Declaration of Independence: The First PR Opportunity?

As Americans, we take pride in commemorating our nation’s freedom every summer. However, with all the hustle and bustle of 4th of July backyard barbeques, it’s easy to forget the real reason we celebrate this American holiday.

On July 4, 1776, representatives from the thirteen U.S. colonies officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming independence of the United States from Great Britain. In the midst of the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress asserted their rights to sovereignty and freed the American people from Britain’s unfair taxation laws and dominating practices. Revolutionaries fought and died for our nation’s freedom. Today, we commemorate their struggle and the rights we have achieved as a free nation.

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Social media was not even a futuristic dream in 1776, but new forms of communication at that time, newspapers, were “engines of revolution” that helped foment public discourse. 

Because the Declaration of Independence was a controversial matter with the public for many years after the Revolutionary War, the event was not immediately a cause for celebration. As the years went by, however, Americans became more united in their support and began to celebrate this date each year.

While the first official 4th of July party was held at the White House in 1801, the Declaration of Independence actually received only two signatures on July 4, 1776. The remaining 54 signatures came weeks and even months later. The names of the signers were not released to the public until six months after the signing to protect them from treason laws.

On July 8, 1776, the people of Philadelphia were summoned together by the ringing of the Liberty Bell, where the Declaration of Independence was read to the public for the first time.

This occasion may very well have been the first major public relations event of the new nation!

Summer Sizzle: Avoiding Burnout

With summer just around the corner, don’t let the dog days bring your business down! Here are a few tips on how to use the summer season promote your business, product or service.

Host a BBQ – Everyone wants to enjoy the nice weather as much as they can, so why not mix business with pleasure? Invite your new and returning clients/customers to an outdoor celebration with food and fun for the whole family. Offer raffles and giveaways for attendees. For a different spin, you might even turn a cliché networking lunch into an event nobody will soon forget.

Be More Involved in the Community – Get involved with a local charity or community organization. Become a sponsor for a town Little League team. Your business’ name could be included with informational brochures, pamphlets, or even emblazoned on a team’s jersey!

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Give a Special Promotion – Provide new customers a reason to bring their money to you. Summer discounts on products or services can be a great way to spread your business’ name. Day, week, or month-long, whatever best fits your finances.

Find New Places to Advertise – The pool, the frozen yogurt shop, the local park or any other heavily populated location where summer sun-worshippers flock. Post an advertisement as simple as a small poster printed from your computer. Parents driving their kids everywhere will be sure to notice, especially if there is a coupon code!

Create a Partnership – Strike a business deal with a local restaurant or food vendor! Every $10 spent at an ice cream store earns a coupon for a deal at your business. Even if every customer doesn’t take advantage of the deal, it will still help you increase your brand recognition.

Use Your Time Wisely – If all else fails, use the summer to plan public relations strategies for the upcoming season. Revamp your media relations campaign. Find new ways to increase revenue and improve you image. Give your clients/customers a survey for constructive feedback you can release in the early fall to maximize media exposure. Every bit of information will help make the most out of your time spent brainstorming and planning this summer. .

Honoring History, Celebrating Pride

Remembering Stonewall for most LGBTQ people is not about real memory, since they either were not in New York City during the Stonewall Riots in 1969, not near the age of consent, or not even yet born.

Our “memories” of Stonewall, individually and collectively, mostly hinge on stories and images related to us by writers, filmmakers, and other artists and activists who have documented the rebellion that started the gay civil rights movement in the U.S.

There’s still some dispute about just who was and was not actually inside the Stonewall Inn, located in New York City’s Greenwich Village, when it was raided by police. Historians believe the patrons were mostly gay men, drag queens, hustlers and homeless youth, and transwomen.

Neighbors, mostly young queers, hippies, and yippees, came out to support those inside the bar who, having had it with decades of police and mafia harassment, finally fought back. There were bottles thrown, broken, and used as weapons, physical altercations of all types, police beatings of Stonewall patrons, passersby, and neighbors, too.

And, although many media outlets ran bigoted, sensationalistic stories, such as the New York Daily News’ July 6, 1969 article, headlined “Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad, the reverberations of the Stonewall Rebellions were felt by LGBT people across the country.

A year later, on June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Today, because of Stonewall, and those who continued to organize afterward, LGBT people now take for granted many liberties earlier activists never dreamed they would be afforded in their lifetimes.

In March, TIME featured a split cover — one featuring a lesbian couple kissing, the other a gay male couple kissing. The covers generated plenty of controversy, and drew both grateful support and sharp criticism.

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The covers were published to make a point. Entertainment Weekly online reported: “In his editor’s letter, TIME’s Richard Stengel remarks, “We had a long debate in our offices about this week’s cover images of two same-sex couples. Some thought they were sensationalist and too in-your-face. Others felt the images were beautiful and symbolized the love that is at the heart of the idea of marriage. I agree with the latter, and I hope you do too.”

The public discourse and media conversation about LGBT rights has changed a great deal since 1969. And, we have come a long way since Stonewall, but there is still much forward movement to be made regarding the rights of all LGBTQ peoples.

The Value of Internships

It’s a shame the summer movie season is kicking off with a ridiculous movie called The Internship that makes a mockery of a great opportunity.

Internships are meant to be a learning experience for students during their college years to help them determine if they want to pursue a career in a particular profession. For over 20 years, Danielides Communications, Inc. (DCI) has offered a formal internship program throughout the year for college credit or a stipend during the fall/winter semester, spring semester and summer. Our goal is to help educate students about public relations and communications with “hands-on” experience from drafting press releases and building media lists to attending broadcast interviews and participating in creative brainstorming sessions to launch new products or programs. 

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Aside from straight forward everyday tasks, lots of unique projects develop, especially during the summer. One year, when the Cow Parade was in the Big Apple, two of our interns were in charge of inspecting our client’s cow sculpture weekly for missing Swarovski crystals. Our client was shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Stuart had commissioned an artist to design and decorate a 6-foot dancing cow and part of her costume was decorated with rhinestones. While the public admired they sculpture, they often picked rhinestones off the cow, so our interns were dispatched with a glue gun and box of rhinestones to replace the missing ones. How fun was that experience!

During the summer, we have the opportunity to recruit students who attend colleges and universities across the country, which makes for an interesting mix of personalities. In the fall and spring, most of our interns come from tri-state area educational institutions. As we have the chance to get to know our interns and evaluate their skills, it’s always rewarding to discover those who will be rising stars in our industry once they graduate.  We have launched, mentored (long term) and hired some of our former interns who give us a refreshing perspective on issues while learning the ropes and cultivating media contacts. 

Internships are meant to be a serious and enlightening experience, not a fool-hardy adventure like this summer’s movie. 

Time for Change

Spring is a great time for celebrations and new launches. 

As Danielides Communications, Inc (DCI) is empowering its clients and developing new strategies to support how they get their message out, we are delighted to launch a redesign of our website.

We are proud to highlight our work and services for global clients that include everything from crisis management to video production to creating networking opportunities. In the PR business, we are as good as our last media hit and always enthusiastic to pitch a new story idea whether it’s for the Web, print, broadcast, or social media.

DCI is privileged to help medical centers launch new practices, support universities throughout the country in offering innovative interprofessional programs, and bring about awareness of worthy nonprofits locally and nationally. We also value the opportunity to give back and welcome a new group of interns each season.

Rebranding DCI and providing integrated marketing communications for our clients are concepts that have always been our priority. In this ever changing environment, we remain flexible in our approach and committed to collaborating with a diverse range of leaders.

May is Mental Health Month

Wellness—it’s essential to living a full and productive life. We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies that prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy. 

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Pathways to Wellness— this year’s theme of May is Mental Health Month—calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health. 

Wellness is more than an absence of disease. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health. 

Whatever our situation, we are all at risk of stress given the demands of daily life and the challenges it brings—at home, at work and in life. Steps that build and maintain well-being and help us all achieve wellness involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community. 

These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular mental health checkups. Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic reading of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are extremely treatable. 

Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life. Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health lead to improved general health and a healthier society.

Source: Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Earth Day is April 22 and we offer tips on how to green your office, courtesy of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

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Bring Your Green to Work with ENERGY STAR - The energy saving actions we take as individuals in the workplace can make a big difference in the overall energy performance of a building and can help in the fight against climate change. From changing a desk lamp bulb to unplugging a power charger, EPA's animated tool - ENERGY STAR@Work - shows us how we can all do our part! 

Climate Change: What You Can Do at the Office - Business and home offices use a significant amount of electricity for heating and cooling, lighting and operating equipment. Discover some easy ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both at work and during your commute. Learn how reducing, reusing and recycling at work helps conserve energy.

It's Easy Being Green: A Guide to Planning and Conducting Environmentally Aware Meetings and Events - Provides an outline to assist professionals in planning environmentally aware events such as meetings, workshops, festivals, picnics, and sporting events. Includes profiles of successful events that have been held, and step by step procedures for coordinating events using a planning checklist. 

Indoor Air Quality in Large Buildings - Learn about the roles of building managers and occupants in maintaining good indoor air quality. 

An Office Building Occupant's Guide to Indoor Air Quality - This booklet is intended to help people who work in office buildings learn about the factors that contribute to indoor air quality and comfort problems and the roles of building managers and occupants in maintaining a good indoor environment. 

Secondhand Smoke - The health risks to children and adults from secondhand smoke are discussed at this site, with links to a number of publications. 

Pesticide Safety Programs - This site presents the EPA Worker Protection Standard which helps protect agricultural workers from pesticide poisoning and injuries. 

Protecting the Health of Nail Salon Workers - Developed in collaboration with nail salons and other partners, this practical guide can help workers and nail-salon owners make their salons safer workplaces. The guide includes easy-to-use checklists with advice on topics such as proper gloves, masks and handling of products. The guide's non-technical language will help workers understand product ingredients and how to prevent overexposure to those that present potential health risks. 

Index of ToxFAQs - ATSDR ToxFAQs is a series of summaries about hazardous substances. Each fact sheet provide answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about exposure to hazardous substances and the effects of exposure on human health. 

(Source: U.S. EPA - http://www.epa.gov/epahome/workplac.htm)

Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money

There are few better times to draw attention to the work of public health professionals — as well as to the public health system’s critical role in creating a healthier America for all — than during National Public Health Week. 

This year’s NPHW observance takes place April 1–7, and its theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.”

Consider this: National opinion polls show that Americans strongly support prevention, believe it should be a higher national priority and support making resources available to assist community prevention efforts.

The value of investing in public health systems and employing preventative approaches seems intuitive. And, our friends at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University tend to agree. Bouvé’s Dean, Terry Fulmer PhD, RN, FAAN, believes strongly that the key is expanding the role of nurses, nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals in delivering services to increase overall quality of care while lowering costs. 

“By changing the current health care treatment model and broadening the role of ‘healthcare providers’ to include nurses and nurse practitioners as the first point-of-care for patients increases access to general care,” says Fulmer, “This makes sense in a world of shrinking healthcare dollars and the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. By offering many of the same services as physicians, but at fraction of the cost, healthcare provided by nurses means every dollar spent on access to preventive care saves $10.”

DCI is passionate about public health. Dean Fulmer and Bouvé College are inspirations to us and, we hope, will also inspire others to make prevention a part of their lives.

Watch Dean Terry Fulmer on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Talk” discussing changes in healthcare.

Re-Evaluating and Finding Your Personal Style

Since Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Tri-state area, New Yorkers have paused to evaluate our priorities. As we take personal stock of ourselves, we must consider how we want to move forward in private and business relationships and understand what matters most to us. I find myself more selective in the personal activities that I choose and am appreciating the simpler things that life has to offer. Walks through the park seem more refreshing and a laugh at the movies is always welcomed. I have re-evaluated my stylistic approach to everything.

We all know that style is not an expensive quality to acquire, but it is an invaluable asset. Your professional image and personal style define you and have a definite impact on the way people respond to you. Developing your individual philosophy and understanding what makes you happy will help you arrive at a distinctive way to express your personal style - and yourself.

The first stop on your journey is your personal history. We are all products of our life experiences. Were you raised in a rural or urban environment? In a small or large family? Were you the oldest or youngest child?  Your education and cultural background can influence your thinking as well. I remember reading Greek mythology in school and being impressed with the goddess Athena. Her no-nonsense style made her seem larger than life, in paintings and sculpture as well. Maybe my own Greek-American heritage influenced my impression of how brave and daring she was; descriptions of her strength have always influenced the head-on way I like to approach a challenge. 

As you move into refining your style, consider who has made the greatest impact on your life. Who do you most admire, and why? Take a moment to analyze the qualities and behavioral characteristics in a person that you would like to emulate. Consider their communication skills, overall fashion look, and body language - all qualities that define style.

You can take this a step further by reading biographies. Like many, I admired the late Katherine Graham and was in awe of her accomplishments. Having read her biography and then meeting her, I was impressed with her attentive manner and sharp wit and asked her for advice. Without hesitation, she encouraged me to roll up my sleeves, focus on my goals within a specific time frame, and take on new challenges.

Noticing the subtle indications of other people's style is also a good way to develop subtleties of your own. At a seminar I gave for entrepreneurial women in Scottsdale, AZ, I suggested that each person take out her business card and see if it represented her well.  Altering the color of the ink, adding an unusual typeface, logo or quote - could help distinguish their business style.

Of course, one of the most obvious style issues relates to fashion. The colors you wear, how you accessorize, and how you decide what is most appropriate in each situation are all distinguishing factors. Sometimes, before special events, I take the client shopping to borrow a unique outfit from a designer. These shopping excursions help create a new look without making a major image change. You may not have access to a designer showroom, but you can always call a friend and visit her closet for a new (borrowed) look. As you experiment with your look, your style will evolve.

Start your journey now. Soon, people will start to recognize your style - and it will only become more distinctive as you mature.

Telling Stories

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Seeing this image in the subway recently reminded me just how important our stories are.

Storytelling is conveying events in words, images, and sounds. Stories are shared narratives that occur in every culture as a means of education, entertainment, and cultural preservation.

DCI is working to change the way storytelling is developed, messages are transmitted, and information is received. All of us here have a solid understanding of what makes a good story, how to tell it, and how to sell it. By telling our clients’ stories that matter to media that care, we empower, educate, and enhance lives. 

And, there are many good reasons to tell stories. As Leo Widrich wrote in a piece on Lifehacker.com, human brains become more active when we tell stories. 

As Widrich proves in his article, storytelling is an art, but also a science.