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We bridge the private sector and the public interest,
We create benchmarks for measuring communications impact
We can reinvigorate your brand, and raise your visibility
Strategic public relations is more than publicity, media, and promotion: it's about relationships and your reputation.
Stakeholder research gets at the thinking behind perceptions, opinions and behaviors.
Stakeholders are the people with a stake in your company's actions, policies and practices, such as customers, employees, members, opinion leaders, donors, investors, analysts, and the media.
Communications audits evaluate how well your messages, materials and methods are reaching your target audiences.
Reputation audits measure who's saying what to whom, and why, about your company: they're a useful reality check.
Integrated communications planning means your outreach programs and messages dovetail to support and reinforce each other.
Strategic communications plans shape and refine your communications consistent with your business goals.
Messages are the well-chosen words that capture your unique relationship with your stakeholders, reinforcing your identity, commitment and brand.
Two-way communications help your target audiences communicate with you, and help you reach out to them.
Positioning statements tell your audiences where you stand relative to their interests and needs.
Facilitation breaks down barriers and builds up teamwork
Facilitation eases the process of change, from problem-solving through changing corporate culture.

Facilitation defuses conflict and keeps two-way communications open.
Getman Strategic Communications
Building Client Reputation and Relationships through Effective Communications

As your company grows, diversifies or changes leadership, we can help you refresh and unify your communications strategies, develop and implement programs, and keep your stakeholders informed and engaged.

We help you succeed in:
• getting closer to your stakeholders
• distinguishing your organization from the competition
• aligning your objectives, your audiences and your messages
• developing integrated, high impact programs
• advancing your business goals

Working with organizations that bridge the private sector and the public interest, we focus on raising awareness, positioning in the marketplace, and campaigns designed to change behavior.

If you need to reinvigorate your brand, raise your visibility, launch products or services, improve development results, break out of silos, or capture the multiplier effect of thoughtful, integrated programs, we can help.

We’re a small, specialized firm providing senior-level counsel and the resources to deliver results for small projects, ongoing programs, or national campaigns.

COUNSELING IS DYNAMIC, like working with watercolors. It requires
balance in composition, values and tone; patience and agility;
and respect for the properties and integrity of the medium.
Philosophy
Getman Strategic Communications was started in 1993 to provide integrated research, strategic program development and communications that get results.

We work collaboratively with clients to solve problems and seize opportunities. Along the way, we help to demystify the process, make change possible, and build your capacity to implement and manage programs.

We specialize in:
• qualitative research with target audiences
• evaluation of communication messages, materials, and methods
• strategic planning of integrated programs and projects
• message development from positioning or talking points through finished copy
• facilitation to break down barriers and build up teamwork


From understanding your stakeholders’ perceptions to helping you tell your story, our integrated approach can help you move forward on several fronts at once, for more immediate and powerful results.

HOW DO PEOPLE gather and process information to form opinions
and make decisions? How does communication
influence their thinking and behavior?
Ann Getman, Principal

Ann D. Getman, APR, founder and senior counsel of Getman Strategic Communications, brings more than public relations experience to the table. Her background as a sociologist, her listening skills, strong empathy, analytic approach, collaborative style and commitment to professional ethics provide a unique perspective.

Ann’s strengths include
• qualitative research and analysis
• facilitation and team-building skills
• innovative and effective program development
• creative thinking and engaging writing
• managing complex projects and processes, and
• an active social conscience.

Over 20 years, she has applied these skills to public service advertising and public information campaigns, building coalitions, brainstorming and branding, public affairs, marketing communications, and public relations programs and projects.

Ann is active in leadership and professional development both nationally and locally with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and an accredited member of Counselor’s Academy. A frequent presenter and speaker, Ann’s the source other practitioners turn to for counsel in research and strategic planning.

A member of the Independent Practitioner’s Network, PRConnections, Business Communicators Alliance, and Business Networking International, Ann has extensive networks of resources to complement her own skills and interests in meeting client needs.


STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS is more than publicity, media,
and promotion: it’s about building relationships
that engage your stakeholders.

Services

We see research, evaluation & planning, and message development as points along a continuum of knowing your market, positioning your company, and influencing stakeholder perceptions and behaviors. Our solutions engage your stakeholders with an integrated approach, often combining a variety of communication and public relations programs.

Our approach is to start with an aerial view of the situation to get the lay of the land, opportunities and barriers; plan the overall strategy/campaign and tactics on the ground to set your direction; and craft the tools to help you navigate and stay on course.

Our solutions are rich in two-way communications, allowing information to flow in from your audiences as well as sending information out. It’s that dynamic interaction that builds relationships that last, and reputations that open doors.

BEHAVIOR IS BASED ON PERCEPTIONS; perception is reality;
and perceptions change with or without communications.

Stakeholder Research

Stakeholders are the individuals and groups with a stake in the outcome of your decisions, actions and practices. They may include customers, employees, members, opinion leaders, donors, investors, analysts, prospects, regulators, potential partners and the media.

Stakeholder research gets at the thinking behind their perceptions, opinions and behaviors. It confirms what’s effective and provides insight into overcoming obstacles to engage your publics. Our qualitative research methods are direct, personal and professional, using interviews, surveys, focus groups, and direct observation.

We listen for your audiences’ underlying interests and language to learn what works, what they need and want to know about you, and what affects their behavior and decisions.

We use research to:
• measure stakeholder satisfaction and prioritize needs
• identify key community leaders, issues, and concerns
• develop positioning and messages
• test the effectiveness of messages and outreach activities
• determine what kinds of programs and outreach best match stakeholder interests and needs
• create benchmarks for measuring program impact.

EVALUATION AND PLANNING help you identify
what’s working and build on it to refresh
your messages, image and impact.

Evaluation & Planning

Communications evaluation looks first at where you’re being most effective in reaching your audiences (your messages, methods, and materials), and how well you are representing your company and speaking to your audiences’ changing interests and needs.

A strategic communications plan shapes and refines your communications, providing structure and flexibility, with guidelines for adapting to changing situations and opportunities, consistent with your business goals. It includes key positioning statements and messages; channels and activities to reach your audiences; resource allocation; quarterly implementation goals; and measures of effectiveness.

Our integrated public relations plans may draw from such programs as:
• identity and branding
• employee, member, or affiliate relations
• public affairs or public information
• government or community relations
• targeted media relations
• marketing communications
• issue or reputation management

POSITIONING DEFINES YOUR ORGANIZATION relative to
your stakeholders, with messages that differentiate
you and engage your audiences.
Message Development

A few well-chosen words can capture your unique relationship with your stakeholders, reinforcing your identity, commitment and brand. We help you layer messages that speak to different audiences and interests, in one clear voice. This creates a multiplier effect; every repetition of your messages, in every medium, reinforces the cumulative impact of your positioning, raising awareness and positive perceptions of your company.

We help tell your story in language that engages your audiences and resonates with their interests, values and imagination. Whether in brochures, annual reports, newsletters, books, media kits and press releases, white papers, articles and speeches, reports, or video scripts, engaging message copy gets results.

Effective messages will:
• inform, involve and motivate your audiences
• build awareness and enhance reputation
• educate or change public opinion
• increase employee or customer loyalty
• make complex or highly technical information accessible and useful
• inspire trust and confidence to build your reputation

FACILITATION EASES CHANGE through communication,
from solving problems to changing corporate culture.

Facilitation
Facilitation creates new opportunities and fresh perspectives to help move people with different perceptions or interests beyond impasse or discord, and draw out positive solutions. It is an effective method of defusing conflict and keeping two-way communications open.

We begin by helping your management and staff to understand the strategy and mechanics of the programs, own them, and internalize how programs affect your reputation and relationships.
When working with your external stakeholders, we represent your interests in an open, fair and positive process to reach mutually beneficial consensus, bringing trust, continuity and focus to the process of change.
Through facilitation, we can help you to:
• build internal consensus around reorganization and staffing changes
• create effective community relations through advisory groups, negotiation, two-way communications
• build coalitions of diverse interest groups working toward a common end
• help employees focus on common goals and build better teams
• stimulate creative breakthroughs
• work through collaborative planning between a company and the public

OUR CLIENTS ARE PARTNERS, and this dynamic builds synergy
and creativity, opens possibilities, and generates results
you believe in, own, and can carry forward.

Clients
Collaboration with clients is essential to the effectiveness of our work. As counselors and capacity-builders, we work with people who seek a collaborative approach to problem-solving and who value senior level counsel and a fresh, objective perspective.

Our clients are the key decision makers within organizations who can effect change: CEOs, VPs of Communication, Directors of Public Relations, Directors of Marketing, and Executive Directors.

A representative sample of our clients includes a wide variety of private and public organizations at the local, regional and national level.

Client List
(* denotes collaboration with strategic partners)

Business

• Better Business Bur. of MA, ME, VT
• Bryant Engineering Associates *
• Carol Brown & Associates *
• Gro Group
• Houghton-Mifflin
• Hydro-Québec *
• Integral Manage-ment Consultants
• Miller Wachman
• National Assoc. of REALTORS
• Nextel *
• Pelham House
• Raytheon
• Sales Staffers *


Nonprofit

• Boston Main Streets *
• The Brain Tumor Society
• Health Quarters
• Hostelling International/ American Youth Hostels
• Interstate Renewable Energy Coalition *
• Mass Environmental Trust
• National Association of REALTORS
• Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships *
• Peace Corps
• Turning 22 Coalition
• Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
• Volunteers of America
• World Resources Institute


Government

• City of Boston Office of Civil Rights
• Internal Revenue Service*
• MA Commission for the Blind
• MA Dept. of Environmental Protection
• MA Dept. of Public Health
• Medicare (HCFA)
• USDA/Forest Service
• Voter Registration Partnership

Our Clients Say….

“I’VE TURNED TO ANN GETMAN FOR HELP over nine years and in two different, very complex organizations. Her professional credentials, experience, and interpersonal skills make her effective in dealing with diverse stakeholders and potentially divisive, complex issues.
Her strategic and analytical skills ensure completeness and insightful, actionable recommendations that address the obvious and not-so-obvious issues.
Despite the challenges I’ve thrown at her over the years, she has always delivered in an outstanding, timely, cost-effective manner. I appreciate and value her professional counsel and her friendship.”

Steve Abbott, Vice President of Communications, Volunteers of America
National Office, Alexandria, VA

"THANKS SO MUCH for helping us shape positive messages and communications strategy with the membership around our annual meeting.
Your strategic, layered approach to messages in voter information packets, online FAQ and talking points helped us stay focused on putting member benefits first as we shaped our proposals and defined them for the membership.
We know that this played an important role in clarifying our positions, and members supported our proposals by a wide margin. Thanks for a job well done!”

Barbara Cheatham, Trustee,
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

“YOU HELPED OUR SENIOR STAFF under-stand the need for and the process of message development. Your professional facilitation of the positioning retreat for staff and directors helped us create our theme, ‘Setting the Standard’, which still resonates our core values and mission of ethics, reliability and integrity. Thank you!”
Robert H. Williams, President & CEO,
Better Business Bureau, Inc. of Eastern Massachusetts, Maine & Vermont

ONE SIZE NEVER FITS ALL. Every client’s needs are
unique, and the dynamic of working together
creates a unique approach and solution.
Cases

Our engagements vary according to our clients’ business objectives, sector and industry, product or service, and by where they are on the continuum of meeting their objectives through communications and public relations.

Below are some sample case summaries of the kinds of results we’ve been able to deliver to clients, and how we contributed to their success. Click on the titles in the following list for direct links, OR scroll down to browse the examples.

• Peace Corps: reintroduce brand and improve volunteer recruitment
• Volunteers of America: identity/branding campaign
• Nextel: regional launch campaign
• World Resources Institute: reputation research and assessment
• Hostelling International: improve member retention
• National social justice organization: membership relations program
• Mass Dept. Public Health: public education/media relations campaign
• MORE: a brief list of other cases available on request
Peace Corps
Reintroduce Brand and Improve Volunteer Recruitment

Situation Peace Corps needed to reintroduce its brand and messages to the American public, to revitalize its image and improve recruitment of qualified applicants.

Challenge and Approach The mission of peace and sustainable development was not being consistently presented across the country: focus on recruitment was yielding too high a percentage of under-qualified applicants. GSC conducted a comprehensive communications audit (internal and external) of messages, materials, and methods, as well as current recruitment, public affairs and media relations programs, and conducted target audience focus groups across the country. We used our findings and analysis to develop an integrated marketing and public outreach program with consistent, prioritized messages, media relations, advertising and public service campaigns to reintroduce the brand and recruit for specific skill sets.

Results Within two years, Peace Corps’s national visibility was substantially raised with the general public, gatekeepers and opinion leaders, and the campaign generated a 50% increase in the number of qualified applicants.
Volunteers of America
Identity and Branding Campaign

Situation This highly regarded national human service organization, with over 39 affiliates and facilities in 43 states, was one of America’s “best kept secrets,” in part because the variety of regional messages lacked continuity.

Challenge and Approach Through a communications audit, extensive interviews and stakeholder research, we crafted an integrated communications and marketing plan. To clarify the brand and build internal commitment, we developed and led a day-long retreat for the communications and public affairs advisory group representing affiliates, national board members and national headquarters staff. We led the group through a discussion of focus group and public opinion poll findings, and focused on areas of agreement. We created and facilitated a series of breakout group exercises designed to move small groups to consensus through incremental steps.

Results The retreat resulted in a consensus-based positioning statement that branded the organization’s distinctive mission and approach, and several tiers of supporting messages that became the core of its communications plan and outreach. Benchmark research showed that national aided awareness of Volunteers of America increased from 8% to 14%.

Nextel
Regional Launch Campaign

Situation Nextel cellular communications had been successfully launched on the Pacific coast and in the Midwest, and was being brought to the Boston market. It was a new entry in a crowded field, and it needed to launch the service regionally to make a splash and maintain continuity with the messages used in other regional roll-outs.

Challenge and Approach We conducted a quick review of market data, outreach plans and roll out in other regions, and recommended that Nextel focus its initial message on businesses with multiple operatives on the road, concentrating on its distinctive instant conferencing (walkie-talkie) feature as a management boon. We developed an integrated campaign including media relations, public relations and direct marketing. We wrote a backgrounder on cellular technology to educate the telecom and business press on digital v analog technology; a media kit including fact sheets, Q &A, technical diagrams of cell towers, dishes, coverage maps, and testimonials from reference accounts; and a series of news releases, cover letters, story idea letters and talking points for building relationships with regional business and trade publications.

Results Our recommendations differed significantly from the advertising-led roll outs in the Midwest and West, and Nextel followed our plan and captured significant coverage by focusing on mobile fleets and instant customer problem resolution. The campaign resulted in extensive, positive media coverage by editors, reporters and producers of business, technology, and science media, for a successful launch.

World Resources Institute
Reputation Research and Assessment

Situation The World Resources Institute (WRI) advances sustainable development through partnerships, research and programs in the US and developing countries. Its primary target audience had been a core of 100 elite environmental and development decision makers and opinion leaders.

Challenge and Approach To explore the feasibility o expanding WRI’s outreach to a broader audience as a more publicly visible institution, we conducted a reputation audit, interviewing 100 high-level CEOS, Executive Directors and elected officials. Using a series of interview questions we developed, we explored how they perceived and characterized the organization, its mission, goals, role and strengths, and their counsel for target audiences and future directions. We analyzed the results and presented a report and strategic communications plan to WRI leadership and staff, identifying what would be involved in reaching and engaging a more diverse, heterogeneous audience.

Results After careful review and consideration of the options and resources, WRI reconfirmed its commitment to an elite leadership audience, and renewed and refined its efforts to communicate with them more frequently and effectively.

Hostelling International-American Youth Hostels
Improve Member Retention

Situation HI-AYH had an unusual conundrum: its members weren’t its clients, and its clients weren’t its members. US members didn’t use domestic HI-AYH facilities, but used their memberships when traveling abroad: and those who did use US hostels were foreign visitors who belonged to HI in other countries.

Challenge and Approach Communications had evolved to target visitors rather than residents. HI needed to add value to membership and promote use of American hostels. Through a communications audit and extensive research with stakeholder groups, we were able to create a plan that integrated message strategy, better coordination and messaging for internal and external communication, and new channels for communicating with members about benefits in the States.

Results Within a year of launching the new campaign, domestic member renewals increased over 20%, membership applications increased, and AYH member use of domestic hostels increased substantially across the country.

National nonprofit organization
Member Relations Program

Situation An established national, faith-based membership organization working for world peace and social justice needed to update and revise its bylaws and articles of incorporation in order to adapt to changing technological, cultural and development opportunities. One change required a majority vote by members, the other a two-thirds vote, at an upcoming annual meeting.

Challenge and Approach The members had been content to support the board passively, and voter turnout was historically low: members needed to be engaged and mobilized around the vote to be taken at the meeting or by proxy. In three months, the organization needed to inform members, address their questions and concerns, and earn their support to streamline the organization. Working closely with the board, we interviewed members and developed messages to explain the issues in context, illustrate the benefits of the proposed changes to the organization, and redefine the role of membership. We researched the issue and developed clarifying messages and an integrated approach. We created direct mails, voter information packets, and proxy/ballot materials; wrote an article for the newsletter; created a voter information section on the web site; set up a telephone hotline and e-mail mechanism for getting questions answered; provided coaching to the board, and provided talking points for face-face discussions with members at the annual meeting.

Results Members responded in record numbers to the opportunity to interact with the organization and the board. New channels of communications were opened up, and both measures were passed by substantial margins by members attending the meeting and by proxy vote.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Osteoporosis Prevention/Education Campaign
Situation Osteoporosis is perceived as a problem particular to elderly women, although it can be debilitating to people at any age, depending on diet and lifestyle. Mass DPH needed to develop a preventive educational program to help people unlearn their assumptions, and relearn healthy behavior.

Challenge and Approach MPDH needed to create a program that got the best reach for the money to raise public awareness of the risks and realities of osteoporosis and teach preventive measures for strong bones. We began by reviewing national research on assumptions, misconceptions and information about osteoporosis, and Massachusetts health demographics. We developed an integrated campaign around a series of powerful messages aimed at different audiences, united under a single theme. We developed and facilitated a statewide health forum and a Boston-based event with speakers and individual cases testimonials; developed and implemented public affairs outreach with Mass. opinion leaders, public affairs editors and producers; conducted monthly media outreach with story idea letters, releases, features and resources; created a PSA campaign for radio and print; set up of an 800 number to track responses; and documented all media coverage and content analysis.

Results In a nine-month period, we generated 19 news stories and 35 soft news stories; two major features in the leading daily newspaper and top-rated TV news program; reached over 500 people through local health and educational fairs; generated attendance of 300 people at the event; secured features on five TV public affairs programs and one radio program; and generated over 1500 calls to the hotline requesting information, building a data base for future events and outreach.
MORE
These other case summaries are available on request:
• Badger Engineers: stockholders exhibit and branding collaterals
• The Brain Tumor Society: integrated communications campaign, identity/development/annual report
• City of Boston Office of Civil Rights: revised Fair Housing manual
• Gro Group: strategic goal-setting and business planning
• Health Quarters: market research and communications plan
• Hydro-Québec: integrated public affairs and media relations campaign
• Integral Management Consultants: identity campaign and marketing program
• Interstate Renewable Energy Council: media relations for 100 affiliates
• MA Dept. of Environmental Protection: Statewide summit and campaign on new auto emissions program
• MA Environmental Trust: program report and collaborative workbook
• Miller Wachman: identity/marketing brochure
• National Association of REALTORS: stakeholder research and internal communications plan
• Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership: communications audit and plan
• Pelham House Nursing Home: White paper for education and outreach
• Sales Staffers International, Inc.: branding and marketing collateral
• Volunteers of America: Christian Identity Workbook
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
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Contact Us
Thank you for visiting GetmanStrategicCommunications.com.
We hope you’ve browsed enough to have a sense of who we are, how we work, and why our approach is distinctive. Now that you’ve seen what we can do, let’s see what we can do for you, to build your reputation and relationships through effective communications
If you’d like more information about any of our capabilities, services or cases, contact us today at:

Ann Getman, APR
Getman Strategic Communications
45-11 Cogswell Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140-2051

Tel: 617-576-1847
Fax: 617-576-1272
E-mail Ann@GetmanStrategicCommunications.com