Communications back then

communications

Shouts rang out through the ‘Kean for Governor’ headquarters when that first fax went through – and after only seven minutes. Can you imagine? We were excited that the transmission arrived from our office in Union, N.J. to Washington, D.C. in ONLY seven minutes. Ah, communications ‘back then.’

Carl Golden tapped away at his manual typewriter (boy, he was the fastest two-finger typist, ever). I was stationed outside his office with an electric typewriter and a big bottle of Wite-Out. Carl had to give up his manual typewriter for an electric model once we got to the State House in 1982. None of us had a computer.

One of our first clients in 1989 was Bell Atlantic Mobile. We were required to buy a phone and have it installed in our cars, at our expense…$2,000! Bell Atlantic Mobile again led the way from a technology standpoint making us give up answering the office phones for a fancy voicemail system so they could leave messages easier. They were also first to require consultants to use a form of email, communications involving a remote box that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had to fax releases to newsrooms – or even mail news releases to mailboxes – and hope someone saw or opened them. My, how times – and communication methods – have changed!

Today’s technology has made access to any media easier and certainly faster. Email addresses for journalists, editors and reporters are often tagged at the end of every story, and they use Facebook and Twitter, so getting to know them and what they’re interested in from a news standpoint has never been easier. And while the fine art of grabbing a cup of coffee with a reporter isn’t entirely gone, it’s much more common to establish rapport with a reporter by connecting with them online.

We live in an age of instant communications, and I must sound like a dinosaur telling these tales of old, but someone out there will remember those days fondly. Care to share any early technology stories? Comment below or tell us on Facebook!

 

About the Author:
Liz_Thomas_2014Liz Thomas is an award-winning public relations professional and CEO of Thomas/Boyd Communications. Now in her 25th year as a small-business owner, Liz credits much of her success in the communications field to her early public relations and government affairs training in the press office of New Jersey Governor Tom Kean. Liz is constantly on-the-move, providing strategic direction, crisis communications consults and overseeing clients’ day-to-day public relations activities. Her enthusiasm for her clients carries into her “down time,” as well – she serves as board chairperson for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and vice chair of NJTV and is actively involved as a volunteer for The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden.

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Making the most of a ribbon cutting event

JBJ ribbon cuttingA ribbon cutting event can be a great way to celebrate the opening of your business or organization, and it can also help increase your visibility – if it’s done right. As I’m coming off the heels of the third ribbon-cutting event I’ve helped organize in the past few months, I’d like to share a simple checklist to help you make sure your event is a success. While some of these points may seem obvious, it’s better to over-plan than to be unprepared! Follow these tips and your event will run smoothly.

  • Conduct a site check in advance. Assess the space and determine the best spot for the ceremony. Depending on the scope and size of the event, you may need a tent, podium, staging and catering.
  • Back-up plan. If your event is outside, have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather. Be prepared to hold the official ribbon cutting ceremony on the podium itself (under the tent), or take it inside.
  • Audio visual. If you’re hosting a significant event, retain the services of a professional audio visual company to set up the microphone and sound system. If you’re expecting news media, rent a mult box. The media will thank you for the crisp, clear sound.
  • Visuals. Besides the individuals cutting the ribbon, think about other visuals such as signage, a logo in the background, and a podium sign featuring your logo, too.
  • Who’s cutting the ribbon? Plan, in advance, who will partake in the ribbon cutting and who will actually cut the ribbon. Typically, people who are on the speaking agenda will participate.
  • Ribbon, etc. Purchase wide ribbon with the color that best suits the event. It’s also OK not to use a ribbon. We’ve seen everything from a ceremonial tiki-torch lighting for a Caribbean-themed night club, to cutting through dog leashes for a pet boarding facility opening to cutting through dollar bills for a bank opening and more.
  • Scissors. Invest in a pair of big shiny scissors for the ceremonial “cut.” If your scissors don’t work, try this old “PR trick.” Cut the ribbon in advance and tape it together (on the back) with clear tape. When it’s time for the ribbon cutting, ask the two individuals holding the ribbon to pull it as it’s being “cut.”
  • Guest list/invites. Determine your guests – from VIPs to local public officials to vendors involved with the business. Issue invites at least three weeks in advance.
  • Media. Issue a media advisory to invite media to cover the event. Include the specifics – who, what, when, where and why. Also include a media contact with onsite contact information for the day of the event. Depending on the newsworthiness of the event, be prepared to provide the media with a ribbon-cutting photo and news release following the event.
  • Photography. Budget permitting, hire a professional photographer to capture the ribbon cutting. Stage some quick shots before the ribbon is cut to make sure you get a good picture (no closed eyes, people looking the other way, etc.). If you don’t have the budget, use a digital camera and give it your best shot!

 

About the Author:
Pam_Boyd_2014As co-founder and President of Thomas/Boyd Communications, Pam Boyd finessed her leadership skills early on in her career. Pam is an award-winning public relations professional who provides the strategy, groundwork and energy to help advance her clients and their causes. She’s achieved renowned success in media relations and placements, event planning and organization and strategic programs and initiatives. Her passion for public relations and her dedication to her clients and their missions is evident, and she’s always on the lookout to build new relationships and bridge connections for her extensive network of contacts. A proud and well-recognized businesswoman, Pam is often called-upon to share her expertise with organizations and associations across the region.

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