Case Study – Associations
Established in 1918 to oversee New Jersey’s scholastic athletics, NJSIAA sought SCG’s support a decade ago as it faced attacks by hostile legislators, including threats of investigation and regulatory oversight. As a governing body, NJSIAA was regularly thrust into national controversies on a host of topics, all while operating in a regulated environment and addressing issues that often involved minors. Currently representing 280,000 student-athletes, NJSIAA generated tremendous interest – yet, there was minimal understanding of the association’s role and responsibilities.
SCG established a comprehensive and ongoing media relations program, cultivating close ties to core journalists who shape public opinion on New Jersey high school sports. The relationships established through this program – which also has included outreach to national media outlets — quickly and dramatically increased the accuracy of reporting, with emphasis on complex and potentially confusing issues. SCG has worked in unison with NJSIAA’s government affairs agent to craft messaging to legislators, and spends hundreds of hours providing counsel during crisis situations. The agency’s activities also have included generation of key content for integration across shared and owned media channels.
Also a member of NJSIAA’s strategy-development committee, SCG has taken an organization that was the subject to criticism and frequent attacks by legislators and journalists, and cultivated an environment based on greater degrees of understanding and fairness. This significant upswing in organization’s reputation has been a boon to the student-athletes NJSIAA serves, since it enables them to compete in an environment where contention has been supplanted by open, stable communication channels.