Boston Pride

Challenge

Boston Pride is a nonprofit organization that advocates for social justice on behalf of the LGBT community by disseminating news, promoting dialogue and mobilizing people to take action on issues of local, national and global significance. It produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond. O’Neill and Associates is the first PR agency that has ever worked with Boston Pride, beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2013 after winning the bid in a competitive RFP process. Boston Pride retained O’Neill and Associates for public relations services to garner and promote a positive and cohesive image for the organization throughout the 2012 and 2013 Boston Pride Seasons and to raise its profile as a worldwide thought leader in the LGBT community promoting civil rights among all.

The 2013 Boston Pride season presented some unique challenges as it was the first large-scale public event to be held in Copley Square after the Boston Marathon bombings. In addition, there was global media interest as the first professional athlete from a major sports league to come out as gay (Jason Collins) planned to march in the Boston Pride Parade on June 8.  O’Neill and Associates worked to garner advance publicity around the 10-days of the Boston Pride Festival and also coordinated a public forum with the organization’s Human Rights & Education Committee on LGBTs in Sports that was held at the Boston Public Library. As a result, the 2013 Boston Pride week was the most successful in the organization’s history with a record number of Parade groups, marchers and attendees.

Solution

O’Neill and Associates developed and implemented comprehensive public relations campaigns for both 2012 and 2013, including media relations, promotions and social media. Services included:

  • Messaging workshop with Boston Pride staff and Board members to better understand the strengths, goals and mission of the organization;
  • Sought and executed media partnerships for Boston Pride events, such as The Rainbow TimesBay WindowsBoston SpiritHuffington Post, WCVB Channel 5, Mix 104.1 FM and more;
  • Developed avenues for thought leadership, including the drafting and placing of op eds that appeared in the Huffington Post and the Rainbow Times;
  • Enhanced utilization of Boston Pride’s website as a way for the organization to more efficiently comment on issues impacting the LGBT community, including drafting content regarding President Obama’s announcement in support of marriage equality and the federal court ruling regarding the Defense of Marriage Act;
  • Coordinated a public forum in 2013 at the Boston Public Library with Boston Pride’s Human Rights & Education Committee with six panelists discussing LGBTs in Sports that was attended by more than 100 people;
  • Consolidated and rebranded social media accounts;
  • Drafted all content for and managing all social media networks for Boston Pride and Latino Pride;
  • Created and updated events throughout Pride Week on all social media networks;
  • Used social media to drive ticket sales and attendance to events throughout Pride Week;
  • Administered, updated and created content for official Boston Pride mobile application as well as developing and implementing the media outreach strategy for this first-in-the-nation mobile app;
  • Created content for a weekly e-mail newsletter to Boston Pride supporters;
  • Partnered with a graphic designer on marketing materials for the 2012 and 2013 Pride Seasons;
  • Developed a strategy for increased visibility around 2013 Pride Week flag-raising kickoff event, which attracted its largest crowd ever and also garnered more media attention than in previous years  with news stories  appearing in the Boston GlobeBoston Herald, television, radio and in local LGBT outlets; and
  • Pitched stories to the media on all aspects of the 2012 and 2013 Pride Seasons, including all Pride Week events.

Results

As a result of O’Neill and Associates’ campaign, Boston Pride has gained awareness throughout the community and beyond with the use of cohesive and targeted messaging, media relations, extensive social media efforts and community events. The annual events of Pride Week are now estimated to attract 300,000 people in attendance at the festival and parade and over one million people throughout Pride Week. O’Neill and Associates secured extensive media coverage for Boston Pride, including features on CNN, WCVB Channel 5, WBZ-TV, Fox 25, NBC Sports, New England Cable News, WBZ Radio and Mix 104.1 FM. News clips were also secured in each of the following: Boston GlobeBoston MetroBoston HeraldImproper BostonianBoston MagazineThe Boston PhoenixThe Rainbow TimesBay WindowsBoston SpiritHuffington Post and Stuff Magazine. O’Neill and Associates built a following on the Facebook and Twitter accounts for both Boston Pride and Latino Pride and garnered attention internationally with the social media content. O’Neill and Associates also assisted in the largely successful launch of the official Boston Pride iPhone application, which has been extremely popular to date, and has helped to increase traffic to the Boston Pride website. Finally, O’Neill and Associates has helped Boston Pride to enhance its reputation as a thought leader in the LGBT community.

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