The 2017 Maven Awards

Pro Bono/Nonprofit Activation

InkHouse for Sister Marches

Building a Movement

It all began this past New Year’s Eve, at the home of Tina Cassidy, InkHouse Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer. Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States and just 20 days remained until his inauguration. Boston-area activist and City Year Founder Alan Khazei inquired about some Women’s March protest signs in the corner of a room in Tina’s house, and asked
for Tina and InkHouse’s PR help: “We need PR,” said Alan. “We are working with
the Women’s March on Washington to get marches to go viral not just around the country, but around the world. We’re calling them Sister Marches. We need PR to make this happen.” Tina and her InkHouse colleagues immediately jumped into volunteer PR services to spread the word of the March—in particular, to heighten awareness of the global, allied Sister Marches that would occur simultaneously with the national Washington event.

The primary goals of the program—which needed to be met in a tight, three- week timeframe—were clear:

Drive significant awareness of Sister Marches as early as possible Encourage community organizers to create or attend local events Empower local organizers and activists with PR and social media tools and training to promote Sister Marches in their own communities

Maintain a steady drumbeat of media coverage prior to, during and following the Sister Marches, to maximize awareness and, ultimately, motivate citizen involvement globally

InkHouse created a comprehensive communications strategy for national and regional promotion of the Sister Marches, which included issuing three press releases and multiple media alerts introducing the concept of Sister Marches, and updating their global momentum. InkHouse also worked on a strategy for how to keep the momentum going after the March by building an organized movement from the bottom up, not the top down.

InkHouse planned to utilize the online-collaboration application Slack to inform planning, react, and adapt in real-time. For press outreach, InkHouse put forth the best and most earnest spokespersons and highlighted the most unique marches — those occurring in “red” states, women turning out in sub zero temperatures in Alaska, skiing in Europe, walking through a cancer ward, or marching on tropical islands— while promoting the collective power of Marches occurring not just in all 50 states, but on 7 continents.

InkHouse drafted tweets that were shared out on the Women’s March Twitter handle to its nearly 500,000 followers. InkHouse reached out to social media influencers, got them to share the news and managed highly complex media opportunities across continents with outlets such as the BBC.

The results far exceeded expectations. Early publicity engendered additional marches, which fostered additional publicity and further participation. By January
21, there was at least one march in every U.S. state, many U.S. territories, and on ALL seven continents (including Antarctica). According to TrendKite, a PR analytics tool InkHouse has invested in to measure its clients’ PR results, articles about the Sister March stories reached more than 8 billion readers by January 21. That figure is greater than the Earth’s population. The publicity garnered the desired results: mobilization of local activists and citizens to create and attend Sister Marches. The tally: 5 million people participated in a march on January 21, 2017, with the crowd at the Washington, D.C. March tripling the attendance of Trump’s inauguration.