Tag Archives: public relations

How The International Museum of World War II Ensures We Remember the Sacrifices of Those Who Served in WWII

Dad's return

Welcoming my father back from a mission in the early 1990s.

This Memorial Day, we must remember the sacrifices our military service members and their families have made both at home and abroad. As a Navy brat, I was taught by my father to always remember the 7th of December to honor the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which directly led to the formation of the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions also known as the “Seabees,” the area of the Navy in which my father served. Because of this, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with The International Museum of World War II in Natick, Massachusetts to support its mission to educate visitors about the causes and consequences of war, and to convey that war is personal and complex.

Formerly known as The Museum of World War II, The International Museum of World War II recently changed its name to better reflect its unique perspective and match the breadth and depth of its collection. The new name encapsulates the reach of the Museum’s extensive and rare collection with more than 500,000 artifacts, spanning the entire world at war—all of the countries, the cultures, the home fronts and battlefronts, the ordinary soldiers, leaders and those caught up in the dislocations of war.

As part of Greenough’s partnership with the Museum and through strategic media outreach, we have helped to raise its profile from a little-known entity to an internationally-recognized institution. One of the most memorable campaigns to date was our work to promote the Museum’s exhibit honoring the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor: Why We Still Remember featured more than 100 artifacts documenting the surprise attack and United States’ response and provided a rare glimpse into Japanese atmosphere leading up to attack. Chronicling what transpired before, during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the exhibition presented the first message from Pearl Harbor to “All U.S. Navy Ships present Hawaiian area” announcing the attack in the first moments, pieces of a Japanese plane that was shot down, the first printed declaration of war by Japan on the United States, and artifacts depicting the overwhelming sense of American patriotism that emerged as a result of the attack.

Through our tailored, national media campaign the Museum was featured in a total of 23 articles with more than 402 pickups spanning national, local, art and history trade publications. The coverage included a stunning review in the Wall Street Journal and included features in TIME, The Art Newspaper and the Associated Press on the rare artifacts on display in the exhibition. Plus, USA Today named the presentation one of the “12 best museum exhibits to see this fall.”

The media coverage is a testament to the significant and thought-provoking work the Museum carries out. Beyond the Pearl Harbor exhibition, we have had the opportunity to pitch numerous stories on the Museum’s robust educational initiatives, exceptional acquisitions, awarded grants and profiles of founder Kenneth W. Rendell, as well as other temporary exhibitions. This coverage has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Reuters and the Boston Globe, among others.

The International Museum of World War II is a remarkable institution that reminds visitors of the human aspect of war. Military brat or not, if you’re in the Greater Boston area, I invite you to schedule a visit to the Museum to be reminded of the sacrifices of those who have served our country.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under History

Finding a diamond in the rough

David Friend Hall Opening

How my team at 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 reframe 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.

DSC_0451Once 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 published 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.

This article first appeared on the Greenough blog on March 22, 2017. 

Leave a comment

Filed under marketing, Public Relations/Media

The Evolving Print Edition: How consumer habits are impacting major publications

screenshot-of-wsj-coverageReviews of my clients, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Museum of World War II, appeared side-by-side in the Wall Street Journal in December 2016. 

To conform to shifting reader habits and the quickening news cycle, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both recently reorganized their publishing formats—most notably impacting the arts sections—and the Boston Globe is undergoing an audit of its editorial department.

The New York Times cut its local tri-state culture coverage in August and redesigned its arts section in December, concentrating on consumer-focused pieces such as “Show Us Your Wall” and cutting the weekly column, “Inside Art,” which had served as a “must-read” for everyone in the art market.

The Wall Street Journal launched a new print format with fewer sections in November. The publication introduced a new “Business & Finance” section which combined “Business & Tech” and “Money & Investing” and a new “Life & Arts” section which combined “Personal Journal” and “Arena.” Like the Times, the Journal also reduced its regional “Greater New York” coverage.

The Boston Globe is rethinking how the editorial department should function with today’s shortened news cycle. Rather than adhering to the deadlines demanded by the print schedule, the Globe will publish stories online throughout the day and night. To meet this end, they are creating an “Express Desk” to post breaking news and jump on trending stories.

The overarching result of these changes is reduced print coverage.

With limited space to work with, editors must decide which stories are selected for print. And not all make the cut. For example, although a recent review of the Museum of World War II’s anti-Semitism exhibition was featured in full in the Wall Street Journal’s print edition, a WSJ article on recreational marijuana in the workplace featuring Mirick O’Connell was shortened for print. In some cases, a story slated for publication gets bumped for a breaking news story, which was the case with a WSJ review of the Yale Peabody Museum when a Christie’s executive announced he was stepping down the same day. Or it may be delegated as an online only story, such as the WSJ review of the Museum of World War II’s exhibition on Pearl Harbor, which was never slated for the print edition in the first place.

In the digital age, where social media reigns, the idea that a story may only be published online is not necessarily a negative. It simply reflects our shifting news consumption habits.

With online stories, we can share content with a broader audience and bolster the reach of the coverage. As we have seen with the rise of Buzzfeed, the ability to share and “like” has a tangible, measurable and significant impact on the reach of digital media coverage.

Additionally, we are also in a golden age of video and audio reports shared through digital platforms.  Boston’s own NPR station, WBUR, continues to see strong support from its listeners and donors to expand its offerings and to report through new digital platforms. This year alone, WBUR launched a new website and mobile app which focus on the user experience of listening. It also launched the new education vertical, Edify, and received a $3 million grant from the Barr Foundation to bolster its arts and culture reporting, The ARTery. This is just one example of the kind of shift and dispersion occurring in the media landscape.

As we continue to witness the evolution of media, it’s important to understand the new limitations in print coverage, to manage the expectations of our clients and to be prepared to capitalize on the next trend in media.

This article first appeared on the Greenough blog on January 17, 2017. 

1 Comment

Filed under marketing, Public Relations/Media

Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention

Captivology
Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention caught my attention at my friend’s apartment (when I was helping her move from Boston to Little Rock). I was curious to learn what the author Ben Parr had to say about rising “above the noisy crowd,” especially given my experience in public relations and marketing, and seeing firsthand how Buzzfeed and Broad City have become pop culture mainstays. Among the reasons why Beyoncé is popular and why we tend to agree with the crowd, I learned the following from reading this book:

 

  1. Attention is the conduit through which we experience our world.
  2. Wear the color red – Our brains are hard-wired to “ignore everything that isn’t necessary to goals,” so we rely on a variety of stimuli to direct our attention through what Parr calls “automaticity triggers.” Red not only stands out, but it also signifies competence.
  3. Offer someone a warm drink – Touch is another important sensory cue, and it turns out that people who hold warm objects are more likely to give positive attention and are more cooperative.
  4. It’s difficult to change someone’s frame of reference – Parr calls this the “inertia of ideas” because over time, we don’t have the mental capacity to continuously reassess our beliefs.
  5. We may believe something is true because we’ve heard it a thousand times – This is known as the “illusion-of-truth effect” and it demonstrates how the familiarity of a statement may impact our assessment of its validity.
  6. There is a certain number of times an audience can be exposed to something – This is known as “effective frequency.” The repetition may cause an audience to engage or it may just become worthless.
  7. Disrupt – It’s easy to capture attention by disrupting expectations through a) surprise, b) simplicity, and c) significance. Significance is the most important because a great ad or campaign won’t be successful unless it’s meaningful.
  8. FOMO – We really do have the “fear of missing out” also known as the “commodity theory,” where the more scarce something is, the more we value it.
  9. We want to be rewarded – Parr discusses intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and how we place more value–and thus pay more attention to–intrinsic rewards such as positive feedback from a boss.
  10. Imagery is a powerful motivator – Because we aren’t so great at grasping esoteric concepts, we go after rewards that we can visualize.
  11. Reputation matters – Turns out that talent is not the best predictor of popularity, reputation is. We rely on three types of reputable sources for directing our attention such as a) experts through knowledge and wisdom, b) authority figures through ability to command obedience, and c) the crowd through its collection of knowledge. Reputation is built by consistency, personality, and time.
  12. Credibility is a shortcut to building reputation – While still building a reputation, one can use a reputable person or company also known as a “validator” to back a pitch.
  13. Confront the crisis – It’s best to respond quickly and thoughtfully when faced with a difficult situation. The longer a misconception is allowed to linger, the more likely it is to stick.
  14. We agonize over mystery – Suspense is a powerful tool to capture and hold our attention because of our “compulsion for completion.”
  15. Being acknowledged is important to us – We have an extreme desire to be recognized, validated, and understood by others, and so we direct our attention towards anything that affirms our identity. Social media is very important because we can instantly and immediately be validated.

All in all, I found Captivology to be an insightful and informative book about the variety of ways to capture attention. I also enjoyed reading historic examples of marketing campaigns such as Edna Murphy and James Webb Young’s campaign to make antiperspirants the cultural norm and Russell Birdwell’s campaign to drive interest and thus ticket sales for Gone with the Wind. Through these and many other examples, I gained valuable knowledge that I can use in my personal life and professional career. I definitely recommend this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, Pop Culture