SBN and Eagles Fly with Messaging for the Sustainable Business

Did you know that the Philadelphia Eagles were a “green” organization? Well, everyone knows their color has been green starting with the 1948 NFL championship team, but now we’re talking about green, as in sustainability.

Ben Block, marketing and communications specialist for Clean Markets, chose the green Eagles as the subject for his case study for the Feb. 23 Sustainable Business Network’s of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) quarterly Best Practice Forum: Branding and Messaging for the Sustainable Business, held at WeWork Market Street in the Five Penn Center building in Center City Philadelphia. In using the Eagles’ sustainability initiatives as a starting point to discuss best messaging practices for promoting a sustainable business, Block kicked off a lively discussion among the assembled SBN members and panelists Sharon Gallagher (Sage Communications), yours truly 
Art for branding, reputation, mediaMichael Kleiner and John Shiffert (Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design) and Steve Rosen (Aloysius Butler & Clark).

The SBN community is comprised of members dedicated to incorporating sustainability into their mission. However, they face a significant challenge when communicating values to customers and the public. Thus, to help differentiate themselves as authentic and principled, SBN members need to develop a communication strategy that seamlessly incorporates their sustainability practices and goals into their brand. Block and his fellow panelists were tasked to help the forum’s participants develop plans that communicate these efforts in a way that resonates with current and prospective customers. In addition to his Eagles case study, Block also presented data on branding strategies used in the energy efficiency and green building industries.

One issue that the Eagles’ study brought up was that of messaging outside of an organization’s main or central brand… both the “why” and the “how” of such messaging. The Eagles are, of course, a professional football team, near and dear to the hearts of uncounted thousands in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. However, as popular as the Birds might be, they are not personally relevant to every Philadelphian, as several of the forum’s attendees pointed out (no, they weren’t Dallas Cowboys fans, they just didn’t follow football). Thus, the motives for Eagles’ sustainability efforts (as with all of the rest of their community engagement and involvement efforts) could well track to making the team more personally relevant outside of their main brand, a separate message that needs to be made distinct from the 53 players on the field.

Some of the other highlights of Block’s presentation, and the ensuing discussions, in addition to the concept of the necessity of making a brand personally relevant to as many audiences as possible, included another basic issue for SBN members, the fact that ecological  and financial sustainability is still not universally understood. As is the case with many branding-related issues, the techniques to overcoming can be summarized in a run-on sentence… you need to use authentic storytelling with short-term imagery, and it doesn’t hurt to have fun in the process.

Simple, right? OK, maybe not so simple. If you want to know more about authentic storytelling with short-term imagery that also incorporates some fun, check with Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design and mention “Kiwi Shoe Polish” for a discount.

Broadcast media panel offers tips on getting your story aired

Feb 17

@PPRA Broadcast Media Tips w/@DelgadoT62 @jodi_harris @kurtzpaul @EugeneSonn @6abcFYIPhilly Stephen McKenzie cbs3 @pyramidclubphlView from 52nd floor Pyramid Club, site of PPRA Meeting of Broadcast Media Tips

With technology continually changing the way we access news and how news organizations gather it, learning pitching tips for public relations pros never gets old. More than 80 Philadelphia Public Relations Association members agreed, and attended Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air on Feb 17 from the Pyramid Club’s 52nd floor perch overlooking the city. (Considering PPRA unveiled its new logo with the Philadelphia skyline in the back, the view was apropos.).

The panelists included four from TV: Iris Delgado, Anchor/Reporter for Telemundo62; Jodi Harris, Planning Manager/Producer Fox29; Stephen McKenzie, Managing Editor of CBS3 Eyewitness News, and Tim Walton, Producer Programming Department  FYIPhilly WPVI6, and two from radio: Paul Kurtz, Reporter at KYW Newsradio 1060, and Eugene Sonn, Audio News Director WHYY-FM. Susan Buehler of Buehler Media and Chief Communications Officer for PJM Interconnection, which coordinates electricity supply to 13 states, brought some of that energy to moderating the discussion. She did an excellent job of balancing the questions the audience would have for the media members and what they needed to tell us, and injecting humor along the way. Sometimes, these sessions can devolve into “pet peeves journalists have about PR people” and we feel like we’re being scolded. That wasn’t the case here.

Based on my and other tweets, here’s a summary of what the panel shared. McKenzie emphasized that a story must fit multiple platforms. “I have to decide what I think our viewers care about, and it has to fit on the air, on the Web, and on social, three platforms. It must have compelling video.”

The best times to pitch varied depending on when the station’s editorial planning meetings were scheduled during the day, and in the case of Delgado, who anchors a 5 p.m. newscast, “please don’t call me 15 minutes before I go on the air.” Good times to talk to her are between 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. before the 3 p.m. meeting. She will follow-up around 10 p.m. as she plans the stories for the next day.

MacKenize said between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while Harris said, “pretty much anytime. I always have my phone. For bigger stories on lighter topics, contact me a few weeks in advance.”

Sonn echoed reporters’ complaints for generations: “It’s annoying when someone is pitching and has never seen the show, and the story doesn’t fit.” He added, “Around 2 p.m. is a good time to call. Think about times of the week that might be slow and you might have better luck with your pitch.  The story has to fit into 45 seconds.”

Kurtz said he prefers to be contacted by e-mail first, followed by a tweet through direct messaging, but the successful pitch can come down to luck and opportunity. ” It’s all about timing,” he said. “If you have an expert, who can speak on a current topic that’s helpful. Try newstips@kyw1060info.com to get ideas to us.”

For TV, Harris says, “The person has to be good on TV. Sometimes, we’ll look for an expert who we haven’t talked to before.”

Delgado said there’s a misconception about Spanish media. “Telemundo 62 covers what is in the English media in Spanish,” she said. “A Hispanic angle is important.

“Whatever the emotional, human angle may be, your pitch might be the best backup plan when another story falls through,” she added.

Walton, who works at FYIPhilly, says their demands are different. “We’re not a news show so there’s more open times to pitch,” he said. At the same time, he is currently accepting summer pitches.

They all chorused when Buehler said, “Keep it simple and brief: Headline, one paragraph. You need to have thick skin and keep trying if your first e-mail doesn’t get a response.”

The use of the Internet – should we be pitching web editors, too — and social media drew some interesting responses.

“Web Editors are not doing copy, they’re posting info,” said Harris.

Kurtz said the web has enabled them to do more with their stories. “While you may get a short amount of time on the radio, we put more copy on the Web and create podcasts, which are archived.  I covered the protests at the Democratic National Convention on Facebook live, the first time I used it.”

“Social media has broadened our audience beyond Greater Philadelphia,” said Sonn. “If you have a pitch with an expert who has a good social media following, mention it.”

Public Relations Tip: The Beginning: Building an Authentic Brand

The Beginning: Building an Authentic Brand

Branding. No, not what they do before the round-up at the Crown Vee ranch, although if you don’t brand you’ll be just another among the herd.

Branding is what identifies you to the public. Once known as identity marketing, your brand defines your business, How You Look+How You Speak+How You Act=Your Personal Brand bubble quote for blogpost on branding by John Shiffert of Michael Kleiner Public Relations & Web Designdefines who you are, and what you intend to accomplish. Or, at least it should.

As a run-up to the Feb. 23 SBN Best Practices Forum (a plug for what should be an entertaining and informative event) we’ll look at some of the basics of branding, brand creation and brand management, because, in 2017, your brand epitomizes your business, or at least how you want your business to be recognized in the public eye.

Before you start any kind of brand creation, brand campaign, or re-branding, one requirement stands out before all others. Your brand must be authentic. Not what you hope to be some day, and not what you think you are, it must be authentic to who and what you are, right now.

How do you know that? Well, you can ask yourself, who am I? But, being objective about yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You need outside direction and structured feedback from the public, and if you listen, they’ll tell you who Quote from Eric Erwin: The hardest thing for marketers is to turn over the brand experience to the community and let them define it". Complement to blogpost on branding by John Shiffert, Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Designyou really are. Think about polling your followers on Facebook or Twitter or gathering some colleagues together for a focus-group-like event. Remember, constructive criticism is helpful and that you might have to check your pride at the door if you want to discover how your business is perceived by others.

An example of an authentic brand?

How about Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design?

We’ve been around since 1999, and we do indeed make the unknown known. Just go to www.kleinerprweb.com to see examples of our work and our Marcomm services.Jeff Bezos of Amazon provides quote on branding to complement blogpost on branding by John Shiffert, Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design