It's Time to Take Another Look at Richard Nixon
The highlight of this past year was winning a SABRE and Silver Anvil award, two of the most prestigious awards in the public relations industry, for our integrated communications campaign that opened the new Nixon Library and Museum last fall.
Working with the Nixon Foundation and communications partners Pinkston Group, The Woo, James Robie Design and APCO Insight we:
- Created a fresh and more relevant brand and message framework and a new, more contemporary visual identity;
- Focused on telling the many unknown and surprising accomplishments of Richard Nixon using earned, paid, shared and owned media channels in an organized program to build awareness and anticipation for the museum opening;
- Staged a highly engaging and entertaining week-long series of opening events to generate extensive media coverage and drive attendance; and
- Sustained the opening momentum with a targeted paid traditional and digital media campaign plus a new, modern website that brought the museum experience directly to those unable to attend in person - nixonfoundation.org.
As a result of the campaign, attendance increased 61%, with 84% of the visitors saying they came away with a more favorable opinion of Richard Nixon. We generated more than 75 individual print, broadcast and online stories that reached more than 740 million people. Major features appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, AP (which ran in the New York Times and theWashington Post), Los Angeles Times, US News and World Report and the Orange County Register, which wrote six separate stories. Network news television segments included CBS (including a feature on CBS Sunday Morning), NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX, CCTV (Central China Television), more than a dozen Chinese language media outlets, as well as all of the local Los Angeles-based television network affiliates and local independents.
My congratulations to our client the Richard Nixon Foundation, and the amazing communications team that helped bring the campaign to life.
Also during the year, we:
- Provided internal and external communications strategy and execution to a company planning to relocate part of its operation outside the state of California
- Counseled an outgoing CEO on his departure from the company
- Conducted a comprehensive audit of a major non-profit and provided recommendations on overall organizational structure and culture; strategic planning process; brand; and a communications function structure, staffing resources, quality and effectiveness, metrics and proposed organization
- Counseled and provided communications support to a major, privately held landscape services company on the announcement of its new COO and on the acquisition of another leading company in its industry
Crisis and Issues Management
- Provided insights on the anatomy of a crisis for a leading Hispanic advertising agency whose client was undergoing a major crisis
- Counseled a company on an employee relations harassment issue
- Continued to support a leading apparel brand on a host of issues ranging from supply chain, to product recalls, to local economic development commitments; also held a day-long crisis management workshop and helped them set up their internal issue management process
- Conducted a stakeholder identification and message development workshop for a major educational institution
- Provided communications support to a major non-profit around its announcement of a significant partnership with a prominent government agency
- Created a brand and message framework for a new, start-up basketball shoe brand in preparation for its formal launch
- Conducted marketing communications for an educational institution in support of two conferences, including content creation and media outreach
- Providing ongoing marketing support for the new USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking
Elsewhere in Corporate Communications
It continued to be another tough year for companies on the crisis front. Many high-profile issues revealed companies that seemingly appear to be unprepared, disengaged from the real world, complacent, arrogant or some combination of all four.
These crises and others are a further example of how quickly stakeholders can mobilize in today's digitally connected world and how one misstep, wrong choice of word or misguided tone in any response can be crippling and reputation damaging. The pressure to get it right the first time is enormous. Today, unfortunately, there is no margin for error.
Where Has all the Civility Gone?
Over the past year, civility seems to have vanished from nearly every discourse. Whether the conversations are about politics, religion, business, sports or entertainment people have become increasingly intolerant and far less empathetic about views not aligned with their own. And the words they choose are becoming increasingly aggressive, profane and downright nasty.
A former President (guess which one) once said, "We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another - until we speak quietly enough so our words can be heard as well as our voices."
Collectively, we all need to take a deep breath. Step back. Recalibrate how we communicate with one another. And have greater tolerance and even respect for differing points of view. We might be surprised at how much we'll learn.
Thanks again to our clients who demonstrated faith in our ability to build, enhance and protect their brands and reputations.