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.

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

“Association Innovation” theme @ MASAE Confab; Turn to Kleiner PR

Cover of Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives (MASAE) Conference attended by Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design's Michael Kleiner and John Shiffert
Cover of Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives (MASAE) Conference attended by Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design’s Michael Kleiner and John Shiffert

If you look up “innovation” on Dictionary.com, you’ll find it’s, “something new or different introduced.”

More elaborately, according to Amanda Kaiser of Kaiser Insights LLC, writing for the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) “2016 Association Innovation Benchmark Study,” “the most common definition of innovation is a 3 element definition.” Kaiser thus gives the following definition, targeted to association executives, “We create and launch a member benefit or product or process that is new that provides value to members.”

We at Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design, while respecting the broad, encyclopedic nature of Dictionary.com, are more likely to applaud Kaiser’s definition, one that received a great deal of exposure at the recent Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives (MASAE) 2016 Conference in Atlantic City, whose theme was, “Association Innovation.”

Our concurrence with Kaiser and NBAA stems from two factors; the emphasis and focus on innovation that ran throughout the MASAE Conference, and the fact that, in our opinion, Kaiser has clearly stated the most important aspect of innovation.

True, anyone can introduce, “something new or different” into their organization, but, what good does that do if innovation doesn’t produce something of value? Innovation for innovation’s sake may at first seem exciting (or daunting), but, innovation should lead to some practical result, no matter in what venue you’re operating.

So, we were impressed with MASAE’s focus on helping educate its members as to meaningful innovation, through both the keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Specifically, we would be remiss by not mentioning the contributions of Kaiser and NBAA’s Jo D’Amato (a pilot with both feet on the ground), keynoters/presenters Jennifer Blenkle (Frameworks, Inc.), and Arlene Pietranton of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Construction Management Financial Management Association’s Brian Summers and Ariel Sanchirico (kudos for their extensive use of self-paced online courses, an innovation that higher education has yet to fully embrace). Indeed, so infused with innovation was MASAE 2016 that several attendees were overheard commenting at the Member Gala Reception that they thought the Boy George music video was cutting edge.

Innovation is cutting edge at Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design, notably in the form of our “Service to Members” program that augments an association’s marketing and communications (Marcomm) efforts, while at the same time providing Marcomm services to the association’s individual organizations and/or members. Operating under a single monthly contract with Kleiner PR, association managers can access for themselves additional professional help in everything from public relations to copywriting, editing and content creation to web design to blogging to branding to publication management, while at the same time providing, “a member benefit or product or process that is new that provides value to members.”

That’s innovation for associations, too.