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Creating an Effective Community Relations Program. Presented by Maureen Rich The Edison Group. Companies are starting to get it – conscience isn’t just trendy, it’s necessary “Sustainable development plans” are becoming commonplace No one wants to be Martha, Enron, etc.

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creating an effective community relations program

Creating an Effective Community Relations Program

Presented by

Maureen Rich

The Edison Group

spotlight on community relations
Companies are starting to get it – conscience isn’t just trendy, it’s necessary

“Sustainable development plans” are becoming commonplace

No one wants to be Martha, Enron, etc.

The Bonus: Doing good = Good for business

Spotlight on Community Relations
a gradual shift
PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2002 Sustainability Survey Report

140 U.S. companies

70 percent had no broad-based sustainability program in place yet.

69% were reviewing or revising ethics programs or their corporate-governance process

A Gradual Shift
in their own words
More than 7 of 10 Americans say they distrust CEOs of large corporations

80 percent of surveyed CEOs agree non-financial indicators such as environmental and social performance metrics are essential to characterizing future financial performance

– Business Week

70 percent of investors consider reputation in their decisions

– Citizen watch

91 percent of surveyed CEOs believe CSR management creates shareholder value

– Managing CSR Report

In Their Own Words
baseline basics
Determine Goals

Establish Protocol & Criteria

Get Everyone Involved

Incorporate PR Elements

Establish a Metrics System

Baseline Basics
determine goals
What Do We Want Program/Involvement to Accomplish?

Reposition company

Raise CEO profile

Get more press coverage in X community

Establish company as a resource



Government reps

Target a specific audience

Latino community


Elderly/baby boomers with aging parents

Determine Goals
establish protocol criteria
Establish a process/protocol

Decide how to respond to requests

Relevance: What are our criteria for getting involved?

Budget: What are our constraints?

Always ask: Will fulfilling this request help us fulfill our goal/mission?

Determine level of involvement up front – but get involved!

Be more than a name in a press release – be visible

Provide resources or planning support if possible

Consider pros, cons to partnerships

Weigh short- and long-term benefits

Establish Protocol & Criteria
get everyone involved
Encourage employee involvement

Show enthusiasm, participation from the top down

Get departments involved

Provide incentives (e.g., comp day for day spent volunteering)

Create team-oriented events

Volunteer programs

Sponsorships that foster teamwork


Prepare employees for events

Identify spokespersons (bilingual)

Ensure consistent messaging

Get Everyone Involved
incorporate pr elements

Don’t do CR for the PR…

But leverage CR in ways that maximize PR potential

Don’t lose your mission!

But don’t forget: not everyone (i.e., media) cares

Offer compelling stories beyond “Company writes check”

Put spotlight on subject, not donation

Offer solutions to timely problems

Have local stories ready

Incorporate PR Elements
establish a metrics system
Establish goals

Understand your impact on quarterly, annual bases

Characteristics of a “good” metric:







Pay attention to the data; don’t just tally — measure

Establish a Metrics System
effective cr the socal way
A ’70s icon…

…combined with the right strategy!

Effective CR the SoCal Way
case study 21st century insurance
When the ’70s Icon Becomes Part of the Strategic Solution

Situation Five Years Ago:

21st Century Insurance was a leading California auto insurer

Heavily involved philanthropically but without strategic direction

Virtually no press coverage for any goodwill projects


Continue philanthropy but with a more targeted approach

Raise 21st’s profile… and get press coverage for their goodwill efforts!

Case Study: 21st Century Insurance
pr campaign elements
Child safety seat program (targeting key demo)

Educate parents on state law, proper use

Unprecedented law enforcement partnership

California Highway Patrol

Spokesperson Erik Estrada

CHiPs connection

Appeals to parent age group

Appeals to Latino community

State-specific, free educational materials

“Child Safety Seats: A Parent’s Guide”

Now in six states, in English and Spanish

PR Campaign Elements
21st secures a large, easily accessible, highly visible site (e.g., mall parking lot)

CHP officers set up multiple inspection tents

Families arrive with children in vehicles

Trained officers inspect existing seat for proper fit, installation and use

21st employees staff event to assist

If seat isn’t right, 21st donates brand-new seat

community outreach
The Edison Group handles all event promotion

Fliers distributed in English, Spanish

Local child care centers



Key community groups

Event site

Community Outreach
media outreach
Pre-Event Promotion


Calendar listings

Morning of event media

Law enforcement officer, Erik Estrada provide live demo on-air

On-Site Media Relations

Setting the scene

Great visuals

Providing arc of story, from police to family to corporation

Why are we involved?

Every officer, family, 21st spokesperson has a story

Media Outreach
pr in a cr program
Message Delivery

Media training for company reps, spokesperson

Spanish spokespersons

Talking points

Collateral materials

Press kit, bilingual guides

B-roll package

Leveraging the Message

Local, state or national events (e.g., Nat’l Child Passenger Safety Week)


Silver-platter events

PR in a CR Program
results by the numbers
Since the 21st Century Insurance Child Safety Seat Program


More than 60 events conducted

More than 7,200 seats inspected

More than 2,700 seats discarded

More than 5,800 seats donated by 21st

We’ve helped raise company’s profile within:

Key States/DMAs




Results by the Numbers
child safety seat campaign highlights
Child Safety Seat Campaign Highlights
  • 21st continues to distinguish itself through partnerships with state law enforcement and elected officials
    • In 2005, successful launches in AZ, IN, OH & TX
    • Continued success in CA and IL
  • These partnerships and collaborations with Industry Associations (e.g., IIHS), add legitimacy and increase news value
  • All 35 child safety seat events in 2005 garnered media coverage

Child Seat Campaign Media Hits ’02 - ’05

the edison group
Mission Statement

To help our clients communicate

successfully by thinking smarter, working

passionately and keeping our promises.

The Edison Group
creating an effective community relations program22

Creating an Effective Community Relations Program

Presented by

Maureen Rich

The Edison Group