Public Relations

Public Relations services have been a foundational service offering for The Wakeman Agency, since its inception over 18 years ago. Our understanding of the the holistic PR landscape has evolved over the past two decades, positioning our agency with a deep understanding of the complexities of today's media landscape.

We strategically help organizations tell stories in a way that connects the dots for audiences and propels them to action. The collective expertise of our team is a central part of our success, featuring veteran PR professionals across the progressive movement, public policy, nonprofit/NGO, and related sectors. The team is led by communications expert and The Wakeman Agency CEO, Vanessa Wakeman. Vanessa is a trusted advisor to nonprofit organizations and socially responsible companies globally. Recognized as one of 50 Game Changers of PR by PR News, a Champion of PR by PRWeek and one of 2020’s Most Influential Black Leaders by City & State New York, Vanessa's depth of knowledge and experience provides the foundation for the strategic component of our PR client engagements.

An effective public relations campaign  builds an emotional connection with  stakeholders and prompts them into desired actions. Depending on the client’s goals, we identify the best strategic and tactical approaches to execute upon. We perform research, conduct analysis and mine the landscape of the client’s space with an ear to the ground, an eye toward trend-spotting and a voice that ensures influencers take note. We ask probing questions and in some cases, make recommendations that encourage clients to step outside their comfort zone, to pursue new approaches that have high potential gain.

Raising the visibility of your organization or cause to key audiences helps accelerate progress on important issues. Our team are experts at writing clear and compelling media relations materials that garner response from journalists and editors. We have extensive, longstanding relationships with local, national and international press. We collaborate with established client entities seeking to expand their reach, as well as new players who need to establish and develop key media relationships. Pitching is in our blood - from online and print journalists and editorial writers to broadcast media. We book our clients on TV, radio, podcasts, and webstreams, documentaries, and other outlets. We collaborate on the writing and editing of OpEds, and place them where they will get the greatest strategic exposure. We help subject matter experts build profiles and prepare emerging voices to tell compelling stories in the media. When rapid response to breaking news is needed, we are steps ahead. Our ability to be proactive and reactive to the shifting media landscape is part of our secret sauce that helps us elevate our clients and inspire action from stakeholder audiences. 

For more information about our PR services, please contact Jennifer Lynn at [email protected] or 212-500-5953, x113.

Crisis planning has become part of our daily vernacular. The probability of an organization emerging from a crisis successfully depends on the organization’s ability to communicate with key audiences effectively. Risk management needs to be part of every communications plan and that is where many organizations fall short. Our job is to help you identify any areas of exposure and prepare, in a strategic way, what to do in a number of potentially devastating “what if…” situations.

Our goal is to provide clients with the guidance and resources to navigate a crisis in a way that strategically minimizes any damage to the organization’s reputation. We help navigate the many pressures and considerations encountered with multiple audiences during a crisis. This includes: 

  • Developing messaging strategy and preparing talking points;
  • Creating a short and long-term strategic and tactical plan, based on potential triggers and outcomes;
  • Preparing crisis communications, such as letters, press releases, and announcements;.
  • Providing media coaching for the appropriate spokesperson(s); and
  • Developing an after-action plan.

Our team can function as your sole crisis management partner, or in tandem with your in-house communications department.

Our crisis management services are both proactive and responsive. Over the years, we have provided strategic direction and tactical steps to many organizations, helping them maintain their reputation and minimize any long-term negative impact arising from a crisis. Our team provide step by step guidance, taking into consideration all of the relevant nuances needed in order to achieve the best possible outcomes from a crisis.

While we are a partner during a real-time crisis, we always recommend that organizations have a crisis plan in place in advance. The events of 2020 have emphasized that need in a very clear way. We work with clients on the creation of detailed crisis communications organizational handbooks, for domestic and global audiences. We also orchestrate and execute Crisis Drills. 

Crisis Drills

Through crisis drills and simulations, we help organizations anticipate challenges that may arise during an emergency and train teams on how to tactically respond. We’ve been called upon to help clients manage crises dealing with human resources issues, financial matters, legal claims, and a host of other potentially devastating challenges. 

In a crisis simulation, we have one goal: to prepare an organization to appropriately react and respond to a potentially damaging situation. Hindsight is the least valuable trait to have in a crisis, yet the one that people often rely on, to try to make sense of what has happened and what actions they should have taken.

A crisis simulation stress tests your organization’s resources in a real-life scenario, based on the greatest area(s) of risk. While you can’t predict when an emergency will hit, or what specific situation will turn into a crisis, you can plan and prepare for those areas that have the greatest vulnerability.

Our crisis drills offer:

  • Customized simulations geared specifically to an organization's needs. 
  • An experienced facilitator team, to observe drill participants' activities. 
  • Post-mortem, to review key findings from the simulation and provide written recommendations for areas of improvement. 

During the simulation, we take teams through a series of scenarios to see how key players in the organization manage the most important issues. It also reveals any areas of exposure in the organization's internal process, as they relate to information and workflow for handling emergency situations. Some of the crisis simulations are detailed productions with actors, while others are more simple, yet equally effective, workshops designed to provide teams the experience of a crisis.

Some of the most common challenges we identify are:

  • Ineffective messaging. 
  • Lack of communication, internally and externally. 
  • Inability to plan beyond the issue in the moment. 
  • Lack of ownership of tasks related to mitigating risk. 
  • Lack of awareness of areas of exposure. 

Our deep expertise as a communications agency uniquely positions us to focus on those areas that are of greatest threat to nonprofits and socially responsible companies. Our simulations increase your organization’s confidence that you can manage a threat and helps everyone involved to better understand and prepare for their role in the process.

Our team will:

  • Develop a crisis scenario, based on information gathered from your organization. 
  • Present and facilitate the simulation, and the appropriate triggers. 
  • Provide instructions and applicable documentation for participants.  
  • Provide real-time challenges and tasks, based on responses during the exercises. 
  • Provide feedback and recommendations post-event, for internal planning. 
  • Provide strategy and counsel, for the development of a PR crisis plan. 

The small investment of time and money involved in doing a crisis simulation allows organizations to rethink crisis planning, and gain a greater understanding of how to best prepare and leverage their resources.  

For more information on our Crisis Simulations and our overall crisis communications service offering, please contact Jennifer Lynn at [email protected] or 212-500-5953, x113.

Digital marketing is an imperative for the communications strategy for most organizations. We work with clients to provide social media planning and management services. Our work is usually part of a larger scope designed to strengthen how an organization connects with key stakeholder groups. Social media should be a component of an overall communications strategy, inclusive of public relations efforts, influencer engagement, and digital communications. 

Our social media services include:

  • Development of Editorial calendar and content
  • Providing recommendations for development of a strategy to tie-in your social media to other communications efforts
  • Providing recommendations for positioning on social media channels
  • Content development 
  • Influencer engagement campaigns

To learn more about the way in which social media marketing fits into our holistic PR services, please reach out to Jennifer Lynn via email at [email protected] or phone at 212-500-5953. x113.

We provide strategic support to nonprofit organizations and socially responsible companies that want to build influence and generate revenue for important social issues. Let’s talk about what that looks like for your organization.