The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Melanie Randall: Inspiring Others to Live and Dance Strong

Founder of Live and Dance Strong, and Owner of Dancewear House, Melanie Randall.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a loss, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Melanie Randall, decided to take one of the most difficult times in her life, and turn it into something beautiful as a way to process her grief.

Five years ago, Melanie’s father, Richard J. Randall, passed away and she set out to start an event that would help in her healing process. The result was Live and Dance Strong, a fundraiser that serves as a wonderful opportunity for choreographers and dancers alike to come together and deliver a unique dance experience.

Randall says, “Each year the show is different, and we have begun to touch on other people’s pain and grieving process. Cancer has affected so many people. I never dreamed that by starting Live and Dance Strong I would bring hope and empowerment to so many other young women who have lost someone—it’s been very special.”

This year, the event brought their total donations to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to more than $30,000 since its inception and for the first time, they paid a special tribute to cancer survivors.

Planning for Live and Dance Strong starts in early winter, and around March Melanie begins to send letters to local businesses, requesting sponsorships and donations for the show. In May, she sends out choreographer applications to studios in the area.

They recently added a concert element to the planning process, by hosting a concert at their home on the lake in an effort to raise awareness and funding within the community. Melanie adds that social media has also made the event easier to put together, saying, “Facebook has made it easy for us to have an online presence, enabling us to connect with choreographers and sponsors we may not have met any other way.”

Even after growing up dancing for Keltie Collins, Andrei Bossov and Genie O’Brien, she never imagined that she would have a career in dance. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate with a degree in English that she considered buying Dancewear House in Hallowell, but after six and a half years, it was clearly the right choice. She says, “I wasn’t really sure that an English degree would prepare me for running a business, but my years in college certainly did.”

Melanie (center) with her Mom, Mary Elizabeth Randall (left), and her fiancé, Scott Lowery (right) following this year’s Live and Dance Strong event.

Most days, you will find Melanie helping young girls find their way on a similar career path. She says, “I spend most of my days with dancers’ feet in my face,” as the primary person that handles Pointe shoe fittings.

So what is her secret to happiness and success?

Randall says, “Follow your dreams—find something in life that you’re passionate about, and keep it close to you, especially when life gets hard. We all have the ability to take a negative situation and make it into a positive one, so don’t ever give up! One person has all of the potential in the world to touch someone’s life and change their own.”

To learn how you can get involved with Live and Dance Strong, please visit, liveanddancestrong.org, or like the Dancewear House on Facebook.

Great Success for Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls

Today marks the conclusion of the 2nd annual Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. The 10-day camp ran June 17-21 and 24-28 on Maranacook Lake in Readfield, Maine. The camp is designed for girls 8-12 as a place to develop self confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls’ campers (red) and staff (blue) on opening day.

Each year, the curriculum for the camp is designed by Olympian Julia Clukey and KV YMCA camp director, Johanna King. The camp features a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, nature walks, field sports, arts and crafts, theater and music.

As a part of the support for the camp, the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association, and organization that has partnered with Julia Clukey as their responsibility spokesperson, donates scholarships each year to provide the opportunity for underprivileged girls to attend summer. In total, the association has donated $7,000 in scholarships for the camp.

For more information, visit www.clukeyluge.com/camp.

 

Almost Home Rescue: Where Volunteers Make A Difference

Almost Home Rescue Director/President, Bonnie Martinolich with her three dogs at home.

Just about everyone in the NMC office has a pet that they brag about, posting pictures on their office walls, desks and more! As animal lovers, we can appreciate the work of nonprofit organizations such as Almost Home Rescue and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Bonnie Martinolich.

Martinolich serves as the director and president of Almost Home Rescue (AHR). AHR is unique in that they are a nonprofit corporation, made up entirely of volunteers without a single paid staff member. A part of her work includes managing their Facebook page and she says, “We only have one very basic rule: we never post negative stories about cruelty and neglect.”

In a world filled with violence and negative images surrounding animal cruelty, it is important to AHR that they emphasize the passion of volunteers for positive outcomes and as Bonnie adds, “We want parents to feel comfortable with having their children view our Facebook page, and for people to understand the good that comes from volunteers and adopters working with AHR.”

On June 15, 2013, hundreds of people showed up for Amy Buxton’s Underdog Jog. Almost Home Rescue was a benefactor of the race and volunteered as course marshals.

The passion of volunteers displayed on their social media sites is what brings in most of their new volunteers. Bonnie says, “They are a friend who had a friend who adopted an AHR dog, or is a foster parent, and they want to do the same.”

With mobile accessibility to online sites increasing daily, it is only natural that they would look there first when they begin a search for new four-legged family members. This is why sites like Facebook, Petfinder and AHR’s website are essential for AHR.

Another key element to the success of AHR is volunteers. The rescue organization doesn’t have a shelter of their own; they simply transport dogs to foster families and partner rescue organizations, so visibility of their program is critical.  Bonnie adds, “Our foster program is the heart of what we do, and allows us to continue our rescue effort.”

This past weekend, they were one of the benefactors of the Underdog Jog, a fundraiser 5K held in memory of their late volunteer, Amy Buxton.  AHR not only had multiple volunteers that donated their time as course marshals, but they also brought their rescue van, full of adoptable dogs to the race, mingling with the crowd and talking about what they do within the community.

AHR relies on volunteers to raise awareness of their program.

To join their community of animal lovers you can contact them by emailing, info_ahr@yahoo.com, or donate on their website, www.almosthomerescue.net.

 

Trek Across Maine 2013

With friends, family members and employees participating in the Trek Across Maine this weekend, we are saddened by the tragic accident this morning. We wish everyone a safe ride on the remainder of the Trek.

The Art of Brand Communication

Portland Museum of Art Brand Strategy Coordinator, Caitlin Brooke

When you think of a museum, what comes to mind? Do you envision a forward-thinking, branding machine that brings art to life on your phone, through an artist-inspired cocktail, or by offering Free Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.? That’s the exact image Portland Museum of Art (PMA) Brand Strategy Coordinator, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Caitlin Brooke, hopes to conjure when you think of PMA.

After graduating from Cony High School, Caitlin attended the University of New Hampshire where she received  dual undergraduate degrees in art history and communication, and an MBA in marketing. A summer internship with PMA’s PR department was her first taste of the career path she would choose, but not before spending three years in Boston working as an associate for an investment firm.

Brooke says, “I absolutely loved developing my professional identity in Boston and being thrown into the fast-paced and demanding world of corporate finance. My role evolved from investor relations to marketing, and I began to take the reins in redesigning the firm’s marketing materials and communications plan.”

At the PMA’s Winter Bash Brooke’s job was to sit and draw the guests as they enjoyed the evening.

By 2010 Brooke decided to leave Boston and do some soul-searching saying, “I wanted to eventually establish myself in Maine, so I took a break and traveled the country before beginning my search for jobs in Portland.” Why Maine? Her reason is simple stating, “The cultural vitality of the city had always enticed me and it’s the perfect location—access to the water for surfing and the mountains for skiing!”

This vital culture of Portland is the driving force behind the success of Brooke’s work with PMA. She says, “It’s about being in the know; having relationships with every department and PMA staffer so they think to call me when something cool is happening in the galleries, on TV, or across the street; it’s about embracing social media as a part of our roles.”

In 2012, the institution officially began to integrate social media into staffers’ professional roles. With this change came the need to create a social media policy and social media team who create content, take photos, Tweet and post on behalf of the museum covering all facets of the institution, and giving dynamic perspectives of what is happening on the PMA campus.

Stop by the PMA Café for an artist inspired cocktail created byAurora Provisions.

This new branding initiative plays a major role in Brooke’s daily routine. She starts her day by scrolling through social media feeds and emailing herself potentially relevant content. She adds, “I need to scope the scene and see what people are talking about. A big part of my job is connecting PMA’s exhibitions, programs and collections to what’s happening in the ‘real’ world, which in my opinion helps pull together the bigger picture of why art matters.”

2012 was a major year of rebranding for PMA, when they gathered national and international traction for their exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. Brooke says, “Homer was an American artistic genius, and also a hermit with a fantastic moustache and a studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough.”

PMA used this attention as an opportunity to launch their new logo and to overhaul their brand identity. Brooke says, “Prior to 2012, the museum had an undefined strategy for social media. It was almost a marketing afterthought, but because of all the media attention, we were able to really throw our new look out into the public arena and have a lot of people see it.”

A lot of people have been seeing a new side of PMA, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is having fun. Caitlin says, “There is no other form of communication that can convey the energy of an organization like social media, so don’t take yourself too seriously!” While social media is a part of business, Brooke says that it is a part of building relationships, too, adding, “People like to see the behind-the-scenes, real parts of an organization. If something makes you and your coworkers laugh, more than likely other people will see the humor in it too.”

To learn more about the Portland Museum of Art, visit www.portlandmuseum.org, or like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest events and exhibits.

The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers’ Teen Parent School Program a Success

We’re proud to work with our client The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers in Waterville for so many reasons. This year, we were proud to spread the word about the success of their Teen Parent School Program, a program that has been helping young parents for more than 39 years. This spring the program graduated 7 teens, including 2 fathers.

Pictured from left to right: Graduates Brianna Bernier and Leah Broulliet along with Sharon Abrams, executive director of The Maine Children’s Home, graduate Kelsey Marcia and Jana Burgoyne, teacher of the Teen Parent School Program

Earlier this month, The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers awarded graduates Brianna Bernier, Leah Broulliet, and Kelsey Marcia with $1,000 scholarships at a Teen Parent School Program celebration luncheon at Joseph’s Fireside Steakhouse.

Next year our agency is looking forward to helping The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Teen Parent School Program as they continue to help young parents in Maine succeed.

Click here to learn more about the Teen Parent School Program at The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.

The Value of a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing can be expensive, especially if you have no idea where it’s taking you or what you are getting in return for your investment.

I’ve seen way too many companies and organizations flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing. They tend to do the same things they’ve always done, like advertise in the Yellow Pages or sponsor the local Little League team, in the hopes that these things will get them the results they’re after.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity, right?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. Does your company’s marketing program fit this definition? I hope not.

When it comes to nailing down specific, measurable goals that will direct a marketing effort, most organizations don’t even know what kind of results they want. Just hoping to create more business is not specific enough. For the past 14 years, my agency has been developing strategic marketing communications plans, branded The Marshall Plan™, to help our clients develop attainable marketing goals and the tools needed to successfully achieve them. Over the years, we have developed plans for many different industry sectors, including non-profit, information technology, banking, government, legal, tourism, academia, economic development, and more.

We’ve witnessed some amazing results with these plans for numerous reasons, namely:

  • The three-month process brings together the key stakeholders of an organization (management team, board of directors, front-line staff people) to work together with NMC to carefully define their goals, determine their realistic marketing budget and decide what resources can be allocated to achieving the goals. For many organizations, having an outside agency impose this process is exactly what they need to make crucial decisions that will guide the organization into the future.
  • The process starts with a three-hour Discovery Meeting during which the NMC team guides stakeholders through a thoughtful discussion about goals, strategy, tactics and resources.
  • Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is just plain SMART.  The Marshall Plan™ process includes SMART goal setting.
  • The process also includes a thorough competitive analysis, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and analysis of what has and has not worked in the past.
  • A detailed list of tactics (social media, website restructuring, media relations, marketing, advertising, public outreach, sales, and more) designed to reach specific goals is created and vetted by the group during a mid-term review meeting.
  • During the final four to six weeks of the process, NMC finalizes the tactics based on feedback received at the mid-term meeting and develops a timeline, budget, measurement dashboards and a variety of marketing tools such as media lists, press release templates, and stakeholder contact lists that will enable our client to hit the ground running when it comes to implementation.
  • The final meeting is a time to review the plan, celebrate the accomplishments and make some big decisions about next steps. Every plan is designed so it can be either implemented by NMC, the organization itself, or another agency.

 

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

The Marshall Plan™ ensures your marketing dollars will be well invested rather than just spent. It serves as a highly detailed road map toward successful growth for any business or nonprofit.  In the 14 years we’ve been creating Marshall Plans™, we have seen organizations totally embrace the process and the opportunity to improve their marketing and communications.

It is extremely rewarding for me as an agency owner to work with a client on one of these plans which, if fully utilized, offer guaranteed success in helping an organization grow and prosper.

Lunder-Dineen Sponsors Successful Theater of War Production

On Monday night NMC’s Renée Black and Erika Bush traveled to Orono to support our client Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine.

Lunder-Dineen sponsored a performance of Theater of War, produced by Outside the Wire. The performance used a dramatic reading of Sophocles’ Ajax as a way to spark conversation among the audience in a panel discussion about the psychological impact of war on veterans, their families and communities.

The Lunder-Dineen team hosted a successful Theater of War production on Monday evening at The University of Maine at Orono.

The performance featured David Strathairn (Lincoln; The Bourne UltimatumGood Night, and Good Luck) who expressed, “From the beginning, we knew we had something special. Anyone who has ever been in the room can testify to that.”

Other actors included Erik Moody, Dustin Tucker, Patricia Buckley and Rob Cameron. The panel discussion was facilitated by retired Brigadier General Loree Sutton.

To learn more about Lunder-Dineen and about programs they’re bringing to a community near you, please visit www.mainehealtheducation.org.

 

 

Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital is a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality, CME/CE-certified, evidence-based health education to the citizens of Maine using needs assessments, innovative learning methodologies and expert faculty from within and outside of Maine. www.mainehealtheducation.org

Empowering Young Women at 18 Years Young

Founder of Girls Above Society, Lauren Galley

The quest for perfection is one that young people face each and every day. We all went through middle school and know about the pressures that come with growing into your own skin. This week’s Monday Maine Maven Lauren Galley, at 18 years young, has developed a successful career as a working model/actress, radio show host, blogger and, most importantly, a mentor for young women through the nonprofit she founded, Girls Above Society.

Girls Above Society provides mentorship and awareness surrounding the pressures girls face on a daily basis, and works to promote strong leadership skills. Lauren says she was inspired by her own experiences in middle school and high school to start the organization. She adds, “I want to empower girls to accept who they are—to be their best, be healthy, and have the confidence to go after their dreams!”

Lauren has pursued her dream as an actress and model. She grew up in theater with her mother working as a director, and transitioned into film beginning as an extra. Since then, she has been on ABC Family’s “The Lying Game,” and NBC’s “CHASE” as well as national commercials such as Fox Sports and Jarritos. Currently, she has two films in post-production, “Matt Mercury Movie” directed by Bill Hughes and “The Making of a Serial Killer” directed by Russell Miller.

An additional creative outlet for Lauren has been writing. After founding Girls Above Society, she realized that being present and available was important. She created Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with a blog. She adds, “Blogging is a new thing for me, but when I feel inspired I also feel the need to write. I focus on creating images with motivating quotes, since that’s what teens like and enjoy sharing.”

Girls Above Society is a nonprofit that focuses on empowering young women.

It is appropriate that Lauren would choose to focus on teenagers since that’s when she was inspired to create her nonprofit.  She says there was a lot of pressure to conform and she realized that she was incredibly lucky to have the support system she did, but she also realized that wasn’t true for everyone saying, “I would see so many girls and friends trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations created by the media—magazine covers, reality TV shows and celebrities.”

During that time, Galley had the opportunity to live in Waterford, Maine, and she says, “Having lived in the big city my whole life, I found it so beautiful and really loved the small town feeling. I found it surreal that everyone knows each other—there are literally no strangers!” That sense of community is something that has stayed with her even though she no longer calls Maine home.

The Maine experience impacted Lauren and she is currently partnering with Camp Waziyatah in Waterford, as a part of the Empower a Girl campaign. The camp is known as the location of Disney Channel’s hit reality camp series, “Bug Juice.” Waziyatah shares many of the same values as Girls Above Society—they teach kids to respect themselves with the hope that they will build a healthy image of themselves.

Galley’s mission in establishing self love is evident in her choice to be an ambassador for Free2Luv, hosting their Web segment, Free2BeYOU. Free2Luv’s motto is, “Take a stand to spread love and to end bullying.” In her Free2BeYOU segment, Lauren will be hosting Q&A sessions with tips for dealing with bullies and peer pressure, as well as hosting contests and giveaways to encourage participation. Galley says, “I hope to share, inspire and make a difference.”

To learn more about Lauren and how you can get involved, check out her website at http://www.girlsabovesociety.org/.

KVYMCA Goes Social

KVYMCA CEO, Mark Yerrick

Organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club are prominent within their communities for families and teens—promoting positive self-image and high self-esteem for young adults. The local Kennebec Valley YMCA has the same goals, and CEO Mark Yerrick says, “I am honored to be able to work with people dedicated to improving their community.”

Yerrick first joined the KVYMCA as a member in 1986, and his children learned to swim at the old location on Winthrop Street, next to the Augusta courthouse. By the 1990’s he was elected to the Board of Directors and served one three-year term, and it was only natural that he would apply for the CEO position when it became available in 2008.

Since beginning his role as the CEO in June of 2008, Mark says that social media has played an increasing role in the way the organization connects with their community. “We have to reach out to consumers in the way they want to be reached. The days of phone calls, direct mail and newspaper advertising are dwindling. Social media is quickly become the best resource for us,” he says.

Nonprofit organizations like the KVYMCA are limited when it comes to funding advertising campaigns, which is why social media is increasingly vital to their success. Yerrick says, “The volunteers on our marketing committee are a huge asset to us. They have worked on developing our online presence—we now use our Facebook page to announce special events, and to build our membership.”

The most influential marketing tool available to the KVYMCA comes from Olympian and Maine native, Julia Clukey. Last year, she developed Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls, a two-week program that promotes healthy relationships between girls of all ages. Mark says, “Julia has been involved at every level—from training with other counselors, planning the curriculum, and assisting us with interviewing potential staff members. Her enthusiasm is exciting for all of us!” Last year, Clukey’s camp was incredibly successful bringing in more than 90 girls for that program alone and they are hoping for an even greater turnout this summer since Julia will be heading to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Mark Yerrick and Julia Clukey announce Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls program last year.

The most challenging part of running a successful nonprofit organization like the KVYMCA is finding balance in the multiple hats each person has to wear every day. This is a challenge Mark has willingly accepted and credits an incredible team and Board of Directors for the success of their programs and facility. He says the key to success comes from the team as a whole stating, “You have to surround yourself with quality staff members that are experts in their fields. There is nothing more valuable than the professional men and women who give their time to assure that the KVYMCA is a quality organization for our community.”

To learn more about membership and to see how you can participate in their upcoming programs, please check out their website at http://www.kvymca.org/programs.php, or like them on Facebook today https://www.facebook.com/kvymca?fref=ts.