Getting ahead in the age of distraction
In the wake of the terrorist bombing in Boston, the people of this city went through the full range of human emotions. The immediate feelings of shock, fear, anger and grief were joined by pride in the brave reaction of our citizens and first responders. Then a wave of sadness as we saw the human impact on the victims, those we lost and those whose lives have been forever changed by horrible injuries. That sadness lingers. But alongside it has come a sense of resolve, and a desire to help.
From that desire to help – to do something – has emerged a remarkable event for the Boston public relations community. On May 29, our industry will come together at Boston PRoud – an evening to raise money for The One Fund Boston, the charity founded by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to raise money for the victims of the bombing. What started as an idea in a team meeting less than two weeks ago has gathered remarkable momentum. More than 30 public relations firms have agreed to come together to co-host this event, and in just a few days those firms have helped to sell more than 600 tickets to the event.
The news that there was going to be an event like this spread across the Boston PR community like wildfire. It went from one agency to another by word-of-mouth and every possible social network. Agencies went from hearing about the idea to making the donation required to become a co-host in a matter of minutes – then offered to help to promote the event further. PR Newswire immediately jumped on board as a sponsor, to help defray some of the costs of the event, and more sponsors are welcome as the event continues to expand.
We’re proud that the idea for the event started at Text100. But the reality is that everyone across Boston was feeling that desire to do something. The idea for Boston PRoud came along at the right time to capture that spirit, and gave people across our industry something to get behind.
What has been most rewarding about planning this event has been the opportunity to work side-by-side with agencies that we compete with every day. We have unbelievably talented people working across our industry – people who simply know how to get things done. That’s never been more true than in working toward this event. The idea for Boston PRoud would not have gotten off the ground without old friends at firms like fama PR, March Communications, PAN Communications and SHIFT Communications. Each saw the opportunity to do something and jumped on it. Within 48 hours of the first conversations between those five firms, we had 20 others lined up to participate. When we work together as an industry, we can accomplish things with breathtaking speed.
There was an interesting article in PR Week last Friday about whether the Text100/APCO Worldwide partnership for BlackBerry would start a trend of agencies working together. Whether it’s a trend remains to be seen. But what is clear is that with a common sense of purpose, agencies can work together to do great things. Whether for a client or an important charity, we’re all more successful if we remember it’s not about the agency, it’s about the cause.
So on May 29, at multiple venues on Boylston Street – the site of the bombing – the Boston PR community will gather and raise a glass as one. We will renew old friendships and make new ones while supporting a great cause.
Our shared contribution – at this point more than $45,000 and growing every day – is a drop in the bucket compared to the needs of the victims. But for one night at least, competitors will share a common purpose. And we’ll all have the feeling that we’ve done something.