It Takes Two to Tango

Working with an agency can be daunting, challenging and regrettable or it can be capacity-creating, inspiring and dare we say it? FUN! Every potential partner, current client or former relationship at See.Spark.Go has heard us say two words: Relationship and Results. 

This mantra has made its way from proposals and vision statements to annual reviews and client-health checks. We have found that the most successful agency-client relationships we have boil down to our relationships with the people we work with and the results we deliver. If we don’t have results, we all know the partnership will never last — no matter how much we enjoy working with one another — but equally important, if we don’t have a relationship, our performance becomes transactional and will never survive a mistake, budget constraint or change in the tides of leadership, trends or teams. 

Here’s how we can both succeed:

How to get the most out of your agency

  • Be responsive
  • Show gratitude
  • Get excited when it’s right, tell us when it’s wrong
  • Give us margin to be creative and produce great work
  • Trust us

How to best serve as an agency partner

  • Communicate – often and customized
  • Be the expert you were hired to be
  • Strive for continuous improvement and innovation!
  • Know the goal and the challenges/obstacles
  • Survey the market landscape and know where your client best fits 

What have we missed? Are there intangibles you have seen that make your agency/client relationships succeed? We’d love to learn from you!

Raise a Hand 👋 How to Win at Working from Home

With team members spread across the United States, SSG has become accustomed to remote work and Zooming on the regular. Now that we’re well into another year of telework, we face the long term effects of a virtual office. So how does our team effectively stay engaged from afar? Here are three key ways the SSG crew remains connected:

Over-communicate, always. Working remotely increases the necessity for clear communication. We’re fortunate to have the ability to tell the greatest stories in the world from anywhere in the world; for years, the SSG family has been HQ’d across the U.S., putting long-distance collaboration at the forefront of our minds. The SSG secret to staying in the loop (and on the same page)? A bevy of our time-tested tools: Slack, Asana and Zoom are staples in our remote-work tool belt. However, don’t forget your everyday apps—Facetimes, calls and texts ensure that we stay connected and engaged no matter where we physically are.

Remain together, while apart. With clients and coworkers scattered across the world, our proclivity for building strong virtual communities has long been a point of pride. This year especially, we’ve sought out opportunities to reestablish what and where “the office” is for all of us: from moving holiday celebrations to take place via video chat to creating virtual intern- and mentorship programs, we’ve truly given new meaning to the phrase, “wherever you go, there you are.” There’s no doubt that we’re stronger together (no matter how far apart that “together” might be).

Fan the flames and stay Fired Up. In the age of working remotely, we’re reminded of the importance of our core value “enthusiasm wins.” So what does that look like in 2021? For starters, it’s not just bringing a good attitude to the day; it means maintaining enthusiasm for our clients, knowing their mission and supporting each other through it all. The SSG support system is an animated network, ready to reach out however possible with an encouraging note, praise or wisdom – whatever is needed to lift up our work and one another!

Case Study: ESP + Java Joy

2019 PR Stats

11.9 million

MEDIA IMPRESSIONS

229

MEDIA PLACEMENTS

$160K

MEDIA VALUE

2.4 million

IMPRESSIONS FOR JAVA JOY EXPANSION TO SAN FRAN

91.3%

FEATURE COVERAGE

OVERVIEW

Extra Special People (ESP), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving families and children with special needs through after-school programs, weekend clubs, summer camp and family resources. Located in Watkinsville, Ga., ESP serves more than 600 families by helping people of all abilities thrive. In 2016, ESP launched Java Joy, a mobile coffee cart with the mission to deliver transformative joy with a cup of coffee and a hug, while providing meaningful employment for adults with disabilities. 

See.Spark.Go has worked alongside ESP and Java Joy to share their stories through traditional public relations since 2017. We utilize third party media outlets to capture new fans, supporters and potential partners and donors, and set the organizations apart as leaders in the non-profit, business, leadership and disability advocate industries. 

STRATEGY

See.Spark.Go publicizes various ESP and Java Joy stories, timely updates and large events by crafting best-in-class press materials and strategically developing outreach plans for local, regional and national media outlets. Our media outreach scope varies in type, including traditional broadcast, newspaper and radio as well as podcasts, contributed thought leadership placements, social influencers partnerships and speaking opportunities for Executive Director Laura Whitaker. 

Additionally, we provide on-site support and media hosting and coordination for major ESP and Java Joy events, and overall communications consulting for any timely needs and strategic partnerships. 

RESULTS 

Since partnering with See.Spark.Go in 2017, ESP and Java Joy have received hundreds of notable pieces of coverage in media outlets including Camp Business, CEO-Exclusive Radio, 11Alive, Fox5, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Exceptional Parent Magazine and many more. 

In 2019, our strategic consulting resulted in a local partnership between Java Joy and Chick-fil-A, which resulted in its nomination for the CFA True Inspiration Award. Our marketing strategy to encourage the community to vote and approach to media outreach directly aided in the award of $100,000 for the organization. 

Additionally, Java Joy’s 2019 expansion to San Francisco from Athens, Ga., garnered attention from the Bay area’s largest news outlet, ABC 7, resulting in national media attention from affiliate stations across the country. 

Our efforts have also garnered Laura Whitaker awards and recognition for her leadership and dedication to ESP. She received Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40, selection as a TEDxUGA speaker and is now a regular contributor to national publications including Camp Business and Exceptional Parent.

Listen Up: The Power of Media Monitoring

A holistic, strategic approach to public relations goes far beyond crafting a brand’s message and securing media placements. While establishing what to say and how, when and where to say it creates the framework for a PR strategy, effective PR also requires a deep understanding of how your brand is being perceived by your target media and target audience. This understanding elevates your ability to develop impactful campaigns, foster valuable media relationships and respond well to crises. 

At See.Spark.Go, we use a variety of platforms and processes to ensure we’re capturing every media mention for our clients, while also monitoring their competitors’ news and trends within their industries. We share media coverage updates in real-time, as well as in our weekly Media Feedback Reports, and we dive deeper into trends and analyses on a quarterly and annual basis. By keeping a pulse not just on our clients, but on the environments in which they exist, we’re able to create informed, yet agile strategies.

Here are just a few of the ways that ongoing, comprehensive media monitoring can take your PR strategy to the next level:

Relevant Pitches Get Read
Media monitoring allows PR pros to stay informed about their clients’ audiences, competitors and target media on an ongoing basis, making market research for a new product or campaign quick, easy and accurate. Identifying and understanding consumers’ general sentiment toward the industry, as well as similar products or services, is vital when considering how to best engage with journalists. 

Journalists want to write about topics that interest them and that will create value for their readers, viewers or listeners. It takes more time, but if you can articulate your client’s differentiators and/or how they relate to a current trend within the context of what each specific journalist covers, you’re far more likely to receive an interview request than if you blanket pitch a list without doing your research. Sending relevant pitches is the best way to build a relationship with a journalist, and you can only do that by keeping up with the whole industry’s happenings—not just those of your client.

Robust Reports Create Informed Strategies
Beyond staying attuned to industry trends and media, ongoing media monitoring also allows you to communicate the value of earned media and use that information to inform future strategies. You can track certain “vanity metrics” like ad equivalency and impressions; but the true value of earned media comes from factors like tone, positioning, message pull-through and audience demographics. It’s not enough to ask, “How many people did we reach?” Instead, you have to ask, “Were they the right people? What did we say to them? How were we positioned?” By taking a closer look at your coverage, you can better understand what’s working and what has the best chance of “moving the needle.” With more data points available to measure success, you can more easily identify high-performing strategies and replicate them moving forward.

More Context Means Fewer Crises
Last but certainly not least, being aware of your brand’s surroundings in all relevant spheres allows for preparedness. No one enjoys navigating a crisis, but it is important to be prepared if ever that moment comes so that your brand can respond rather than react to the situation. If you’ve routinely monitored the media content in your sphere, you’ll be equipped to efficiently and effectively craft a crisis response strategy because you understand your audience sentiment, your competitors’ positions and the greater context surrounding the industry. Plus, those great media relationships you’ve built as a result of your relevant pitches might allow you to mitigate having your crisis amplified in the media. Never underestimate the power of having journalists on your side! 

In today’s media landscape, there are more media channels to influence your brand’s image than ever before. Media monitoring lets you make the most of every opportunity by being proactive and prepared. The more touch points you have in place to track your media coverage, and the more data you have available to quantify it, the better your PR strategies will be. Knowing how your brand’s value proposition aligns with your media’s interests will allow you to conduct smart outreach and seed relatable messages, therefore elevating your brand as a whole.