We’re now 46 days from the start of the UN General Assembly on September 15. CowabUNGA! UNGA isn’t one of those never-too-late-to-be-great events. You can’t wing UNGA. You have to plan…uhh, yesterday.
During UNGA season, many, many, many groups organize events, run ads and carry out visibility stunts all at once. It’s like the campaign Olympics. And if your organization is thinking about long-jumping into the competition, have these 6 PR and marketing considerations on your mind from now through October:
1) Remember the Security Perimeter: Events that are possible in October in New York are impossible in the UNGA days of September. Given the high number of heads of state, diplomats and delegates in town, security is much tighter. If you’re doing a march or rally, you’ll need a permit. In many instances the city officials will do their best to accommodate your event, but you’ve got to give them a heads-up and secure the right permit or you’ll run the risk of being shut down.
The zone immediately around the UN building is off-limits for events. As for getting in the UN building, it is possible to get a personal ID badge building permit during UNGA but it needs to be set up in advance. So if you want to do media meetings, go to any sessions, or buy this sweet Lego Model UN straight from the source, you’ve got to get that badge locked in asap.
2) Give yourself and any event staff plenty of time to get around the city: The security perimeter, security screening lines, motorcades, and visibility events all make it much harder to move around the core UNGA and offsite event venues. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A-B. Remember that in many cases, the subway will be quicker than a cab/uber.
3) Make life easy for yourself and your press targets: Because of those long screening lines and security zone, don’t make reporters go in and out of the building to meet you offsite (unless you’re not able to get in). If possible, go to them. Meet them in the UN cafeteria, in the park outside, or down in the lower level UN press pool area. And…while you’re down there, see if there are any other reporters hanging around that you can introduce to yourself and your organization’s leadership!
4) Make life even easIER for yourself and your press targets: Reporters who cover global human rights or climate change issues know the UNGA is coming and are looking for angles to cover before they get to UNGA.If you are working on a relevant issue, send your senior policy lead or ED to meet with key reporters for briefings ahead of time, like in early September. A pre-UNGA coffee briefing is a great way to build the relationship, get key reporters primed for their coverage on the issue and know to reach out to you for comment if something breaks during the event.
5) Good Morning, USA Today! Many visiting staff, dignitaries and allied organizational leaders you want to reach with your message will be staying in the hotels near the UN. Consider what newspapers they will wake up to at their doorstep (or double-check with the front desk to see what they subscribe to for guests). Maybe this is the prime time to make an ad buy in a commonly stocked hotel paper like USA Today, The Wall St Journal and the Financial Times.
If you are thinking about buying an ad in NY around UNGA (in a newspaper or at a bus stop), buy it soon. If the NY ad space isn’t already booked up for late September, it will be soon.
6) While we’re talking hotels…Foot traffic between the UN building and nearby hotels will be heavy before and after major items on the UNGA agenda. These are the moments and places to employ your street teams and canvassers!
Remember, if you’re going to go big, go big. And get going! You only have 46 days left! (Fewer if you’re not reading this on the day that I posted it!)