Tag Archives: relationship building

Building Relationships through Community Involvement: Tips from Franco CEO Dan Ponder

Celebrating 30 years with Franco Public Relations Group, our CEO Dan Ponder has cemented himself as a business leader in Detroit. But Franco is far from his only commitment in the region. Ponder is also an active member of the community, serving in leadership positions for organizations throughout the state, including the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, St. John Providence Health System, The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division, Crime Stoppers of Michigan and the United States Army.

As public relations professionals, our careers are based on building strong relationships, whether they are with the media, clients and their audiences or the community as a whole. I sat down with Dan to gain a better understanding of how his leadership positions have shaped his career.

Ponder has selected the organizations that he serves in the community based on topics that he is passionate about: promotion of business in the community, creating a connected regional community for businesses of all sizes and giving a voice to those in need.

With Crime Stoppers and The Salvation Army, Ponder works with other board members to improve services for those in need in Detroit and the surrounding communities. These organizations improve our region by addressing key concerns of crime, safety and poverty in Metro Detroit by providing a support system to those who need it – an objective that Ponder is passionate about addressing.

2012: Franco CEO, Dan Ponder named to the Metropolitan Detroit Advisory Board of The Salvation Army.

2012: Franco CEO, Dan Ponder named to the Metropolitan Detroit Advisory Board of The Salvation Army.

With organizations like the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Ponder works to build relationships between Michigan businesses of all sizes.

“Michigan’s businesses depend on one another to share their skill sets and work toward shared missions,” said Ponder. “It is important that businesses of all sizes get involved in the community to work together and ensure our collective voice is heard by policy-makers and community leaders.”

This regional view of the business community has changed the way that Ponder views the community. The business and community decisions made in Detroit have an important impact throughout the state and region, and through his community involvement, Ponder has applied this knowledge to all aspects of his work, whether that means daily operations at Franco, or his work to build a healthy community in our region.

Dan Ponder’s involvement includes a wide range of organizations working to improve the regional community and business climate.

Dan Ponder’s involvement includes a wide range of organizations working to improve the regional community and business climate.

Ponder also shared his advice for those interested in becoming more involved in their community through leadership roles:

“Make sure the organization is something you’re passionate about that can also tie to your own career and organizational goals. I believe actively participating in all of the organizations I work with, and it helps to engage when the organization is working toward similar goals to your own.”

Ultimately, community involvement is a win-win-win for public relations professionals. Engaging with other leaders in the region leads to an improved community, stronger relationships and increased cooperation between businesses for a strong regional business climate.

Dan Horn is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5008 or horn@franco.com.

What “The Karate Kid” can teach you about public relations

As a child of the 80s, I often relate movies, music and other pop culture references to my daily life. Case in point: During my bi-weekly discussion with our intern, Sarah, we were going through her weekly public relations tasks. My brain scanned the vast 80s trivia knowledge and it dawned on me. I was Mr. Miyagi and she was Daniel-san. This was my chance to impart my useless 80s knowledge as a valuable teaching moment. There is a lot that can be learned about the art of public relations by applying the same principles as “The Karate Kid.”

Public Relations - Karate Kid

Newspapers, books, and “The Karate Kid”? These are all tools PR pros can use to master the craft of public relations.

Wax on, Wax off
Basic media relations knowledge can be learned through media monitoring and clipping placements. By repeating these tasks on a daily basis, you begin to learn about different media outlets, reporter’s names and their beats. So, when it comes time to pitch a reporter about a certain topic, you know who is most likely to cover it. Public relations professionals also can learn about the value of earned media through clipping and placement reports.

“Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything”
Something can be said about the value of patience, concentration and perseverance. Public relations professionals work hard developing and implementing strategic communication plans. A public relations campaign cannot be executed haphazardly. A successful plan is accomplished through careful and thoughtful planning, then carried out with hard work and discipline.

Crane technique
Mr. Miyagi tells his protégé, “Better learn balance. Balance is key.” A good public relations professional knows and understands balance. It’s so important that we’ve chosen it as one of three critical values that drive our work every day. Deadlines, client communications and workload can be balanced through excellent time management skills.

Don’t “sweep the leg”
During the final scene of the movie, Johnny’s sensai instructs him to “sweep the leg” of Daniel-san, and take him out of the competition. This is the exact opposite of what public relations professionals do. A main component of public relations is relationship building, whether it’s with the media or your client’s audience. It’s all about building trust.

My parting thought to public relations students and professionals? Just as Mr. Miyagi says to Daniel-san, “Don’t forget to breathe…important.”

What else can “The Karate Kid” teach you about public relations? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

Andrea Kenski is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092 or kenski@franco.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl and connect on LinkedIn.