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offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Augusta

Strutting Their Stuff

Kennebec Valley Humane Society Executive Director, Hillary Roberts (image via KVHS Facebook page)

Community involvement is the key to success for any local nonprofit, and social media has played a major role in the continuing success of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society (KVHS). This week’s Monday Maine Maven and KVHS Executive Director Hillary Roberts says, “Educating the public on what we do and raising money toward our efforts is very important.”

Almost two years ago Roberts was featured on our blog and discussed how the social media movement was positively impacting their organization through donations of time, money and just about anything else they might need. Since that time social media, Facebook in particular, has only improved and with that so has the strategy KVHS uses to spread their message.

Currently, they have a team of seven people that handle the Facebook page and Roberts says, “We only have two rules: the posts must be positive and they must be accurate.” Their most popular posts are about their adoptable dogs, cats and other pets, and of course the happy-endings posts about past adoptions.

KVHS is currently accepting submissions for their annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut Art Contest. Winning submissions will be used as posters, t-shirts, and more to promote their Paws in the Park event.

Hillary says the power of Facebook for their organization is unbelievable stating, “It’s amazing to reach thousands of people to tell them about adoptable animals, or a special event we’re having through a single post. Even better? It’s free!” She adds, “We have even seen an increase in the distance people will travel to come and see a potential pet having seen them online first.”

This past Saturday, KVHS hosted a successful Strike Out Animal Abuse Bowl-a-thon at 1-7-10 in Augusta. On Saturday, May 18, 2013 they will be hosting their 20th Annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut—an all day family and pet-friendly event at Capitol Park. This year’s event will include the following activities:

  • Animal nutrition workshop with Dr. Judy Herman
  • The first annual KVHS Best in Show competition
  • Dog micro-chipping and nail trimming
  • Food vendors
  • K9 Police and Agility demonstrations
  • Raffles, contests, and more

Events like the Mutt Strut and Bowl-a-thon are essential to raising awareness to the various programs offered by the KVHS; such as their volunteer and foster programs, micro-chipping, animal nutrition and more.

Roberts has a lifelong love of animals and believes that regardless of how you find the next furry member of your family, the most important part of the decision should be based around research. She adds, “You have to consider your lifestyle and figure out what kind of pet will best fit that lifestyle, and if you do adopt, know that your new family member is grateful for the second chance!”

To learn more about the Mutt Strut check out the Facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/497132327019644/, or see their adoptable animals on the KVHS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KennebecValleyHumaneSociety. To speak to Hillary directly, you may email her, director@pethavenlane.org.

Big Solutions for Every Business in Maine

President of CORE Solutions, Heather Veilleux.

What do New York, Maine and Ohio have in common? President of CORE Solutions and this week’s Maine Maven, Heather Veilleux, has called all of them home. While she has enjoyed each of them, Heather says, “The truth is, my plan was to move back to Maine all along.”

Veilleux adds that although it was hard to make the decision to move back to Augusta from New York City,  it was also a very exciting opportunity. She says, “Maine has more space to grow and more ways to be unique.”

Maine also has, by far, a much slower and steadier pace. While living in New York, Heather was working three jobs as a real estate agent at Bold New York by day, and a waitress at LongHorn Steakhouse in New Jersey and Marseille in New York City by night, and the occasional weekend gig through Total Entertainment! Not to mention that she was also juggling classes at Berkeley College and remotely creating her own start-up business. How did she do it? Veilleux says, “I realized that I simply didn’t have the time to go to class, so I began taking online classes. Ultimately, this allowed me to start and run a business that would eventually be located in Maine.”

Heather on a trip to Africa last year with the Flying Kites Global. Former Maine Maven, Ashley Underwood was also on this trip.

We hate to get political, but it’s hard to ignore that Heather’s life became consumed with politics shortly after she moved back to Maine last fall. Her fiancé (then boyfriend), Matthew Pouliot, announced that he would be running for office. “Little did I know what a great ride we were in for,” she says, and it would become a great inspiration for her re-evaluation of her business, Heels to Healing.

Through designing and planning advertisements and social media outreach during the campaign, Veilleux realized that there was an opportunity to help small businesses in the area using the same tactics. Heels to Healing was originally created to raise money through events for other nonprofits, but she realized that this model was making her business into a small United Way.

“I felt that rebranding and creating a for-profit business with a strong social mission was a better way to run a business and help my community,” says Veilleux about the change. With a new outlook and the creation of CORE Solutions, her goal is to help other businesses and organizations by offering services that they may not be able to have without hiring a full-time employee and/or hiring multiple companies. CORE Solutions offers high value for a low cost in assisting with event planning, fundraising, marketing and more.

CORE Solutions is an Augusta-based company offering quality business solutions that are designed to fit every budget.

CORE Solution’s signature event is the semi-annual Maine’s Fashion Night Out (MFNO). Originally created as a starting point for Heels to Healing, the event incorporates all of Heather’s favorite things: fashion, music, dance and central Maine! That’s right, it’s located right here in Augusta. Veilleux says, “I feel that central Maine is deprived when it comes to big events, especially in fashion. I live in Augusta and grew up in Hallowell, and I want to be a part of its growth.”

The mission of MFNO is to bring together the community, to promote local business and nonprofit organizations, and to network. They are currently looking for sponsors and volunteers—check out out www.MainesFNO.com for more information on how you can get involved and/or purchase your ticket for their upcoming event at the Armory.

To contact Heather, you may follow her on Twitter @coremaine, like her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/coremaine, or email her heather@coremaine.com.

Planning for Public Relations at 90 MPH

Greg Glynn, account executive at NMC

Hi, Greg here! In the world of public relations, we are always planning one, two, and sometimes even three steps ahead.  To further emphasize the importance of planning, I want to share the type of preparation and goal setting involved in my recent work for our client the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and their spokesperson, Olympian Julia Clukey.

Olympian Julia Clukey is the spokesperson for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association’s ongoing responsibility initiative. Since 2010, she has recorded public service announcements, appeared on local radio shows, and presented at 20 high schools—reaching more than 6,000 Maine high school students across the state—about the importance of responsibility and good decision making.

To continue to showcase Julia’s talent and her involvement with the MBWDA, a year ago we started planning how we were going to leverage the opportunity for Julia to compete in the 2013 World Cup on February 8 and 9 in Lake Placid, N.Y., the first World Cup luge competition in the states since 2007.

Leading up to the event, we knew we had several key goals related to the competition:

Julia Clukey Tight Shot by Shaun Ondak

1. Secure an updated action shot of Julia racing on the track to use in the poster that Julia hands out as part of her presentations for the MBWDA’s responsibility initiative at Maine high schools; we also took photos for use as a cover photo for magazine articles we plan to pitch leading up to the Olympics in 2014

2. Contact local and national media to cover the 2013 World Cup and provide content specific to Julia for local and national media

3. Capture video of Julia racing and celebrating with the home town crowd, including several of her family and friends

4. Make more contacts in the sport of luge and network with NBC Sports for a future story on Julia leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia

With specific and measurable goals, I worked with one of our agency partners, the Ad Workshop in Lake Placid, to hire Shaun Ondak, a local professional photographer from Lake Placid who had shot the sport of luge before. An experienced photographer was an important part of the planning because the luge athletes travel at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour and Julia only had two runs for the photographer to get action shots.

Shaun and I planned ahead for the shoot and scouted the best location on the snow covered Mt. Van Hoevenberg more than three hours before the race stared to make sure we had the best location to take the action shot. We also planned to cover the post- event ceremonies and take the magazine photos after the race. All our preparation paid off as seen in this great action shot of Julia, perfect for the posters. We also got several other great shots that will be used on her website, marketing materials and for future magazine articles.

In planning for media coverage, days prior to the event I distributed a media advisory to TV stations letting the sports anchors and producers know that The NBC Sports Network would be televising the races that Julia was competing in so media could use that footage during their sportscasts and in two follow up stories with Julia on WCSH and WMTW. I also took photos on both race days to immediately send back to local papers in Maine, including the Kennebec Journal, for a feature story.

Julia Clukey after her silver medal win.

When it comes to video of luge, it’s certainly hard to come by, but the performance that Julia had at the 2013 World Cup made it a lot easier. I had arranged for a media credential and access to the finish platform, a great place for capturing Julia’s emotions and excitement of winning two silver medals. Her second place finish in the women’s singles race was a career-best. The opportunity for her to have an amazing performance on her home course, in front of her family and friends, made the video footage something that will last a lifetime and be a great addition to the video we are updating for her high school presentations.

Preparation for the 2014 Olympics and the stories we plan to pitch to local and national media contacts was a big reason why I traveled the 14 hours from Augusta to Lake Placid to provide media relations and public relations services. The opportunity to meet media that cover the sport, and contacts at NBC, will be a huge plus for our future planning and pitching about Julia’s incredible story of perseverance and determination to compete in the sport she loves and to give back to the Maine community that she says has given her so much. Her work with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and their responsibility initiative is very impressive and also includes her new summer camp, Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls.

Julia has been planning for her success in her sport since she was 12 and it was great to see her hard work pay off in Lake Placid with two silver medals. From a media relations and public relations perspective, it was also exciting to plan all the details and logistics that made the weekend pure gold.

 

Julia Clukey at 2013 Luge World Cup

In the photo below, Olympian Julia Clukey from Augusta, Maine is interviewed by Duncan Kennedy from The NBC Sports Network as Julia’s nephew Lucas (age 4) looks on in his Kermit the Frog hat.

Olympian Julia Clukey wins two silver medals at the 2013 Luge World Cup.

The photo was taken last weekend when Julia won two silver medals at the 2013 World Cup. The photo was part of a photo shoot coordinated by NMC Account Executive Greg Glynn. Greg was in Lake Placid to help coordinate media relations and the photo shoot for Olympian Julia Clukey as part of her work with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association.

Greg teamed up with the AdWorkshop and professional photographer Shaun Ondak to coordinate the photo shoot. More photos from the shoot will be released in newspapers, magazines and posters later this year as Julia continues to prepare for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

From our entire team at NMC, we are proud to work with Julia and wish her well in her final luge World Cup race of the season in two weeks. To learn more about Olympian Julia Clukey, you can visit her website at www.clukeyluge.com.

Go Julia!