About Brian Lee

  • Website: http://www.experiencerevelation.com or email
  • Biography: Brian Lee, APR, is the president and founder of Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media. He has been in the field for more than a decade, previously serving as the communications director at another agency. In addition, Brian worked in sports PR for five years, including three years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Beyond athletics, he has worked at the Wisconsin State Journal, UW Health and Wisconsin Public Television. InBusiness Magazine named Brian to its "40 Under 40" list in 2012. Brian, who earned his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2011, owns the distinct privilege of serving as president of both the PR group (Public Relations Society of America) and advertising group (Ad 2 Madison) in town. He also was president of the governing board for WSUM-FM and treasurer of the national executive board for Ad 2. Outside of Revelation, Brian is a part-time lecturer on social media at Madison College. He also runs EatDrinkMadison.com, a Madison, Wis., restaurant and bar guide that is searchable by amenities. Brian graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism and major in strategic communications.

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Best PR practices for new developments

on February 16, 2018 in Public relations

multi-family-home-rendering

INTRODUCTION

Proposed developments–including residential, commercial, mixed-use, stadiums and arenas–are monumental public relations projects. That’s because they require:

  • Working with many stakeholders such as residents, neighborhood associations, coalitions, businesses, elected officials and regulators;
  • Conducting public outreach through open houses, town hall meetings and small group meetings;
  • Changing public opinion through editorials, letters-to-the-editor, testimonials; and
  • Fighting misinformation using media relations, your website and social media.

Using our unique #HeartOverHead approach, here are best practices to help you get your development approved:

MAKE THE PUBLIC FEEL INVOLVED FROM THE BEGINNING

Your first step should be to reach out to the influencers, such as the alder and president of the neighborhood association, and tell them you are simply thinking about a development, and you want their constituents’ input during the nascent stages. Make it clear that everything is up for discussion and that no firm decisions have been made.

What most developers do is go to the city first and/or announce a plan to the media. In the case of the former, you’re doing it backward. For political reasons, city administrators and elected officials can’t/won’t make a decision without public input. That’s one of the reasons why the proposed baseball park in Waukesha failed.

In the case of the latter, if the public learns of your proposal through the media, then that’s when they usually get angry/concerned (“why wasn’t I told of this?”) and become your opposers instead of supporters. That, too, can mean doom for your project.

According to Dr. Myles Monroe, author of the book, Benefits of Change, the average person doesn’t respond to change, they react (negatively) to it. In our experience, this is why you need to have the public participate in making the change.

Have an abundance of ways for residents to provide their input, and show them how that input is shaping the proposal. A Harvard Business Review article on a change study revealed that for a no-participation group, “resistance developed almost immediately after the change occurred.”

In addition, it’s important to uncover potential roadblocks early on that may be more difficult or nearly impossible to surpass at a future point, and it’s important to educate the public and inoculate them from the inevitable misinformation from your opposition.

STRIVE FOR SUPPORT OR INFORMED CONSENT

You will need to create a messaging strategy that explains the need for your development, but more importantly, it also should emphasize your development’s benefits to residents and businesses. However, that is not enough.

The main reason is because you may run into NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard). That means the public agrees with the need and benefits of your project, they just don’t want it near them. The story on the aforementioned baseball stadium included this paragraph: “While adding that (the main opposer) wouldn’t mind seeing Big Top choose some other location for a Waukesha stadium, she is hoping it’s strike three for the proposals at Frame Park.”

The loss aversion theory states that people prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Using this idea, here’s an example of how to change your messages:

  • Original: Our development will feature a health club, a bank and a UPS store.
  • Updated: Without our development, you will lose out on convenient access to everyday services such as fitness, banking and mailing.

Ultimately, you want to convert potential opposers to either supporters or neutral parties. Informed consent is achieved when someone feels they were included and educated adequately in the process, and they feel no need to oppose the project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Super Bowl ads: staff opinions

on February 5, 2018 in Sports, Television

BRIAN: I really liked the Tide commercials for spoofing other commercials, including other Procter & Gamble products such as Old Spice. In fact, I’ll admit to being tricked. For example, when I saw a Clydesdale at the beginning of a commercial, I thought it was going to be a Budweiser commercial, but it was actually […]

 
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C-Suite Still Undervalues PR

on February 1, 2018 in Public relations

If executives in the C-Suite, which often is missing a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Communications Officer (CC), actually valued PR, companies would: Spend more resources on reputation management. A Deloitte study showed that when your reputation is damaged, there is a corresponding loss of revenue, brand value, customers and/or stock price, Seek the […]

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