Posts tagged with ‘Boston’

  • PRSA wrapped up its annual International Conference, which was hosted by the Northeast District’s own Boston chapter!

    In Career, Chapter Events, ICON 2017 on

    Here is how your district was represented and recognized:

    The Boston Chapter Leadership, including president Dan Dent and president-elect Erin Callanan (who is also our 2018 District Chair-Elect!), put on an amazing show! There were nearly 1,000 professionals in attendance for the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and the 100+ sessions offered throughout the International Conference.

    Tony D’Angleo, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, will be the 2018 Chair of PRSA’s National Board of Directors! (Talk about representation for the Northeast within PRSA!)  As Chair-Elect this year, Tony planned and ran the 2-day Leadership Rally on Friday and Saturday, which is a free chapter leader training program PRSA offers in conjunction with the International Conference every year.

    Crystal DeStefano, APR, past Northeast District Chair, attended the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and served throughout the International Conference in her new role as PRSA’s Northeast Regional Representative.

    Every chapter in the district was represented at the Leadership Rally and at the National Assembly, where we were able to voice opinions, share ideas and vote on proposed changes to PRSA’s national bylaws. Each of your chapters were represented by your delegate(s), and our district vote was carried by our current District Chair Scott Fraser.

    Past Northeast District Chair and past Yankee Chapter President Jane Law presented, explained and discussed all of the proposed bylaws changes to the National Assembly in her role as Co-Chair of PRSA’s Governance Committee.

     Maria Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, received the annual Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA!

    Three members from our district were inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows during this year’s conference: Loring Barnes, APR, Boston Chapter past president; Nancy Sterling, APR, from the Boston chapter; and Joseph A. Brennan, Ph.D., APR, from the Capital Region Chapter. A great honor!

    Dan Dent, Boston Chapter president, added a public relations textbook and some swag from our PRXNE17 District Conference this year into a time capsule that PRSA National will open in 30 years – on PRSA’s 100th anniversary.

    Almost 100 members from our district attended these events! And dozens of students from PRSSA chapters across the district attended the PRSSA National Conference in Boston,  held simultaneously with PRSA’s International Conference.

  • Fast 5: Five Things to Know about Social Media and Crisis Communications

    Elaine Driscoll, Massachusetts Gaming Commission

    @ElaineDriscoll  @MassGamingComm


     

    The words “community policing” typically conjure up images of police officers walking the beat. In the 21st century, cops on the beat have moved online as well.

    The Boston Police Department was one of the pioneers of the use of social media as a communications and outreach tool. Elaine Driscoll was with the Boston Police Department when it began using Twitter in 2009, and it has turned into a method of community engagement as well as crowdsourcing tips. Elaine, a media relations professional with almost 20 years of experience in public relations, crisis communications and community outreach, now serves as Director of Communications at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

    We caught up with Elaine in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about social media, crises and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q: What role can social media play in a crisis?

    Social media is the gasoline that spreads a crisis like a wildfire; it can also be the bucket of cold water that helps to put the fire out. The traditional sense of “news cycle” now has far less significance when considering the timing and strategy for addressing a PR crisis. As a result, an organization must be prepared to be nimble and decisive with an initial response, whether the crisis was anticipated or a spontaneous occurrence.

    Social media also provides an organization with a quick and efficient mechanism to respond directly to the masses. This direct access to the public provides an extraordinary ability to control the presentation of your message and influence public perception minus the filter applied by traditional media outlets, but that’s IF you get your response right. You can count on the court of public opinion to let you know quickly if the response is inadequate (Hello, United Airlines).

    Q: You have worked at both the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Boston Police Department. How have those organizations used social media to communicate to their audiences?

    The Mass Gaming Commission and the Boston Police Department have different missions, but they are similar in their need for a robust communications infrastructure. MGC and BPD require a communications outreach strategy that is efficient and practical for executing a high volume of external communications, provides for two-way interactions and public participation, and enhances transparency. Both agencies depend on social media to achieve their organizational priorities and goals.

    Q: Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Social media is a tremendous tool to assist with the management of a crisis, particularly one involving public safety. It’s important to note that it will only be truly effective if it has been test-driven before an organization needs it to perform. Building an audience and your organization’s reputation for communicating prior to an inevitable crisis is paramount. The BPD is highly adept at crisis communications because of how they utilize their communications system when they are not in crisis. The BPD was one of the first police departments in the country to use Twitter. It started in 2009 by simply issuing public safety and traffic instructions for a St. Patrick’s Day parade. In the years that followed, the department’s use of Twitter and other social media channels evolved significantly and became everything from a friendly and innovative way to connect with the community to the remarkably effective use of crowdsourcing tips and investigative leads.

    The 2011 Occupy Boston movement offers an interesting case study in the department’s advanced use of social media. Other cities had a far more contentious experience with the Occupy movement than Boston. I believe that strong and non-adversarial communication was a major contributor to the largely successful outcome of the 70-day protest in Dewey Square – much of that communication took place over Twitter, which was an approach unique to Boston.  That same year, the BPD’s Twitter account had more followers than any other police organization in the world.

    Q: With the number of social media platforms out there, how can organizations effectively monitor the conversation and address crises?

    There are many effective ways to monitor social media conversations. I prefer Tweetdeck and Meltwater News. When an organization is deciding which social media channels to use as part of its communications infrastructure, it depends on what you are selling and to whom – a high fashion boutique has different communication needs than a government agency. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all strategy except that I would always urge quality over quantity. I don’t think most organizations can adopt every social media channel and do them all well. An organization should identify where it is most likely to reach its target audiences and master that communication before casting too wide a net.

    Q: What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I enjoy the opportunity to share my experiences and also deeply appreciate the chance to learn from my peers. As PR practitioners, we have to continue to evolve in our trade and enhance our skill set in order to stay relevant and keep up with an ever-changing world of traditional and social media.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast 5: Making Social Media a Judgement Free Zone

    Jenna Reynolds, Planet Fitness

    @JennaAReynolds  @PlanetFitness


     

    Jenna Reynolds is a proud tiny-house owner and dog mom who spends her days as a Digital Communities Manager professional at Planet Fitness World Headquarters, the home of the Judgement Free Zone. She spearheaded the creation of Planet of Triumphs, the company’s very own social community, where elevating positivity and inspiring members is the goal.

    We caught up with Jenna to talk about how social media can help people achieve their fitness goals, what she is looking forward to at the Social Media Summit, and what life is like in a tiny house.

    Q. Just when the news feed couldn’t seem to be any more crowded, the flow of information seems to have picked up to a dizzying pace. How can brands break through that noise?

    A. Every brand’s focus should be on what works for them and their brand personality. Planet Fitness members’ feeds are filled with the latest fitness and diet trends. We aim to break through that noise by empowering our members with positive messaging about our Judgement Free Zone and by celebrating their fitness triumphs, big and small.

    Q. What was the drive behind creating Planet of Triumphs? Why was it important to create a social community for Planet Fitness?

    A. We have seen first-hand the amazing things that are possible when our members encourage and support one another in our gyms. We wanted to forge a special community where they could do so digitally as well. The platform has truly taken on a life of its own and our members have used it to detail their fitness journeys, cheer each other on and ask for support when they need it.

    We surveyed a focus group of our members, and more than 70% said that they don’t post their fitness experiences on traditional social channels as they are afraid of being judged; Planet of Triumphs provides them a place where they can feel comfortable doing so.

    The platform has become an important part of our brand, and our CEO visits the site every day to learn about our members’ stories and offer words of encouragement. As a company, we are diligent about keeping the site from becoming overly promotional and instead have let our members build their own community and celebrate their everyday wins.

    Q. What advice would you give brands that are nervous about engaging on social media?

    A. It is all about trust. Using social media helps immediately open up direct feedback and establish trust between your brand and consumers. It isn’t just about pushing out content. It should also be about how your fans respond and the learnings that you can distill from that, not just in terms of social media, but in all areas of your business.

    Additionally, my biggest piece of advice would be to closely monitor your response volume and ensure that your social media strategy is equipped to handle it.

    Overall, don’t overthink it. You’ve got this!

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    Lanyards. Besides that, connecting with other social media advocates. No matter the industry, it is always a positive learning experience to hear about other brands’ successes and challenges, along with the trends that they are witnessing, when it comes to social media.

    Q. You say you are a tiny-house owner. Doesn’t it get a little cramped?

    The winter months can test my two dogs’ patience but otherwise, we utilize our yard which has a mini outdoor theater, fire pit, dining area, etc.  I am social by profession and personality, so not being able to entertain a lot of people has been the biggest challenge; however, I am also addicted to re-decorating, so living in a smaller space has helped me to successfully limit my HomeGoods visits.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast Five: Tweeting from the Train

    In Crisis, Events, Fast Five, News, Social Media on

    Lauren Armstrong has been a Public Information Officer at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority since June 2014. A passion for helping others motivates her to provide the best customer service to those who ride the T. Communicating via social media, managing mbta.com, and tracking operational performance data, is a glimpse into her day.   @MBTA

    We caught up with Lauren in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about how the T uses social media and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q. What role can social media play in a crisis?

    I think social media is one of the most powerful, and sometimes underestimated, communication tools available. It can be used to interact directly with stakeholders during a crisis, answer their questions/concerns and provide accurate and timely information.

    Q.How does the MBTA use social media to communicate with its audiences?

    Our use of social media is two-fold. Firstly, we use it to announce service delays/disruptions, news/updates, media stories and important reminders. Secondly, we use it as a tool to engage one-on-one with riders. We can answer their questions, resolve their complaints and pass along the much-appreciated operator shout-outs that we receive.

    Q.Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Winter 2014/2015 was an opportunity to announce service schedules and updates to answer questions like, “What kind of service will be running tomorrow?” “Is my bus on snow route?” or “Will my commuter rail train be cancelled?” But it also gave us a few opportunities to highlight the work being done by MBTA employees to keep platforms and bus stops clear of snow and ice.

    Q. How can organizations use the vast amount of data available from social media and website traffic to spot and address potential crisis situations?

    Organizations can use data available to get ahead of a potential crisis. For example, when our web team spots a high increase in traffic to our winter service updates page, we make the decision to redirect our homepage right to our winter page. That way, customers get the exact information they’re looking for and don’t have to spend time looking around for it.

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I’m excited to connect with other leaders in the social media industry, and am looking forward to sharing what we do at the MBTA.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • Fast 5: Q&A with Mike Lawrence, Cone Communications’ EVP and Chief Reputation Officer

    In Ethics on

     

     

    PRSA Boston checked in with Mike Lawrence, Cone Communications’ EVP and Chief Reputation Officer, for his take on the state of ethics in PR.

    Do you think practitioners’ personal ethics are being challenged now more than ever in the PR field? Why?

    Etstreet signhics has always been a challenge in PR. There has always been built-in tension for PR folks. On the one hand, they often work with companies or individuals who expect support to look good or sell stuff.

    On the other hand, they need to be a credible source to earned media, which means advocating without misleading. If you haven’t seen the movie “Days of Wine and Roses,” checkout this short clip in which the public relations man (Jack Lemmon) tries to explain what he does for a living. The movie is from 1962. That ought to tell you something about how long ethics has been a
    concern.

    Having said that, now that shared media and owned media (e.g. blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) have come of age, there are more opportunities for non-journalists and for PR people to be original creators of content that reaches a mass audience. That, in turn, provides more opportunity for ethical missteps such as pay-for-play.

    Describe an ethical situation and how you handled it.

    We had a consumer products client for which we were doing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work when some of its products were the subject of a recall. In helping the company investigate the situation, it became clear other products were also likely to face recalls down the road. Despite that, the company insisted on saying in its immediate messaging that – based on what it knew at the time – other products were not affected. We kept deleting that language, and executives at the company kept putting it back in, hoping to reassure folks in the short run. We ended up resigning the business.

    If you were given a “do over” for this situation, would you handle it differently?

    Nope.

    If someone has an ethical dilemma on the job, what are the resources they should tap into to help make a decision?

    If their employer has an ethics policy, that’s a good place to start for guidance, as is the company’s ethics officer if such a role exists. Depending on the specific situation, their professional development manager or someone in their human resources department may be an appropriate resource. A mentor can be a valuable sounding board as well. Beyond that, there are good resources on PRSA’s website, and at the International Association of Business Communicators website. Both groups also offer opportunities to ask for confidential advice from experts in dealing with a specific ethical dilemma.

    Do you think companies and agencies should have ethics training programs? 

    Absolutely. At Cone Communications, we do a 30-minute meeting as part of new employee orientation that covers ethics and conflict of interest. It’s meant to empower all levels of staff to be “eyes and ears” for potential concerns. Beyond that, we have done periodic 90 minute staff learning sessions with breakout groups working on different ethical scenarios. It’s impossible to anticipate every ethical risk. But, training sessions can send a signal that ethics are a priority concern, and everyone shares responsibility for maintaining an ethical culture at a company.

    PRSA Boston is hosting an event on October 26 titled Solving Ethical Challenges in PR and Crisis Communications, at Lasell College. Go here, to get your ticket.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and

    pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

     

     

  • PRSA Boston, Your Gym and You – A Note from our President

    So you have your gym on auto-payment. But do you faithfully go to get the results you want?

    Remember What Brought You to the Gym in the First Place?

    Somewhere between a closet of snug clothes and another postponed trainer session is this universal truth: writing the check does not deliver the intended payoff of the club you joined. You actually have to walk through the gym door, become acquainted with all that it has to offer, try some equipment or classes and find your groove.

    You make a commitment to squeeze exercise into a demanding life because it’s time for you. It makes you feel better, think reflectively, and gain vigor and confidence. Familiar faces evolve into workout mates, even buddies. I have found that playing tennis is like gas in my tank. It’s good for my psyche. I’ve sharpened my skills and grown a terrific circle of friends. My life is enriched for making the effort.

    Muscle Building Takes Purposeful Action

    Metaphorically, this could be PRSA, our profession’s deepest center of knowledge and largest PR practitioner network. Like the gym, unless you explore its apparatus and participate in its community, you don’t know what professional leads or opportunities you’re missing. Perhaps new business left on the table. Missing an inside track to a terrific career move. A segue into a vertical sector or communications specialty that is key to a promotion. Hearing of an adjunct faculty vacancy, having a chance introduction to a potential hire, new vendor or promising client. Without you in the room, you can’t get the benefits of membership.

    Make Your Resolution Now: Reap the Benefits of Participating

    We’re heading into a fantastic finish to what has been a truly action-packed 2016 for PRSA Boston. These programs each set their own stage for career and business connections. Why let more of these pass you by when it’s so easy to invite a peer, a prospect or plan an overdue reunion and reserve your attendance? Read more about the caliber of the speakers for each…

    Thurs. Oct 20 – The 2016 Presidential Election: A Media Perspective

    Wed. Oct. 26 – Solving Ethical Challenges in PR

    Wed. Nov. 9 ­– C-Suite Conversation with GE’s CCO: Reception, Awards + 2017 Preview

    Wed. Dec. 7 ­– Our Annual Holiday ‘Sparkle’ Fete, This Year for Globe Santa

    And While You’re Considering What’s Here…

    Don’t wait for New Year’s resolution season to leverage the best of PRSA Boston for your 2017 business and career goals. We’ve got time-friendly committee roles for strategic program planners, marketers, expert presenters, social media content authors, publicity mavens, finance managers and hospitality hosts—all easy and effective ways to meet new people while influencing this organization to meet your needs. Beyond our monthly programming and workshops in 2017 we’re again hosting our full-day PR Summit and the return of PRSA’s International Conference (ICON) to Boston after 20 years. These are all easy springboards to new introductions and unknown opportunities. They’re yours. And they’re already here.

    So consider yourself invited back to PRSA Boston, the foundation of our profession for going on seventy years. You will realize your own rewards by making the effort. No sweat and no heavy lifting. I look forward to seeing you soon!

     

     

    Post Author

    Loring Barnes, APR is the President of PRSA Boston and was the Co-Chair of the PRXNE16 Northeast regional conference hosted by our chapter. She is an expert in brand positioning, repointing mature organizations, research, leadership marketing and crisis planning and response, with over 25 years of outcomes that have been recognized by industry and client sector associations. Currently Loring serves on the board of Last Hope K9, a terrific dog rescue organization and plays tennis to pretend she’s getting fit. She has served on the boards of the Publicity Club of New England, patient and family housing nonprofit Hospitality Homes and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Alumni Association, her alma mater. She holds her Accreditation (APR) and is very active in civic affairs. Loring’s brand development and reputation consultancy, Clarity, is in its fifteenth year. @loringbarnes