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    What Would Grover Do? Lessons on the Art and Importance of Engaging Parents from Sesame Street

    Earlier this month, Sesame Workshop unleashed a (Cookie) Monster when it announced a new broadcast partnership with HBO, a decision that was met with a wave of concern and support, not to mention some pretty funny mashups from people who grew up with the show.

    For the record, I personally believe that Sesame Workshop is responding to changing technology and consumers’ media habits. Still, I found myself wondering: Why do so many people care deeply about the fate of a children’s program anchored by a big yellow bird and a grumpy green guy who lives in a trashcan?

    Blame your parents.

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    2015 Media Trends Briefing with Atlantic Media Strategies

    The convenience of the social and mobile world can be an organization’s greatest opportunity or biggest challenge. Your content is only a click or a tap away—but so is the next webpage. Organizations have only a moment to connect in a crowded space.

    Friday, September 11 at 11:30am, please join Sean Gibbons, Executive Director of The Communications Network and Jean Ellen Cowgill, President of Atlantic Media Strategies, the digital consulting firm of The Atlantic, for an in-depth look at the modern media mindset and its future implications. We will share insights from The Atlantic, other media players, and Atlantic Media Strategies’ own proprietary research to help your organization build awareness, loyalty, and love on today’s fragmented web.

    Light lunch and refreshments will be offered.

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    Lessons from The Daily Show


    • Comedy can be a tool for attracting attention to social change issues. It can help shrink large issues down to a digestible size and drive action.
    • Framing problems in ways that strike an emotional chord with an audience, creates deeper connection and engagement.
    • Cool is important. To stay relevant, organizations today need to be innovative, and show that they are at the intersection of culture and technology.

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    Crisis Communication Lessons from Planned Parenthood

    Anatomy of Strong Crisis Communication: What Planned Parenthood Did Right

    • Prepared – It already had a crisis communication plan in place that it could tailor and put into action quickly; it recognized more attacks were coming and prepared its supporters to brace themselves.
    • Decisive – It responded quickly (with the facts in hand) and decisively through written and digital channels (email, video, Twitter).
    • Empathetic – PPFA’s response struck the right tone. It was strong and did not concede wrongdoing but acknowledged that the optics weren’t optimal.
    • Engaging – Planned Parenthood’s supporters are passionate and ready to act – through Twitter, blog posts, emails to Congress, etc. The group used the power of personal stories to connect with people on the issue.
    • Connected – PPFA prioritizes building and maintaining strong ties with allies and decision makers willing to stand in support of the organization

    Planned Parenthood has had a rough few weeks.

    To recap, an anti-choice organization called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a fake corporate entity, captured undercover videos of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) executives allegedly discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Actors posing as buyers from a fictional medical company met with a PPFA official while hidden cameras rolled. CMP then sliced and diced three hours of footage to create an eight-minute clip that makes it appear as though Planned Parenthood was acting nefariously. CMP’s main purpose is to put Planned Parenthood out of business.

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    DIY PR

    In 2011, The Pew Charitable Trusts were in the last stage of transitioning from a foundation to a public charity. While former grantees were brought in-house, each of the organization’s 40-plus projects had its own in-house communications officer with a network of supporting consultants. When a consulting firm was assess the infrastructure, its recommendations were unequivocal: Get rid of your vendors, they said. Build an in-house team and consolidate communications into one central division.

    Melissa Skolfield, Senior Vice President of Communications, was charged with that task, and as she observes in Making Ideas Move, our series produced in partnership with Stanford Social Innovation Review, “…Building communications into an organization’s strategy from day one is both exhilarating and exhausting work.” Read her piece, DIY PR.

    The below infographic lays out the rules for building your own in-house communications team.

    To learn about more qualities that make an organization excellent at communicating, please visit www.com-matters.org/attributes.


    SSIR Pew piece-2

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