Who won the Amazon/NY PR war?

For about two years, Amazon, the company all of us wished we had thought of and started, went on a massive nation-wide search for a second headquarters. Some said it was genuine while others called it a publicity and PR stunt. In either event, they eventually settled on Long Island, NY for their planned expansion that included 25,000 jobs and generous tax revenue — eventually.

About 360 cities competed for the venture, wanting the political credit for bringing their communities jobs and a partnership with the fourth largest company, and fastest-growing company in America if not the world. NY Gov. Cuomo and NY City Mayor De Blasio worked hard to make the deal happen and celebrating when it did.

Until it didn’t.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Amazon pulled the plug. Why? According to their own statements, the push back from local politicians and community activists foresaw a rocky road ahead. Who needs constant problems and roadblocks when you’re just trying to get packages shipped? So local NY politicians, who sing the praises of socialism, won and Amazon basically said, “who needs this.”

Those in NY who worked hard on the deal were not happy, but everybody went into spin mode, blaming Amazon for not being a good partner and unnecessarily killing a deal they worked so hard to make happen. They didn’t mention that the local politicians, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others wouldn’t even meet with them. She Tweeted the richest man in the world should not ask for a hand out from working people. That may be so, but tell that to those who were looking forward to a good job with good benefits and who now are left out in the cold.

Do people love Amazon more than socialism or the other way around? If you want a frying pan sent to your house by tomorrow, try calling someone in Venezuela.

Like most controversies, there are two sides to the story. But one thing is for certain. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, knows how to run and build a company. Not sure the same can be said for most Washington politicians.

Amazon has a large presence in NY already and an even larger one in Virginia, not to mention probably every state in the country. It is hard to tell who the winner is and who the loser is in this PR battle.

I don’t think it is New Yorkers who were looking forward to a better career.

The Marketing and PR Plan for Nonprofits

When we launch a marketing and PR campaign for a nonprofit, clients often ask us, “where do we start?” Unless the client is brand new, they already have done marketing. They usually have social media, issued some news releases, maybe put on a special event or two. and more. Usually with minimal success.

What we virtually always recommend is basic. Create a marketing and PR plan. Anybody in business finds this obvious. How can you build a building without blueprints? How can you get from point A to point B without a map or GPS?

So the first thing we do is the plan. And the plan starts with us getting to know the client. If we are to be an nonprofit’s PR strategist, we need to know everything about them. We need to know their strengths and weaknesses. What they have done and what they plan to do.

After we become oriented, we conduct interviews with key personnel to get internal perspectives on their vision for the organization. One would be surprised to learn how people who work at the same entity can have different views of how they are perceived by customers and those they serve.

We put all our research together, give it some thought, conduct additional outside research and create a plan. Often this plan contains an Action Item list of activities and in many instances it also included a crisis communication plan.

Why don’t organizations, nonprofits, create their own plan? Many do. But it often takes an outsider, someone with fresh eyes, to come in and see what they take for granted or assume everybody already knows.

If your nonprofit organization doesn’t have a current marketing and PR plan, or if your plan needs updating, consider creating one or at least a fresh approach. The world changes rapidly, donors come and go, opportunities arise unannounced. Remember, if you are not keeping ahead, or at least keeping up, you are falling behind.