One of the great client projects we at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy help promote is “Comcast Cares Day” – the largest day of corporate volunteering in the nation.
It’s rewarding work. This year, more than 100,000 volunteers across the country and around the world joined together to make positive change on April 18th.
But it can also be challenging. Often, selling the story of good work and community involvement is tougher than finding media interested in a crisis situation. And, because Comcast Cares Day is something the company has been doing for 17 years, it was incumbent on us to find a new approach, a fresh angle in our communications planning.
In one of my first projects as a new associate at Ceisler Media, I was tasked with assisting on that planning. Working side by side with Ceisler Director Kate Wilhelm and the communications team at Comcast NBCUniversal, we decided to focus on a few key national story angles we thought could elevate the recognition of this wonderful national day of service into a more thorough issue- and character-driven story that would attract more media attention across many markets and interests.
We wanted to make this year’s effort fresh and appealing through a variety of media avenues and engagement opportunities.
From my own days at the CBS News Bureau in New York City, I learned there is a story in every event, happening or person – although you sometimes have to do a little bit of digging to find it and tell it. After many conversations among the Ceisler and Comcast teams, we decided to focus on Comcast NBCUniveral’s annual year-round efforts that would be reinforced regionally through myriad projects and opportunities around the country and within every level of the company and employees.
Given Comcast NBCUniversal’s long-standing tradition of philanthropy, we explored this concept further through the idea of the business of philanthropy and how it is achievable at such a large scale.
In Philadelphia, where Comcast NBCUniversal has a large community presence, we focused on a local event that would kick off Comcast Cares Day 2018. Working with Kate and the Comcast NBCUniversal team, we pinpointed a session at an ice skating rink in West Philadelphia where Comcast NBCUniversal’s Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, David L. Cohen, brought in heroes from the United States Women’s Hockey Team that won gold at the last Winter Olympics in Pyongyang.
The wonderful community event encapsulated everything Comcast Cares Day is about. It featured national icons, community leaders, company executives and – most importantly – the children of the area having fun and learning at the same time. It was the perfect intersection to showcase how Comcast NBCUniversal is able to thoughtfully and tangibly impact the communities they operate within. Not only did they provide a wonderful experience for local youth hockey athletes and ice skaters – but they surprised them with gifts of laptops and internet service to be used at home through their Internet Essential’s program.
This successful integration of corporate initiatives like Comcast Cares Day and Internet Essentials, while making it fun and appealing for the community and media alike, was also the end goal from the beginning. It was all smiles inside the ice rink as the children were able to enjoy a wonderful and enlightening experience in their community, interact with role models and head home with a tangible tool to further their learning experiences.
We used this wonderful experience that was filled with great photographs, videos and editorial content to kick of Comcast Cares Day in the media across many different outlets and markets. Using the success and color of this event and others like it, we were able to use it to engage both local sources like The Philadelphia Business Journal and The Philadelphia School Notebook and, at the same time, publish our stories via national publications like NBC News. In the end, Comcast Cares Day proved to be a great success for everyone involved across the country.
Tim Costa is an Associate in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office.