Sunday, September 24, 2006

Church's PR Firm: Edelman

This is a bit dated, but interesting:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In 1995 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) retained
Edelman to assist with ongoing media relations, reputation management
and public affairs. In this relationship that spans more that six
years, Edelman has supported the Church's 150th anniversary of the
pioneers' trek into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, addressed
misconceptions about the Church and its beliefs and positioned the
Church as a defender of traditional family values.

Our first strategy to achieve these consisted of a series of bridge
building meetings where Edelman began opening doors with influencers
in the U.S. who shape and manage public opinion. Over the last six
years, Edelman has arranged a series of meetings with elite decision
makers who the Church had previously been unable to establish any sort
of relationship.

Using the global knowledge of Edelman's Vice Chairman International,
Michael Deaver, we were able to secure meetings with former Vice
President Al Gore, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Elizabeth Dole and William
Bennett among others. Other meetings assisted in a favorable profile
piece on 60 Minutes and consistent positive coverage in Time,
Newsweek, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The 1,300-mile Pioneer Trek re-enactment for the 150th anniversary was
the biggest event the Church has ever undertaken, and Edelman's
two-year planning effort resulted in countless placements including a
Time cover story, front page features in both The Washington Post and
New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, "CBS This Morning" and
"The Today Show." All network evening news shows covered the event. To
reach key international audiences, Edelman recruited reporters from
Japan and Korea to hike the trail and they delivered first-ever print
and broadcast coverage of the Church in those countries.

During the sesquicentennial, Edelman provided global media support and
assisted in an event at the Smithsonian's American History Museum.
Edelman also expanded its program to Europe where the Church is
seeking to elevate its communications activities. Through Edelman
offices in London, Madrid, Brussels and Frankfurt, we developed a
media strategy for strengthening the Church's reputation in areas
where the Church is viewed with skepticism.

Edelman also worked with the Church to maximize its internal
communications. We leveraged existing Church publications and other
mediums to mobilize the more than 11 million members worldwide. This
network ensured that the 60 Minutes profile was one of the most viewed
segments of the year, while the Time and U.S News & World Report cover
stories we were the magazines' top five sellers for the year. Through
new internal communication we were also able to drive the sales of the
Church president Gordon B. Hinckley's book, published by Random House,

Reputation management continues to be a priority for the Church and
Edelman helped retool the entire Church communications apparatus. We
developed a proactive, Web-based crisis preparation and response
program. In order to make the press materials more appealing to
mainstream and elite audiences, Edelman updated and reworked the text
and graphics of the press materials. Using these materials, as well as
an updated Church image we were able to position President Hinckley as
mainstream; now mentioned as one of the most admired men in America.

Edelman has assisted the Church when needed on Washington issues, such
as same sex marriage legislation. As part of our public affairs
effort, we promoted the LDS welfare program as a potential model for
Hill reformers reviewing the U.S. system in the mid-90's. We also
promoted positive messages with Hill audiences in a series of forums,
mailings and in-person visits.

Edelman continues to provide global media support for the thousands of
LDS missionaries in Europe, who do not enjoy the same access to
potential converts in Europe as in other parts of the world. We have
heightened the U.S. program to include targeting key cities and a
national feature outreach program that highlights the Church's welfare
efforts, genealogy research program and their involvement in local
communities. This included launching the Church's genealogy Web site,

Currently Edelman is working with the Church on the increased media
scrutiny due to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Beyond this project, day-to-day media relations, reputation management
and public affairs are ongoing.

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