September Marks Change, Ethics and Philanthropy

“Ahhh, Labor Day is upon us. Schools are back in full swing. We are reflecting on our summer vacations and travels. We are enjoying sports and the arts.” Well, that would have been remarks for a normal September — in a normal year. But as we know, nothing has been normal about 2020. The only constant is change.

Our thoughts go out to those who have persevered despite these challenges and those who continue to face adversity. Your PRSA family is here for you. They have always been there for me during the highs and lows. Please reach out if we can help support. We are truly all in this together.

September is Ethics Month, which is a reminder of the challenges we as public relations practitioners face and the responsibility we have every day with every decision we make. The PRSA Code of Ethics is a useful guide as we “carry out (our) ethical responsibilities, setting out principles that uphold core values, including advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness.” Check out this newsletter for other articles and resources, including upcoming webinars.

Be sure to register for our virtual programs (some will begin 15 minutes early for networking opportunities). Programs include:

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Despite Adversity, Camaraderie, Caring and Commitment Still Constant

While there still remains so much uncertainty in the world about the ongoing pandemic, reopening schools and returning to some form of normalcy, one thing for certain that hasn’t changed is our fellow PRSA members who, despite adversity, are still bringing it — the camaraderie, caring and commitment.

Whether it’s virtual monthly programs, professional development, mentoring, board meetings, virtual idea swaps, video conferencing calls, emails, milestones, job changes or award wins, we continue to see caring, counseling, communicating, consoling and celebrating. Thanks for all you do to advance the professional and profession.

Be sure to check out the winners and awards of commendation for the 2020 PRSA Sunshine District Radiance Awards Presented by Publix. Congratulations to all!

Look for our upcoming programs as we finish out the year, including:

  • August 20, 8:30 a.m., “Empowering Children, Creating Hope” featuring Limbitless Solutions. The organization’s president and its brand director will discuss how advocacy in communications and media plays an essential role in the organization’s mission to provide wider accessibility to expressive bionic arms for children. This virtual program is free for PRSA Members; $10 for non-members.
  • September – SeaWorld 
  • October – influencer marketing panel
  • November stay tuned

“See” you soon.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Mid-Year Brings Virtual Membership Mixer, PD Sessions

It’s hard to believe it’s July already. On one hand, where has the time gone? On the other, many of you are probably already over 2020, right?

It has definitely been an interesting year for all of us, but hopefully, it has challenged you to think and act in new ways, learn additional skills and pause a bit to reflect on what is important in life.

While we may not meet in person any time soon, that hasn’t stopped your board from continuing to provide members with professional development, idea swaps, mentoring and networking opportunities. It has not stopped us from addressing diversity & inclusion challenges, having difficult conversations and taking action. It has not stopped our community from valuing PR professionals and beginning to hire again — as our Job Bank has seen an uptick in recent weeks.

Be sure to register for our upcoming events, including a virtual Member Mixer, monthly program and PD webinar: 

  • Thurs., July 9, 5:30 p.m., Member Mixer. Grab your favorite beverage, hat, sunglasses and Hawaiian shirt and join us for a free virtual hangout — tacky tourist style;
  • Thurs., July 16, 9 a.m., monthly program, “Communicating in Real-Time to Business Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” featuring Laureen Martinez, APR, Orlando Economic Partnership, discussing media relations efforts and other marketing tools the Partnership has used since the onset of COVID-19, such as webinars, podcasts and videos; and
  • Aug. 4, 11:30 a.m., webinar, for APRs interested in learning more about applying for the College of Fellows, presented by our one-and-only Geri Evans, APR, Fellow PRSA. Registration information and more details to come.

Stay tuned to the website and social channels for more details on our Fall programs.

As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas. Looking forward to “seeing you” soon. Stay healthy and safe!

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

 

 

President’s Letter: June 2020

Pandemic, Protests and Public Relations

As a global pandemic continues to impact us and we begin to show some 

signs of recovery, we have yet to recover from what divides us. We have seen peaceful protests and calls for change, as well as unrest, grip our nation in the past week. Some very close to home.

I do not pretend to know what it is like, but I do hope for peace. Forgiveness. Resolution. 

I do not pretend to know the answers, but I do know as public relations practitioners we know the power of communication — written, verbal and non-verbal. But not communication just to talk, but to listen, to understand. We need to be open. Raw. Honest. And we need to take action. 

We hear the pleas for justice and we cannot be silent. We need to communicate. Embrace our differences. Champion diversity, inclusion, equity, and equality regardless of thought, cultures, disciplines, ideals, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation and age.

PRSA Orlando proudly stands united with our Black members, colleagues and friends. Communicators — let’s do what we do and make a difference. Together. Change the world for now and for future generations. It begins with you. With me.

PRSA Chair T. Garland Stansell, APR, challenges us in his letter to members that although “communicators cannot single-handedly change the tide in our country, we can be a conduit to lead others to acknowledge the importance of using their voices in constructive ways — ways that help to move us through these troubling times and beyond to become better individually and as a society.” 

We are challenged to use our voices to stand for those who are hurt and frustrated. Now, more than ever, we also need to listen to those voices to help guide us in our action so that we may continue to further diversity, inclusion and civility in our organization.

We’re still in conversation as a board to figure out the best way to support, and we welcome feedback from our members. Please reach out if you would like to share ways in which our organization can serve. 

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter
rdonley@mccicorp.com
407-347-9675

President’s Letter: May 2020

Resilience. Reconnection. Reinvention.

Among all the negativity and “noise” in the world, I continue to be inspired by the selfless acts of kindness and coming together (virtually). There is resilience, reconnection and reinvention.

Despite the pain and loss, altered lives, fear and uncertainties of what’s to come, we are coming out of this not only changed, but also stronger. Life will not be normal as we once knew it. It will be a “different normal.” What did we discover (or re-discover)? What have we learned? What will we do differently going forward?

As communicators, the coronavirus has continued to put the spotlight on communications, albeit taking different forms than what we might have been accustomed to. But we are resilient and know how to reinvent ourselves, since we are used to the only constant: change. 

Some of you have noted how you now have earned a seat at the C-suite table. Your value has been there, but now it’s front and center and getting accolades. You should be proud of continuing to make a difference for your companies, organizations, clients and communities despite the uncertainty. I look forward to seeing your award-winning programs and learning from them.

Do you know a member who deserves kudos? Share them with us. Do you have good news to share? Share them on Good News Fridays on our Facebook page!

Thank you to those who completed our Communicating in Crisis survey. See this newsletter, our website and social media channels for other upcoming programs, professional development and networking opportunities. Be sure to register for our upcoming virtual programs:

  • May 12, 4 p.m.“Afternoon Coffee Break Idea Swap” is a chance for members and non-members to grab a cup of coffee and join us for a virtual conversation (FREE). We had so much fun and received positive feedback from our first one last month that we’re doing it again. We will be moderating the Zoom conversation, sharing pro-tips and exchanging ideas for solutions on hot topics.
  • May 21, 8:30 a.m. –  “Coming Together for Good in the Midst of Crisis,” with presenter Heather Morgan, APR, VP of Brand & Communications at Children’s Home Society of Florida. Learn practical tips to help your own organization or clients prepare for and respond to crises, motivate and engage staff at all levels, reach audiences with the right message during pivotal times, and appropriately position your organization. Free for members; $15 for non-members.

Thank you for all you do! Stay healthy. Stay safe! If you have questions or ideas, please contact me directly.

Rich Donley, APR

2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Resources for COVID-19

As COVID-19 presents new challenges for communication professionals, we have compiled a collection of local and national resources to assist during this time. This collection includes online learning tools, informative research and communications tips. 

News and Updates: 

Free On-Demand Webinars: 

Virtual Events and Live Webinars: 

Articles and More: 

You can also find helpful resources on PRSA’s Crisis Communications Resources page.

President’s Letter: April 2020

We’re All in this Together

 

I hope this finds you healthy and safe. We all have been personally impacted by COVID-19. 

We have experienced lost lives, sickness, unemployment, pay cuts, business loss, increased workloads and stress. And the list, unfortunately, goes on. But we have also seen numerous heroes, including first responders, nurses, doctors, military personnel, grocery workers, truck drivers and more.

We also have witnessed businesses recreating themselves to assist, people leveraging their talents to sew masks, teachers reaching out virtually to their students, people doing random acts of kindness, and, of course, public relations/communicators providing crisis counsel and keeping their publics informed. And this list, fortunately, goes on.

Our thoughts go out to all of you as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times. It will change our lives forever. However, we’re #orlandostrong. We’re all in this together. 

Your PRSA Orlando Board has come together, virtually of course, to discuss creative ways to continue serving our members, including networking (virtual mixers/socials and idea swaps) and professional development (webinars, resource sharing, tips/advice, mentoring, etc.). Watch for our member survey to gauge your interests and needs. See this newsletter, our website and social media channels for updates.

I’m very proud of our board, members and sponsors that have stepped up during this uncertain time. Thank you for your continued support.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. We will get through this!

If you have questions or ideas, please contact me directly.

Rich Donley, APR

2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

3 things we learned from Netflix’s Strong Black Lead on how to engage a captive audience

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

“…We’re not a genre, because there’s no one way to be black. […] This is not a moment. This is a movement. We are Strong Black Leads. Today is A Great Day in Hollywood.”

Two years ago, Netflix debuted a commercial spot during the 2018 BET Awards celebrating black actors, directives and the creatives who work for the streaming giant. Directed by Lacey Duke, the video was titled “A Great Day in Hollywood,” taking inspiration from the 1958 photo “A Great Day In Harlem,” a black-and-white photograph of 58 jazz musicians in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

Narrated by “Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin, the video features 47 artists including Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Spike Lee, and Alfre Woodard, among others. The video spot launched Netflix’s Strong Black Lead campaign, designed to foster an “ongoing, intentional focus to talk authentically with the black audience.”

Enriching conversations about race and identity are occupying a vital place in today’s culture. In honor of Black History Month, PRSA Orlando would like to celebrate the pioneers leading the charge in creating original content with a strong black identity that reflects its viewers by discussing the lessons we learned from Netflix’s Strong Black Lead campaign.

1. Give black creatives a seat at the table.

When Myles Worthington, manager of brand and editorial at Netflix, first arrived at Netflix in 2016, he noticed that the company’s black stories were not being significantly promoted. He then began connecting with African American media outlets and journalists through a monthly newsletter to build a network. He quickly began to see an increase in coverage of these Netflix features and the campaign grew from there.

If your team is looking to attract and engage today’s black consumers without including their voice in the room, your campaign won’t resonate culturally or experientially.

Based on research conducted by Cloverpop, inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time. And according to Nielsen, black consumer brand loyalty is contingent upon a brand’s perception as authentic and culturally relevant. And with African Americans spending $1.2 trillion annually, brands have a lot to lose when they are not authentic or inclusive in their decision-making.

2. Use social media to engage with your audience.

Netflix’s Strong Black Lead Twitter account is overseen by Maya Watson Banks, Netflix’s director of brand and editorial, and a team of black creatives who share a passion for Netflix’s stories and content. The Twitter account has amassed over 119,000 followers because of the authentic language in which they engage with their followers, from sharing excitement over a character or a new series to celebrating the importance of representation during award shows.

Research from Nielsen shows us that black consumers are speaking directly to brands in unprecedented ways and achieving headline-making results. It reads that throughout 2017, popular brands witnessed the power of “Black Twitter” and the brand impact of socially conscious black consumers.

For those unfamiliar with Black Twitter, it is a virtual community and movement that consists of a diverse group of black Twitter users connecting on a variety of issues related to the experience of being black.

3. Focus on your audience’s social footprint.

Strong Black Lead has expanded its presence beyond its Twitter feed to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even a branded podcast series. The first season of Strong Black Lead launched in February 2019, focused on Strong Black Legends, honoring and showcasing Hollywood icons such as Ruth Carter, Loretta Devine, and Jason Weaver. The second season, Strong Black Laughs, premiered in November 2019 bringing together the black champions of comedy, including Mike Epps, Marlon Wayans, and Nicole Byer.

4. Connecting with your audience authentically takes time.

Should your brand have a presence on every platform? What is the most popular social network for your audience?

Building a successful marketing campaign that authentically connects with black audiences takes time, but it is possible. Focus your marketing dollars on where your audience is and do not sacrifice quality for uninspired content that does not resonate. Marketers must be willing to do the research, understand and embrace their audience, and most importantly, ensure there is enough representation and inclusion at the decision-making level.

International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference

The University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media is hosting the annual International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference and announces a new Ph.D. program in Strategic Communication. 

A red and white sign

Description automatically generated

ICRCC features presentations, workshops and panel discussions on strategic crisis communication issues, case studies, best practices and emerging trends, presented by a unique combined lineup of top practitioner professionals and prominent academics from around the world. The event will be held in downtown Orlando on March 9-11, 2020. Learn more.

Strategic Communication Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Strategic Communication offers advanced instruction in health communication, instructional emergency risk communication, and crisis communication; it prepares students with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a successful, advanced career in communication and related fields in both academic and applied settings.

The applied nature of research and theory in the program concentrations prepares students for career success in non-academic and professional settings. For example, the instructional communication courses provide students with strategies to communicate with the public on issues of health and crisis-related topics. Much of health, risk, and crisis communication involves instructing the public on issues such as safer-sex, disease management, preparedness for natural disasters, and other important issues related to the health and well-being of Florida residents, as well as national and international publics.  For more information, visit UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media, or or contact Kelsey Loftus.

Kicking off the New Year with Great Programming

Rich Donley, APR

We’ve had a great start to the year and have even more networking, programming, professional development, awards and mixers planned for the year. Check out our newsletter, blog, website and social channels for all the details.

The momentum continued at our well-attended February 6 program, “Strategic Communications on a Shoestring Budget,” which was in partnership with FPRA Orlando Area Chapter and in celebration of AD X Orlando – The Intersection of Business and Creativity. It featured moderator Eric Gray, executive director, United Against Poverty Orlando; Erika Spencer, mission storyteller, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida; and Joe Culotta, director of communications, American Cancer Society. Attendees learned that regardless of budgets and staff size that success is still possible through storytelling, and they walked away with tips on how to cultivate and cost-effectively share those stories. 

Mark your calendars for our upcoming programs:

  • March 19, “A Conversation about Corporate Social Responsibility” with Wyndham Destinations
  • April 16, with the Orlando Economic Partnership about its “You Don’t Know the Half of It” campaign to attract more businesses to Orlando
  • May 21, “Reshaping the Future of Your Brand” with Children’s Home Society of Florida addressing lessons learned, including crisis communications around human trafficking and ethics in communicating about children’s welfare issues.

Are you looking to become a Chapter member or get more out of your membership? Want to get more involved? Have ideas for other programs or events? Looking for sponsorship opportunities? Let me know! 

Rich Donley, APR – rdonley (at) mccicorp (dot) com
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter