazine named her food service department an IVY Award winner.
Mary’s numerous seminars, lectures and workshops focus on the message that nutritious food is also delicious food. In 2007, Mary was selected to present The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Lenna Francis Cooper Memorial Lecture at AND’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (the second highest honor given to its members). She also has collaborated with The Culinary Institute of America Certified Master Chef Victor Gielisse in co-authoring In Good Taste: A Contemporary Approach to Cooking (Prentice Hall), a textbook-cookbook that joins culinarians and dietitians in the pursuit of nutritious, contemporary cooking.

Mary provides years of hands-on experience to professional organizations such as AND, mentioned above. She is a charter member and former chair of AND’s Food & Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group, a past board member of Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) and has served as Chair for the Dallas Chapters of Les Dames d`Escoffier and the American Institute for Wine and Food. She is a founding member of Foodways Texas, a current board member in addition to serving as their education committee co-chair.

Jeff Gross

Jeff is an accomplished researcher and analyst with more than 30 years experience fielding numerous B2B and B2C market research studies. He is the founding partner of Integra Marketing Research, which applies sound and proven marketing research principles, whether to tried and true study designs or to innovative methodologies to properly answer business questions.

Jeff founded and operated the full-service marketing research firm, Gross Marketing Research, for 27 years. Prior to Gross Marketing Research, he held positions in marketing research on the client side at The Pillsbury Company and Del Monte U.S.A., as well as on the supplier side at Edwin J. Gross, Inc. and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates.

He has conducted numerous market research studies for food industry clients including C&W Frozen Foods, Del Monte U.S.A, Discovery Foods, Farmhouse Foods, Golden Heritage Foods, Mariani Packaging Company, Nakano Foods, Nancy’s Specialty Foods, Henry’s Supper Shop, Otis Spunkmeyer, San Francisco French Bread Company, Culinary Brands, Taylor Farms, the American Lamb Board, the Tri-Lamb Group, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Honey Board, and the National Mango Board.

Jeff received his B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Lake Forest College and his M.B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago. Jeff is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and resides in the Lake Tahoe area where he enjoys skiing and mountain biking.

Megan Lacy

Megan Lacy is a communications professional whose message development and media relations expertise has exceeded objectives for clients across industries. She has experience managing and synthesizing complicated issues in order to develop impactful, clear messaging to support overall communications goals.

Megan has strong experience in public awareness, education and advocacy efforts for clients across government, business and non-profit sectors, along with a proven track record of delivering strong media relations results and counsel on a variety of communications issues.

Most recently, Megan served as the managing director of communications for the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, an equestrian sport non-profit organization focused on serving the Hunter and Jumper disciplines. She also served as director of the USHJA Foundation, which provides funding to USHJA programs and provides grants and scholarships to USHJA members. In these roles, she wore virtually every hat—strategic counselor and tactical implementation lead, guiding and executing email marketing, social media, content, media, and issues management strategies.

Prior to the USHJA, Megan worked for international communications firm FleishmanHillard, supporting clients across numerous industries, including food and agriculture. In her tenure with FleishmanHillard, she led numerous accounts, exceeding client objectives. Clients ranged from Tri-Lamb to the Department of Homeland Security. Her experience working with food and agriculture, state government, federal government, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits allows her to easily integrate into an organization’s workflow and lead teams to success against shared goals.


Megan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Allie Jones

By combining her love of all things Agriculture, communicating creatively, and working with amazing people, Allie Jones found her career sweet spot. Pair that with unquenchable curiosity, a love of food puns, and a glass-half-full kind of attitude you have a career that feels like an adventure.


Allie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Communications and a minor in Journalism from the University of Wyoming in 2015 (Go Pokes!) then moved down to warm up in Austin while interning at Rodeo Austin. She decided to stay in Austin and got the position of promoting and growing the GO TEXAN marketing program at the Texas Department of Agriculture. While working at TDA and with the GO TEXAN companies her passion for helping the food and agriculture industry grew.


Allie continues to stay hungry and curious in her career by looking forward to every adventure.


When she isn’t working with clients or brainstorming with her Wild Hive team members she is spending time with her family either in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, on her family’s ranch in central Texas or going on adventures, near a far, with her boyfriend, Patrick, and their new side-kick-pup, Maggie.