Community Relations–An Important Part of Any Campaign

In the realm of public relations, my specialty is community relations. That is puzzling to some people because it sounds so generic, like a synonym of public relations. It’s not, of course, it’s actually very specific and is why I am often recruited to work on much larger campaigns where community relations is one portion. Typical Community Relations Activities Defined by being out in the community, falling in this category is participation in public expos, fairs, and other general events, but it also includes contests, drives and collections, appearances by a mascot, setting a world record, and more. You can invite other organizations to collaborate with these endeavors which helps spread your message even quicker. Different Than Cause Marketing Cause marketing fits under the umbrella of community relations. Cause marketing is when your company holds a community service event that raises money for, or awareness of, a cause beyond your own. A good example of this is shown by the many companies that take part in this kind of effort in October for breast cancer awareness (represented by pink ribbons)—even as far-reaching as high school football teams wearing pink socks emulating the NFL players. Companies might pair the awareness campaign by also making a donation to a charity that supports that cause. The cause you choose to support needs to align with your core values and be in line with your brand. Benefits of Community Relations Community relations is the most personal and sociable part of public relations. It is the aspect that puts a company closest to its customers and constituents. You can shake hands, answer questions (even ones that people don’t want to put in print), and smile. It creates goodwill and transparency. You can articulate complex concepts and engage in dialogue more so than in social media posts and explain things better than you can in website FAQs, interacting more personally than on a Skype call. In this digital world, it’s important for companies to incorporate a community relations component to show that the company is run by real people, not just a man behind a curtain. As one strategy of a larger plan, community relations activities are supported with social media and other traditional public relations activities to create robust and full campaigns. Community relations might be the component your marketing plan is missing.   Community Relations at a Glance … • Involves the greater community...
read more

The New Website is Up!

  The new website is up! The New website is up! I must sound just like a giddy Steve Martin playing Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk excitedly announcing that “The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here!” Of course, I hope I don’t face results like Navin did by being in the phonebook for the first time. Just in case, I’ll stay away from the cans (you had to see the movie to appreciate this–sorry, if you haven’t; see it again, if you’ve forgotten). But I digress … With the new site, my blog is right here with it! WordPress is definitely a wonderful platform for blogs and websites. If you are contemplating creating or updating your website, or launching a blog, I highly recommend WordPress. So far it has been a dream to update, create tags and meta information for better SEO, and just look at it! It looks so great! I am so pleased and want to thank Omnibeat for their help with all things technical that confuse me, and Bonnie McCarthy for the fantastic images you see not he new site. Take a look around and give me your feedback. As a consultant, I do most things on my own, but from time to time I bring in extra professionals. In other words, I’m up for projects of any size and I hope my website clearly portrays that. I consult, I present, I facilitate, and I implement. With over 20 years of practice, I have a wealth of experience to draw on for every new assignment and new client. If you don’t see something offered that you are looking for, please inquire, and if it is outside of my area of expertise, I’d be happy to refer you. If you happen to represent another agency looking for a consultant to round out your team, I’d be willing to help. In fact, about one-third to one-half of my client list during any given year is as a subcontractor. I am most often brought in as a community relations specialist, but I have also been brought in to offer facilitation services or just to create a workshop that will galvanize efforts or address a skill or issue that has gone overlooked. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn...
read more

Community Relations-Concept to Reality

Every month on my Facebook account I include a listing of interesting national or international days for the month as well as some notable birthdays. These dates, set by someone else (ex. National Banana Split Day – August 25), offer you an easy way to anchor a community relations event or coordinate a fun event for your staff. There are many more items of interest each month, more than I can fit in my posts or keep track of. I just hope that it sparks an idea for you. How would I capitalize on August? Here are two ideas, one internal and one external, that I’ll let you borrow or  make better.  Internal: Julia Child was born on August 15. Julia Child was an American chef who studied French cooking and wrote many cookbooks as well as demonstrated her cooking methods on television long before Emeril Lagasse (Bam!). It’s “Bon Appetit” day for staff! This can be implemented in two ways depending on your budget and resources. You could host lunch for your employees at a French restaurant, or have your staff do the work in the form of a potluck encouraging them to use a Julia Child recipe or at least something French (limit the number of fries, of course). Offer up issues of her cookbooks, or the book Julie & Julia for prizes. Be creative and light about the criteria–fewest ingredients, doesn’t taste French, etc. External: Celebrating another birthday, Orville Wright’s birthday is August 19. You remember learning about him and his brother Wilbur as they were able to get an airplane to take flight. What a great time to make your ideas take flight! Host a paper airplane contest. You could implement this many ways and link it back to your mission–that’s important! Here are a couple of angles: • This could be a contest promoting communication by requiring the airplane be made from a full sheet of a newspaper; • You could celebrate aviation and engineering by inviting engineering students to compete; • Celebrating a milestone (anniversary, advancement, new location, expansion, etc.) shows how far you’ve gone–now let’s see how far a paper airplane can go. In this instance, I would invite top executives and elected officials to participate and make a bigger impact; • Control the materials and parameters that might relate to why you are holding this contest. Flying paper airplanes supplies a great...
read more