Leveraging WOM to Make Up for Shallow Pockets

In spreading awareness of SITES sustainable landscape standards with a limited budget and even more limited staff time, the communications team needed to leverage partners, volunteers and evangelists to the best of its ability. The American Society of Landscape Architect's public relations manager, Jim Lapides, offers tips on how to best activate fans and partners to be media relations emissaries.

• Give evangelists the tools they need. The team used the network of their respective organizational members and new participating organizations by providing them with presentations, articles and news releases. The team also provided SITES Pilot Projects with a turnkey news release that they could use in a coordinated announcement. “We tried to give them tools and encouragement to help carry the water on the outreach side. There’s no way that we could accomplish the type of media success or outreach success without all the people volunteering themselves on behalf of the initiative,” says Lapides.

• It’s great to talk tactics, but that doesn’t work without a really strong program. “With a lot of our volunteers, you couldn’t force them to talk more about SITES,” says Lapides. “Lots of people were out there talking—in the hundreds and probably thousands, just because they cared about it.”

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See the entire ASLA case study in PR News.

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