All posts by Robin Schell

Social Responsibility: How Organizations Are Leveraging Their U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition) In Times of Need

There are four basic ways organizations can offer their social responsibility talents in times of need:

Philanthropy:  Donations of money and in-kind services.  If you’re Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots, you can send your private plane to China to pick up PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in the form of N95 masks for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID19 battle.  If you are fashion designer Ralph Lauren, you can make marks, isolation gowns and throw in an additional $10 million in response to the global pandemic. On a smaller scale, Ocean State Job Lots asks for 2% on every purchase to add to their $2/hr increase for employees who are essential workers.   

Advocacy: The American Bar Association advocates for the rights of special education students in this piece, which provides instruction on everything from advocating for needed services to documenting the decline in learning progress during COVID19:  https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/childrens-rights/practice/2020/advocating-for-special-education-services-during-covid19/

Volunteer Hours:  Companies like Timberland have years of experience providing the opportunity for their employees to give back.  Since 1992, Timberland has offered employees up to 40 paid hours each year to serve in their communities through their Path of Service program.  In 2019, Timberland employees served over 72,000 hours. 

For those organizations who are looking for ways to contribute during COVID-19, there are volunteer-finding platforms such as Idealist (www.idealist.org) and VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org) to help find the right cause for your organization and employee base – both have options for filtering remote-only and coronavirus-specific opportunities.  For example, I plugged in my city name and found opportunities that ranged from transporting fresh and prepared food from businesses to local human service organizations (through the nonprofit Rescuing Leftover Cuisine) to Table Wisdom, a video chat service that allows you to reach out to specific partners for regular chats on a range of topics during social distancing.  Love for the Elderly (www.lovefortheelderly.org) is an organization with volunteers from 56 countries looking for those who would like to send hand-written letters to the elderly living in care facilities who need an emotional lift.  And if languages are your thing … consider volunteering for Translators Without Borders (www.translatorswithoutborders.org) to help translate documents that will convey important information about COVID19 and how to prevent its spread to people around the world.

New Products & Services:  How can an airline help during these unprecedented times?  Delta Air Lines is partnering with the U.S. Air Force, UTS Systems and Highland Engineering Teams to deliver up to 76 rapidly deployable pods to help military troops infected with COVID-19 return home. Delta’s Technical Operations division and wholly owned subsidiary Delta Flight Products combined their advanced manufacturing capabilities to begin converting dozens of single-use, 40-foot shipping containers into rapidly deployable, reusable hospital care pods.  Each pod is designed to attach inside military transport aircraft.

In many ways, COVID19 has been a major triggering event for us to start thinking, planning, and acting differently.  Is there a way your organization can make a difference, using your unique talents and resources, during these trying times?

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA is Senior Counsel and Partner at Jackson Jackson & Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management consulting firm based in the Seacoast area of NH.  For more information about the firm, visit www.jjwpr.com or email her directly at rschell@jjwpr.com.

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A Case Study In How NOT To Build Relationships With Customers: Boston Sports Clubs

Here’s what happens when you are NOT proactive and DON’T LISTEN to customers … I’m afraid Boston Sports Clubs are about to learn a painful PR lesson.  

While many gyms communicated proactively to customers that they would be halting billing and freezing memberships, Boston Sports Clubs went out of their way to make it nearly impossible for members to cancel memberships and freeze accounts during the COVID19 closure period.  A few weeks after closing, they sent an email to customers letting them know that when they re-open, they will work with members on credit arrangements.  They did not, however, provide any options for stopping payment while they remain closed.  As a result, they find themselves in the following boat:

  • Angry customers are blowing up BSC’s Facebook page with complaints
  • A class action suit filed against parent company Town Sports International, alleging it is impossible to cancel memberships
  • In Massachusetts, multiple complaints have been filed with the AG’s office and they are now investigating
  • Local media covering the story and suggesting members who want out of their memberships call their credit card company to cancel payments. 
  • Media have asked for personal stories about member experiences with BSC, indicating this negative press is far from over

In visiting the FB page of the local BSC, I found many negative comments about the rudeness of staff and dirty condition of the gym. BSC uses the same impersonal response every time:

Boston Sports Clubs We appreciate you taking the time to review our club. We’re very sorry for the issues you have experienced and we’d like to follow up with you personally. If you could email HereToHelp@tsiclubs.com, a member of the Customer Services team will get back to you shortly. Thank you for reaching out. Best, The HereToHelp Team

BSC fails to realize that this is a time to “serve not sell” your customers, not take advantage of them.   When gym members are being forced out of their normal behavior routine of going to the gym and are finding alternatives (exercising outdoors, constructing home gym setups, live streaming yoga classes), they should be finding ways to excite members about coming back, not drive them away.   Clearly BSC did not study their competitor’s policies or look at some of the creative ways other gyms are using their space to serve the public and build relationships with members (https://www.patriotledger.com/news/20200331/quincy-ymca-to-serve-as-secondary-homeless-shelter). 

All of this could have been avoided with some proactive communication and customer-friendly policies.  Lesson shared!

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In Uncertain Times, Build Loyalty with Stakeholders – Lessons From The Pan-Mass Challenge Decision

      For those of you who are not familiar with the Pan-Mass Challenge, or the PMC, it is the largest single athletic charity event in the country. This 2-day cycling event, founded by Billy Starr in 1980, engaged 6800 participants and raised $63 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute last year. People are motivated to give because 100% of the rider-raised funds go directly to cancer research.
     In addition to the time and effort it takes to train for the bike rides (these vary in length from 25 miles to 190 miles), participants are also asked to guarantee (with their personal credit card) $5500 each if they are doing the full 2-day ride. Many say the stress of fundraising is more than the stress of physically preparing for the ride – yet, people are committed to participating, because cancer has impacted so many loved ones.
     Given the impact of COVID-19 on many businesses, Starr made the unprecedented decision to do away with the minimum fundraising requirement for the first and only time in 40 years – recognizing that riders may have a difficult time raising money from their regular sponsors.
     See paragraph #2 from Starr’s note to all PMC cyclists. His message will likely lead to several positive behavioral outcomes:
     1. Building loyalty with fundraisers and volunteers. Taking care of the people on the front lines of the fundraising effort insures they will want to keep coming back, participating and fundraising, in years to come when the fundraising environment improves.
     2. Motivating riders by reinforcing the mission. Starr does a good job of reminding everyone of the reason they ride … because the money raised saves the lives of people with cancer. Those with the means to do so will likely dig a little deeper into their own pockets to make up for the shortfall of their sponsors.
     3. Encouraging self-motivated fundraising. Starr says “Let your conscience be your guide” regarding your donor base and “As for timing, do what feels right for you”, acknowledging that he typically encourages riders to “ask early and often”. For this year, though, his instruction is to throw the usual fundraising recipe out the window and use our best judgment on how to get the job done.

As a longtime PMC rider, I am motivated to meet my fundraising goal despite the obstacles this year, so wish me luck!

To all PMC cyclists,
     The last few weeks have been extremely stressful for everyone. All of us have been profoundly affected by this public health crisis, and part of our anxiety is not knowing when it is going to end. One thing is certain: showing compassion to one another will help us all get through this.
With that spirit in mind, the PMC is taking an unprecedented step: WE WILL NOT ENFORCE FUNDRAISING MINIMUMS FOR 2020. Do we still need each PMC rider to raise as much for cancer research and treatment as she or he can? Yes, but you don’t need the stress of having to ask donors to support your ride if you believe they don’t have the ability to do so. For 2020, we simply ask that you raise what you can, support your own ride with a gift if you have the means, and otherwise let your conscience be your guide regarding your donor base.
     As for timing, you should do what feels right for you. Normally, the PMC encourages riders to begin their fundraising early and not be afraid to ask often. If this approach feels inappropriate at this moment, you should modify your PMC fundraising for 2020 with timing that works for you and your donors.
     For 40 years, the PMC has represented hope for cancer patients everywhere by raising vital funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. That’s not going to change in 2020. The remarkable longevity of the average PMC rider tells us that you are committed to this cause and will be in the future. Thank you, and we send you our wishes for good health.

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA is senior partner and counsel at Jackson Jackson & Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management consulting firm based in the Seacoast of NH. She will ride her 8th Pan-Mass Challenge for Team LUNGSTRONG, to raise money for lung cancer research, in August 2020. For more information about JJ&W, visit www.jjwpr.com. For more information about LUNGSTRONG, visit www.lungstrong.org.

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School Communicators Take Note: For Flawless Execution, Prepare Beyond Your Written Crisis Plan

Yesterday, it was the dismissal of a teacher at the Fieldston private school as a result of anti-Semitic remarks that enflamed tensions between Jewish parents and school administrators.  Today, it is concern over the Coronavirus and its impact on boarding schools with Chinese pupils and international study programs abroad.  What will it be tomorrow?

While most private schools – especially those with boarding school programs – have had had to put their crisis communication plans to the test with issues ranging from student fatalities to inappropriate teacher/student relationships – how many have solid issue anticipation programs in place to prepare for the crisis around the corner?

In our experience, spending a little time and money upfront on thorough preparation goes a long way.  For consideration:

  1.  Updated contact information for ALL key internal audiences.  Most schools have their Board members and leadership team on speed dial…but anticipate everyone you want to communicate with directly in a crisis.  This means working with Development to insure you have up-to-date text/email information for alumni, and with Admissions in case prospective students need to be reached.  When the crisis hits, you want to be able to press a button for instant notification.
  2. Spokesperson training in advance.  Chances are, your Head of School and Communication Director have had the most experience with on-camera or phone interviews – but how about your subject matter experts?  For example, you might have your Head of Security as the spokesperson in a data breach situation, or Human Resources for a roundup story on your school policies impacting transgender students.   Mock interviews — where your spokespersons can practice staying calm and circling back to key message points in the face of tough media questions – are a valuable exercise.  Take it one step further by recording and playing back the interview to observe body language, nervous habits etc.  Make it engaging by involving the others in the recap of what worked well and what needs improvement.
  • Make time for issue anticipation and social media monitoring.  Whether you appoint someone inside or work with an outside firm, your Communications Director should be asking themselves this question everyday: “What’s going on out there, and could it happen here?”  Social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite Insights and Synthesio allow you to monitor news sites, blogs and forums by specific topics and audiences.  Cultivate relationships with your PR/communications network of professionals for best practice sharing.  Google search recent cases on topics of concern to see how other schools handled – or mishandled – issues and learn from their situations.
  • Prepare templates for likely situations for a “headstart” on your holding statement.  While you can’t have a statement for every situation, you can identify likely issues within specific categories (e.g. mishandling of finances, security issues, personnel issues, accidents and fatalities etc.).  Decide with your leadership/crisis management team on key messages to deliver in each situation – then get the holding statement templates blessed by the legal team in advance.
  • Update your media, social media and spokesperson policies.  It’s one thing to have these on paper, buried on page 60 of your crisis plan, and another to proactively and regularly communicate them to all members of your school family.  You want everyone to know what to do when the media calls, or how to handle student friend requests on LinkedIn and Facebook.  When new employees come on board, make sure they are up to speed as well.
  • Have a system in place for the “Lessons Learned” review.  Decide who from the crisis team should be involved and schedule the review right after the crisis ends, while it is fresh in everyone’s minds.  Important:  appoint a good note-taker to capture the conversation … chances are you, or a colleague, will need it for future reference.

For more information on issue anticipation programs and proactive media training, contact Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Counsel and Partner at Jackson Jackson & Wagner at 603/770-3607.

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Stand Out From The Crowd: Research-Based Branding

My colleague Jayme Simoes and I had the pleasure of presenting on the topic of branding twice recently, first at the NH Nonprofits Conference and Expo and again at PRSA’s Northeast District Conference, NEXPRSA, in Providence, R.I.

Here are a few highlights:

  1. A brand is a space in the mind.  It’s more than a logo or a tagline; a brand is about the feelings and perceptions you stimulate when both internal and external audiences hear your name.
  2. Research is key to the process; it can help you test words, phrases and visuals before you roll out your branding campaign; create a baseline for measuring your success and provide an opportunity for a mid-campaign check with key stakeholder groups to see if messages are resonating with them.
  3. Articulate your U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition) in your mission statement.  Does your mission statement differentiate you from your competitors, or is it so “plain vanilla” that it could belong to anyone?
  4. Think strategically before you rebrand.  There are plenty of “triggering events” that may cause you to consider a rebrand (e.g. merging with another organization, expanding or changing the products and services you offer or even an upcoming milestone anniversary).  If you’re well-known and easily recognized, though, there’s no need to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” … a refresh of your brand may be enough.  For the “serial rebranders” – you may be doing more harm than good by confusing your customers.
  5. How effective are your brand ambassadors?  Is everyone in your internal family speaking with One Clear Voice?  Take the “elevator speech” test – select any 3-5 people in your organization and ask them, independently, to describe what your organization does.  Are they hitting on your key message points consistently?

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Counsel and Partner Jackson Jackson & Wagner , 603/770-3607 or rschell@jjwpr.com

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The Art & Science of Behavioral PR Research: Effective Strategies For Measuring Outcomes and ROI

I’m delighted to be visiting the PRSA Tucson chapter this spring to talk about “The Art & Science of Behavioral PR Research:  Effective Strategies For Measuring Outcomes and Return On Investment”.  To give you a sense of what I’ll be talking about on April 23rd, read on!

Choosing the right strategies (for example, using the best methodologies for collecting data you need from the right target audiences) and asking the right questions the right way will insure that you are on a productive path to getting the information you need.  In many cases, your best measure of success will be the behavioral outcomes you achieve as a result of your researched-based campaign.  For example, if your goal was to increase membership by 30% this past year, you can measure your success by the numbers – you either hit that target, or you didn’t.  If the proposal for a new Walmart is accepted by your town – and you are Walmart – that is a measure of success.

A few things to keep in mind when designing and collecting research data:

  1.  Use creativity in your data collection strategies.  To get feedback on the newsletter at a national laboratory we counseled, we polled employees passing through the on-site cafeteria – which is where most people grab a copy to read at lunch.  To test perceptions and barriers to purchasing beer, we stood by beer cases in select stores and waited for the customer to put their hand on the beer they planned to purchase before asking questions about why they made their choice.  Think about your target audience and the best way (as well as the best time) — to capture their feedback.
  2. Ask the right questions.  Finding out if a potential customer is aware of your product or service is a good first step, but don’t you want to go deeper to find out their behaviors around that product or service?  Would they recommend it to others?  Have they done so in the past?   How likely are they to try an upgraded version of the product or service at a slightly higher cost?  Why or why wouldn’t they do that? 
  3. Ask your questions the right way.  Avoid biased or “leading” questions.  Vary your scales to make the respondent really think about the answers, in order to avoid “auto-response” and the tendency to check the same number of the scale for every question.  Include some “open-ended” questions to get valuable data about the “why” behind the question.  Anticipate the cross-tabulations you’ll want before you finalize the survey.
  4. Choose methodologies with a double purpose.  Research can be an opportunity to educate as well as measure.  To get a handle on the energy-saving behaviors customers were doing now and would consider in the future, we asked about everything from unplugging appliances when they were not in use to buying LED light bulbs to purchasing solar panels.  When helping a public health network identify behaviors around preventing Lyme disease, we used a “pre” and “post” test to measure the jump in knowledge levels and likely behaviors as a result of a presentation on that topic.
     

For more information about behavior-based research, register for “The Art and Science of Behavioral PR Research:  Effective Strategies For Measuring Outcomes and ROI” sponsored by the Tucson PRSA Chapter on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  For more information about Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA or Jackson Jackson & Wagner, visit www.jjwpr.com or email Robin at rschell@jjwpr.com.

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Patrick Jackson and The Start of Modern Behavioral Public Relations

Pat Jackson, JJ&W’s founder, was a behaviorist.  Plain and simple.  He taught those of us fortunate enough to work with him over the years to learn to be behaviorists, too.

Behavior change is hard – ask anyone who has tried to go on a diet, stop smoking or change a dominant personality trait – so Pat taught us to look for triggering events that could be a hook into behavior change, and to engineer behavior reinforcement into existing behavior patterns.  Most of us, for example, go to the dentist twice a year – and for those who aren’t good about flossing as a regular part of their oral hygiene, those dentist visits become “triggering events” to “cram floss” – usually the 2 weeks prior to the visit, and definitely the two weeks after the visit, when the dentist’s lectures and scary-looking gingivitis posters are top of mind.  But it is what happens in between those visits to reinforce flossing behavior that is the key to going from “cram flossing” to flossing that is part of your regular oral hygiene routine.

We’re about to embark on a campaign to educate and change behaviors around an important health problem — Lyme disease.  There is a need to educate both children  and parent, about Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses so they can take steps to prevent it … and when prevention isn’t possible, to identify and treat it early to minimize long-term effects.

Data is leading us to target kids between the ages of 5 and 15 – particularly those with greater exposure to ticks, such as those kids in outdoor camp programs.  This is a fantastic opportunity to partner with local not-for-profits who serve children and their families organizations for the one-two punch of effectiveness, to reach the parents so they can reinforce the behaviors we are teaching.  These behaviors include, on the simplest of levels, how to conduct a check for ticks – and if a tick is found, how to remove it and what to do with it afterwards.  If we think like strategic communicators about the best time to check for ticks, it’s when you’re naked – so tips that can be posted in the bathroom – and even more specifically, the shower stall —  make sense.

In fact, Pat was a big proponent of using the bathrooms to communicate messages, and I had to laugh when I went out to eat one of my favorite restaurants in Amesbury, Mass and saw the poster advertising the fact that the restaurant is now open for lunch, right on the bathroom door.  Educating those most apt to come to lunch — a current customer.  Very effective!

Whether you are spreading news about new restaurant hours or how to prevent Lyme disease, two cardinal rules prevail:

  1.  Learn about your target audience and the best place to reach them with your message
  2. Think about the natural ways to reinforce behavior change until it becomes a force of habit … kind of like recycling is with many today.

Yes, Pat was a  behaviorist, whether he was in a boardroom or a bathroom.  He often closed his speeches by talking about how the directions posted near the hand dryers in the bathrooms should have read:  1.  Push button to turn on dryer.  2.  Place hands under dryer.  3.  Rub hands vigorously under dryer.  4.  Wipe hands on pants!  Because 9 times out of 10, that’s what we all do.

Want to learn more about Pat Jackson and his approach to behavior change?  Check him out at www.patrickjacksonpr.com.

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA is senior counsel and partner at Jackson Jackson & Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management consulting firm. For more information about JJ&W, visit their website at www.jjwpr.com or email Robin at rschell@jjwpr.com.

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Designing Recognition Programs That Motivate Behavior

Whether you’re in charge of designing a rewards and recognition for your organization, or putting an awards program together for your industry, the question to ask yourself is: what behaviors are we trying to motivate? Teamwork? Employee retention? An above-and-beyond work ethic? Awareness? And the million dollar question: Is our current recognition program doing the job?

A few years back, JJ&W was conducting an internal communication study for an airline client. One of the objectives was to get feedback from employees on how they felt about the client’s recognition program. Amazingly, one anecdote came up consistently in the 25 focus groups we conducted. It concerned one of the airline’s toughest financial years. At the holidays, the CEO sent a letter recognizing everyone’s hard work, along with two cookies, to each employee. Here’s what we heard from employees: “If you want to motivate us, don’t give us two $3 cookies in a $6 box…bring in lunch for our crew when we’ve been working 24/7 during a tough weather stretch!” If you don’t know how employees want to be recognized and rewarded …ask! A little research can go a long way in helping you to design an effective recognition program. Note: as a result of the research JJ&W conducted, the recognition program was revamped to include both individual and team awards, given that teamwork at an airline is a must-have behavioral goal. After all, we all want those pilots, gate agents and baggage handlers working together to deliver customer delight!

A few tips on designing a strategic rewards and recognition program:

1. Evaluate your program…is it driving your behavioral goals? The Yankee Chapter of PRSA gives an award, originally known as the Yankee Award, but renamed for JJ&W’s founder and now called the Patrick Jackson Award. The Chapter asks its members to nominate professionals who are not in the public relations field but who successfully use public relations principles to benefit their organization and society, while demonstrating a track record of building public relationships that earn trust. Last year, Van Mcleod, former NH Commissioner of the Arts, won the award posthumously and joined a list of NH heavy hitters including Governor Walter Peterson, Bishop Gene Robinson and former NH Charitable Foundation president Lew Feldstein. The whole idea behind the award is to educate those outside our profession about what PR is and what it looks like when it is done well. The award has been in place since the 90’s, and rather than just keep giving the award, there is a committee in place to evaluate its effectiveness – are we getting the behavioral outcomes we want? Are we educating NH’s senior leaders about the value of PR by giving this award?

2. Consider filling a niche that doesn’t exist. Think about scholarships – there are many schools with awards for financial need and sky-high GPAs. When my high school scholarship committee got together to design the criteria for our class scholarship, we decided to go for a new niche and reward the “slow starter that finished strong”. When we are screening applications, we’re looking for the person who turned the corner in the latter half of their high school career, balancing GPA with work, outside interests and public service.

3. Design an industry award that gives back to the profession in some way. At our 35th anniversary (over 30 years ago!), Jackson Jackson & Wagner established the JJ&W Behavioral Science prize with a donation of $35,000 to the PRSA Foundation. The intent was to honor an individual behavioral science researcher whose scholarly work enhances the understanding of the concepts and theories that contribute to the effectiveness of the public relations practitioner. Since JJ&W’s focus is behavior change, this research is an important foundation to the work we do for clients. Pat Jackson coined this type of giving “enlightened self-interest” — you do good for others but it reflects positively on your organization as well. The winner is honored at PRSA International Conference, with the idea they will conduct a professional development session based on their work, so conference attendees can all benefit. Note: the award is not given every year; just when the awards committee finds a deserving candidate.

Similarly, PRSA established the Silver Anvil awards back in 1945 to recognize the best public relations campaigns in our industry – these are all catalogued on PRSA’s website, www.prsa.org, for the benefit of all members. Last year, NASA was recognized with the Best of Silver Anvil awards for their “Year in Space: Communicating NASA’s Historic One-Year Mission from Space to Ground” program. Click here to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iTaEyl1Mcg

A final thought: if you’re on the receiving end of a prestigious award or recognition, don’t stop at issuing a press release to announce it – go direct to the audiences that matter most. When I earned my APR back in 1991, JJ&W notified our clients directly, and I got some wonderful hand-written notes of congratulations from fellow PR practitioners and friends acknowledging this accomplishment. As a measure of how much those meant to me … I still have them in my possession today, all these years later.

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA is senior counsel and partner for Jackson Jackson & Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management consulting firm. For more information about Jackson Jackson & Wagner, visit our website at www.jjwpr.com.

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Give Where You Get: Social Responsibility Policies That Make Sense

According to the Cone Communication 2017 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) study, 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. Two-thirds of Americans will refuse to purchase a product if they learn that the company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.

It is important for corporations to be transparent about how social responsibility dollars are allocated and what issues they are supporting. Nonprofits also need to be forthright about who is funding them, and how the money is spent.

JJ&W has been a proponent of developing clear corporate social responsibility/giving policies for many years, and urging clients to communicate about them. Whether you are Target (donating 5% of profits in communities where they have stores) or Xerox (involving over a half million Xerox employees through their Community Involvement Program) or Google (with initiatives like Google Green, a corporate effort to reduce the use of resources effectively while supporting renewable power), strategic social responsibility is an opportunity that should not be ignored. Some organizations, like Patagonia, are even choosing their suppliers based on social responsibility practices. They vet suppliers using a 4-fold approach, considering ethical sourcing, social responsibility, product quality and environmental compliance before they select.

Questions your leadership should be asking about their corporate social responsibility policy:

1. Are we supporting causes and issues that have a connection to our business?
2. To what degree are we encouraging employees to get involved in social responsibility activities? (Note: programs designed this way
have the additional payoff of increasing morale and teamwork)
3. How well have we communicated the policy in order to make clear where we are spending social responsibility resources – so we don’t
waste the time of applicants or the department in our organization charged with weeding through the applications?
4. How well have we communicated the results of our social responsibility programs? Have we effectively tracked where employee time and
corporate dollars are spent, and how this time and money has translated into results? Do our employees, Board members, vendors,
customers and other key audiences know about these results?
5. Are we giving where we get business?
6. Are we supporting the masses or practicing focused philanthropy?

In 1991, JJ&W established the JJ&W Behavioral Science Prize, aligned with our values and in honor of our 35th year of practice. Guidelines specify the Prize should be awarded to a person or persons who has/have contributed a significant body of theory and/or research that enhances understanding of behavioral public relations and whose work is available to scholars and practitioners. Recipients come from the field of public relations, social science and business. (For more about the award and a complete list of winners, visit www.jjwpr.com).

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USING DATA TO DRIVE BUSINESS DECISIONS — DRIVING THEME AT SHMD CONFERENCE

Hats off to the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHMD) for putting together an A+ event in Orlando last week filled with substantive presentations and fantastic keynote speakers.

One of the clear themes that emerged from the conference was the need for PR and Marketing practitioners to understand and use data to drive organizational change and decisionmaking. Rick Foster, MD, Sr. Executive for the South Carolina Hospital Association, spoke about his use of data with communities and healthcare providers to reduce healthcare disparities – the Health Equity issue – and how data help them effectively target communities and even neighborhoods with programs to meet their specific health needs.

John Berg, VP of System Marketing for the SCL Health System, urged professionals to go beyond the counting of Facebook “likes” and “shares” in their measurement efforts. “What the President and CFO want to know is, ‘How many new patients did this campaign generate, what was the estimated revenue and how does that compare to our control group?’.

Ty Kennon of Mercy Health Systems, explained “if our department can’t measure it, we don’t do it.” His was the only department to get a budget increase this fiscal year, based on the ROI (Return on Investment) metrics they provided to upper management.
Gail Winslow, Associate Director, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and I presented on “Using Data to Drive Behaviors & Make Effective Decisions”. Gail suggests practitioners begin with a “data audit” to determine what data the organization has already and what additional data might be needed to drive organizational decisionmaking.

In her role as Director of Marketing at Concord Orthopaedics, Gail looked at CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data, state hospital association surveys, new patient data, surgical volume data, customer satisfaction survey results, referral data and conducted a zip code analysis as well as an analysis of payor mix. This led to her recommendation to open a 2nd Day Surgery Center and a 3rd practice location. The 3rd practice location reached its performance goal in the first 9 months of operation and the 2nd Day Surgery Center outperformed expectations at the half-year mark.

In her current role at the UMass Medical School, Gail led the conversion from an outdated legacy data system to Salesforce in an effort to automate data collection that would ultimately show the profitability of business units, build capacity for staff recruitment and allow for trends analysis.

A clear message to practitioners: don’t be afraid of data! If you don’t know how to analyze, curate and translate it now, make that your next professional development goal. If you would like help in evaluating your current measurement program, contact Robin Schell or Stacey Smith at Jackson Jackson & Wagner: rschell@jjwpr.com or ssmith@jjwpr.com, or, for more information on her programs contact Gail Winslow at gail.winslow@umassmed.edu. More about JJ&W at www.jjwpr.com

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