Company: Calysto Communications, Atlanta, GA
Company Description: Calysto Communications is a full service public relations firm focused solely on the specialized needs of the telecommunications, wireless and broadcasting industries. Calysto employs the services of 40 U.S.-based public relations professionals and more than 45 public relations professionals worldwide.
Nomination Category: Communications & Marketing Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Crisis Communications
Nomination Title: When Disaster Strikes: Using PR to Raise Funds and Client Visibility
In up to 500 words, tell the judges about the nominated campaign: its genesis, development, planning, commission, and performance to date:
When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March 2011, Jenifer Snyder, executive director, The mGive Foundation – the leading 501(c)(3) public charity enabling mobile donation campaigns in the U.S. – immediately began working with several nonprofits to process donations for victims. Snyder then turned to PR agency Calysto Communications to get the word out to potential donors.
The goal was to 1) maximize the total dollars raised and 2) leverage the focus on Japan to build visibility for mGive and mobile donations in general.
The budget: Less than $5,000. Strategies included:
• Get the Word Out Quickly. Calysto developed and distributed a press release publicizing the campaigns managed by The mGive Foundation the day the earthquake hit.
• Bridge Back to Key Messages. Calysto worked with its client to ensure the messages delivered during interviews covered not only how to donate but also the effectiveness of mobile donations in general – and The mGive Foundation’s role in that area.
• Reach the Client’s Target Audience. Calysto targeted mainstream, wireless and nonprofit publications as well as blogs read by the organization’s target partners and customers. Calysto also worked with a leading wireless industry association, CTIA, to publicize The mGive Foundation’s efforts.
• Use the News Story to Spark New Interest in The Foundation. Calysto leveraged the news coverage surrounding the disaster to try to spark new interest in The mGive Foundation among media
• Educate the Public. Calysto worked with The mGive Foundation to create an informational portal on its website to drive traffic to the site.
• Calysto secured coverage on Websites reaching more than 702 million unique visitors and in publications with around 3 million readers within four days after the disaster hit – including coverage in Forbes, MSNBC and Inside Dateline.
• Calysto’s relationship with one key Forbes reporter resulted in The mGive Foundation being featured in a Forbes story. Calysto’s trade relationships also led to coverage in leading wireless and nonprofit trade publications such as Wireless Week, 4G Trends, Connected Planet and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
• Website traffic at www.mgivefoundation.org surged after March 11, jumping from a few hits a day to more than 2,000 visits per day, with a total of 28,314 visits in March 2011. This compares to just 2,906 visits in February 2011. Nearly 89% of traffic in March was from first-time visitors.
• By leveraging the breaking news on Japan, Calysto secured stories or interviews with 35 publications that had not previously been interested in The mGive Foundation.
• Thanks in part to the publicity that Calysto secured for The mGive Foundation, American Idol featured the campaign of mGive’s largest partner, The Red Cross, one week after the disaster occurred.
• Days after the disaster, more than $2.6 million was raised for victims via donations texted to the Red Cross (an mGive partner) alone. Thanks in part to Calysto’s PR efforts with CTIA, an additional $350,480 in text donations was collected during CTIA’s annual tradeshow.
List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, work samples, videos, photographs, or other supporting materials that you would like the judges to see. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
Example of two follow-up stories that discuss mobile donations that ran soon after the Japan PR efforts:
Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the team that created and carried out the nominated communications campaign (up to 100 words):
Laura Borgstede has more than 20 years of executive management and marketing experience. She has successfully managed PR campaigns for industry leaders in the communications industry, including the first digital mobile network launch, the first consumer mobile phone and the first “world phone.” She founded Calysto in 1999 and today has team members in more than 40 U.S. cities – including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – and in several locations globally. In 2009, Laura was ranked one of the best U.S. PR professionals by PRSourceCode’s independent survey of technology reporters and analysts.