What We Do
The cornerstone of our success in working with clients begins with open, honest meetings where we exchange information and form realistic goals and assessments that guide us in developing a robust scope of work and viable time line for the delivery of our services.
- Media Relations
- Community Relations
- Governmental Affairs
- Public Relations
- Event Planning/Fund Raising
An integral part of any marketing and public relations plan is media relations. The term “media relations” encompasses publicity and/or press relations and involves a direct and aggressive relationship with the working media – the internet press, print and electronic. Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, wire services, and blogs are all target mediums with which we work using a number of techniques and resources. Social media (not to be confused with internet marketing) is a challenge but must be integrated into the total strategy.
While positive press is always the goal, any good media plan must provide for damage control in the event of a negative story. We make every effort to keep our clients positioned in a positive light; however, when an overzealous reporter uncovers something negative or unflattering, it is our practice to attempt to negotiate a softer media approach, or be prepared to step in and repair the damage.
Crisis media management is an important part of our media relations services. Most recently, we have provided “crisis media management” sessions for our clients and have developed a one-hour training program that we offer.
This discipline within our marketing mix is sometimes called Community Affairs, Public Awareness, Community Outreach, Cause Related Marketing and even Guerrilla Marketing. Call it what you will, but the “bottom line” of any marketing campaign is to reach into a given community with a specific message. Therefore, it would seem most obvious that a major phase of any marketing program would be community relations. However, we find that this discipline gets the least attention from corporate America as they plan and fund their marketing programs. Working with the community, creating an acceptable program with input from community representatives, has been on our priority list when developing marketing programs for our clients since the mid 1970’s.
Building community trust and confidence, in/and/for those who would offer solutions to problems or bring new products, techniques and facilities into a community, is a valuable resource-a skill that we have developed over the past thirty years. We have built and maintain a relationship with community leaders and we do not take these relationships for granted. Working and serving within the communities of this metropolitan area is a unique qualification for firstClass, inc.
We have noticed, more recently over the past ten years, a need for reliable representation to access government. In the completion of our projects for clients, we spend a lot of time and attention working and communicating with those elected officials and their staff from whom our clients needed workable relationships.
The ability to move through the network and levels of government takes persistence, patience, and positioning – characteristics and traits found within the staff of firstClass, inc. Years of working within the ranks of city, county, and state governments have given us the ability to succeed in this arena. Our relationships extend beyond Atlanta and Georgia – especially within the global African American communities.
Just as credibility is necessary to succeed in a community relations project, credibility is just as necessary in order to represent our clients within the government. Our representation is always above and beyond reproach.
Public Relations & Branding
This piece in the marketing mix is mostly misunderstood because public relations is such a nebulous term. Our definition of public relations is simply to engage in actions and activities that create and maintain a positive image and promotes good will and a valuable relationship with the public. Your image can also be defined as your brand. A public relations plan is one of the most reliable ways to build and protect your brand.
At firstClass, Inc., we have paid attention to the process of building stable and long-standing relationships with community leaders, organizational leaders, corporate leaders, grass-roots leaders and the working press. These influencers and stake-holders provide the means by which we are able to enhance your brand and communicate to the general public.
We have a 12 year relationship with an advertising agency that permits us to provide creative concepts for advertising campaigns for television, radio and print. Our team of experienced professionals will deliver seamless arrangements to insure that any advertising concept is an integral part of the overall marketing plan and will support public relations and promotions efforts. firstClass, inc. will also assist clients in the most basic of advertising services such as media buys for radio, print and outdoor; brochure/poster-layout and design; creative ideas for radio, print and outdoor; and direct mail.
Effective public relations and marketing programming depends on the effective gathering and analysis of information. Knowing target-market characteristics, perceptions, needs and behavior as well as other situational factors, supply the insight for designing informative and persuasive programs. Our emphasis on research reflects our premise that a public relations program is more likely to be relevant, important and motivating when knowledge replaces guesswork.
Specifically, research will be used as a basis to: develop or improve the brand and the program; refine the communications concept and message elements; and diagnose and measure effectiveness.
Promotions/Event Planning/Fund Raising
Within the scope of the services provided by firstClass, inc., we find that many clients require our consultation for short-term projects. In an attempt to summarize and provide a description of some of the work we do, we have categorized these projects as follows:
Sales promotion of a particular item or service; the promotion of a special event or the promotion of an idea or an individual are tasks that firstClass, inc. has undertaken for its clients over the years. Working within the pre-determined market defined by the client, using our logistical know-how and community relations experience–we have been able to achieve success.
The planning of special events, be it a five-day convention for 2,000 people or a birthday party for 150, is what firstClass, inc. has been effectively doing for more than thirty years. We have the organizational skills to handle the most complicated logistical situations; the experience to know where resources can be found; and the determination to check and re-check in order to “get it right” and produce the desired results for our clients.
Fundraising efforts may take many forms – from a special event to direct appeals executed through a direct mail piece or a telephone bank. Whatever course chosen to raise funds, it is imperative that innovative techniques be used to catch the attention of the giver.
firstClass, inc. has planned and had hands-on involvement in thousands of fundraising efforts since our inception. Techniques and strategies used are always developed with the approval of the client and must have client support.