When the war between Israel and Lebanon broke out this summer, Jewish community leaders in Boston knew they needed to get out the message about what Israel was doing and why.
Backed by the support of other local organizations, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) turned to its longtime agency, Regan Communications, to handle messaging during a crisis that was both global and local.
"The theme throughout the campaign [was] that it moved very quickly, and it changed every day as the war changed," says Kofi Jones (pictured), the Regan VP who leads the CJP account. The thrust of the work was to get out daily messages about what Israel was doing, why, and who its opponents were. The effort also addressed Boston's Israeli sister city, Haifa.
Regan assembled a "war room" for the groups to coordinate efforts, ensuring that Boston's Jewish community was speaking with one voice. "It wasn't about one agency or the other," Jones says. "It was about messaging." Regan worked closely with the media, writing Op-Eds, serving as spokespeople, organizing rallies, and sending e-mail blasts. The crowning achievement was a mission by a delegation of civic leaders, reporters, and Jones to Haifa amid the conflict, bringing back firsthand news of the war.
The efforts created a unified message in Boston during the war. The mission also strengthened the Boston-Haifa relationship and made the coalition that formed during the war a go-to spot for local media on all area Jewish issues. "[Because of the campaign], we ended up with much better coverage and a much better understanding and a presentation of point of view," says Patty Jacobson, CJP VP of marketing.
CJP continues to work with Regan, and both say the experience has been invaluable.
PR team: Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Boston) and Regan Communications (Boston)
Campaign: Boston Jewish organizations' communications during the Israel-Lebanon War
Duration: July to August 2006