By Paul Brent

The Intelligent Community Forum is based in New York City and works with communities large and small from around the world to help them adopt and adapt to the opportunities of the Broadband Economy.

The Intelligent Community Forum became a market2world public relations client in late 2012, a referral from John Jung, CEO of Canada’s Technology Triangle who is also one of the forum’s co-founders and a collaborative innovation visionary.

Using in-house resources, the Intelligent Community Forum earned 45 media hits in a year, but they wanted more visibility to ramp adoption of their workshops, increase speaking opportunities, and ultimately receive more (well deserved) recognition for their movement. After our first full year of working with them, they had earned 356 media hits, a 691% increase. In 2014 we are on track to exceed that total. Global media coverage from Asia, Europe, Australia, South America, and North America described the Intelligent Community Forum using headlines such as "The bishop of the broadband economy" and "The metropolis doctors" and "Seizing destiny: The Intelligent Community Playbook."

Robert Bell, Intelligent Community co-founder dominates Mayor's and Cities homepage

How did we gain such a significant increase in exposure? First, we had very strong content and a great storyline to work with. The three co-founders of the Intelligent Community Forum are a brilliant group of thinkers who are effective when speaking with media or at conferences. They are also superb writers who deliver articles on time and on target to explain the Intelligent Community movement – how Intelligent Communities build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures. The Intelligent Community Forum studies and promotes the best practices of using information and communications technologies to achieve those goals. The forum has so far designated 126 communities.

Second, the annual awards program to choose the Intelligent Community of the Year reaches out to hundreds of communities who submit nominations. 21 are chosen for a shortlist that is eventually narrowed to seven and the final winner. Finally, the Intelligent Community Forum offers several innovative workshops and programs to accelerate communities that choose to work with them.

To connect those dots, we added a proactive, systematic media outreach program that leveraged great content, great community success stories and the respective communications departments of proud cities and regions who were succeeding with the Intelligent Community Forum. We have convinced several media outlets to accept the Intelligent Community Forum’s co-founders as regular contributors. Community award recipients now routinely spread the word inside and outside their cities – often to national media outlets.

Wanganui, New Zealand is one example. On its Web site’s homepage the District Council includes the Intelligent Community Forum Smart Community logo and posted a localized media release we provided. We secured an interview for the Region’s Digital Facilitator with the Intelligent Community Forum's Senior Fellow. The resulting article will be posted on the Wanganui Web site and also offered to local media. Wanganui regional staff is also active on Facebook and Twitter with regular posts about the announcements from the Intelligent Community Forum and Wanganui’s accomplishments as an Intelligent Community.

Ultimately, our success shines best through our clients. Louis Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, has offered this contribution to market2world’s testimonial page:

"We are a social business, which is particularly tricky to communicate. Yet market2world has given us a volume boost in bylined articles, feature stories, electronic media coverage and social media posts. We believe our global movement has been enhanced because of their professional and dedicated approach.” 

We now consider market2world an integral part of our marketing communications success as we fulfill our role to study and promote the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the demands and seize the opportunities presentented by information and communications technology."

(Paul Brent is Senior Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc. the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)