Creating a Public Relations and Marketing Campaign for Your Chapter

Creating a Public Relations and
Marketing Campaign for
Your Chapter
Brother Bennie Harris, Ph.D.
Serious Sigma Conference
August 11, 2012
Consider these statistics:
The Number of U.S. Presidents
who have been Greek
The number of U.S.
Congressmen/women who
are Greek
The number of U.S. Senators who
are Greek
• The number of all U.S. Supreme Court
Justices who have been Greek
The number of Fortune 500
Executives who are Greek
... Greeks make up only 3%
of the U.S. Population
PR Challenges
• In recent years, Greek organizations
have been connected to such negative
issues as
– alcohol abuse,
– sexual assault,
– racism,
– sexism, and
– anti-intellectualism-to name just a few.
Stories of fraternity chapters and members
involved in unacceptable behavior fill the
90/10 View of Public Relations
What is Public Relations?
• Public relations involves all relationships
among people, from how a letter is written, to
the manner a guest is greeted, to how a social
event is hosted.
• Everything an individual or group is, does and
says is public relations.
• If an individual is a member of a Greek
organization, his or her behavior affects the
image of all Greeks. Thus, each member has a
role in Greek public relations.
Survey Says
• The message is clear: It’s time to clean
up our act! A survey of more than 100
Greek advisors, fraternity and sorority
leaders, and students from across the
continent reveals:
• When asked,
"How does the college or university
perceive the Greek system?”
• 86% Favorably
• 1% Unfavorably
• 13% No Opinion
"How do non-Greeks perceive
the Greek system?”
• 40% Favorably
• 38% Unfavorably
• 22% No Opinion
"How does the community
perceive the Greek system?”
• 32% Favorably
• 48% Unfavorably
• 20% No Opinion
• These results indicate the need to
focus the public relations effort on nonGreeks and communities.
• Non-Greeks are media, students,
parents, etc., while the community is
neighbors living near fraternity and
sorority houses.
• Marketing is an exchange in which
value is offered for value.
Necessary Marketing Tools
Fraternity’s Branding Materials
Chapter’s Branding Materials
A Message
Launch Points – vehicles to use for
final production (usually visual)
FBS Branding Materials
• Already available and easily accessible
• FBS has detailed electronic images,
discussed graphics vocabulary, and
provided FREE versions of all
CORRECT Fraternity graphic images
The fraternity conducted its first initiation on May 4, 1914, using a temporary manual formulated
by Charles I. Brown. Abraham M. Walker was the first of fourteen candidates to be initiated.
Alpha Chapter was then organized. Because recognition was granted by the Howard University
Board of Deans only six weeks before the close of the school year, the members decided not to
elect any new officers, but to finish out the few remaining weeks under the direction of the
officers of the organizing committee: A. Langston Taylor, Chairman; Charles I. Brown, ViceChairman; and Leonard F. Morse, Secretary-Treasurer.
When the 1914-1915 session of Howard University opened, all returning members assembled
and elected A. Langston Taylor the first President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Brother I.L.
Scruggs was elected Vice President and Leonard F. Morse was elected as SecretaryTreasurer. Brother Scruggs became Sigma’s second President the following year. Through the
heroic efforts of Brother Scruggs during the summer of 1914, Phi Beta Sigma was able to move
into the largest fraternity house in Washington only five months after its charter of organization
was granted. To win friends and wield influence among the faculty, the chapter decided to
invite to membership certain outstanding teachers. They were Dr. Edward Porter Davis, Dr.
Thomas W. Turner, T. Montgomery Gregory and Dr. Alain Leroy Locke. These professors were
spared the more rigorous features of initiation.
On March 4, 1915, Professor Herbert L. Stevens, a teacher at Wiley College, Marshall Texas,
was admitted as a graduate member by a special decree of the General Board; subsequently,
in October 1915, Professor Stevens presented the temporary organization to the General
Board. The General Board approved the temporary organization on November 13, 1915, and
Beta chapter was established. The establishment of Beta chapter at Wiley College gave Phi
Beta Sigma the distinction of being the first college fraternity among African-Americans to
operate south of Virginia. In November 1916, Gamma Chapter at Morgan College, Baltimore,
Maryland, was established. The General Board commissioned Brother I.L. Scruggs to organize
the chapter at Morgan.
How to do the greatest PR
campaign in the world
• Make a list of the top 25 most influential,
non-affiliated (with your organization),
undergraduate student leaders on your
• Make another list of the top 10
faculty/staff members who are best
positioned to help your cause but don’t
yet do so.
How to do the greatest PR
campaign in the world
• Take those 35 people out to coffee,
lunch, breakfast, dinner, or just for a
one-on-one meeting with you.
• Next, just ask questions. Listen. Ask
more questions. Listen carefully. Say
thank you.
Questions to ask during the
• “I’m trying to learn from the most
influential people on campus. I want to
make my group better, and I deeply
respect you. I want to learn from you.
The more honest your answers the
better I’ll be able to improve my group. I
really trust your opinion. Can I ask you
some questions?”
How to do the greatest PR
campaign in the world
• What do you really think of our fraternitydeep down?
• If sigma didn’t exist, how much would that
matter to you? to this campus?
• If you were in charge of our organization,
what would you do differently?
• How did you first learn of Phi Beta Sigma?
How to do the greatest PR
campaign in the world
• Why have you never joined our fraternity?
• What could we have done differently to
have attracted someone like you to our
• If you were part of a group with a mission
that read “Culture for Service and Service
for Humanity,” how would you lead it?
How to do the greatest PR
campaign in the world
• What type of people should we be seeking out
that we aren’t already? How do we find them?
• What are the groups on campus that you
respect the most? What makes them great in
your mind?
• Would you be willing to meet with some of my
fellow leaders to share this point of view?
• If I wanted to find other people who think like
you, who are 5 other people you’d recommend
I call?
Dynamic Recruitment
People Join
Horses vs.
Quantity Drives
Names List
Behaviors of the
Dynamic Recruitment
People Join People
Quantity Drives Quality
Interpersonal Skills Development
Product Knowledge
Behaviors of the Best
Audience Understanding
Names List
Values-Based Selection
Horses vs. Mules
Launch Points
• TV/Radio
– Interviews
– News Segments
– PSA’s
– Advertising
Launch Points
• Print Media
– The Press Release
– PSA’s
– Feature Article
– Advertising
– Chapter Letterhead
– Chapter Photos
Launch Points
• Most Accessible – THE COMPUTER
– Web Sites
– List Serves
– Blogs
– Emails
– Evites, Constant Contact
– Social Network Media
• You represent a national organization
• Represent FBS’s ideals
• Respect and honor FBS’s rules of
• Short and to the point
• Review and revise
• Balanced use of technologies=best mix
• Is your information relevant?
Newsworthy? Dated?
• Start lead-ins STRONG, POWERFUL
• Write for the media
• Stick to facts (unless a feature)
• Pick an angle and voice from which to
speak and remain consistent
• Active, not passive voice
• Word economy (K.I.S.S. – keep it short,
• Minimize jargon, frat talk