Business stories you may have missed – 09/17/20

Business stories you may have missed – 09/17/20

2020 has brought plenty of disruption to all of our lives and to the way we do business. It’s also brought innovation. Here are some recent business stories that show resilience and reinvention.

National Public Radio has saw an opportunity to bring more localized news to its listeners through an innovative podcast. What started as a daily coronavirus update has morphed into Consider This, a daily news brief that covers the top stories from around the world and in 12 markets in the US. In Boston, where there are two NPR stations, rivals WBUR and GBH have teamed up for the first time in their histories to bring local news to the market.

On September 4, 2020, the Fed announced that the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) is expanding to provide loans to nonprofit organizations. The MSLP is designed to stimulate the extension of credit to small and medium-sized businesses which were in sound financial condition before the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent expansion to nonprofit organizations recognizes the vital services performed by educational institutions, hospitals and social services organizations and the millions of Americans employed nonprofits.

The Boston Book Festival, which is going fully virtual this year, announced its lineup of headlining authors. From October 5-25, more than 140 authors and moderators will participate in 55 events. All events are free and open to the public.

The Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto details the future of conferences in the wake of the pandemic. The traditional in-person conference will be a thing of the past. Companies are reinventing how they approach their conferences. Many believe the hybrid approach, where attendees can participate virtually, will continue long after there is a Covid-19 vaccine.

Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

2020 has upended how we do almost everything. One major impact has been on how nonprofit organizations raise funds. In-person fundraising events such as galas, 5Ks and other socially-oriented events are no longer possible.

Greenough Brand Storytellers has been advising its clients on how best to shift fundraising events to virtual gatherings or socially distant meetups. Below are a few best practices that nonprofit organizations can use as they consider their fundraising events for 2020.

Suggestions for a successful virtual fundraiser: 

  1. Make it authentic: Try to stay as true as possible to the theme and vibe of the actual event as you can in the virtual event. 
  2. Break traditions if it doesn’t serve your goal: If you’ve done something in the in-person event because that is the tradition, but it doesn’t feel right for the virtual version, don’t stay married to it. 
  3. Innovate: Per #2, if there is a way to make something better, do it! 
  4. Test everything: Trying out a new idea? Test it among a focus group. Using new technology? Test it again and again until you know it works. 
  5. Keep it succinct: Our digital attention span is very short, so introductions, speeches and transitions should be concise. 
  6. Reach for a speaker: Because speakers no longer have to travel for events and because of the state of the world, many “celebrity” speakers are more willing to participate in local events. 
  7. Air it live: If possible, the best events are those that are live and not fully prerecorded (although pre-recorded elements are welcome) 
  8. Make it interactive: For example, give an on-screen shout out to all participants. Knowing that there are people around the world tuning in to this event, acknowledge everyone on screen collectively by opening up the zoom portal for everyone to see who is on briefly (~30 seconds). Additionally, having a chat function or hosting intermittent survey questions is a nice way to keep people engaged.
  9. Send gifts to participants: Just as they would for an in-person event, mail gifts to each participant’s home so that there is a common connection and a positive feeling felt toward the organization.
  10. Have a robust social media strategy leading up to the virtual event: The most successful virtual events leverage the power of social media in the weeks leading up to the event to create a call-to-action and support the organization. Encourage participants to post their viewing parties and tag the organization and use a special hashtag. 
  11. Create a call to action: The event should end on a positive note with a call-to-action for all participants to support the organization. 
  12. Focus: Do not try to do too much. Keep your event focused by limiting speakers. Stay on message and tie back to your organization’s mission and the goal at hand.
  13. Make it memorable: With so many events now virtual, think about what you can do to make your event memorable and stand out from all the others?

 

See how we can help your organization!

When millions are at stake: The launch of WBUR’s Last Seen podcast

When millions are at stake: The launch of WBUR’s Last Seen podcast

After a year of investigative journalism, WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, launched its first true-crime podcast, Last Seen, in collaboration with the Boston Globe. A 10-episode, true crime podcast, Last Seen examines the most valuable and confounding art heist in history: the theft of 13 artworks, including Rembrandt’s only seascape, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Hosted by WBUR’s award-winning producers and reporters Kelly Horan and Jack Rodolico, the series includes exclusive contributions from Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Stephen Kurkjian, author of “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist.

Finding a diamond in the rough: How Greenough helped shape and tell the story of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History’s 150th anniversary

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History sought to do two things: 1) To change the perception that natural history museums have remained unchanged and stuck in the past since their founding; and 2) To present itself as the preeminent museum for gems and minerals with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art gem and mineral gallery, David Friend Hall.

Greenough saw this as a perfect opportunity to increase institutional awareness and reposition the organization as an innovative, forward-thinking natural history museum. We developed a long-lead, national media strategy to enhance the institution’s reputation, increase visibility, and reposition the Museum to shift public perception.

To do this, we conducted in-depth research in the natural history museum field and held input meetings with Peabody leadership to gain a better understanding of their vision and goals. We then developed a comprehensive media strategy founded on proactive, long-lead outreach to priority media to meet the Peabody’s objectives.

We began executing this strategy by crafting a core set of key messages that conveyed the Peabody’s vision for the sesquicentennial and beyond, and the importance of David Friend Hall to the Peabody, the natural history museum and science community, and the greater public. We then created an inventory of possible story angles to reach the broadest audiences across varying outlets such as science, mineral and gem, art, museum, philanthropy and lifestyle trades as well as national and local cultural coverage.

Once those initial pieces were in place, Greenough conducted a national media campaign, securing more than 75 pieces of coverage spanning national top tier daily news outlets, local Connecticut publications, science and mineral trades, and philanthropy and cultural trade publications. The Wall Street Journal wrote a stunning review of the institution, USA Today named David Friend Hall one of the “12 best U.S. museum exhibits to see this fall,” Rock & Gem featured David Friend Hall as the cover story of the October issue, and Connecticut Magazine developed a 2,000-word, 9-page spread, feature article. Our resulting coverage had the potential to reach a print circulation of more than 2.1 million readers, and our online coverage had the potential to garner a total of nearly 153 million monthly unique impressions.

So we were able to increase institutional awareness and raise visibility, but did we shift perceptions and highlight the Peabody’s stellar collection? The answer is yes. In each piece of coverage, each author makes a note of the institution’s innovations and underscores its relevancy now more than ever.

 For example, Wall Street Journal critic at large, Ed Rothstein wrote,

 “The museum is remarkably free of commercial clamor and condescension, and free too of the political posturing that can make it feel as if curators were wagging fingers through display cases. The Peabody re-establishes the natural history museum as the domain of impassioned collectors and teachers.”

As a result of this strategic public relations campaign, the Peabody has seen a steady and consistent increase in the number of visitors to the Museum. During the opening month, attendance increased 45% from the previous October, and November and December continued with a 17% and 10% increase, respectively.

We are pleased to see our efforts directly impact attendance numbers and shape the public’s perception of the Peabody. And, as an added bonus, Greenough was awarded honorable mention for the 2017 PR News Nonprofit PR Awards.

So, just as a diamond needs to be polished to find its inherent brilliance, so too, do institutions need to revamp their messaging and have a strong, strategic PR program to ensure they stand out and shine.