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.

Media Tips of the Week, Part 2 You’re an Expert
at What You Do

Every business has a story–and more

Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia logo, Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design and Apps
There are stories and expertise among SBN and all its members.

Last week’s tip talked about how publishing a book establishes your status as an expert in that area and how my memoir about Norway led to being interviewed, though about a tragic event in the country.

There are other examples where you can receive more positive coverage for your expertise. The keys are knowing “what makes you different than a competitor who does the same thing? How do you do it differently or better? What is the uniqueness? And  “Strike when the coals are hot.” In other words, timing is everything. In this rapid 24/7 smart phone, app, immediacy news world, whoever answers the call first is going to get the coverage. There’s a service, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), that sends out e-mails three times a day with queries from reporters looking for sources for stories they’re working on. The queries are broken down into categories with the times and date of the deadline. It’s amazing how many have deadlines on the same day. If the deadline is 5 p.m. today and you see the query at 3, you can’t waste time.

Topics for Norway might be a place in the news that I visited; Norwegians winning medals in the winter Olympics. Can I present a look at the culture of winter sports in Norway, such as skiing was invented in the country?  John has written four books dealing with historic aspects of baseball. Someone is chasing a record. John could talk about the person whose record is being chased, how he compares to the chaser. Notice on the news shows, a guest author will be introduced as “the author of…”

Among SBN members, there’s Chilly Philly Ice Cream and Little Baby’s Ice Cream, both of whom make homemade ice cream, but in different creative ways and flavors. There are at least eight caterers, three members that make their own beers. This is just part of the food category of the membership. And what about SBN as the leader in the green economy? There’s always an expert with a story–or stories-somewhere.

 

“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.