Archive for July, 2012

When Did We Start Doing Only “Traditional” Public Relations?

There’s a lot of talk in the PR field about the “death of ‘traditional’ or ‘standard’ PR.” What with new technologies continually exploding on scene, we’re told that the standard tools alone simply won’t cut it. Our question is: When did we start doing only traditional PR?

Collectively, at MediaWorks we’ve been doing PR for almost 30 years. During that time, we’ve written news releases, pitched media stories, created and placed ads, planned and orchestrated special events—including scripting and stage management—updated and managed websites, tweeted and posted other social media updates, shot and uploaded videos to online sites, and even run interference  to mediate a few issues, which, left unattended, would have devolved into a crisis. In our time, we’ve even had to manage a couple of crisis situations. In the course of doing all this, we’ve never considered our work “standard” PR. What is standard PR? When did it become “standard”? When did “standard” PR become out of vogue?

Yes, we’re among the vanguard in accepting that public relations has evolved; but as advocates for our organizations or clients, we never considered, or accepted, that what we do as tactics and techniques is “standard”. The beauty of PR is that it’s as encompassing as the situation requires, or as the client will pay for.

In reality, the public relations skill set and duties have continued to multiply since the 1960s. Perhaps there are PR pros who’ve worked continuously in siloed sectors; maybe they’ve never had to produce a video, train a virtual army of frontline employees, write op-eds and talking points, or negotiate media buys. If so, I don’t believe I’ve ever met them. At MediaWorks, what we’ve always loved about the practice of PR is that it’s so boundless.

Now the world seems (forgive the expression) –atwitter– because learning how to understand, use and measure social media is becoming part of a PR pro’s required toolkit. We think the reality is that most PR folks have been expanding their repertoire of skills to solve problems for decades. Why? Because it’s the way to keep a job, or clients—and the profession demands it!

Corporate Social Responsibility: Starbucks Redux and Other Updates

Did you notice? Have you tasted it yet?  While others are writing about Starbucks serving beer and wine, we note that CEO Howard Schultz has upped the ante on his Creating Jobs for America corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign by increasing the campaign’s visibility in stores, and even temporarily branding the effort with its own custom brew, Indivisible.

We wrote about this CSR campaign after it was  launched in November, 2011.  We can only repeat our endorsement of a program, and a movement, whose time has come.

Since we first wrote about Create Jobs for America, Starbucks and its customers and partners have raised $11.5 million to help create jobs in the US.

What’s even better is that the $11.5 million investment has been leveraged to generate more than $80 million in loans to help create and maintain jobs in underserved American communities.

It should be duly noted that Starbucks and its foundation hasn’t accomplished this alone. Along with customers, other partners include Citi Community Development and Citi Foundation, which recently contributed $1 million to the effort, and the Opportunity Finance Network.

In our earlier post we acknowledged Schultz’s chutzpah in launching this CSR effort by titling our post,“Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is …” Since then, it’s clear this has become an even more collective effort, sparked with a new burst of  purpose and audacity.

We encourage all to continue press forward in this important social responsibility initiative. For more info, visit:
http://www.createjobsforusa.org/on/demandware.store/Sites-Createjobsusa-Site/default/Default-Start?gclid=COyA6ZGT8bACFYEKKgodsWwQWw

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility …

We’ve also blogged and tweeted  about Panera Bread and its growing social responsibility experiment, the Pay-What-You-Can-Cafes. We’re very pleased at the announcement that they’re converting one of their restaurants in our own backyard (Chicago) to the pay-what you can model.

We’ve said it warms our hearts when companies show that “they get it” by identifying signature corporate-giving-back efforts that not only advance their business model, but also address major social issues—in this case, poverty,  hunger, and even job training. For more details, check out Panera’s website, http://paneracares.org/what-we-do/.

A final note, while this campaign is new to us, Chevron recently garnered headlines for its “grow manufacturing jobs initiatives.” The “We Agree” campaign outlines the company’s social responsibility efforts on a variety of fronts, most particularly its $8 billion in energy production projects and jobs. Here, again, a highlight of the campaign is creating strategic partnerships to build collective action, and leverage resources for even greater impact.

Check it out for yourself. Here’s where you can find more information on “We Agree”: http://www.chevron.com/weagree/

What do you think of these CSR campaigns? Heard about others? We want to hear from you. Write us with your feedback here, or send us a Facebook update or tweet, via this post.


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