A powerful PR campaign begins by creating a playbook that includes your goals for the campaign, the messages to convey, the audiences to reach and how to reach them. Results should be measured by setting achievable objectives and evaluating those objectives through the campaign. Every PR investment decision-maker deserves to know whether the program met or beat its goal.
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The Fist. Detroit, Mich.
Before you can begin to communicate effectively with others you need to know what you want to achieve and how that fits into your organizations strategic goals.
Too often companies and associations jump right in and want their story published in The New York Times, on the local news or told by others. However, the first step is figuring out why an executive wants to be in The New York Times or on the local news. An experienced public relations professional can help your leadership team identify and prioritize your marketing goals and then will use those goals to wrap a strategic communications plan around it.
To better define your organizations marketing needs, it is helpful to look at:
- The history of the organization
- Its’ Mission and values
- Key stakeholders or audience you want to reach and why you want to reach them
- issues that you can talk about with credibility and authority
- Current and past PR efforts, what worked and what didn't
- Available research and data to support your efforts
- Budget parameters
Any experience with prior PR or marketing firms should not stand in the way of engaging new perspectives on your marketing needs that also match your marketing budget. However, your organizational priorities should dictate where you invest your marketing efforts and you should let you marketing team, including outside consultants step in to create and implement the strategy.
Before you start implementing a strategy you should take an inventor of your marketing assets. This public relations audit evaluates current practices and matches them up with best practices. It will then suggest areas, based on your business objective, as to where to improve.
From this audit, a plan will develop, complete with brand values, an elevator speech, key words and key messages.
In Washington, Congress continues to find ways to avoid substantive issues such as immigration, transportation, poverty, education, serious tax reform and environmental regulation, among many others. In Michigan, there also are a number of unfinished issues that remain on the table, while the legislature is on summer recess for the election. In fact, in Michigan, we have a number of proposals on next month’s ballot that could have been resolved through facilitated discussion rather than expensive campaigns.
In Lansing and Detroit we are still discussing bridges and transit. In fact, in 1976, President Gerald Ford offered funds to build a rail transit system in southeast Michigan. Instead, we just got the People Mover and in 2014, we are finally seeing progress with the M1 Rail construction now under way.
However, despite the progress on regional transportation, our government leaders continue to struggle in finding their way forward and their failure to make difficult decisions by compromising.
Some would call it an impasse while others just chalk it up to politics. However, these are issues that can be resolved, and resolved in a way that preserves the relationships, maintains the political differences and helps move the agenda forward collectively.
It is time we put politics aside - even in an election year. It is time voters demand our politicians to focus and do what is in the best interest of all those affected. Work to find resolution through chaos. Respect each other for taking a position and move on to find where you can each work together.
The Michigan Legislature recently considered legislation concerning "distressed schools" and creating a process to establish an "early warning system," to avoid state intervention due to financial stress.
Currently there are 48 distressed schools or districts at risk of financial disstress in Michigan. Some districts have a short-term hiccup, while others face long-term issues, such as continued declining enrollments and increased labor costs. According to Gongwer, the multi-bill package proscribes measures for financially distressed school districts—with advocates noting—doubles the maximum amount the Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board is authorized to lend troubled districts, revises the loan’s eligibility criteria, eliminates restrictions on the Board’s ability to restructure existing loan repayment programs and removes limitations on the amount of surplus funds that can be loaned to municipalities and school districts over the next six fiscal years.
A number of school officials are opposed to the legislation, arguing that some of the measures’ reporting requirements and criteria are burdensome and possibly redundant, and would actually add to the district’s financial woes. However, those same school officials should work with a facilitator to engage stakeholders in defining the problem and working in advance of the state stepping in to identify and implement realistic solutions.
By being proactive and engaging your community early on, you can avoid difficult situations down the road. However, acknowledging the problem and engaging others in the solution is a difficult process, one that can be helped by brining in a neutral to guide the discussion and help extract solutions.
Business Goals - Know what impact you want to have on the business and how you will measure it. Develop a strategy around your business objectives…but not a tactical plan that could become irrelevant. Embrace technology and project Management tools to keep everyone aligned during implementation.
Create a 'channel strategy' and determine how and what media, web, blog, social networks and email can all work together and reinforce each other.
Develop a 'content strategy' and figure out what type of content do you want your brand to be associated with? Who are your experts? What topics do you and your customers care about? And then create content that is new and easily digestible, perhaps even fun to read with some infotainment factor.
Build a system or editorial calendar that provides timely relevant content that is interesting and sharable.
Recognize your assets - a spokesperson, a product a customer a community and ensure they have the resources. Create brand ambassadors.
Create a process - So everyone knows what they are resonsibe for and when, what requires approval, collaboration and insight
Focus on quality not a high idea that will go viral - that way you will build a reputation as a thought leader rather than a one hit wonder.
Evaluate your work, re-adjust and continue to align your business goals with your marketing plan.
- CONTENT - Identify stories, produce content (entertaining, insightful, newsworthy), capture images
- FORMAT - Image, Text
- VEHICLE - News Release, Slideshow, Tweet
- MEDIUM - SOcial, MObile, LOcal, Traditional, Video
- CONVERSION - Generate emotion and share
Setting the record straight -- Park West Galleries Objective: Park West Gallery is one of the largest independent art galleries in the United States and hosts a number of auctions on cruise ships throughout the world. Park West was being targeted by a number of its competitors and was the focus on an Inside Editionstory.
Strategy: To enhance its on-line presence and use its artists as its spokesperson, while positioning the gallery and its experts in a number of other stories for
Results: We successfully placed stories in a number of local and national publications and increased the on-line presence of the gallery through additional websites for the gallery and individual artists, search-engine optimization and blog posts.
Building relationships -- The University of Windsor Objective:Canada’s 11th largest university is located on the border of Michigan and Ontario but still draws more students from Canada and other countries besides students from the United States. The University of Windsor wanted to raise their brand identity in Michigan as a way to enroll more American Students.
Strategy:To work with University officials and professors to share their story and profile their research in the American media, using the news cycle as a way to offer reporters new experts with a unique perspective on current events. In addition, to further raise the profile of the University, we positioned the University President to speak at a variety of events and meet with a number of key influencers in the state.
Results: North Coast Strategies secured national and local media attention for Canada’s 11th largest university, including: Christian Science Monitor, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, WJR and others and developed collaborative efforts with a number of universities and business organizations in Southeastern Michigan.
Creating the experience - Meadowbrook Urgent Care Objective: Urgent care is a little known way for people to treat non-emergency related injuries. A brand new state-of-the art urgent care clinic opened two locations in Metro Detroit.
Strategy: Our strategy was to reach out to local media and work with them on a variety of stories educating the community about urgent care as an option to those without a primary care physician, work-related injuries, sport-related injuries or wanting to see a doctor during off hours. In addition, we looked for opportunities to bring people into the urgent care facility and to work with the community and the City of Novi in hosting a number of community events at the clinic as a way to further develop awareness of what they do, where and when.
Results: We secured local and state media, both traditional and on-line, for a local urgent care clinic, directing people to use their clinic over others in the area.
Brand positioning -- Marco Andretti ObjectiveIndy Racing Champion Marco Andretti wanted to secure non-traditional sponsors for his racing career and help distinguish himself from his family’s racing legacy.
StrategyOur strategy was to position Marco in media outside of the racing community to enhance his profile, distinguish his personal brand and help him secure non-traditional sponsorships.
ResultsWe secured non-traditional national media for Marco Andretti, the 2006 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year, including: The New York Times, Brandweek, Teenmag.com and Seventeen.
Celebrating 40 Years of Enriching Lives & Erasing Barriers -- JARC JARC, a nonprofit organization serving people with developmental disabilities and their families, in a variety of ways, from housing to in-home respite care, to advocacy in and around Detroit, celebrated their 40th Anniversary in 2009. They retained North Coast Strategies to help celebrate 40 years of serving the community and the dedication of their 20th group home, what is to be believed, the nation’s first barrier-free green home.
Results Cherrin successful worked in tandem with the Somerset Collection in organizing a 40th Anniversary Celebration at one the nation’s most elegant malls, to create a fund celebration centered around 1969. In addition, Cherrin successfully secured media in publications such EcoHome Magazine, the Associated Press, WDIV (NBC), the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Mlive.com among others. Cherrin also led JARC’s transition into social media, creating a Facebook Fan page that obtained 500 fans in just 2 months, raising further awareness of the organization.
Saluting Our Heroes & Giving Them A Job -- The New York Times and The U.S. Department of Labor Objective:The U.S. Department of Labor and The New York Times teamed to co-host the annual “Salute Our Heroes Veterans Career Fair and Job Expo” to help veterans pursue career transition into the private sector. The event traveled to Chicago, Tampa and New York City. In each of these markets, local promotion was critical to boost veterans’ attendance and exhibitor sales. Daniel Cherrin was retained to lead the event publicity in Chicago.
Strategy: To collaborate with The New York Times advertising and marketing division, the Assistant Sector of Labor and a number of veteran organizations to executive a 6-week advanced public relations program in Chicago. We identified veterans seeking jobs and arranged interviews for them with broadcast and print media to add a more personal call-to-action element to our event promotion efforts.
Results:“Salute Our Heroes” has received public official proclamations, photo opportunities in regional media, public service announcements and advanced coverage by 50 national and local news outlets, including: The Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Paul Harvey, the Voice of America and others. “Salute Our Heroes” realized outstanding attendance by more than 5,000 veterans and more than 175 blue-chip exhibitors.
Cherrin also has successfully placed clients in local and national media, including: BrandWeek, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The New York Times, Paul Harvey, The Wall Street Journal, and other media. Cherrin also appears as a regular guest and political analyst on Inquiry on CHUM Television - Channel A in London, Ottawa and Windsor, Ontario, on politics in the United States.
Creating a movement -- StartupNation Daniel Cherrin led a successful boutique strategic communications (Birmingham, Mich. based) company housed within a venture capital fund. While there, Cherrin built a small firm that represented a number of clients throughout the U.S. and Canada including StartupNation, a multi-media company which helps entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses. By securing national news articles on the company principals in publications such as The New York Times andEntrepreneur Magazine, Cherrin positioned the company founders to keynote events, such as the National Small Business Administration Conference in Washington, DC, in addition to securing a book deal with Doubleday, which we promoted on a national level, while expanding their syndicated radio show nationally.
Restoring trust in the City of Detroit Daniel J. Cherrin became Detroit’s lead spokesperson and brand builder following a tumultuous period in Detroit’s history. Cherrin helped restore the integrity back to the office of Mayor and the trust back to city government. He was appointed by Detroit’s 61st Mayor, Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr. as the Communications Director and Press Secretary for the City of Detroit in September 2008.
As Detroit’s Chief Communications Officer, Cherrin was responsible for creating, implementing and expanding strategic communications strategies for America’s 11th largest city. Cherrin also prepared speeches for the Mayor, including the inaugural address; State of the City, the Mayor’s annual budget message and many others and served as the Mayor’s liaison to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the President’s Director of Auto Recovery and Workers.
Cherrin coordinated Detroit’s efforts in compiling requests for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s other federal appropriations requests. Cherrin represented the City of Detroit at the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s winter meeting in 2009, along with the Mayor and worked with the city’s lobbyists in prioritizing requests and securing funding for the city.
Cherrin, a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, also advised and created the strategic communications plans for a number of City departments, including: the Detroit Fire Department; Municipal Parkingand the Department of Public Health & Wellness and led the communication efforts for a number of international events on behalf of Detroit, including: The NCAA Final Four; the North American International Auto Show; the Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade; Motown’s 50th Anniversary; Recycle Detroit; Detroit’s Spring Clean Up and Angel’s Night.
Detroit Area Regional Transit Authority For decades, the city of Detroit was one of the few remaining large U.S. cities to not have a coordinated regional transportation authority. The Detroit Regional Chamber, the nation’s largest local chamber of commerce created the Detroit Area Regional Transit Authority and asked Daniel Cherrin to secure the funding for its operation costs to start transportation planning in Southeastern Michigan.
Results Cherrin successfully secured $850,000 in federal funding for the start-up costs for DARTA, before it was officially established. As part of this effort to bring regional transit to Detroit, Cherrin represented the Chamber in Washington to secure additional funding through the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act and worked in a coalition of road builders, engineers, government leaders and others in securing additional funds for the Detroit area. Cherrin also started a Federal Political Action Committee for the Chamber to enhance its relationships in Washington.
The United States House and Senate passed their own version of a defense authorization bill that would prevent the sale of F-14 parts once destroyed. This was in response to a number of parts getting sold on the black market to Iran, the only country with F-14s still in service.
The Cherrin Law Group worked directly with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and their staff to amend the language of the Defense Authorization Bill to allow for the complete destruction of F-14 parts and their tooling and dies, and permit the sale of remaining parts.We also held a few meetings in Michigan with Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), to introduce them to Fritz Enterprises first-hand.
The Cherrin Law Group successfully secured language in the FY08 Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1585, House Rpt 110-477) encouraging the Defense Department to destroy any remaining F-14s and sell the resultant scrap as appropriate, in addition to, prohibiting the Department of Defense from not only selling F-14 parts, but also “any tooling or dies used in the manufacture of such aircraft or parts.”
Bringing Order To The Border -- Detroit & Canada Tunnel Corporation Daniel Cherrin was contracted by the DCTC, operators of the Detroit Windsor Tunnel - the busiest passenger border crossing in North America, to represent their legislative and regulatory interests before the United State Congress, Executive Branch, the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit. Cherrin also advised the Tunnel on strategic media relations and product positioning to maximize use of the Tunnel by both commercial and discretionary travelers. As a result of Cherrin’s advocacy, he:
- Changed the content of Michigan legislation away from border crossings and onto the transportation and logistics environment in the state of Michigan as a result of active participation in legislative working group sessions.
- Successfully lobbied the Department of Homeland Security to add two NEXUS lanes at the Detroit Windsor Tunnel.
- Successfully lobbied Congress to include authorization language in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill directing funds to the Northern Border.
- Successfully lobbied DHS (Office of Field Operations, Trade) to delay the implementation of the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210, 116 Stat. 933, enacted 8/6/2002, 19 U.S.C. 2071), as it relates to advance electronic cargo information and the use of the PAPS process, a mandatory release process for truck carriers at land border ports of entry, while maintaining BRASS, a line-release system for commercial goods, until DHS can implement a variation of Free and Secure Trade (FAST) at the Detroit Windsor Tunnel.
- Facilitated a public-private partnership between the Detroit Windsor Tunnel and DHS that increased capacity at the Tunnel and other land border crossings by 25%.