what's happening at BG

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.

Giving Back, Bennet Style

Bennet Group team members give back tirelessly to the community we serve. Each year, every Bennet Group employee volunteers more than 30 hours of their time working with their favorite local charity; the company also makes a matching gift donation to each charity selected. In this way, our employees can support the causes they feel passionate about – including Hawai’i Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Girl Scouts, to name just two.

Thanks to Emma Wo, we’re now also supporting the Hawai’i Rotary Youth Foundation, an organization that was founded by her grandfather, Maurice J. “Sully” Sullivan, in 1976. The organization was founded to assist Hawai’i’s high school graduates realize their potential by awarding 48 college scholarships to deserving youth each year. To date, the foundation has awarded 1,515 scholarships to Hawai’i’s future leaders.

We’re proud to help this fantastic organization that does much to improve the lives of Hawai’i’s young people.

Joan Bennet Takes to New Heights

Bennet Group’s president moves PR mountains on a daily basis, so it’s no surprise that she tackles some of the world’s highest peaks while out of the office. In October 2012 Bennet Group president Joan Bennet joined 14 other climbers to venture to the base camp of K2 – the world’s second-tallest peak. The group took an exploratory approach from China to avoid political instability in the more commonly traveled route from Pakistan. The 18-day trip was marked by splendor as well as set-backs. Although food was scarce and an avalanche prevented the group from reaching the advanced base camp, the climbers were treated to awe-inspiring sights and adventure.

Joan’s love of mountain climbing has taken her to Lanin volcano in Argentina, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tazania, Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, and two base camps of Mount Everest. This fall, Joan will take on Mount Everest’s Kangshung east face.

For more on Joan’s adventures, check out her interview with Hawaii Business Magazine.

Joan Bennet, President and CEO

Joan Bennet has more than 30 years of experience in providing strategic public relations, marketing and advertising counsel to a wide range of clients in the U.S. and Asia Pacific region. She specializes in strategic planning, corporate and executive positioning, crisis communications and grassroots advocacy campaigns. Prior to establishing her own firm, Ms. Bennet was Executive Vice President for Hill & Knowlton Hawaii, and Public Affairs Director for Hill & Knowlton in Sydney, Australia. Previously, she was Communications Manager for an environmental protection agency and a public utility in southern California.

Bennet has won numerous awards for her work, including an Outstanding Women in Leadership award from the YWCA. She has lectured on communications and public relations at U.S.C., U.C.L.A., the University of Hawaii and the University of Sydney. She graduated with a BA in journalism and public relations from the University of Southern California.

She is on the Board of the Girl Scouts, and provides pro bono services for a number of charitable causes throughout the state, including the Children’s Cancer Foundation, among others.

Bennet Group wins “Best of Show”

Akin to the Oscars of the PR world — Bennet Group Strategic Communications took home six awards at the 29th Annual Koa Anvil Awards, presented by the Hawaii chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on July 26, 2012.

Monica Salter, account director at Bennet Group, represented the company well as the lead executive for all of the winning campaigns, which included:

Koa Hammer Award of Excellence in the category of press conferences for Hoku Solar’s “Flip the Switch” commissioning ceremony at University of Hawaii’s Sinclair Library.

Koa Hammer Award of Excellence in the category of creative tactics for The Outrigger “Garden Sweepstakes” in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Koa Anvil Award of Excellence in the category of marketing: consumer services in travel and tourism/hospitality for Embassy Suites-Waikiki Beach Walk’s “Suite-est Deal” promotion.

Koa Anvil Award of Excellence for events and observances-seven days or fewer in business-services for Hoku Solar’s Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park commissioning ceremony.

Koa Anvil Award of Excellence for reputation/brand management in business-companies with sales more than $10 million. This award was for Hale Ka Lae’s community relations campaign “Hale Ka Lae Delivers Aloha,” and also won Bennet Group the coveted “Best of Show” award out of all 103 entries submitted.

Pillars of Peace

Bennet Group was truly honored to be a member of the team preparing to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012. We provided media relations support, among other services, for this historic visit.

His Holiness’ visit was designed to be an exchange of cultural values and historical lessons between His Holiness and the Native Hawaiian community. Our hope and the hope of our clients is that through this wonderful event, discussion and contemplation of peace and compassion will find their way around the world.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in two separate public events during his visit to Oahu: both at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus. The first event, for high school and college students, took place on April 14. The second event, open to the general public, was held on April 15.

Please visit the Pillars of Hawai‘i website for additional information on His Holiness’ visit. You can also follow Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i on Facebook and on Twitter.

Whole Foods Market

For nearly five years, Bennet Group has worked with Whole Foods Market to represent the company’s Hawaii stores. The firm manages community relations, media relations and driving sales and traffic to its two Hawaii stores in Kahala and Kahului, which continue to see increased traffic and sales year-over-year.

Due to Bennet Group’s strong relationship with the company, Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific (SOPAC) region recently retained Bennet Group to additional public relations support on a larger, regional level. The SOPAC region currently oversees public relations needs for 44 stores, with locations in Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada Las Vegas and Hawaii, and plans to assist with the opening of five new SOPAC stores in 2012.

Whole Foods Market Kailua
Bennet Group helped the company quickly and effectively communicate and establish Whole Foods Market as a perfect fit for the Kailua community. This was achieved through various meetings with key community and government leaders, during which the company was able to showcase its close alignment in values with its residents. By leveraging and building upon the great reputation Whole Foods Market previously established, the company enjoyed a successful grand opening in Kailua April 2012.

Whole Foods Market Kahului
In order to mark the arrival of Whole Foods Market on Maui, Bennet Group worked with Whole Foods Market to implement a number of strategic initiatives, including traditional media relations, hosting a VIP event for local Maui partners, promoting the store opening via social media (including twitter and Facebook) – giving away tickets to the special preview party through those outlets – as well as media tours.

As a result of the marketing team’s coordination, Whole Foods Market Kahului’s grand opening received more than $166,801 in earned media coverage – a more than 23 times return on the grand opening budget. On opening day the store’s sales were $155,005, with 4,930 shoppers coming through the doors. During the store’s first five days (Wednesday through Sunday) 19,426 shoppers visited the store, with $593,169 in sales.

D.R. Horton – Schuler Division’s Hoopili

When one of the nation’s largest home builders, D.R. Horton-Schuler Division (DRH), needed to build community support for its Hoopili project—a proposed, 1,554 acre, mixed-use, sustainable development in East Kapolei — it retained Bennet Group to assist with each stage of the entitlement and approval process.

With Bennet Group’s assistance, DRH created Hoopili’s Community Task Force, inviting community leaders and active residents from the greater Ewa region to come together to share their visions for the area’s future. Now approaching its sixth year as partners with DRH, the Task Force continues to serve as an advisory group for many planning elements for the project, including land uses, the relationship to rail and other issues such as traffic, transportation and connectivity to the existing, surrounding neighborhoods.

Bennet Group also manages Hoopili’s entire community relations effort, which entails building support throughout the community using various communications tools, including monthly e-newsletters, website management and media relations.

Additionally, Bennet Group is responsible for directing the community outreach program which involves ongoing interaction with key stakeholders from the community – such as residents, business partners, elected officials and key government entities.

Another key component to strengthening DRH’s brand is the company’s community giving program. Bennet Group ensures that the company – along with DRH’s philanthropic arm, the Schuler Family Foundation – is recognized as one of the state’s most generous corporate donors.

Bank of Hawaii


Bennet Group has worked with Hawaii’s oldest and largest bank for more than a decade providing internal and external communications services. Using a variety of communications channels, Bennet Group helps BOH showcase its people, products and philosophy, as well as spotlight its very generous community giving program. Bennet Group has helped secure media coverage for BOH in print, radio, television and online media outlets, further extending the bank’s brand strength, customer loyalty and community engagement.

Page 3 of 512345