Posts Tagged ‘initiatives’


St. Louis Rams Tackle a Disengaged Community for a Win

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kevin Demoff is in his fourth year as executive vice president of football operations and chief operating officer with the St. Louis Rams. As any football fan, or anyone who lives in the heartland, knows the Rams team is bad on the field but even worse off the field. There is simply no connection to the community.  Demoff’s 100_0763critical challenge? How to get the community excited—even if the team wins no games.

During Demoff’s recent address to the PRSA St. Louis chapter, in a room just off the owner’s office overlooking the practice field as the “boys” wrapped up for the day, he explained that football should be a tradition.With the exit of the Cardinals to Arizona, however, it skipped a generation here as there was no hometown team.

Today, The Rams are now involved in every football league in the area, from pee wee teams all the way up, so they grow up into fans and pass it on. This strategy is not going to gain immediate fans. It’s long-term grassroots planning, including community programs, that will pay off down the line. The Rams only play 16 days per year, yet must be top of mind 365 days per year—what a challenge!

Rams Community Outreach Initiatives

Rams Staff Day of Service is one example of getting involved in the community. One day per month they shut the doors and everyone, from the players to the accounting 100_0759clerks to the upper management, does a community service project.  For example, last summer about 90 members of the Rams staff took a trip to Joplin, MO to aid relief efforts after the devastating tornado. Another example is of how the Rams help build playgrounds. A program started in 2009, the Rams most recent playground build was for “a local town of 2,600, a community with no schools, only a library […].” 

Demoff accepts nearly every opportunity to speak. When I heard him speak (Thursday, August 23rd), he had already spoken to eight or nine other groups. He’s out making the personal, emotional connection with their stakeholders—this doesn’t happen behind a desk. He says it’s crucial to speak from the heart via every medium possible, whether that is in-person, social media, print media, broadcast media, etc.  As a matter of fact, seeing the need to expand their media footprint, the Rams now have their own broadcast team including a film crew. They needed to grow the brand outside the immediate area, and whereas they used to not even be carried in the next market over, there are now nine states on pre-season now.

They produced a community service video, which we watched, and notably there was no football in it. The goal is to make the community better—even if they’re not winning at football—and Demoff leads them to be one of the community’s strongest philanthropic partners. As a matter of fact, in the 35 years of local philanthropic awards, no sports team has ever won. That is, until 2010 when the Rams were named St. Louis Philanthropic Organization of the Year.

They even started a program where players buy tickets for underprivileged kids—they’re up to 28 players now participating in the program. Recently the St. Louis Rams showed appreciation to Scott Air Force Base, where they traded jerseys with the soldiers and held a scrimmage game. Along with all the typical things like hospital visits to soldiers and critically ill children, the Rams have come a long way. 

It’s apparent that hard work and personal dedication has been quintessential to their success. I think the biggest takeaway from Demoff and the Rams outreach program is the sincerity with which they participate. Rather than make it something that a few players do with the hopes of garnering publicity – the program is built in such a way that it becomes a part of team identity on and off the field, regardless of an individual’s role in the organization or team. Demoff spearheads a culture of service that benefits all involved – and it is the authenticity that really fuels outreach success.

Do you have examples of community engagement strategies or techniques to share?

5 Geo-location Tips for PR and Marketing

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

 

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May 2012

Whether you call it geo-location or geo-social networking, “check-ins” are quickly merging the virtual with the physical to create an augmented reality.

Digital manipulation of our daily lives changes not only the way we communicate and view the world around us, but also influences how organizations must interact with their constituents. Some marketing and PR professionals aren’t buying into it just yet. However, adoption is likely inevitable.

Here are 5 beliefs about geo-location and the truth behind how it can support successful campaigns and initiatives. Read more of this month’s BurrellesLuce newsletter: 5 Geo-location Tips for PR and Marketing.

Creating, Marketing, and Measuring Online Video for Your PR Campaigns – Tips from PRSA-NY

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Alfred Cox*

Recently I wrote a post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, outlining key tips for integrating online video into your PR campaign from a recent PRSA-NY panel. For this post, I thought I would re-cap some of what I thought were the most compelling best practices for creating, marketing, and measuring online video content – as discussed at the event.

The event featured presentations from Joe D’Amico, PopTent; Jake Finkelstein, Method Savvy; Jonah Minton, Ustream; Mark Rotblat, TubeMogul; Eric Wright, DS Simon; Jim Sulley, newscast US; and Larry Thomas, Latergy.

It was followed by a roundtable Q&A moderated by Jason Winocour, social and digital media practice leader at Hunter Public Relations.

How to Create Online Video Content
Nearly 89 percent of journalist report that they regularly include online video content in their stories. But how can marketing and communications professionals create compelling video content?

Jim Sulley, president of Newscast U.S., had these best practices to offer:

  • Understand who you are trying to reach. Who are your target demographics?
  • Get the attention of the people watching. You only have 10 seconds to hook their interest.
  • Shoot to script, don’t script to shoot. In other words, take the time to plan your videos and write a script.
  • Create biscuits, little surprises along the way, and don’t give away the ending upfront.
  • Be truthful. And remember, production values count.
  • Entertain or DIE.
  • Too much text is annoying for online video.

When creating video content, you will also want to get your online community, stakeholders, and agencies involved, as this with provide you with feedback and help you market your initiatives. (more…)

BurrellesLuce Newsletter: Local News Gets ‘Hyper’ As Media Landscape Evolves

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Local News Gets Hyper as Media Landscape EvolvesThe durability of news outlets that are tightly linked to their neighborhoods provides opportunity for PR practitioners willing to understand and invest in what these hyperlocal outlets and hyperlocal communities value.

The number of these so-called “hyperlocal” sites is growing, as traditional media and leading search engines partner with existing hyperlocal operations and non-media entities, such as universities, to create hyperlocal news products.

“Hyperlocal is difficult, expensive and not for the faint of heart,” says Barb Palser, director of digital media for McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Co., in this American Journalism Review article. Nonetheless, she notes, “news organizations and startups across the country are betting heavily that hyperlocal news sites will solve the needs of both consumers and advertisers.”

How, then, as communications practitioners looking for more-targeted ways to reach our audiences, can we better guarantee the success of our hyperlocal initiatives? Read more of this newsletter in the BurrellesLuce Resource Center.

Register Domain Names for Less…At the Airport?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

GoDaddy Kiosk-2During a recent trip to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport I noticed an unusual kiosk. Since November 2, 2010, and slated to be there through the “first part of 2011,” web-hosting service Go Daddy has set up shop in terminal 4 a.k.a. the “Go Daddy Sky Harbor Kiosk” to provide in-person service for a previously virtual-only offering.

From a marketing perspective, this is either the craziest or the smartest tactic I’ve seen in a long time. Go Daddy isn’t known for taking the safe approach (think Super Bowl Ads) so its recent initiative shouldn’t surprise me. Still, I find their risk taking extraordinary. During a time when businesses are looking for ways to scale back or otherwise avert risks – Go Daddy takes their virtual model to “brick and mortar.” I guess if patrons will line up at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for manicures and pedicures then small business travelers will feasibly benefit from this new Go Daddy kiosk. Think about it: during the social media frenzy a web-based service focuses on face-to-face targeting and interaction.

Finding myself intrigued by this recent endeavor, I reached to Go Daddy and, via its public relations department, received insights from Miguel Lopez, vice president- customer care at Go Daddy. I ask, “Why the airport?” Lopez explained that:Go Daddy helps individuals and small businesses build an online presence quickly and affordably. Why not show them how easy it is? Sky Harbor International is one of the busiest airports in the United States and our location intersects a tremendous amount of traffic. It’s a great location to meet locals and visitors alike, and give them an opportunity to learn about all the things they can do online with Go Daddy.”

When asked about successes or failures of the experiment, thus far, Lopez added: “We’ve found that many of our customers are interested in a guided tour of our website, GoDaddy.com. Others are curious about what it’s like to work for a company like Go Daddy and it’s fun to watch their facial reactions when they hear about how employees are treated like VIPs, attending lavish holiday parties and getting to go on monthly ‘Employee Appreciation’ outings.”

While this latest effort is solely driven by walk-up traffic and Go Daddy hopes to service small business travelers and to possibly recruit new employees (Go Daddy currently has more than 100 job openings), it will be an interesting to watch this endeavor unfold. Personally, I plan to keep an eye out on the kiosk traffic when I visit the airport (which is fairly often these days) in hopes of resolving my unanswered question: “Does Go Daddy have this much confidence in how efficient their process and service are that a business person could register their desired domain in mere minutes – and still catch a flight – or is it simply targeting the low-hanging fruit of stranded travelers who desperately want to be productive while in transit?”

Are there any services you would like to see available at the airport, train station or bus depot that would make you a more productive professional in transit? As I travel for BurrellesLuce, the one service I would like to see is a kiosk selling Dell chargers (unless Dell decides to finally go universal) or at least a Dell-charging station for the times when my charger doesn’t make my trip with me.