It’s been a humbling few days since I announced how I overcame, and I did, and then slid back a bit. Some of my energy seeped out as I filled boxes and tick off tasks that online life now requires of us as PR folks before I could return to my beloved writing FOR the project. So, today’s post is about how I lost the prime directive of my real time and current PR efforts for ¡Festival Judío! A Celebration of Latin American Jewish Culture. And, how I started back to the source with my signature ‘Bag and Board’ method.
Inaction can strike where we sit on the timeline of a project and the load of information that sits with us. Too much or too little.
Writers, and PR practitioners become temporary subject matter experts. They MUST gather and integrate loads of detail- be it to serve a live and public event or a product launch. It takes time. I do it in what I call layers. Each time you review and tackle the next strategic step, it IS a little less daunting. Isn’t it?
Get too little detail and you spin your wheels, and waste energy ‘mind reading’ as I call this time, instead of producing usable materials en route to results. Sure they may undergo many iterations but starting is half the battle. Right?
Get too much and you go from spin to sink. All those notes you took about- the principal players, team members, goals, mission, competition, vocabulary, brand elements, wish lists etc. can confuse. We all know what happens when a customer is confused. They walk. Inability to make a decision means no sale.
As the publicist of record I couldn’t walk. Not for my professional reputation and not for my genuine desire to see it succeed by rising to the challenge of a modest marketing budget. Resources were marked to enable presentation of great local talent to appear with guest artists and to highlight their contribution to the rich culture of our community. What’s not to love here?
So here’s what I did when I got a little lost, and who wouldn’t with this first time and big program:
- 2 big music and dance nights opening and closing the week: Tango and Klezmer infused with rhythms of samba-OK we know THAT one. Now add maracatu, afoxe, baiao and frevo styles. See what I mean?
- 5 film nights and one featured a Q&A after with the NYC based director flying in to talk about her award winning documentary
- 5 guest speakers -local expats and guests from Buenos Aires, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela on topics ranging from tango to trauma healing, politics to poetic narrative
- 1 children’s workshop in English and Spanish
- 1 book sale of specially selected Latin American Jewish authors
- 1 art show and sale with two artists whose work is shown and collected world wide. All under one comfy, climate controlled roof in a not so central yet still known location.
Relying on my BAG and BOARD method, I took the giant virtual bag of information pressing down ON my head. I spilled it out before me away from interruption by people or other project clutter.
Can you imagine a big and sturdy canvas mail bag? Each envelope and card inside represents a separate yet important detail – of the program and the people on it.
Then each element got categorized: films, foods, stakeholders, speakers, music nights, visual artists, book table. Who did I miss?
Once sorted into their reassigned groups, I could better perceive the values the categories were showing me. Who offered what to whom and when. Even Simon Sinek made a cameo appearance asking me, and the new piles, ‘What’s your why?”
Last step on today’s progress shared:
Each category got a card – a kind of ballot. That card went up on a board. Some people like using electronic recorders like Evernote or even whiteboards that are the actual entire walls of a room. I like a physical story board. That way, I can easily see and move pieces of information around in immediate relation to each other on the chessboard of order and strategy being built in front of me.
Bag of details and expectations, sometimes referred to as ye ol’ complex bag of hammers, ha!
Board to pin or tape categories to and make ’em stick in our awareness.
Next is the key ingredients I am looking for on that board.
it all begins with a story. What’s yours? Please share below or through the Contact form.
Read more details than you ever wanted of Helena Kaufman’s story here.