Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

My PR team is always looking for opportunities to draw some media attention to our clients for doing something positive.  As part of this effort, we often coordinate media efforts around various holidays and shared cultural events. Out of all the dates on the calendar, I never expected Veterans Day to become my favorite. Both because of what it represents, and the media opportunities it has provided our clients.

Veterans Day has long been one of those specialty holidays recognized mostly by those who have a personal connection to the military.  It’s not part of a three-day weekend, and people often mix it up with Memorial Day which honors the fallen vs Veterans Day which recognizes the living who have served.

My team took Veterans Day efforts to an entirely new gear this year, and I want to share what we did. Not to brag, but in hopes of sparking your imagination or participation for Veterans Day next year.

The Veterans Day Giveaway Idea

We have several HVAC and plumbing clients. One of those companies was founded by a Veteran after WWII, and the company is now lead by his granddaughter (3rd generation).  Five years ago, we launched a now annual Veterans AC Giveaway Contest where the public could nominate a Veteran or their family member in need of a new AC unit or furnace. After verifying nominations and choosing finalists, the public was given the opportunity to vote for the recipient, with the prize awarded on (or around) Veterans Day.

That single contest has expanded.  In 2020 we held the contest in five different cities spanning the U.S. from Miami, Florida to Spokane, Washington. Yes, the contest is a nice thing to do and it’s generated publicity and stories in each City we’ve done it. But it’s much more than a contest.

Our goal is to share personal stories of local Veterans and active duty members that most people never hear about. These are the men and women who left their homes, their families, and their friends to dutifully serve our country across the nation and around the world. Their stories are incredible. Like an Arizona man who joined the Army after the attack on 9/11 to protect our nation and came back with a life-changing injury from a rocket propelled grenade. Or the Florida man who joined the Navy at age 17 and got to take a newly commissioned ship through the Panama Canal. Or the woman who was the first female in her family to join, and now copes with the debilitating effects of PTSD.

In our eyes, they are all heroes. They all deserve notoriety.  So we share their stories using videos, blogs, social media, and often the news media will help us reach a wider audience. These stories have helped old friends reconnect providing them with a sense of hope and some comfort during an increasingly stressful time.

It amazes me how grateful these Veterans are to be recognized. I am also impressed by their shared bond. They understand what it’s like to be too far from home, and why it’s so hard to talk about what they experienced. We are saddened by how many suffer from mental trauma and inspired by how many of them volunteer to help other Veterans heal.

The other major effort we launched was the #VetDayPledge.

The idea started in 2018, when one of our large construction related clients was looking for ways to recognize their employees that were Veterans. We suggested that the company gather employees on Veterans Day a job site or in their warehouse and simply invite all the Veterans to the front of the group to lead their co-workers in the Pledge of Allegiance.  We used smartphone video to then share it with media and post it on social media.  The response from employees who participated was so positive that the construction company expanded it to multiple cities and job sites the following year.

This year, with permission from the client we decided to expand the idea to include any company willing to participate.  Our only request was that anyone who participated include the hashtag #VetDayPledge to unify the message and make it easier for others to see and hopefully participate on their own. In addition to sharing the idea with other companies (clients and non-clients), we invited other PR firms to share the idea and created a website www.VetDayPledge.com with free resources and tips for companies to do it on their own.

I’m so proud that during this campaign’s first year going national and mainstream that we had participants from 10 states!  While some videos came from our clients, the majority of the participants were not!  In addition to several businesses, an elementary school participated, as did a senior living community!

A Wisconsin TV station even did a news story about one of the participants. You can watch the story by clicking here!

We’re excited to grow the #VetDayPledge further next year and believe that without the election (and COVID) related distractions, even more businesses and organizations will participate.  This idea has become a passion project.  We love that it’s a simple, no cost idea that anyone can do to thank our Veterans and their families.

Ultimately, the most important thing for companies to remember when doing a PR campaign around Veterans Day or Memorial Day is to do it for the right reason. We believe that the VetDayPledge and the Veteran AC Giveaway Contest fit that purpose.  Sure, it might generate some positive publicity for our clients, but most importantly, it generates recognition for those who’ve served and sacrificed- the individual veteran, and their families alongside them.

There are lots of great ideas that companies are doing to recognize Veterans. Share them below and help us inspire others!

Giving Back During a Pandemic

A lot of people are feeling helpless right now. We have been cooped up for months trying to do whatever we can to feel productive and hold on to some semblance of normalcy. With quarantine and social distancing protocols in place, non-profit organizations are also having a hard time keeping up with the need for their services. Many fundraising and volunteer events have been cancelled due to the global pandemic, but you can still get involved with virtual volunteering efforts.

We at 10 to 1 Public Relations took time to show how much we support the work that Teachers across the Valley are doing by writing virtual notes to a teacher through the Valley of the Sun United Way’s website. These cards will be sent to teachers and resource staff in the communities that Valley of the Sun United Ways closely works with and will remind our teachers how valued and appreciated they are. It’s an easy and fun team building exercise, which will make a huge impact to those receiving them.

In addition, our client Plexus Worldwide, a leading direct-selling health and wellness company, has been utilizing their paid volunteer time off policy to gather teams of employees together for virtual volunteer projects. At the start of the pandemic, Plexus joined HandsOn Greater Phoenix, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that puts volunteers to work where they are needed most. To show appreciation to medical staff on the frontlines, Plexus employees expressed their gratitude by sending heartfelt letters, cards, and emails to HandsOn Greater Phoenix, which handed them out to medical personnel who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19. HandsOn Greater Phoenix is still collecting letters, you can contact them directly to see how you can get involved from home – a great idea for a family activity!

In addition, Plexus team members also recorded themselves reading their favorite children’s books for the children at Ryan House. Ryan House’s mission is to embrace all children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. During this challenging time, Ryan House is limited on the number of children and guests they are able to have at their home, but they still want to continue to provide activities that they would normally have for the children. Click on the link or contact them directly to see ways you, your family, or your friends can get involved.

So how else can you help? After months of staying indoors, most people have gone through a DIY or home improvement phase. You can put that decluttering to good use by donating any clothing items, athletic equipment, furniture, office supplies, games, bedding, and other items to charities throughout your community. Collection bins are usually located at schools or near grocery stores, so you can either look up a location online or put the items in your trunk and keep an eye out for a donation bin.

You can discover the wide range of volunteer opportunities at Family Promise, a local Valley organization determined to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. Some of their events include organizing a supply drive in your neighborhood, recording yourself reading a story, or helping someone write a resume. Other local organizations that could use your help are Cancer Support Community ArizonaSt. Vincent de Paul, and The Salvation Army – Metro Phoenix, to name a few.

Afterall, just because we’re stuck inside, doesn’t mean we can’t give back.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more pink this month, as October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and this year alone, an estimated 325,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S.

1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime

Our client, Plexus Worldwide, has been supporting women’s health since its inception, with its flagship product the Plexus Breast Chek Kit, designed for women to easily perform monthly self-examinations to help detect changes in their breasts. The company is supporting and recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pop-up giveaways in the month of October and as part of the Plexus Worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaign. The “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” are a social media campaign designed to engage their community and create awareness about self-check breast exams.

Starting Wednesday, October 7, their “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” will occur every Wednesday in October. Followers can participate in their first pop-up giveaway on their Plexus Worldwide Brand Page on Facebook and every other week on their Plexus Worldwide Instagram account. All winners will receive a Breast Chek Kit, in addition to other prizes such as Kate Spade brilliant statements tri-prong stud earrings, Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Film Camera, Nike Brasilia Just Do It Mini Backpack, and Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones.

In addition, Ambulnz, an industry leading on-demand ambulance services provider, is drawing attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month by providing pink ribbon magnets for some of their 350 vehicles in their fleet across the country. In addition, they’re providing pink ribbon lapel pins for their employees to wear and encouraging them to educate themselves and their loved ones on the importance of breast health.

Like these companies, and so many others, October is the perfect time to think about breast health, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation is dedicated to providing educational information from understanding the importance of early detection, to knowing how to prepare for a mammogram. The Foundation has online resources and guides aimed to empower women and men with useful information. In addition to information, there are several different ways you can help, including becoming a community ambassador, sharing your story, or supporting local groups helping to educate the public. Either way, take a moment to read up on breast cancer and encourage the people in your life to do so as well, because when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated more successfully.

Surviving the Election News Cycle

With fewer than 50 days to go until the 2020 General Election, PR pros and casual news consumers alike will have noticed the continued focus on the election during each news cycle. Election-related stories will continue to be a major part of our daily news diet, even amidst a continuing global pandemic, raging wildfires in the west, discussions about social justice, and other pressing issues.

Local and national media alike have been doing a great job to help voters get the information they need to participate in the electoral process. This is despite documented outside efforts to spread misinformation about the election.

At 10 to 1 Public Relations, we’ve been doing our part to build confidence in the electoral process by helping our client Runbeck Election Services, an elections services company focused on delivering election printing, equipment and software solutions, explain the technicalities of how the vote-by-mail process works. This year, Runbeck is planning to print 15 million vote-by-mail packets, four times more than they produced in 2016, as demand for vote-by-mail soars as a safe method of voting during the pandemic.

In the past few months, we’ve helped connect Runbeck to local and national media to explain how vote-by-mail is a safe and secure process which can be trusted by the voters to deliver legitimate results. Here are just a few recent stories featuring Runbeck:

As we have been working on these stories, we believe there is really one way to survive the oncoming onslaught of election news coverage as we get closer to November 3. Make sure you are paying attention to trusted and verified sources on the election.

Here in Arizona, according to the Arizona Secretary of State, you must register to vote or update your voter registration on or before Monday, October 5 to participate in the 2020 General Election. If you plan to vote by mail, you must request a ballot or join the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) on or before Friday, October 23. It is recommended that you mail back your ballot as soon as possible and not after Tuesday, October 27. If you still have your vote-by-mail ballot after October 27, you can drop it off at a voting location or drop box before 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

All Arizona voting information can be found at Arizona.Vote, or visit Vote.org for other state-specific voting information, deadlines, and instructions.

Because one thing is for sure: You can’t complain if you don’t vote.

By Erica Fetherston, Sr. Account Exec. at 10 to 1 Public Relations

Video Series: Public Relations Tips To Get Through COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe, business as we have known it has been upended. While we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, there are things companies can be doing to position themselves to withstand the pandemic, help the community, and ultimately come out of this crisis stronger.

Public relations can play a role in delivering on these goals. 10 to 1 President Josh Weiss has created a video series of brief videos to give you ideas on how you can best position your company utilizing basic public relations and crisis communications tactics.

You can check out our video series below or on our YouTube page.


PR & COVID-19: Share Your Expertise

https://youtube.com/watch?v=4rCj5Sf89oY%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Find Opportunity for Every Story

https://youtube.com/watch?v=atS6Rv0KRDs%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Walk Through Your Warehouse

https://youtube.com/watch?v=emdFN9dWdA0%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Pivoting The Right Way

https://youtube.com/watch?v=pnpAuAJ82Dg%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Follow The Leader

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3eroAMKpMNM%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Be Honest With Your Customers

https://youtube.com/watch?v=E0drKp1XgoM%3Ffeature%3Doembed

More videos will be added on a regular basis – stay tuned!

It’s OK to Be Strategic About Corporate Social Responsibility

Guest blog written by Toby Cox

Strategy and authenticity are often viewed as opposing forces in the business world, and it’s not difficult to see why: Businesses, by definition, are for-profit organizations with a primary goal of generating revenue.

Because of this, companies and CEOs who give back to the local community are often unsure of how to tell others about their good deeds.

“One of the biggest challenges that I see from a public relations side is that a lot of companies are committed to corporate social responsibility and are doing it for the right reason, but they don’t promote it enough,” said Josh Weiss, CEO of 10 to 1 Public Relations, one of the leading PR firms.

Many companies fear seeming boastful and inauthentic if they talk too much about their socially-responsible policies or how they give back to the local community.

In the name of humility, however, they’re doing themselves and their community a disfavor.

It’s actually OK to be strategic about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and here are 3 reasons why:

CSR Can Elevate Your Brand

All companies will face criticism eventually and, unfortunately, it takes a lot of positive things to make up for one negative. However, companies can collect these positive stories and draw on them when they need to.

“We believe that it takes 10 good things to be said about a company to make up for 1 negative,” Weiss said. “You have to build up a goodwill bank of positive stories to protect and inoculate yourself.”

Promoting your dedication to CSR and giving back to the local community doesn’t have to be a huge campaign every time. It could be as simple as a photo with a caption shared on social media or as in-depth as a feature story.

“All of these little stories add up and can have a huge impact,” Weiss said. “It’s like drips out of a faucet. If you collect the water, you can use that water any way you need it going forward.”

Customers Want to Support Companies That Share Their Values

recent study by Clutch shows that people are likely to support or boycott companies based on their brand values.

Seventy-five percent of people (75%) are likely to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with.

Conversely, 59% of people are likely to stop shopping at a company that supports an issue they disagree with.

People tend to view their buying decisions as an extension of their beliefs.

When they see a company promoting their CSR endeavors, they won’t see it as overly self-promotional. Rather, they’ll notice the company helping the local community and associate its brand with social responsibility.

Strategic CSR Benefits the Local Community and Cause Your Company Supports

The cause your company donates resources to actually needs you to be strategic.

When you choose a cause that aligns with your brand and then promote your work in giving back to that cause, you are raising awareness for the cause itself and the organization(s) you’re working with.

“We often tell clients that it’s about their power as a company to promote those other organizations,” Weiss said. “If you’re collecting food for a food bank, don’t view it as promoting what your employees are doing for your company’s benefit. Think about how the company is helping promote that food bank.”

When companies approach CSR strategically, everyone wins – the company gets good coverage, consumers see the company positioned as a socially-conscious brand, and the cause/organizations its supporting gets extra coverage, boosting people’s awareness.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Authenticity for Strategy

Being strategic about CSR doesn’t mean having to sacrifice authenticity.

You can preserve authenticity by identifying your brand’s values and then choosing a cause that not only closely aligns with those values, but is also one you and your company can stand behind, unwavering.

“There’s nothing wrong with corporate social responsibility being a strategic decision, but it should also be one that you strongly believe in and are willing to stand up for,” Weiss said.

Strategic corporate social responsibility benefits not only you and your brand, but also your customers and the cause you’re supporting.

About the author: Toby Cox is a content writer and developer at Clutch, a B2B research and reviews firm, where she covers topics relating to public relations.