Every client and project is unique and should be approached with fresh eyes and insight. Based on his 30 years of on-the-ground experience, Josh and his team of associates is able to provide a broad range of services.
STRATEGY / ANALYSIS
Each client, campaign, or program is unique and approached with fresh eyes and current best practices. Who are you? What do you want to accomplish? How can communications successfully support your immediate needs and long-term goals? Together we pinpoint the right communications strategy for you that is wholly in sync with your mission.
With the widespread popularity of mindfulness, more people realize the central importance of being focused. The word “focus” is thrown around a lot, but in reality, it is not easy to be and stay focused. Effective long-term communications depends on having a sharp single-mindedness and sticking to it — with regard to your goals, messages, and audiences.
Now, more than ever, succinct messaging that imparts authentic persuasive information is crucial to define who you are and why people should care. We need to make every word count. Steve Jobs said that his mantra was “focus and simplicity.” The Roman poet Horace urged us nearly two thousand years ago to be brief if you want to keep your readers. Both your key audiences and the media are put off by too many messages. We work with you to sharpen your language.
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
You must resist the desire to talk to everyone. The clearer you are about who your audiences are and how you can reach them, the more successful you will be. It is hard to be simple and targeted, but if you are disciplined about this at the beginning, your campaign will have much greater chance of connecting with the right people. We work with you to determine who you are talking to.
Even established organizations need to stop and take stock of their communications. What’s working? What’s outdated? What needs to change? It is always better to bring in outside talent to undertake a communications “audit”: to engage professionals exterior to your particular echo chamber. In conducting an audit, we review all aspects of your public face, analyze how you interact with the media, interview board members and staff, talk to your competitors and the media, assess budget priorities, and determine where things stand and how they need to evolve to meet both current and future communication demands. Change can be difficult, but not evolving in an ever-changing world is suicidal.
Experience: Josh has conducted formal audits for such organizations as AMFAR, Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Amnesty International USA, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Rodale Institute and informal reviews and in-depth analysis for many clients and campaigns.
Together we develop a comprehensive communications plan: concentrated, appropriate, and achievable. We use a broad range of communication assets and services. Smart planning means clearly knowing your key audiences — how to reach and engage them, how to talk to them in ways that embody your values and vision. Communications goes beyond conveying information, but includes forging lasting connections that motivate and inspire action that leads to positive change. Communications is a two-way street, an on-going conversation and hopefully deepening relationship between your organization / brand / campaign and all stakeholders and allies.
OUTREACH / MEDIA RELATIONS
Outreach campaigns target both new and more traditional media. The mass media landscape is in constant rapid change with many old media gone, but numerous outlets still remain. New technologies spring up and some vanish just as quickly. Effective publicity includes the trendy and the established. The central principle remains: What are your primary stories and what are the best means to share them with your key audiences? Media outreach includes national and local daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, wire services; national, local and international television, cable news, media websites, specialized web sites, columnists, bloggers, social media, editorial tours and editorial boards, appropriate talk shows, podcasts, webcast, and radio. We don’t get stuck in old forms of communications, nor do we get dazzled by the quick flash of a new app.
MEDIA TRAINING / MESSAGE FOCUS
Facing the media can be stressful. We are here to help you prepare, stay calm, and deliver your message. Practice makes perfect. Some interviews are relaxed and straightforward. If you find yourself on a rapid-fire CNN talk show with only three sound bites to make your points, that can be nerve-wracking — but it doesn’t have to be. Before interviews and media tours, even seasoned pundits review message points, potential questions, and sharpen their answers to fit the format. We sit down with you to get ready, review and practice.
Experience: Josh has done this work with countless heads of nonprofit organizations, executives at Hollywood studios, and film stars. He may have been the first person to media train Bill Gates.
CRISIS / ISSUES MANAGEMENT
We live in a complex world and occasionally run into thorny situations, challenges, loud public issues, and even attacks. Controversy can arise directly as a result of a conscious campaign or out of the blue. The media descends and the internet catches fire. Crises need to be managed on multiple levels and communications is an important dimension of engagement. Monitoring and rapid response are essential. Advance crisis planning is vital for institutions, businesses, and campaigns alike to prepare for potential challenges so that the response is less stressful and more successful. In some cases, controversy and crisis management are integral aspects of an innovative campaign.
Experience: Josh has provided crisis management to Microsoft, Time Warner, Warner Music Group, Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Interscope Records, Virgin Records, Universal Pictures, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures, Nissan North America, Pediatric AIDS Foundation (Elizabeth Glaser), Focus Features, Miramax Films, International Campaign for Tibet / Dalai Lama.
BRANDING / NAMING
To stand out in today’s overwhelming public environment, your name and identity are important. Your brand matters. You might want to rename or redefine your organization or business. You might be completing a film and all the conventional titles just don’t cut it. You might want to name and brand a book or campaign. We work with you at pinpointing your unique identity and then find the right name, taglines, images, as well as the core messages that are in sync with who you are. Sometimes this is a simple, fast process and then again it can take months of exploration and engagement.
Experience: Josh has been involved with the naming of many films and books, non-profit organizations like Amida, for-profit companies like Qteros and the QMicrobe, and the Genesis Plant. Jason Byers is often called in on such projects.
SPECIAL EVENTS / BOOK TOURS
For some clients, your needs are much more specific: create or publicize a major event, a fundraiser, or plan a media tour. There may be elements of messaging and some strategic analysis or creativity, but the assignment at hand is concentrated. We can work with you to produce a successful event or tour and/or provide media support for an event.
Experience: Over the years, Josh has provided media support for literally hundreds of large and small events, tours, briefings — from the Dalai Lama talks in Central Park to fundraisers with Placido Domingo or Sting, to book tours for Bill Gates or spiritual leaders.
SOCIAL MEDIA / CONTENT CREATION
With the democratization of media, you create your own content that can be widely shared globally and instantly. There has never been more diverse ways to connect and educate. With content creation, you fully control your message and how you are portrayed — the language and the visuals. Content can be many things: social media outreach, short web videos, longer mini-documentaries, filmed talks or events, animation pieces, infographics, or live webcasts. None of these are filtered through editors as gatekeepers.
Creativity, authenticity and compelling narratives are all still key in reaching your audience. The downside to this new media explosion is we are living in a pandemic of short attention spans and low retention of information. The challenge is to be memorable and meaningful. Along with being masters of your media world, you also need to be flexible and imaginative in how you distribute your content. Together we shape your outreach using the right tools for the right situation.