what's happening at BG


On August 25, the iconic International Market Place, anchored by Hawai‘i’s first full-line Saks Fifth Avenue, re-opened to the public. Bennet Group provided strategic planning, public relations, media relations, marketing and event coordination for the grand openings of both Saks Fifth Avenue and International Market Place. The reimagined Waikīkī landmark has been under construction for several years and Bennet Group was thrilled to reintroduce the public to this storied place.

International Market Place is an inviting open-air shopping experience designed with a lush Hawaiian sense of place. The market place features a fire tower, three-story water wall, interactive entertainment stage, and the enormous banyan tree that is synonymous with the site. Nine unique restaurants crown this shopping center, making it the largest concentration of dining options in Waikīkī. On-site parking provides 700 spaces so visitors and kama‘āina alike can enjoy the 100+ shops and restaurants.

Located in the heart of International Market Place is Saks Fifth Avenue’s three-story retail destination – the brand’s first full-line store in the state of Hawai‘i. As anchor tenant, Saks Fifth Avenue offers an elevated assortment of elegant luxury brands to shoppers from all around the world. Guests can enjoy an extraordinary selection of shoes, womenswear, menswear, handbags, beauty products and jewelry, accompanied by stellar customer service. Saks Fifth Avenue Club and International Lounge provide personal shoppers, customized looks and a spa room where guests can enjoy refreshments, facials and more.


Our team took home a total of 17 awards at the annual PRSA Hawaii Koa Anvil Awards on July 28, held at the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach. The annual event honored the Bennet Group’s work for a handful of clients in 2015, including Aloha United Way, D.R. Horton’s Ho‘opili, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, The Howard Hughes Corporation®, ‘Iolani School, the International Astronomical Union, Maunakea Observatories, Outrigger Resorts, and more.

BG Promotes Megan Tsuchida

HONOLULU (Oct. 7, 2014) – Bennet Group Strategic Communications announced today that it has promoted Megan Tsuchida from account executive to senior account executive.

“Megan has proven herself as an incredibly valuable asset to our clients and our firm,” said Joan Bennet, president of Bennet Group Strategic Communications. “She consistently delivers innovative ideas and impressive results to all of her accounts, and we look forward to watching her flourish in her new role at Bennet Group.”

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Bennet Group Joins PVS on Worldwide Voyage

Bennet Group is proud to partner with the Polynesian Voyaging Society as they set sail on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, a historic journey of more than 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, and 26 countries around the globe. The Hokule’a and Hikianalia-now en route to Samoa-will circumnavigate the globe, teaching international communities the importance of protecting our ocean resources and respecting Island Earth. Bennet Group is honored to be a part of the ‘ohana wa’a and a strategic communications partner for this inspiring voyage.

Board’s Role in Corporate Social Media

Bennet Group’s continuing education on strategic communications, by Christine Matsuda Smith

Social media is dynamic, entertaining and captivating; an ever-changing and increasingly important way to communicate with your company’s key audiences.  More than that, these platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can provide profound insights into the wider perception of your organization in ways that were not possible before the advent of this new medium.  Social media is a valuable listening tool—not just a messaging tool—and it is critical that the leadership of any organization understand its utility in this increasingly digital world.

Not all companies can or even should be active with social media accounts.  However, not participating in the online conversation won’t preclude your company from being discussed without you. Powerful monitoring tools are available to help keep track of local, national and international comments mentioning your organization and its key issue areas.  Listening carefully to the conversation on social media can serve as an incredibly valuable source of new ideas and trends – or equally critical – as an early warning of reputational threats.

Social media provides a particularly intimate way of connecting with your key audiences in a way that is unique to the medium.  Rather than relying on a one-way flow of content, the real power of social media is the ability to create an immediate connection with an individual user. Responding to comments in real time with an authentic, personal reply can make the difference between a disgruntled former customer and a card-carrying brand loyalist.  It is the responsibility of the board of directors and executive leadership to establish a clear, comprehensive social media policy that shapes these online interactions and includes standards for response times, disclosure practices, brand usage and other key considerations in the online era.

Whether your online presence is well-established, or you’re just dipping your toes in the social media waters, your governing board and executive leadership should be asking these key questions:

– Are we listening to what is being said about the company on social media?

– Is there a social media policy in place for our communications team, general employees and board members?

– Are we dedicating the resources and encouraging the right culture to support best uses of social media?

As big data becomes increasingly powerful in the marketplace with integrated marketing and advertising and incredible personalization in the online sphere, social media will only rise in influence, popularity and power.  The landscape of popular platforms will continue to shift constantly, so rely on your digital marketing teams and strategic communications partners to stay up to date with the latest best practices.  Social media is here to stay, and can be a valuable weapon in your integrated communications arsenal.

Bennet Group is proud to offer a new social media training program specifically designed to address the needs of governing boards and executives.  Please contact Christine Matsuda Smith and Andrea Lum to learn more. 

PBN on BG’s New Office Space

“Bottom line, we find our virtual approach is a smart, sustainable, and elegant way to work, and is one of the reasons why both clients and employees continue to choose our firm.”

Joan Bennet, president of Bennet Group Strategic Communications, which recently leased out a small office space in the historic Dillingham Transportation Building in Downtown Honolulu. The large Honolulu-based public relations firms is one of the first companies of its size in the state to work virtually when it opened 16 years ago. The new space will add to the firm’s current business model, which it will continue to stick with.

Best of Show & Kau I Ka Hano Awards

Bennet Group received five honorable accolades at this year’s annual Koa Anvil Awards, presented by the Hawai’i chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). For the second year in a row, our firm also took home the highly sought-after “Best of Show” award, reserved for the top public relations campaign of the year. This year, Bennet Group received “Best of Show” for our campaign publicizing the Whole Foods Market Kailua Store grand opening.

Bennet Group also received eight accolades at this year’s Ilima Awards, presented by the Hawai’i chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Bennet Group was honored with IABC’s “Best in Show” prize, taking home the prestigious “Kau I Ka Hano Award,” for our public relations campaign for Forest City Hawaii’s “Flip the Switch” commissioning ceremony.

In total, this year Bennet Group received the following awards at the PRSA Hawai’i Koa Anvil Awards and IABC Hawai’i Ilima Awards:

PRSA Awards:

– Koa Anvil Award and “Best of Show” in events and observances for the Whole Foods Market Kailua Store grand opening
– Koa Anvil Certificate for events and observances for Ward Centers Small Business Saturday launch
– Koa Anvil Certificate for events and observances for the Inaugural Pacific Links Hawai’i Championship
– Koa Hammer Award for social media: text-based marketing programs for the Pillars of Peace Hawai’i launch
– Koa Hammer Award for press conferences for Forest City Hawaii’s launch of O’ahu’s largest solar farm

IABC Awards:

– Kau I Ka Hano Award for Forest City Hawaii’s launch of O’ahu’s largest solar farm
– The Ilima Award of Excellence for public relations program for the Whole Foods Market Kailua Store grand opening
-The Ilima Award of Excellence for media relations for Aloha Pacific Links Hawai’i
-The Ilima Award of Excellence for marketing communications for Aloha Wellness at Embassy Suites-Waikiki Beach Walk
-The Ilima Award of Merit for public relations program for the Pillars of Peace Hawai’i Launch
-The Ilima Award of Merit for media relations for the Finance Factors Charity Breakfast
-The Ilima Award of Merit for marketing communications for the Pillars of Peace Hawai’i Launch
-The Ilima Award of Merit for social media for the Pillars of Peace Hawai’i Launch

PICTURED: An award-winning team and some of our wonderful clients- from L-R Katie Gardner Ka’anapu (Ward Centers), Joan Bennet, Monica Salter, Crystal Yamasaki, Emma Wo, Dabney Gough (Whole Foods Market), Robbie Ann Kane (Hawai’i Community Foundation) and Anj Lum.

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