When a Dorchester, Massachusetts, native became an NBA champion, the news made big waves throughout the community.
Not only had the city’s own Bruce Brown scored the winning points in the Denver Nuggets’ title-clinching Game 5, but he’d also told the Boston Globe that he hoped to bring the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy back to his hometown of Dorchester.
The prospect electrified the young members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an organization that has served over 4,000 youth through more than 200 programs at three local clubhouses.
Would Bruce Brown really come back to Dorchester with his trophy? And would the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester get the chance to meet him?
Together with Club leadership, Goodwin Consulting set out to make that dream a reality.
The Project: Bring NBA Star Bruce Brown to the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester
The biggest publicity wins are seldom solo endeavors. Goodwin’s collaborative campaign for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester is a prime example of how engagement at every level leads to meaningful results.
Here are the steps my public relations team took to move the project forward in the face of some surprising challenges.
Get everyone involved
When a board member reached out to our client about their idea to bring Bruce Brown to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, I immediately knew we would do whatever it took to make this happen. The board member, Andrew Graff, CEO of Allen & Gerritsen, was willing to oversee the first step of the project:
Lead Dorchester’s Boys & Girls Club members to create a video inviting Bruce (and the trophy!) back to Dorchester.
We sent the video everywhere: to local and regional news outlets, on social media, and beyond. We were certain we’d hear from our NBA champion in no time.
Stay the course
Suddenly, news outlets were reporting that Bruce had left the Denver Nuggets to become a free agent, meaning he no longer had access to the team’s trophy. Still, we got local news stations Channel 4 and Channel 7 to cover the Boys & Girls Clubs’ efforts with one small change to our message:
We don’t care about the trophy. Just come hang out with Dorchester’s youth!
We strengthened the ask by taking the Club’s revised message to social media and engaging the entire community in tagging Bruce Brown! We were doing everything right. But we still weren’t getting Bruce’s attention.
Together, we were making a lot of noise, but it wasn’t loud enough—at least not yet.
Follow the right connections
During a meeting with Bob Scannell, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, we described the difficulty we’d had trying to reach Bruce Brown’s agent. We’d left message after message to no avail. That’s when Bob chimed in and said, “I have a friend who knows Bruce’s agent. I may be able to get his direct line!”
With the agent’s number in hand and the entire project on the line, we got through to the agent on the third ring. We quickly shared our pitch with the agent, who said, “That sounds great! Let me put you in touch with Bruce’s PR person.”
Once connected to Bruce’s public relations manager, we sent over all the publicity we’d already created. “I love this!” his PR agent said, and she immediately began arranging for Bruce to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester in less than a week.
Bring the dream to life
On a beautiful Friday in August, Bruce Brown came to Dorchester, where he visited with more than 100 youth members of the Dorchester Boys & Girls Clubs. He played basketball with the kids, talked to them, shared advice, and signed countless shirts and posters.
During his visit, Bruce told the young people, “The best part is coming back to you guys and letting you know that you could do it, too.”
It had taken the persistence of dozens of people, but together, we’d made a wish come true and gave the kids of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester a truly unforgettable experience.
Making Magic Is Hard Work
Public relations agencies can achieve impressive publicity, but there’s no “magic” formula that works every time for every client.
You may be surprised to hear me say that the number one tool in any media relations toolbox is tenacity—a willingness to do whatever it takes to get a project across the finish line.
For the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, “whatever it takes” meant collaborating closely every step of the way. At every turn, Goodwin’s efforts were matched by the hard work and passion of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester and the entire local community.
A Full Year of Good Wins for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester
This month marks Goodwin Consulting’s one-year publicity partnership anniversary with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. In addition to the tremendous Bruce Brown press, we’ve reached several media relations milestones together in that short time. These are just a few highlights from the past year:
- Goodwin handled press releases, media interviews, event highlights, and business journal features for the organization’s New England Women’s Leadership Awards,
- Goodwin helped vet and hire an ad agency to develop branding for the nonprofit’s upcoming capital campaign to raise funds for a new Club in Dorchester.
- Goodwin arranged for a Boston Globe photographer to document the Club’s anniversary celebration of their Denny Center location. A large photograph from that event was published in the Boston Globe.
Whatever it takes
Goodwin’s media relations efforts for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester are intended to showcase the organization as an individual entity, separate from Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, and to draw attention to the important work being done for the youth and families of Dorchester.
Sometimes, it’s tough to anticipate the impact of a certain piece of publicity, but bringing Bruce Brown back to Dorchester was a clear impact moment. The kids who spent the day with him will never forget his kindness and encouragement. And we’ll never forget how our persistence paid off.