Powell Tate is happy to invite you to a March 13 breakfast and panel discussion on how leading journalists navigate the changing media landscape.
- Gloria Borger, Chief Political Analyst, CNN
- Paul Brandus, Founder and CEO, "West Wing Report"
- Howard Fineman, Editorial Director, AOL Huffington Post Media Group and Analyst, NBC/MSNBC
- Charlie Mahtesian, National Politics Editor, POLITICO
- Ylan Q. Mui, Financial and Retail Reporter, The Washington Post
- Sally Squires, Senior Vice President, Powell Tate, former nationally-syndicated columnist and reporter, The Washington Post
- Tuesday, March 13, 8-9 a.m.
- Powell Tate, 733 10th NW, Washington, DC, 20001.
Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone, writing in the spring 2012 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, offer a fresh look at the strategic role of branding in the nonprofit sector. They introduce a compelling conceptual framework called Nonprofit Brand IDEA and illustrate how nonprofit leaders can build and manage a strong brand. They make a persuasive case for why branding should be a core strategic focus at nonprofit organizations, and not solely a communications consideration. And, they address common points of skepticism around nonprofit branding as well as highlight nonprofit leaders’ insights on its unique value.
It’ll be no surprise here that our team sees strong branding as a vital part of successful nonprofit organizations. Strong brands position organizations to communicate who they are, what they do, and why it matters – in authentic, emotionally relevant and meaningful terms – and yield increased capacity to achieve organizational outcomes, such as mobilizing advocates, enlisting new allies or generating broader support from the corporate sector. Strong brands can guide and inform organizational decision-making.
A strong brand can also create a virtuous circle, or what Kylander and Stone call the “Role of Brand Cycle,” where a strong brand leads to enhanced capacity, which leads to stronger outcomes, which in turn strengthens the brand.
The Nonprofit Brand IDEA framework is grounded in four principles: integrity, democracy, ethics and affinity.
Brand integrity refers to how an organization’s internal identity aligns with outside perceptions.
Brand democracy refers to the idea that internal and external stakeholders are empowered to express the brand.
Brand ethics means that the brand truly represents the organization’s core values.
Brand affinity means that the brand cooperates and coexists with partners and allies.
Above all, the model prompts thoughtful questions and synthesizes great advice and counsel in one comprehensive article – a perfect starting point for nonprofits grappling with the role of branding in their organization’s work.
Last week, my colleagues Greg McCarthy and Crystal Benton put together a list of must-reads on defense news sources. This week, I’d like to share my favorite sources of international news across various mediums.
READ the beyondbrics blog written by Financial Times reporters around the world. It’s great for short news items on economic, investment and business trends in emerging markets. You can sign up to have it delivered to your e-mail every morning.
FOLLOW Foreign Policy’s blogs, The Cable and Passport. The Cable’s Josh Rogin provides timely insights into U.S. foreign policy and national security issues, while FP’s editors offer commentary on a variety of international political, economic and security issues.
SUBSCRIBE to Stratfor, a subscription-based global intelligence service, with real-time analysis of events around the world, excellent special reports, and founder George Friedman’s thoughtful Geopolitical Weekly column. You can customize how much or how little analysis you want to receive (and pay for) daily.
SIGN-UP to get excellent economic and business global forecasting from The Economist Intelligence Unit. A good source for regional and country data, as well as trade, commodities, global risk and exchange rates forecasts.
WATCH Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square program on CNN, which features interviews with newsmakers on current international issues. It’s now available for download on iTunes if you miss the Sunday broadcast.
Some decades ago, Sports Illustrated ran a small advertisement for itself and for magazines in general. As an aspiring journalist (I told you it was some decades ago), I kept the glossy page of text in my wallet for a long time. I don't remember the exact words, and the page is long gone from my wallet. But it began something like this:
"Woody Johnson, WoodyJohnson, woodyjohnson. Do you remember the first time you saw your name in print and how it made you feel?"
The magazine was making a simple point about seeing your name in a publication – written down in permanent printed recognition of accomplishment or achievement.
I think about the ad often these days because of the success of the new media and what it portends for the future of communications. Truth to tell, I have no idea what it portends about our future. But I know what it says about us.
All people have opinions about pretty much everything. Until recently, we voiced [sic] those ideas to each other almost always individually. And once we spoke [sic] our piece, it was gone; lost in the atmosphere.
Today, thanks to social media, we can communicate simultaneously to dozens, hundreds or maybe even thousands of our friends and followers. How we communicate is vastly different from the ways we have done in the past.
But what we communicate through the new media is the same. Words. In writing. It’s why so many people get into trouble these days for carelessly flopping around their half-baked thoughts and shoot-from-the-lip musings. Because words matter and writing them down – even in pixilated form – gives them the permanence missing from the spoken word.
Digital media may be taking over the world. And not all words stay written down for ever. (Thank god for small favors.) But it’s good to remember that many, if not most, words live on after they are typed or dictated. To be looked at, laughed at, respected or ridiculed.
Do you remember the first time you saw your name in print?
As many of you know, Powell Tate is hosting several sessions for this year’s Social Media Week, and our session on Innovations in Social Media in the Developing World featured a speaker from the Knight Foundation’s International Journalism Fellowships, who told us about the many ways technology is transforming lives and creating better futures for millions of people around the world.
The Knight Foundation is well-known for advancing ideas that promote journalism and innovation in media, and we’d like to continue the conversation we started at social media week by telling you about an annual grant program funded by Knight that supports experiments and ideas that could revolutionize tomorrow’s newsrooms.
Last year, the Knight News Challenge awarded $4.7 million for 16 project ideas developed by organizations standing at the intersection of journalism, innovation, and technology - some of which are the biggest names in their industries (Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Ushahidi, universities like MIT and UVA) - that have the potential to shape the future of media.
Together these organizations are collaborating, competing, and driving a major transformation that will ultimately shape the way news is reported. Here are a few of the grantees that we thought you should know about:
iWitness by Adaptive Path
Ten years ago, reporters were the only people at an event with the capability to broadcast the news live – today – it’s just about everybody. When an outlet sends a camera and a reporter to cover a political uprising, it’s actually a very narrow scope of what else is being transmitted from the ground – where virtually every active participant, protestor, and observer is live-tweeting, live-streaming, facebooking and twitpic’ing the events as they unfold. The iWitness Initiative may be the key to channeling these individual broadcasts – tweets, photos, videos – so that the voice of an event is no longer the single voice of a reporter speaking on its behalf, but the true and collective voices of every person experiencing it directly.
A lack of communication can be a major barrier for non-profits and other organizations working in developing countries. FrontlineSMS is the first text messaging system created exclusively with this problem in mind – facilitating dialogues between individuals and organizations without the need for the internet. By leveraging basic tools already available to most NGOs — computers and mobile phones — FrontlineSMS enables instantaneous two-way communication on a large scale. The software platform will be expanded through its grant project with Knight to work with community radio stations and other rural journalists to further innovate how underserved countries access and distribute information.
Swiftriver, by Ushahidi
As news events unfold, mobile phones and the Internet are flooded with unfiltered information. One of the greatest challenges especially in times of crisis is figuring out how to determine the good information from the bad, the relevant from the irrelevant, the urgent from the non-urgent. Through a new platform called SwiftRiver, Ushahidi aims to verify information by parsing it and evaluating sources to make such floods of information more useful and actionable to those who need it. Working across email, Twitter, web feeds and text messages, the platform will use a combination of techniques to identify trends and evaluate information likely to be credible based on its source. The project builds on Ushahidi’s past efforts to verify the crowdsourced information collected in global crisis scenarios like the Kenyan election crisis in 2008 and the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.
We encourage you to take a look at each of the grantees on the Knight Foundation’s website, because chances are, you’ll be seeing them soon enough.
[Also authored by Crystal Benton]
With the ever-changing landscape of the defense industry, keeping up on the important news is more challenging than ever. To help you focus, here are the top defense industry news sources we recommend following to keep informed of the latest developments.
1. Subscribe – Morning Defense Email (Politico): By 7:00 AM Politico’s Charles Hoskinson sends an email to your inbox providing a summary of the top news on defense issues, including the most important industry related news and the stories to watch that day.
2. Follow – Marjorie Censer on Twitter (Washington Post): While you should always read her stories, following her on Twitter is a must to keep up with breaking industry news throughout the day. Plus, we love her Twitter handle: @CommonCenser
3. Watch – “This Week in Defense News with Vago Muradian” on TV: As the website says, each week Vago Muradian, editor of Defense News, “probes the minds of some of the best thinkers in the defense industry.” Set your TIVO to record this show to get keen insights on what is happening in the defense industry or go to the website and watch past episodes. Don’t miss “Vago’s Notebook” for Muradian’s very knowledgeable, weekly analysis of issues impacting the defense industry.
4. Read – Print Edition of Defense News: If you want to know what are (or will be) the hot issues to the defense industry, take the time to flip through Defense News in print each week and pay close attention to who is buying ad space and what the message is. It provides great insights into who has skin in the game.
5. Support – Facebook and Twitter Platforms of Members of Congress Connected to Your Issues: Members of Congress are always important sources of news. Connecting through social media is an easy way to make yourself part of the discussion. Members and their staff appreciate new followers on their social media platforms and you can help them spread their news and they may help you spread yours. Check out the lists of Twitter handles for members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees we created for our client the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC).
Greg McCarthy served Director of Communications to U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower. Crystal Benton served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and as Deputy Communications Director to his 2008 presidential campaign.
Powell Tate is proud to be hosting four events during Social Media Week.
Today, I want to tell you about two of them in particular that will be held Feb. 14:
Social Politics: How Technology Has Helped Campaigns
The social media landscape has changed drastically since 2008. We'll hear directly from panelists from Google, Twitter and Facebook as they delve into the tools and innovations that candidates and campaigns have utilized as the 2012 campaign heats up.
This discussion will feature:
Rob Saliterman - Google
Peter Greenberger - Twitter
Adam Conner - Facebook
Alex Howard - Government 2.0 Correspondent for O’Reilly Media (moderator)
Politics and technology: the media's role in the changing landscape
Digital platforms have changed the media landscape forever, but how has it changed the way the media covers politics? We'll ask a panel from Gannet, National Journal, ABC News and Politico as they discuss 2012 election coverage.
This discussion will feature:
Laura Cochran - Gannett
Rick Klein - ABC News
Keach Hagey - Politico
Alex Howard - Government 2.0 Correspondent for O’Reilly Media. (moderator)
We're really excited to be hosting these events and hope to see you there.
One of the more important benefits of smart phones is that they are helping to bridge the “digital divide” between people who have access to the internet and those low-income Americans—particularly blacks and Latinos—who do not. For foundations that focus on workforce development, community-based organizations providing job training, and African-American and Hispanic-American advocacy groups this presents a great opportunity to collaborate with businesses to recruit, train and employ tech-savvy applicants.
According to the Pew Center, African Americans and Hispanic Americans are using their smart phones—particularly Android phones—to communicate ideas, access information and create content at greater rates than white Americans. As digital technology becomes increasingly more mobile, this would suggest that these communities are well-positioned to bridge the digital divide in a way that might overcome some of the historical challenges to economic success it has presented.
Take for example the unemployment situation, which is significantly higher amongst blacks and Latinos than whites. Right now, it is incredibly difficult to search for a job without access to the internet and perhaps even harder to apply for that job using a smart phone. Imagine if the “map” function on an Apple or Android phone, in addition to listing nearby restaurants, bars and movie theaters, also displayed those businesses looking to hire. People of color would then have greater awareness of employment opportunities in their neighborhoods. The next step would be to design job applications that are smart phone friendly, something that might not be too difficult given the amount of personal data stored on a typical smart phone.
Any organization looking to follow this path would have a strong partner in the federal government, which under the Federal Communications Commission just this month announced plans to expand broadband access and improve digital literacy for low-income Americans. They would also place themselves on the forefront of the kind of techniques any organization must use if it is looking to engage, educate or organize young Americans, who are also using mobile technology at an ever-increasing rate.
MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently published their annual global executive study and research report: Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point. Each year, they conduct a survey of nearly 3,000 executives asking them about the state of sustainability in their companies.
The results show the tremendous growth and support of sustainability all over the world. And, what is this tipping point they’re talking about? The point at which companies are not only seeing the need for implementing sustainable business practices (to maintain a competitive advantage) but they’re also starting to see the payoff.
This year’s results showed some very interesting trends that cut across industries including energy/utilities, consumer goods, commodities, chemicals and automobiles. A summary of results show that:
1. Seventy percent of the companies surveyed have included sustainability as part of their management agenda and have no interest in turning back;
2. Two-thirds view sustainability as necessary to being competitive in today’s marketplace; and
3. Many companies are increasing their commitment to sustainability.
Another interesting point is that emerging markets are strengthening their commitment to sustainability. That’s something that global corporations will want to keep in mind as they expand into these rapidly growing markets – not only does sustainability provide you with a competitive edge in the U.S. but it might also help as you grow your business abroad.
Lastly, the report classifies a new category of sustainability “embracers” as Harvesters. These are the companies that prioritize sustainability throughout all levels of the company, integrate sustainability as part of a long-term business strategy, engage external stakeholders including regulators, suppliers, NGOs and citizen groups, and view sustainability as more than a reputation-enhancement strategy; they view sustainability as a way to drive profit and innovation. The question has always been: Is sustainability profitable? The answer, according to the Harvesters: Yes, it is.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new sustainability tipping point.
Last week’s NYT iEconomy series has ignited a discussion around one of the most recognized and arguably loved brands of our time. The first article looks at why manufacturing jobs at Apple have gone overseas and are likely to stay there. The second reports on labor conditions inside Foxconn, one of Apple’s primary manufacturing partners.
As I read the second article about reported working conditions for the individuals who made the device I was holding, I began to consider:
What should Apple do?
To be fair, this issue is in no way limited to Apple. Foxconn is a manufacturing partner for several electronics companies bearing household names. However, Apple is a recognized leader in manufacturing and has significant influence. It raises the question of whether Apple has a strategic opportunity to leverage its influence and demand a dramatic change in working conditions.
We are familiar with the transition Wal-Mart has made from a villain to a pioneer in corporate sustainability, and the standards it has implemented among its suppliers. A reasonable argument is that Apple can and should do the same, but it’s more complicated than that.
At the end of the day, we know Apple is running a business, and arguably the best around at doing just that. In Q1 2012 they sold 37.04M iPhones. This exceeded industry expectations and if the numbers are accurate, @LukeW shared a staggering statistic with the Twittersphere:
“There are more iPhones sold per day (402k) than people born in the world per day (300k)”
With a demand like that, as a business, Apple must supply it. Which leads to my next question…
What should consumers do?
The role of the empowered consumer was one of most exciting things to watch in 2011 and will continue to be in 2012. The rapid adaptation and influence of social platforms continues to grow and the voice of consumers is getting louder. So, what is the tipping point at which consumers will tell Apple (and the industry at large) that they need to address labor conditions in the supply chain, and move from awareness to action?
Are consumers willing to accept that dramatic changes in manufacturing standards will likely impact availability (slower to market) and cost (likely to increase), and once that happens (assuming quality and service remain the same) are they willing to stick around?
Our Social Impact team is growing – and we’d love to hear from you if you share a passion for working with corporations, foundations and nonprofits on social issues.
You’d be based at Powell Tate, one of Washington’s leading strategic communications and public affairs firms, and a division of Weber Shandwick.
Successful candidates will have experience developing and implementing programs to communicate how companies are creating business and social value, and/or working with nonprofits on brand-building, stakeholder outreach and public education campaigns.
Core required skills include strategic counsel of client teams, project management, writing communications plans, conducting media relations, building partnerships and leading social media engagement. Experience working on environmental sustainability issues is a plus.
A sense of humor is a must, as is an ability to navigate a fast-paced environment.
Qualified candidates will have a minimum of 5-10 years of CSR and nonprofit communications experience, preferably in an agency environment.
To apply, please send cover letter, resume and compensation history to email@example.com, referencing CSR/Nonprofit in the subject line.
Powell Tate is an equal opportunity employer. EEO/AA.M/F/D/V.
A new year, a new space, a new perspective on the issues of the day.
After more than 10 years on 13th Street, Powell Tate has moved to 733 10th St., NW, in the recently constructed, LEED-certified, all-glass Skansa building in the heart of Penn Quarter.
We open our doors today with expansive, contemporary digs for our accomplished team of thinkers and doers – eager to bring fresh ideas about the issues our clients care about most.
We’re excited about this change – and are already lining up a number of events with newsmakers who will share their insights with our clients, staff and friends.
Here’s to new beginnings!
See pictures of our new location.
[Also authored by Crystal Benton and Nicole Todd]
With Congress returning for what will be a very busy year, we surveyed our Powell Tate staff who served in Congressional offices and a number of current Congressional staff to develop a list of rules for effectively engaging Congressional offices. Here are our best practices for delivering your message and making an impact on Capitol Hill.
1. Staff are Busy – Prepare to Tell Your Story Clearly: The one thing we always hear from Congressional staff is that they are overwhelmed with work and information. Meetings and requests blur into each other. It is important to stand out and make an impact. Spend time before your meeting or outreach to Congressional staff to develop a clear message, narrative, and request, supported by graphically compelling materials — in both printed and electronic formats. Tell your story and deliver your message in a clear, concise and easily understood manner.
2. Know What You Want – What is the “To-Do”: Congressional staff are focused on and motivated by action items. Too often staff walk out of a meeting not knowing what the request (or “ask”) is. Without clear requests for action they can take to their Member for a decision nothing will come of the meeting. Clearly define what action you want the Member of Congress to take on your behalf.
3. Keep it Relevant — Politics is Local: Explain up front why you’re asking what you’re asking from the staff member. They may not make the connection between the subject matter, your request and why their Member of Congress may be interested. Be clear: Is the issue relevant to the Member of Congress’ district, state, Committee assignment? How will constituents be impacted? Never assume the staff will make the connection.
4. Keep it Short — Get to the Point: Staff in Congressional offices are handling multiple issues at a time. In emails and in meetings, tell them what you are asking for first and then follow with the details of your request. That will get them focused on the purpose of the meeting and thinking about how they can help. Provide background information in both written and electronic format.
5. Help Them Tell Your Story — Think Cut-and-Paste: Congressional staff are always looking for useful statistics and facts to use in floor statements, speeches and letters to constituents. Make it easy for them to support your case by providing information in a format where they can cut and paste directly from information you provided. Become a go-to resource for them by providing useful information (short facts, infographics, statements, etc.) on your website, Facebook page, etc. so staff can easily find the information that helps them help you. Cite experts and opinion leaders who support your position to show trends and consensus.
6. Share Information — Knowledge is Power: Help the staff members stay up on the latest intelligence on an issue. Never assume they see everything that is written on a subject or have heard the latest news. Send them timely updates or share what you have heard from other offices in your meetings. Always remember to keep it short and avoid too frequent contact. (See #1-Staff are Busy.) And always send a “Thank You” note after your meeting.
7. Engage on Social Media — Help Them Spread News: Congressional staff, particularly the communications offices, seek content they can use on their social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Seek opportunities to engage on social media. Subscribe to their social media platforms and redistribute posts relevant to your issues. Also, post content on your platforms that the office may find useful, such as references to the Member of Congress.
8. Every Office is Unique — Do Your Research: Remember that every Congressional office is unique. There is no one way to approach a Congressional office, so take time to research the office to ensure you are reaching out to the appropriate staff member with the most effective message and materials.
Greg McCarthy spent 12 years working for U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Bill Bradley. Crystal Benton served as Senator John McCain’s press secretary and as deputy communications director to his 2008 presidential campaign. Nicole Todd spent two years working for U.S. Senator Harry Reid.
With so many issues dominating the news, from the GOP Primary, to the economy, to foreign affairs, it is often difficult to break through on any legislation, let alone one that deals with complex legal and technical issues. But some of the largest Internet companies did manage to secure front page attention with their efforts in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
As you undoubtedly know, Internet companies including Facebook, Google, Reddit and Wikipedia blacked out or altered their websites with a political call to action to protest SOPA to coincide with a hearing before the House Oversight Committee.
And this tactic met with undeniable PR success. Not only were these companies successful in elevating their issue to national prominence, but it would appear that they were successful in garnering political results as Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., John Cornyn, R-Tex., and Mark Rubio, R-Fla., who had all supported the legislation, either reversed themselves or called for more time to study the issue.
These tech organizations employed a higher-risk political advocacy – they deliberately inconvenienced their customers in order to draw their attention to a policy issue. The impact this tactic will have on the relationships between these organizations and their customers and constituents is yet to be seen.
Similar to the risk professional sports take in alienating their fan base every time players strike or a protracted lockout ensues, these companies are taking a risk in shutting down websites that many of us have come to enjoy, if not rely on, for both business and personal reasons. As MPAA President and SOPA supporter Chris Dodd pointed out, there may be the perception that these companies are “punish(ing) their users… who rely on them for information and use their services.”
Indeed, the outlook according to Polipulse, our online monitoring tool that measures conversations on social media channels such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook, shows that while 42 percent of social media users oppose SOPA, only 21 percent support the site blackouts and boycotts.
Whether you agree with their position or not, it is hard to deny the effectiveness of the “Internet Blackout of 2012.” But with only 21% of conversations strongly supporting blackout tactics, even when you win, going nuclear should remain a tactic of last resort.
On the other hand, this could launch a new era of cyber advocacy.
Only time will tell.
As some of you know, and one or two might believe, I am a registered independent. Please bear that in mind when I explain why people outside Washington look with disdain on people inside the Beltway.
President Obama today proposed merging six government agencies that deal with trade matters into a single department. It sounds like a logical thing to do and may streamline the making and execution of Federal trade policy. Good idea or not, it would seem something worth taking a look at.
The response from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s spokesman: “Americans want a government that’s simpler, streamlined, and secure.” So far, so good. Then: “So after presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of Union, it’s interesting to see the president finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control.” Argumentative, gratuitous and insulting.
A simple “This is an idea worth considering and seemingly in agreement with Republican ideas to streamline government and we look forward to seeing the details” would have sufficed. When are people in Washington (on both sides of the aisle) going to realize that demeaning every idea that comes from their political opponents, simply because it comes from their opponents, hurts the accusers more than the accused.
Senior Vice President
Senior Vice President
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