BU COMmunicator: Reilly Communications Wins National Media Relations Award

mike reilly

Appeared in BU COMmunicator Dec 2, 2015 by Huiqian (Alba) Feng

Last summer, Reilly Communications was honored with a National First Place Award in Media Relations by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) for an integrated public relations campaign for clients Robins & Morton, TRO JB and SMRT Inc.

Through extensive media coverage, speaking engagements and social media mentions, the winning campaign successfully portrayed the collaboration between all three clients in a $332 Million effort to plan, design and build the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, Maine for Maine General Health.

The award winners were announced in Los Aneles during the SMPS national conference in August. The same campaign also won an award from the Boston Chapter of SMPS in June.

Michael Reilly, owner and principal consultant at Reilly Communications and adjunct lecturer in public relations at BU, has won four major awards in the past five years for his company’s achievements, but finds this year’s to be most rewarding. With 30 years of experience in the communications field, Reilly is no stranger to campaigns like these, having spent many years at other media companies before forming his own agency in April of 2000.

As an alumnus with a Master of Science degree in communications and public relations, Reilly considers himself a ‘BU guy.’ He’s not only an adjunct at COM this semester, but also teaches a new leadership course called “Leadership and Executive Presence” at BU’s College of Professional Studies. And, it doesn’t stop there. His daughter Katie is a student at BU’s College of Arts and Sciences and plans on graduating in May 2017.

As a PR and communications professional working with many types of organizations, Reilly shared his advice for prospective COM graduates.

“With all the changes we are seeing in communications, the one constant qualifier for hiring is an ability to write well and speak well. These two skills are still of critical importance, so I tell my students to seek out opportunities to practice and advance them during your time at BU. The second thing I advise is to find what you love and make a career based on that passion,” Reilly said. “If you earn a living doing something that you truly love, whether it might be in sports, fashion, politics or technology, it’s never going to feel like work.”

Read Article in BU COMmuicatior December 2, 2015 by Huiqian (Alba) Feng
Alba is a blogger for the COMmunicator, and a first-year graduate student studying public relations. She is enthusiastic about traveling, food and languages, and is always down for aquatics sports.

Reilly Communications Wins National Media Relations Award

Boston, MA – A public relations campaign produced by Reilly Communications for clients TRO JB, SMRT Inc. and Robins & Morton was honored with a national First Place Award in Media Relations from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).

reilly communications mike reillyThe winning campaign highlighted the success stories achieved by the integrated design and building team formed to plan, design and build the $332 Million Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, Maine for Maine General Health. The team established an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract, with all parties including the owner agreeing to share the risks and rewards under a single partnership agreement. Reilly Communications was honored by the SMPS jury for promoting the fiscal and patient care success of this collaboration through media coverage, speaking engagements, awards, videos and social media posts.

The Maine General Health media campaign was also honored by the Boston Chapter of SMPS in June, winning an award in the Integrated Marketing Campaign category.

The campaign was planned and implemented on behalf of Boston-based architects and engineers TRO JB, Portland, Maine-based architects and engineers SMRT Inc., and Birmingham, Alabama-based building contractor Robins & Morton. The three firms opted to pursue PR opportunities together and hired Reilly Communications to provide public relations strategy and execution for the entire team.

The SMPS Marketing Communications Awards competition is the longest-standing, most prestigious awards program recognizing excellence in marketing and communications by professional services firms. The award winners were announced and honored in Los Angeles during the SMPS National Conference.

Storytelling for A/E/C Firms: Engage, Inspire, and Connect

When discussing ideas for a message strategy with clients, I ask to hear a story showing how the company stands out from the competition. Without hesitating for a second, the storyteller takes me to the heart of the firm’s success and distinction.

One of the big advantages professional service firms own, yet rarely use, is the power of their stories to connect and engage. Whether communicating via websites, project descriptions, videos, award submissions, blogs, or client conversations, most choose to play it safe. Why? Good storytelling requires us to take risks, and business communication is historically risk-averse.

Why Storytelling Works. Stories tap into our senses, emotions, and memories. Research on audience response consistently reveals that when information is relayed in the form of a story, people are more likely to remember it.

Our earliest learning experiences came from the stories read by our parents and teachers. The emotional power of storytelling continues in adulthood with the books, movies, and music we love. Think about the storytelling honed by every great preacher, journalist, historian, and ad writer. They take us to a place where journeys, doubts, obstacles, and resolutions come to life.

Getting Started. Begin by employing the classic methods of the craft. Storytelling techniques are universal and time-proven. Authentic stories use conflict and controversy to draw the reader or viewer in and spark engagement. Without these elements, it’s a brochure.

“One of the big advantages professional service firms own, yet rarely use, is the power of their stories to connect and engage with audiences.”

Sourcing your stories requires asking a different set of questions of the team and the client. What were the biggest risks and fears at the outset? Who were the key characters taking the journey, and what did they learn along the way? Did the experience change them, alter a conventional practice, or uncover a colossal lesson no one expected? Was there a key moment that turned the outcome from so-what to something unexpected?

Three Methods. There are several methods for telling a business story. The Classic is the most frequently used framework. It establishes a protagonist, often cast as the hero. There is the sidekick, loyal and sometimes conflicted. There is the journey, enlivened by the need to overcome big obstacles along the way, and finally the resolution. For most of our stories, the client is the protagonist and hero; we are the sidekick. This is hard for the all-about-me communicators. But it makes for a superior story when we can report on client success and our role in it. After all, where would Batman be without Robin, or Holmes without Watson?

Storytelling with Data is another great method. Here we use data and research to tell the story. Post occupancy metrics, noteworthy innovations leading to savings, evidence-based design, and research-driven success stories are well-matched to this method. Characters, plot, and journey are still important essentials; the data allows us to offer proof as part of the resolution.

The Dialogue Method allows us to bring the audience behind the scenes and eavesdrop on a key moment drawn from a project or company story. Show how a question or revelation moved the dial, turned skeptics into believers, or solved the unsolvable problem.

Each of these methods — and others — work well in both traditional and social media platforms. A data story, for example, can be told in 140 characters or a 2-minute video. Each method offers an entirely new opportunity for translating company knowledge and achievements into stories that will inject energy and authenticity into a content marketing strategy.

Choose one, find a story, and start connecting in ways the audience will enjoy and remember.

This article appeared in High Profile Monthly on Oct 27, 2015

BSA Interviews Michael Reilly

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Recent Q + A session with the Boston Society of Architects: