Author Archives: mjsubey

Strategizing Your Social Purpose: The KIND Movement

Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND Snacks, was one of the keynotes for the PRSA International Conference. During PRSSA, we got special access to this PRSA session, allowing me to view a top-notch professional.

kindKIND founder and CEO, Daniel Lubetzky, at the PRSA General Session

Lubetzky asked the audience if they had ever tried a KIND bar. Hundreds of hands went up, including mine. I’d had a lot of KIND bars, from the free ones they gave out at Boston Calling, to the quick pick-me-up at CVS. However, he then asked us if we knew KIND’s social mission. My hand, as well as many others, dropped. He explained that this was part of their strategy. “’I know there are studies that say people purchase products for a company’s social agenda. I don’t buy it,’ Lubetzky said. KIND has only recently publicized its social mission with the public, and whenever explaining KIND’s business model, they purposefully put its social mission third.

What made Lubetzky think this way? Don’t we all love supporting a good cause when buying a product? Turns out, his past business experience taught him that this was not the case. He discussed his past company, PeaceWorks, which aimed to bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians through cooperative business partnerships. He used this in his marketing efforts, but the business struggled. He found that once PeaceWorks began emphasizing other attributes such as taste and healthy ingredients was a positive turning point for the business. Therefore, he restructured his business plan when he founded KIND- waiting ten years to publicize its social purpose.

So, what is KIND’s social mission and how can we support it? “KIND aims to make the world a little kinder by inspiring unexpected acts of kindness” Lubetzky told us. They began the KIND movement, Do the KIND Thing, to encourage others to show kindness towards causes and one another. He told us about the KIND cards. These are small cards that a person can give to another person when they see them showing an act of kindness. “It can be as simple as giving up your seat on the subway,” he said. When you receive a card, you can then pass it on to someone else, spreading the movement.

Lubetzky taught us how to strategize your social mission so it will actually impact the public effectively. If you want to be part of the KIND movement, check out www.kindmovement.com . Also, if you want to share kindness on social, use KIND’s special hashtag #kindawesome.

Ogilvy: Exploring the Unknown, the Failures, and the Fun

I was intimidated walking into the lobby of Ogilvy headquarters on that first day of June. However, once the eight other PR interns and I saw our intern room –colorfully decorated, custom signs with our names on them, welcome written across the wall, and a white board to make our own- I knew this was going to be a great place to work. The atmosphere allowed me to have some key takeaways from my overall internship experience.

Try a field you know nothing about: My PR position was in healthcare. I had never worked in healthcare nor did I know much about it. Because I knew very little about their clients, I forced myself to do some extensive research on the topic. Healthcare contains a lot of jargon, statistics, and scientific studies. It seemed like an impossible task at first-to learn the lingo- but by the end I could easily explain to my peers exactly what our client’s breakthrough cancer drug was, the results of the trials, FDA approvals, etc. Through media monitoring, analyzing messages, and attending weekly client calls, I left Ogilvy feeling so much more aware of this important aspect of our world.

Turn your failures into accelerated learning opportunities: We had an internship project with a very complex “ask.” Two weeks before our presentation, we did a “check-in” with a professional mentor within Ogilvy PR only to find out that we did not approach the “ask” correctly, resulting in us having to completely restart our project. At first, we felt like we failed because we worked so hard towards a pitch that missed the mark. Now, we had an extremely accelerate timeline to create a new pitch for the client. However, our mentors motivated us and turned this into an invaluable learning experience. The next couple weeks was a rollercoaster of emotions- driven, defeated, enthusiastic, shot down- times where I questioned my ability to even do PR. Throughout this, though, we all learned our strengths, weaknesses, our ability to work with others, and our ability to work under pressure. On presentation day, both teams blew the client away. We came so far in just two weeks, and we were entirely new people by the end of it. In retrospect, the fact that we initially “failed,” was beneficial because it was a real-world experience.

Be sure to “Take 5” during work: I always took my work seriously, and so did everyone else. But the people at Ogilvy also taught me that it’s important to sometimes take a breath, be a little silly, and have some fun while you’re working. Before every weekly client call, my team played a game to relieve stress, have some fun, and bring out the creative juices. We were also encouraged to do work on the rooftop so we could have a more calming work environment. Every once in a while, we took time out of our day to just have coffee with a new colleague. Every other Thursday, they brought around a drink cart and played music for everyone to enjoy. Small activities like these create a healthy working environment where people want to remain. So during your work day, no matter how stressed, take some time to enjoy the place you are working at-it makes a world of difference.

Leaving the colorful intern room at the end of the summer was hard, but reflecting on my experience, I’ve realized that this was the greatest internship I’ve ever had. I formed genuine relationships with people who were happy to talk to me and work with me. Never have I met a more welcoming, enthusiastic, and creative group of people. Ogilvy allowed me to explore new opportunities and have fun in the process.

Night At The Museum: Turning Old News Into New News and Crises Into Accomplishments

Ah, museums. They’re a great way to learn about history and culture without even realizing you’re learning. But what does it take to get people excited about museums and to keep them coming back? With limited budgets and small teams, this can be a difficult task. Melinda Mechado, Office of Public Affairs Director at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History shared her struggles, problem-solving, and creativity in building excitement for museums.

Race to the Museum: Turning timeless classics in engaging journeys

First step for creating hype about museums: bring in something old that you don’t have. Mechado and her team decided to utilize the timeless interest in old-fashioned cars to fuel a social media competition titled Race to the Museum (#Race2Museum). They featured eight unique antique cars. The Smithsonian blogged about each vehicle and then allowed users to vote on their website. The two cars with the most votes would be brought into the Museum for a limited exhibition. What kind of audience did they target? “Look for enthusiasts,” Mechado said. They researched car clubs and personally reached out to them about this competition and exhibition. The hashtag got the competition trending, and after the winning vehicles were transported to the Museum, there was a 6.5% increase in visitation.

Julia Child’s 100th Birthday: Combining celebration with kitchens

The Museum has Julia Child’s entire kitchen set on display. The team put on a food exhibition in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday. They had a press preview before the exhibition opening, which resulted in media coverage and public hype. Mechado said “We found the slightest exciting thing that was relevant to an exhibition and turned it into an event. That’s the key. Relevancy with a twist.”

Raise It Up: Star Spangled Banner star-studded remembrance

It was the 200th anniversary of the star spangled banner. The Smithsonian has the original flag in one of its most popular exhibitions. This was a chance to celebrate American pride and bring people from all over the country to fall in love with the flag again. Their campaign, “Raise It Up” had a huge event on Flag Day that featured politicians such as Hilary and Bill Clinton, performances from the Kennedy Center, and a firework display in Washington D.C. Leading up to the event they developed an anthem website that featured music videos of various artists singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” All the hype about #RaiseItU brought more attention to the moving and popular exhibit.

Crisis: Say Goodbye to the Ruby Slippers

The Ruby Slippers are arguably the most visited artifacts in the Smithsonian. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London asked the Smithsonian to loan the Ruby Slippers to their special film exhibition. The Smithsonian did it to them as loyal allies, but realized they now had a crisis: the ruby slippers were gone. This could easily decrease attendance. Before announcing this to the public, the PR team brainstormed a way to make this positive. By working with the creators of Wicked, they arranged an agreement to have Elphaba’s costume donated to the Museum for a limited time in place of the slippers. Instead of wording their announcement as “The Ruby Slippers are leaving,” they added urgency by saying “Come see the Ruby Slippers before they leave!” This made guests rush to see the coveted treasures. The induction of Elphaba’s costume caused a lot of media and public attention. They created an entire event around the welcoming of the artifact, including performances by Idina Menzel and other cast members! “It was a different piece of the Wizard of Oz puzzle,” Mechado said. Rather than leaving this as an empty spot in the Museum, the Smithsonian PR team turned it into an exciting change.

“We need to find a unique twist or connection for each artifact to make museums relevant again,” Mechado said. All of these examples express that, through a competition with cars, to a birthday, to an American remembrance, and putting a new piece of a story into an exhibit. Mechado didn’t look at her crisis as a crisis, but rather as a way to tell a different part of the same story. Museums tell stories of our past. It’s the responsibility of the workers to tell those stories as part of the present