Are you ready for the next stage of professional digital networking? Zone 5 has launched four new spotlight pages on LinkedIn to highlight our sectors. So if you are interested in connecting with our sector practice leaders and keeping up with industry-specific communications & marketing trends, give these pages a follow.
WMHT and Zone 5 recently partnered to develop an unprecedented research project aimed to uncover and analyze public attitudes about the state of Tech Valley. Producing great communications: — TV, radio, marketing and PR — is just a means to an end. The real goal is changing lives and building communities. And that requires a deeper understanding about what matters most to the people that build our communities. The Tech Valley Now Listen Project was developed to help answer that question.
Our goal throughout the project was not only to get the pulse of Tech Valley to guide our work, but also to create a living and breathing document that village, town, city, county and state decision makers could utilize as they plan for the future of the region.
The listening projects included several focus groups, town hall meetings as well as one-on-one interviews with decision makers in the Capital Region. The geographical scope of the project stretched north/south from Glens Falls to Poughkeepsie, and east/west from the Berkshires to Canajoharie. The goal of the project was to interact with all levels of the Tech Valley community to gain an understanding of the current attitudes, perceptions, visions, hopes and concerns of the regional population.
Additionally, a web-based survey was developed and promoted to help quantify the findings from the other facets of our study.
The Community Listening Project culminated in a written report and TV program titled “Tech Valley Now.” A copy of the public report is available online.
Proctors, a landmark theatre in downtown Schenectady, NY turned to Zone 5 for a multimedia advertising and public relations campaign to launch the announcement of a five-year partnership with the Montréal-based circus troupe Cirque Éloize. Cirque Éloize, a leader in contemporary circus arts, will perform a new production at Proctors every August for the next five years, making Proctors “the summer home of Cirque.” Kicking off the engagement is the North American premiere of the show “Cirkopolis.” In addition to performances, Cirque Éloize will host summer camps for children and adults at the Proctors School of the Performing Arts.
To make this announcement a success, there were a number of challenges Zone 5 had to overcome, including promoting a non-traditional show in a region that traditionally only recognizes Broadway and creating enough excitement to fill more than 60,000 seats for a three-week run of performances during the summer months in Schenectady.
To create an announcement as spectacular as the performances themselves and to entice the Broadway crowd, Zone 5 began by ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼using unconventional means to spread the word. Starting with the invitations to the press event, View-Masters with custom reels of a Cirque performance were mailed and hand-delivered to the press and community leaders. Weeks before the announcement, attendees were tweeting about the View-Masters and their excitement about coming to the event.
Capturing the importance of how these breathtaking performances would make a breathtaking impact on the Capital Region and more specifically, Schenectady County, Zone 5 invited international and regional elected officials, travel and tourism leaders and community opinion leaders to attend and endorse the event. Among those supporting and celebrating this announcement were Andre Boisclair, Quebec’s delegate general to New York; Kenneth Adams, president of NYS Empire State Development; and Senator Betty Little, chair of the New York Senate’s Travel and Tourism Committee. Their support helped set the tone for the breadth and impact of this announcement. Regional Assembly members and other elected officials hopped district lines to come to Schenectady to show their support for this regional win.
The announcement took place in the GE Theatre at Proctors and featured the Proctors’ CEO, the “Cirkopolis” artistic director and the director of the Cirque Éloize summer camp program — along with a surprise live “Cirkopolis” performance that thrilled the audience.
With more than 250 media outlets, elected officials, opinion leaders and community members in attendance, the event was a hit! Not only did Zone 5 create the biggest media buzz Proctors had seen for one of their shows in quite some time, they successfully turned what could have been an ordinary show announcement into a special artistic event.
Most social media policies come from the legal department. I am not your legal department. I am just a web and social media analyst/advisor/implementer, which hopefully counts for something. 🙂
As we roll into 2014, it’s a good time to take a look at your old social media policy to see if it needs polishing up. Here are some things to know about.
There are limits to what you can limit
Your lawyers should know this by now, but a series of recent court cases have made it pretty clear that a company can’t broadly prohibit its employees from talking about it.
…it is illegal to adopt broad social media policies — like bans on “disrespectful” comments or posts that criticize the employer — if those policies discourage workers from exercising their right to communicate with one another with the aim of improving wages, benefits or working conditions.
There are always exceptions
But the agency has also found that it is permissible for employers to act against a lone worker ranting on the Internet….
[For example] The agency also affirmed the firing of a bartender in Illinois. Unhappy about not receiving a raise for five years, the bartender posted on Facebook, calling his customers “rednecks” and saying he hoped they choked on glass as they drove home drunk.
The more specific you are, the better
Not only is specificity better in the laws eyes, each industry has its own challenges, standards and recommendations for social media use in that industry. Healthcare will want to address HIPPA concerns, and Higher Education will want to approach their policies with academic open-oriented nature in mind.
To find some examples of policies in your industry, check in with this database, which has links to policies from many organizations from many industries. I’ll even give you a few shortcuts:
But start where you are
I like to recommend this free Policy Tool for Social Media as a place for people to start. All you do is answer a series of questions, and you get an instant policy draft. It may sound too good to be true, but know that the questions aren’t necessarily easy to answer. You’ll have to think about them. For example:
- Must the user’s social media profiles be consistent with (your org’s) website or publications?
- Should the employee include a disclaimer stating that they are not speaking on behalf of the company?
- Are there certain well-known employees who must follow these rules even for personal social media?
- May employee login ID’s or user names include the “org” name without approval?
If you can get answers to questions like these, and place them within the appropriate industry framework, your social media policy will be in good shape.
In January 2008, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launched an investigation into Intel’s business practices in New York. Picking up on the embedded characterization in the attorney general’s press release, the media immediately sensed a long-running David versus Goliath story. This made-for-the-media story expanded as the investigation advanced and public awareness grew.
Intel retained Zone 5 to develop a statewide public affairs campaign to help ensure the corporate brand did not suffer as a result of the investigation. After a baseline understanding of the general public’s sentiment toward Intel was established, our team developed a year-long public affairs strategy that worked to bring more attention to Intel’s role in supporting education while cementing Intel’s contributions to New York’s semiconductor industry, economy and people.
Our involvement began with our team immersion in all aspects of the current issue. Interaction with Intel, and their advisors, was vital to developing strategies and activities that were integrated, complementary and adaptive. Our expertise in the semiconductor sector, knowledge of why this issue is emerging, and experience in working with additional counsel allowed us to hit the ground running.
Zone 5 provided real-time strategic counsel to identify public relations opportunities, avoid situations that could generate negative perceptions, and establish a positive image in the minds of all stakeholder groups. In addition to traditional print and electronic media organizations, we utilized new media outlets such as technology-focused web sites, blogs and social networking groups to disseminate information.