Giving is Good For Business – and Our Community

Employers have significant influence in shaping our spirit of community. They can lead by example to inform, inspire and engage their teams to powerfully impact areas needing to be addressed in our community – which is their community.

A few key factors to consider on social impact and its impact on business:

  • Privilege of Giving: While some are wired to give and do, others have yet to experience the benefit of working together toward a common goal. What happens on a Saturday morning, weekend activity or evening endeavor prompts relationships that transcend the professional work environment. Companies are often well equipped to organize activities that impact our community in enormous ways. Volunteer activities also expose employees to many of the organizations that receive funds, helping more people appreciate the great work being done in our community and prompting them to take even greater pride in their firm's support.

  • Teamwork ContinuesConnecting through matters of the heart can equalize a board or lunch room like nothing else. It helps people get to know their co-workers and their families in ways that strengthen relationships. Its impact extends beyond the employee picnic. The power of shared experiences and memories and collective impact with individual pride cannot be overstated.  

  • Good for BusinessBuying decisions are made by more than one bottom line. Brands with social impact are distinguishing themselves in the marketplace, attracting customers and building loyalty. 

One very good example is Goodmans Interior Structures - Chair Hockey Tournament which benefits First Place AZ.  Goodman’s brings employees together to build a fun, high-energy event involving their product (Herman Miller Aeron Chair), their clients (interior design firms, contractors) and vendors and recipients (First Place Transition Academy students). Goodmans was Arizona's first BCorp and has set the bar high on how companies impact the community and culture in extraordinary ways.

Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls symbolize good fortune and wisdom, exciting our sense of discovery.

In celebration of this holiday season and in honor of our 30th year serving Arizona, DRA Collective imparts these pearls of wisdom gathered along our journey.

May these pearls enchant your holiday season!

Curiosity Awakens The Intellect
Continually asking questions of the world around us stirs a passion for learning.

Humor Is The Measure Of A Life Well Lived
Even during challenges, taketime to laugh and delight in the people who surround you. 

Less Is More
When it comes to conveying your message, saying less can be the key to saying more.

Creativity Is A Renewable Resource
Go to the well, early and often.

Here’s to the next 30 years, drawing upon our collective wisdom to unearth hidden treasures.

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Staying Calm In Crisis

In the past week alone, the news cycle was filled with crises of varying proportions: hurricanes, police shootings, inflammatory leaked videos and transcripts.

The common denominator in each case was that there were people -- millions of them -- vying for the most up-to-date developments and new information, and wanting that information in real time, around the clock. 

Behind each story was a person or team with an unyielding, high-pressure mandate -- to devise a crisis communications strategy for officials associated with each scenario, so they in turn could provide clear, on-message, timely information to the media, communities, worried family members or gossip columnists seeking answers. 

Crisis communications is not for the faint of heart, and the stakes are always high. As this PR Daily article advises, the key to avoiding panic in a crisis is preparation.

Read on to learn how taking these three prepatory steps may help crisis communicators be the calm in the next storm:

  1. Prepare "holding" statements.

  2. Create a social media baseline.

  3. Create mobile-friendly alerts.

What are your fail-safe strategies when dealing with crisis communications?

There’s Praxis and Then There’s (PR)AXIS. The Difference?

Well, let’s start with you. Anytime you take in experiences from your surroundings, formulate thoughts based on those experiences and concretize ideas, form ideologies—whether political, religious, social, cultural or whatever, even related to your favorite sports team—and then you take action based upon these ideas, that process is embodied in praxis.

The term, itself, refers to the action or practice through which a theory or philosophy of something is transformed into the practical activity of that thing. In other words, it’s the point of intersection that exists between theory and action. And as you can see from above, it’s woven into our everyday lives.

DRA is certainly not the first public relations and marketing collective to employ a framework of praxis to elevate our work—and we won’t be the last. But overwhelmingly, praxis is engaged on a subconscious level, increasing the risk that we ignore its importance to the success of a project, altogether.

PR(AXIS) is our spin on praxis. Spoken as the “PR axis,” PR(AXIS) entails that the functions of public relations—as we experience them and as they are communicated to and through our clients—exist in dynamic relation to one another, envisioned on an axis that enables their combination and recombination. This relationship provides a unique degree of agility, made possible by the inherent democratic nature of the collective.

PR(AXIS) allows DRA Collective to stay finely attuned to environmental factors influencing our clients’ needs, imbues our work with worldly consciousness, creates context and builds foundation for new conversations, and frees us from traditional ways of thinking. PR(AXIS) encourages exploration—fields of knowledge, places of intellectual exchange and cultural interaction—uncovering new pathways to elevate the profiles of our clients.

Now look at your marketing tool kit and ask the question, where could PR(AXIS) take me?

Three New Tech Trends

In this age of lightning-speed advances in technology, more and more when in conversations with friends or colleagues, the wistful, “Don’t you wish you could just wave a magic wand and ….” is followed by a chirpy, “Oh, actually now you can.  They’ve just introduced.…” Fill in the blank. A new app.  A new fit-in-your-palm gizmo. A new way to digitally target audiences. (Being marketers and PR mavens, this last one rings our bell.)

The ubiquitous “they” are extremely busy these days translating dreamy wishes into high-tech, readily accessible reality.  In case you showed up late for the last few water cooler discussions, or you want to make sure you’re the chirpy voice in the know for the next chat, here are a few bright and shiny tech advances in the world of communications that have recently caught our attention at DRA Collective.

Emoji Marketing

According to Twitter, more than two billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014. Twitter apparently decided that when sitting on a few bushels of cherries, you might as well make pie. So they figured out how to use subscribers’ emojis as marketing leads. Did you attach a surfboard to your summer vacation tweet? Wetsuit and rash guard purveyors will find you.  Posted a wedding cake emoji at your best friend’s reception? Bridal dress shops might just start popping up in your Twitter feed.

In honor of World Emoji Day on July 17 (yes, it’s a thing), read on to learn how Twitter is helping marketers track down potential customers through the smiley faces and umbrella drinks adorning tweets worldwide.

On Second Thought – Ending Premature Text Distress

Technically, this next advance has been around since 2014. But that universal gasp of horror that follows every ill executed text is still an all too common experience shared by far too many of our fellow humans, which tells us this app merits inclusion in our “bright and shiny” list.  You know that feeling…when the atrocity of an autocorrect fail comes into focus a split second after hitting send? On Second Thought is an app to save you from ever having to experience that dreadful jolt again.  You’re welcome. (We didn’t create the app; but still, you’re welcome.)

Font Bliss

As PR folks and former journalists, we’re all about the smart assembly of words —the storytelling. And, as marketers, we’re also about the packaging, the design, the art that helps tell the story.  Some of the most expressive tools available to a communicator are fonts. So when we saw this brand new toy…er, tool…that lets you lift a compelling font from the printed page and transfer it to your own workstation, we were pretty darn excited. Fonts convey emotion, attitude, persona. They can be lyrical or jarring; or syrupy, loop-ily, nauseatingly sweet. Fonts are bliss to those communicators among us who interact with the world from both verbal and visual perspectives. If you’ve ever sat in a movie theater evaluating whether the font used for the credit reel appropriately captured the movie theme, or found yourself teary eyed at the beauty of the design treatment of a pull quote in a magazine article, then this new tool, called the Spector, is for you. (Except it isn’t for you, or anyone else just yet, as it is still a prototype.) Now, there are legitimate questions surfacing about how this tool can be used without stealing intellectual property from font designers, and perhaps those questions will be answered by the time Spector gets to market. We sure hope so, because we are looking forward to the day we get to hold this little key to font nerd heaven in our hands.

 

Serving an Unmet Community Need

Increasing access to counsel, protecting children and promoting the humane treatment of immigrants are among the reasons why the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project is one of our favorite local nonprofits.

The recent Board of Directors retreat was inspiring as we discussed ways to serve more men, women and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona.

The Florence Project was formed more than 25 years ago, in response to an immigration judge’s call for the legal community to assist detained immigrants in Florence, Ariz. Judge John J. McCarrick believed the lack of legal assistance threatened the statutory and constitutional rights of detained indigent immigrants.

Although the government assists indigent criminal defendants and civil litigants through public defenders and legal aid attorneys, it does not provide attorneys for people in immigration removal proceedings.

The need for the Florence Project’s services is significant. An estimated 86 percent of detained immigrants go unrepresented due to poverty.

The Florence Project serves as a national model for other legal service organizations, has won prestigious national awards and has been recognized by national legal associations as well as the U.S. Senate and U.S. Department of Justice.

We love that the Florence Project serves an unmet community need. Visit www.firrp.org to learn more.

Growing your business through meaningful efforts

We love this recent PR Daily news article that recommends growing your business through meaningful efforts rather than trying to do more of everything.

In our 24/7 world, we must be judicious with limited time resources.

  • Thoughtfully consider where your target audiences spend time on social media before adding new channels

  • Repurpose important pieces of content

  • For client-based businesses, package your services

  • Streamline your processes

  • Make strategic investments in your business

What tactics do you use to expand your business?

DRA Collective Announcement

 

DRA Strategic Communications Announces New President, Agency Name

Michelle McGinty to Lead DRA Collective

 

PHOENIX (March 30, 2016) – Michelle McGinty has been promoted to president of DRA Collective, formerly DRA Strategic Communications. The announcement coincides with the firm’s 30th anniversary.

 

DRA Collective is the new name for public relations and marketing firm DRA Strategic Communications, founded in Phoenix in 1986 by Denise D. Resnik. The new name refers to the agency’s collaborative approach to communications and practice of curating staff deep with talent and experience in the fields of journalism, public relations, marketing, research, economic development and the arts.

 

McGinty formerly served as senior vice president at the agency, leading the development and implementation of strategic marketing and communications strategies.  She joined the firm in 2003. McGinty was named one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2013 and as one of the Valley’s “Outstanding Women in Business” this month. She serves as a board member of Valley Leadership and a proud member of its Leadership Institute Class of 33.

 

“While the 30-year celebration of the agency is significant, even more exciting and powerful is our future under Michelle’s leadership.  For more than a dozen years, we’ve worked side-by-side, producing some of the firm’s best and most powerful work.  Michelle has earned my trust, confidence and respect, and has earned this position,” said Resnik, CEO of DRA Collective.

 

As CEO & founder, Resnik will remain fully engaged in DRA Collective, while McGinty presides over the agency’s day-to-day operations.

 

Resnik also serves as president and board chair of First Place AZ, advancing plans for innovative housing and community options for adults with autism and other special needs. The nonprofit organization she founded is breaking ground this summer on First Place-Phoenix, the first in a collection of new national residential and community models. Resnik is also co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), a sister organization to First Place.

 

“This is a time of reflection and celebration.  We’re privileged to build upon Denise’s incredible legacy, work with amazing clients and step forward in a new era for the agency,” said McGinty.

 

The agency currently represents clients in a variety of sectors including commercial, industrial and residential real estate development and brokerage; regional economic development; and numerous nonprofit organizations.

 

DRA Collective is strongly committed to the community and involved in a number of organizations including the Arizona Community Foundation, First Place AZ, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, New Pathways for Youth, Phoenix Symphony Young Professionals, SARRC, Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Valley Leadership, among others.

 

“At DRA Collective, we help our clients harness the power in every message; unleashing their stories in ways that elevate their interests,” McGinty said. “Collectively, we are creating more success, more good news and more aspirational examples for others to follow.”

 

McGinty, who resides in Phoenix, also serves as the marketing co-chair for ULI Arizona and as a teen mentor at New Pathways for Youth. McGinty earned a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and graduated from the Los Angeles Advertising Agency Association (LAAA) Advertising University.

 

For more information, visit www.dracollective.com or call (602) 956-8834.

6 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR BRAND

It's time to quit looking between the couch cushions for the keys to your target audience. What you should be looking for is your brand and, hint, hint, it's staring back at you in the mirror.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, had it right when he said, "the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart." 

DRA loves taking the deep dive, helping businesses, organizations and individuals to build authentic brands that captivate a diverse audience. Here are six ways to boost your brand:

SET GOALS

Every brand needs a vision. It can be big, small, short, hairy—it doesn't matter what your vision looks like as long as it's there. Future goals act as a compass, guiding our decision making through choppy waters, delineating and testing brand standards, and keeping us pointed towards our objectives and in the direction of success.

BE CONSISTENT

If you want to build an enduring trust between yourself and your audience, the message you convey must be compelling, honest, and it has to be delivered with the same voice and intensity every time. Gradually, your consistency becomes your brand's fingerprint on the marketplace. Your target audience begins to take notice because they know they're receiving a message that is coming straight from the heart of your brand. 

BE CLEAR

Clarity is a lost art. Depending which way the winds are blowing, it's often tempting to over-extend one's message, trying to be too many things to too many people. Find what it is that sets your brand apart and be that. Own it. You want to make sure there's absolutely no possibility that anyone could misinterpret what it is your brand is about—what it is you do, what you stand for, etc. Clarity then leads to conversion as a clear message will dovetail seamlessly into the consumer thought process.

LISTEN

You can't know your audience if you don't listen to them. Listening to the market, to individual consumers, these are critical exercises in understanding how your business fits into the wider landscape. When it comes to your brand, it's important to use good measurement and research to craft an identity that not only aligns with your message but also with the expectations of your audience. There are certain molds we love to break and certain ways we love to do that, but giving consumers something they don't want or never asked for is not one of them. So listen up!

LEAD

Start conversations. Share insight. Don't be afraid to flaunt real expertise. This builds thought leadership and puts a strong foundation beneath your brand. Embracing a leadership role in your industry positions your business in a space in which it can thrive. It's a space curated expressly by you, enabling you to grow your network in a constructive way around ideas and best practices that that will truly set your brand apart.

GIVE

Giving back to the community is not only a moral imperative but it's a way to build a vision for your audience of the kind of world you want to inhabit. Getting involved in good works is not about showing off at the expense of others. It encourages people to get involved and shows consumers of your brand that when they choose you, they're endorsing and supporting financially a culture of service and a commitment to something greater.

A little history...

Much of what we venerate in the name of 'strategic communications'—the process of discovery, original content marketing, measuring return on investment—is actually part of a much larger puzzle called 'public relations.'

At times, the entire field of PR, noble by so many measures, is pigeonholed into the narrow scope of media relations, crisis management and product promotion. Somehow "public relations" and "PR" have come to mean two different things; the latter assuming a decidedly more unfavorable disposition than the former in the public sphere. One, strategic, outward facing, policy oriented. The other tied to shameless promotion, spinning with a whiff of dishonesty.

We may be biased, but the Collective thinks it's time to push the conversation along, reclaiming the heart of PR by taking it back to its roots...

You can trace the modern craft of PR to its origins in the aftermath of World War II when more than 75,000 service men and women who staffed the US Office of War Information entered the American workforce. Their wartime duties translated conveniently to use in the postwar corporate environment.

During the years that followed, "from New York to San Francisco," public relations departments began sprouting up wherever business owners tried to make sense of the "crazy-patchwork of ideas and activities" that constitute the modern marketplace.

Today, just as it did back then, public relations defies attempts to simplify its definition. No doubt, on the occasion when one of my mother's friends asks me what it is I do for a living the “oh, PR and Marketing,” most easily reduces to, “it’s complicated.”

That’s because exceptional public relations, that capable of channeling real value through an authentic, well researched voice is an amalgam of social scientific applications—economics, sociology, psychology, political science and history.  All of these disciplines, whether consciously or unconsciously, factor into a well-rounded communications strategy.

DRA Collective’s take on PR aligns closely with one researcher who defines it as, "the management function that entails planning, research, publicity, promotion and collaborative decision making to help any organization's ability to listen to, appreciate and respond appropriately to those persons and groups whose mutually beneficial relationships the organization needs to foster as it strives to achieve its mission and vision." Simple, right?

In short, we help businesses and organizations pull inspiration from their strategic vision, form it into great ideas and achieve actionable results. 

It's complex and intensive but you've got nothing to worry about.

DRA is here and this is what we do best.

Conversations with Phoenix: Christy Moore

Christy Moore is President and CEO of Valley Leadership, the Valley's premier leadership organization. Here she shares her thoughts on leadership in 2016, trends, what's changed over the years and a favorite recent moment.

 

What leadership trends/issues do you see coming to shape in 2016?

The three issues that come to mind are retaining top talent in Arizona, expanding our market and integrating innovation and technology into our multigenerational leadership programming.

 

Valley Leadership has built a significant legacy in the Valley. What has changed over the years and what has stayed the same?

Our roots extend back to the 1970s when a group of local visionaries recognized the need to identify and develop the next generation of leadership. Almost 40 years later, this vision has produced nearly 3,000 VL alumni, all of whom possess the skills and the passion to take action—to do more and be more for the state of Arizona.

The face of leadership is changing as our society's needs change. Today, an abundance of Arizonans are leading where they live, work, play and pray. As we embrace the diversity in our communities, the number of leaders increase and their impact expands.

In the Valley, what's always stayed consistent is the notion that if you show up to serve and do good, there will never be a shortage of opportunities to advance your passions.

 

Share one of your favorite recent moments in leadership.

In February, Valley Leadership announced a new program designed for high-potential leaders. Leadership Advance, as it's known, is for individuals either new to Arizona or new to civic engagement who want to understand where we've been and where we're going as a state, who is leading the charge and how to plug in.

We anticipate Valley Leadership Advance to produce similar retention results as our flagship program, Valley Leadership Institute. By expanding our market, we're increasing our impact and keeping top, young talent in AZ!