Community Needs Come First in Considering PR Campaign

By Patricia Vernon

What happens when you have launched or are about to launch a public relations campaign in your community and a tragic or devastating event occurs? Drew Piers, partner and director of campaigns at Sachs Media Group in Tallahassee, offers some best practices. “Even if your message or campaign has the most positive message, if the timing is off, then everything is off. If a tragic or earth shattering event happens, and your message is not directly related, take a pause in your campaign. Big brands have tried to piggy-back off big news only to embarrass themselves, their employees or their customers.”

Piers offered an example from the most previous Florida legislative session. At the start of the session, legislators were focused on hurricane preparedness to create policies that would further strengthen the state’s readiness.  However, when the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida occurred on February 14, the focus became gun control. When tragedy like this strikes, it is time to re-evaluate your current public relations campaign strategy and make adjustments if necessary.

“You must be willing to adapt,” said Piers. “Be nimble and dynamic. Adjust your campaign strategy given the new development,” he added.

The Sachs Media Group is a full-service agency building entire public relations campaigns for clients. They also specialize in public affairs and crisis communications. “When tragedy strikes, we pull back on our strategies,” says Piers. “One way to get a positive, proactive message out there is to offer assistance.” Make sure that the type of assistance is a genuine fit for the mission and core values of your business or organization. In the wake of the February 14th tragedy, businesses and organizations who could provide supportive services to families in their grieving process reached out into the community. Doing the right thing in the community is always best for your organization or business.

Piers will present at the April 18th FPRA Gainesville Chapter luncheon on the past legislative session and how new policies will affect every day business. Understanding new policies which impact your industry, business and community should influence any public relations or marketing plan. Piers will also discuss a look ahead toward statewide issues coming down the road that will affect the Gainesville community. For more information, please visit

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