How to Promote Activism Through PR and Marketing with Andrea Rodgers

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From generating new business leads to raising brand awareness, effective public relations and marketing strategies can provide a significant boon to a company’s profits. However, even in the cutthroat world of big business, raising profits isn’t the only argument in favor of developing and implementing PR and marketing tactics. As Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Marketing at Shedd Aquarium, Andrea Rodgers focuses her efforts on advancing Shedd’s mission of sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. Check out her tips to promote activism through PR and marketing. 

Establish Your Cause

If activism is more important to you than generating profits, you must first establish the good cause, policy or action you wish to promote. This isn’t a step to power through without careful consideration. Regardless of the cause you choose, it must be something you’re passionate about that drives society toward a better path in order to invoke true support. For Rodgers and Shedd Aquarium, much of their PR and marketing efforts are focused on promoting conservation. 

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“The heart of our living mission is the work we do across the globe to help save species and protect habitats,” Rodgers said. “Even when we’re dedicating our efforts to driving attendance and building awareness, we’re also out in the Bahamas trying to save coral reefs and other incredible work.”

Educate Your Audience

After you have carefully and intentionally identified the form of activism you want to advance, PR and marketing practices can help you teach your audience about its importance. From social media campaigns and press releases to earned media opportunities and speaking engagements, there’s no shortage of tactics to educate others and raise awareness for your cause. At Shedd Aquarium, the exhibits featuring endangered species provide a unique opportunity to educate attendees and show firsthand the need for conservation. 

“Being in such an urbanized world, we are often that portal to the ocean for people who live in Chicago or in the Midwest,” said Rodgers. “It’s our job to create those equitable opportunities for nature and the benefits that brings. When we bring somebody face-to-face with an endangered species, we can educate them in meaningful and relevant ways of what it means when you don’t use a straw or when you use a reusable water bottle.”

Expand Your Reach

Inspiring true change for your cause requires reaching the masses to support and reinforce your message, which is where a successful PR and marketing strategy comes into play. Proper research is the key to reaching more people as well as identifying media outlets and potential influencers to help further your mission. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced Shedd Aquarium to close its doors to guests, Rodgers turned her attention toward digital marketing strategies to reach a new and engaged audience. 

“Millennials and Gen Z are the future stewards of our planet, so reaching them is very important to us and one of the biggest ways in which we are is on the digital front,” she said. “Disruption bred innovation for us, and we were very fortunate that we used our virtual platforms and strategies to amplify and grow that audience to the point of doubling or tripling our engagement.”

Build and Maintain Trust

When you embark on a mission to promote activism rather than profits, it requires a steadfast commitment to the cause. Any signs or even perceived signs of veering off the established path can cause even the most passionate supporters to turn away. If building trust is the key to recruiting followers for your mission, maintaining that trust with consistency is the key to retaining them for the long haul. Shedd Aquarium cultivates trust with its audience through its unwavering commitment to care for the aquatic world. 

“It’s a privilege for us to have these animals in our care, so we never want to depict or display them in a way that is falsely positioning them,” Rodgers said. “We are very dedicated to showing the natural behavior and biology that truly makes these animals amazing. We want people to learn about our animals in their most natural state, so we’re very specific about that for sure.”

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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring an Agency Administrator! 

Agency Administrator Job Description: 

This is a part-time role providing overall administrative support to our CEO and Account Supervisor, and assisting with basic human resources and monthly accounting responsibilities. 

For this role, you’ll need to work in our downtown Little Rock office and be required to submit between 25-30 hours a week within the operating hours of 8:30 AM to 5 PM. On occasion, there is a need to work additional hours on evenings and weekends during a client launch or other events throughout the year.

While repetitive daily/monthly tasks are certainly part of this position, additional tasks assigned can vary from week to week based on the CEO’s needs and the needs of the agency. The most important responsibility of the Agency Administrator is to ensure that administrative tasks and projects are completed with a high level of efficiency, confidentiality, accuracy, flexibility and positivity.

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. 
  • Minimum of 2-5 years experience in the related field, dealing with financial information.
  • Must be able to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Quickbooks and Google Suite.
  • Must be able to multi-task and possess excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Basic knowledge of bookkeeping.
  • Must be able to use office equipment (copy/fax machine).
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and willing to tackle various ongoing projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent multitasking skills, with the ability to perform duties outside of the scope of work when necessary.
  • Must work well within a cross-functional team environment as well as independently.

Main Responsibilities

Human Resources

  • Provide support for hiring and onboarding of new employees 
  • Run bi-monthly payroll reports for intern/contractor payment
  • Coordinate new hire benefits and HR paperwork (health insurance, simple IRA, etc.) and enter into the payroll system. Plan yearly renewal meetings and update all payroll items.
  • Provide general responses to employee questions and requests on HR procedures, policies and information.
  • Process miscellaneous billings for payment & vendor management.
  • Responsible for keeping the Employee Handbook, HR policies and other HR information current and updated with the team. 

Accounting

  • Manage obligations to suppliers, customers and third-party vendors
  • Process bank deposits
  • Reconcile financial statements
  • Prepare, send and store invoices
  • Weekly expense reporting and time entry on behalf of the CEO
  • Contact clients and send reminders to ensure timely payments; Identify and address discrepancies
  • Report on the status of accounts payable and receivables twice a month
  • Update internal accounting databases and spreadsheets

Office Management/Leadership Support

  • Assist with presentation and client meeting set up; working with vendors 
  • Collect and prepare information for use in discussions/meetings of the agency leadership team and outside individuals. 
  • Assist CEO with volunteer activities – making calls, organizing catering and meetings in partnership with vendors. 
  • Management of client contracts/retainers – working with the account supervisor to ensure annual planning and timely renewal of contracts. 
  • Varying personal and professional administrative tasks including, but not limited to, booking appointments, research projects, coordinating travel, maintaining breakroom daily, maintaining storage organization and ordering office supplies, etc. 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position