Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Archive for the ‘Castle News’ Category

Causes we care about

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 23, 2011


The Courage Cup Charity Golf Tournament for Snowball Express
The mission of Castle client Snowball Express is to create hope and new memories for children and family members of our fallen military heroes who have lost a loved one in combat since September 11, 2001. Snowball accomplishes this goal by creating events across the country that bring these families together as a community, allowing them to spend time with others like them, share their stories, celebrate their loved ones, create new relationships, and most importantly, realize that they have not been left behind.

On Monday, April 18, 2011, American Airlines and Fort Worth Air Power Foundation are hosting The Courage Cup, a charity golf tournament to benefit Snowball Express. The tournament will be held at the exclusive Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA. The event includes breakfast, 18 holes of spectacular golf, an awards lunch for all players and sponsors, and an exciting silent auction. Please join in and support Snowball Express and all of the incredible work they do for military families throughout the year

At Castle, we’re proud to support Snowball Express and its mission to help these families. For more information, contact Callie Ziobro at Castle, (617) 337-9533.

CWE Logo

The Center for Women & Enterprise’s Annual Auction & Gala Celebration will be Saturday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the Seaport Hotel and will feature a blockbuster live auction, cocktails, dinner and entertainment.

We encourage you to support CWE and its mission to transform lives by creating opportunities for women to become economically self-sufficient and prosperous through business and entrepreneurship.

This year’s goal is to raise $450,000 to help provide classes and services to all women, regardless of their ability to pay. For tickets, more information or to participate as a sponsor, please contact Mickey Riendeau at or (617) 532-0233.
Big Sister Logo

More than 300 girls are hoping for the chance to be matched with a Big Sister. There is also a particular need in Big Sister’s school-based program where women mentor girls once a week for 45 minutes during a girl’s lunch time. There are girls waiting in South End, Allston, Cambridge and Quincy schools.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Big Sister or to set up an information session at your company or with other organizations that you may belong to (e.g., churches, sororities and professional groups), please email Sheena Collier.

Congratulations to Big Sister for 60 years of service!

Big Sister 60 Years

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Castle welcomes Burns & Levinson, Grant Thornton

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 21, 2011

Castle welcomes law firm Burns & Levinson as a new client. A highly regarded mid-sized law firm with offices in Mass., New York and Rhode Island, Burns & Levinson place a special emphasis on partnership and collaboration with its clients.

Castle is also pleased to announce that Grant Thornton, an international audit, tax and advisory organization specializing in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology, joins our list of clients.

“We’re honored to have been retained by these prestigious professional services firms,” said Castle Principal Sandy Lish. “These relationships allow us to flex all of our marketing muscles–traditional media relations, social media, speaking, awards and networking strategies–and work alongside talented in-house marketers.”

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Castle adds partners, capabilities in India and Russia

Posted by thecastlegroup on December 20, 2010

Castle’s global PR network, PRGN, recently appointed two new member agencies. Joining the ranks of PRGN are Perfect Relations in India, and CROS Public Relations and Public Affairs in Moscow.

For clients with global needs, our network is more informed and “plugged in” than just about any other communications group. With local knowledge and histories of success, PRGN has grown significantly over the last few years.

Let us know if you’d like to learn more.


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Colliding Values: Dealing with Anger

Posted by thecastlegroup on October 8, 2010

Today, guest columnists Prof. Larry Susskind and Patrick Field (from Castle clients MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program and The Consensus Building Institute) write about the origins of public conflict and how to manage it.


Colliding Values: Dealing with Anger

Turn on the nightly news, pick up a newspaper or listen to your favorite radio station, and you’ll be bombarded with references to public anger: “The voters are angry.” “The Tea Party is speaking on behalf of the frustrated public.” “Partisan hostility is alive on Capitol Hill.” At The Consensus Building Institute and the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, we examine public anger and develop strategies to deal with it.

The public becomes especially angry when its beliefs have been ignored or ridiculed; this is because basic notions of self-worth are at stake. Values are not only about what we hold dear, but fundamentally about who we are. Debates involving values are not only about what we want, but also who we think we are and who we think “they” are in relation to us. Debates involving values upset our view of the world and ourselves.

In value-laden debates, to compromise or to accommodate neither advances one’s self-interest nor increases joint gains. Compromise, in its most pejorative sense, means abandoning deeply held beliefs, values or ideals. To negotiate with one’s values is to risk giving up one’s identity. Thus, such conflicts are intense.

Intense conflict begins when individuals feel threatened. The threat is perceived as an awful trade-off: either you survive or I do. In light of the perceived threat, distortions occur and over time individuals, groups or even nations begin to develop increasingly rigid explanations of their own actions and the actions of others. 

In order to maintain the integrity of our beliefs and our sense of self, we increasingly rely on stereotypes. As the process of demonization continues, the other side becomes “the enemy.” They are not only seen as different, but become dehumanized. Maintaining the conflict becomes central to each party’s identity. To maintain their own values, the groups in the conflict must keep the conflict alive. By continuing the conflict, each side encourages behavior in their adversaries that provides further evidence and incentive for continuing the conflict; identities have now become enmeshed in the ongoing feud.  

The good news is that conflicts that have reached this escalated stage can be resolved, or at least greatly reduced. At first, intervention can focus on an agreement on peripheral changes that does not eliminate the ongoing hostilities, but addresses specific problems. Next, we can introduce changes that alter some aspects of the ongoing relationship, but don’t challenge fundamental values, such as how the parties will relate to one another over time. The last step towards resolution is the most challenging, because we must answer difficult questions: How can we impact the fundamental identities that people hold dear? How can we change the way people view themselves in the context of this dispute?

At the Consensus Building Institute and the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program we have developed a method called the Mutual Gains Approach that de-escalates even the most heated conflicts. We encourage leaders to respect differences, listen to people’s concerns and make decisions openly. 

Find out more about the The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program & The Consensus Building Institute’s intensive two-day executive education program on November 2, “Dealing with an Angry Public.” 

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2nd BWP Odd Pairing Experiment

Posted by thecastlegroup on September 22, 2010

Sick of the same old events? Boston World Partnerships, an economic driver that I am proudly part of, is hosting its 2nd Odd Pairing Experiment. The first was a great mix of very different speakers, tons of meaningful attendees and an awesome venue. 

This next one promises the same. Here are details. 

Join Boston World Partnerships’ Connectors for our 2nd Odd Pairing Experiment.  Panelists will lead an interactive discussion on the topic of how organizations tell their stories. 

Damon Jones, Global Communications Director, Procter & Gamble, and former Director of Press Relations for the 2008 Democratic National Committee

Howard Anderson, Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan, Founder of The Yankee Group, and Co-Founder of Battery Ventures

Chris Colbert, Founder of the marketing agency Holland Mark, and sherpa of FutureM

Susan Rodgerson, Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Artists For Humanity

Peter Brown, Chief of Staff to the President & CEO of Partners Healthcare, Former News Director at WBZ-TV 


Dave McLaughlin, Executive Director of Boston World Partnerships and award-winning filmmaker 

When: Wednesday – October 6, 2010 

Where: Artists for Humanity EpiCenter
100 W 2nd St.
Boston, MA 02127 

Time: Registration: 6:00pm -6:30pm
Speaking Program: 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Networking Reception: 7:30pm – 9:00pm 

Fee: $55 early bird & BWP Connectors
$75 General Admission 

To buy tickets, please visit:

Posted in Castle News, Events & Incentives, fun stuff and more, Marketing, PR, Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dealing with an angry public?

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 19, 2010

If so, save November 2nd and 3rd for an intensive two-day senior executive program in Cambridge, Mass. with Castle clients the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program and Consensus Building Institute

Stay tuned for further details.

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Simply the best

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 11, 2010

We love to get our clients on “best of” lists; we like getting on them ourselves from time to time.
Castle has won the silver medal for PR in this year’s Banker & Tradesman “Best of 2010 Reader’s Poll.”  We also once again made the BBJ’s annual list of Top Event Firms. 

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We’re hiring

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 5, 2010

Castle is hiring. If you are, or know of, PR professionals with at least three years of experience, have them contact

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Partnership has its privileges

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 5, 2010

To borrow (and alter) a line from a famous advertising slogan, “Partnership has its privileges.” At Castle, we’re proud to partner with firms that augment our expertise, have similar business goals and interests, share our values and allow our networks to expand. 

Later this month we’re partnering with the Boston Business Journal to sponsor their August mixer at Castle’s nonprofit partner, the Courageous Sailing Center. Through our events and PR divisions, we’re partnering every day — with our clients, team, media, vendors, complementary firms and nonprofit organizations.

A partner is defined as: A person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor. Our partnerships are created based on previous shared experiences, common approaches to quality and ethics, and the ability to enjoy working together. In practice, every day, we apply that partnership philosophy.

Here’s how to turn business contacts into partners:

Clients: Think about what keeps them up at night and what engages them. Remember their goals are your goals. Their success is your success — and vice versa. If you want them to consider you an extension of their team (i.e., a partner!), act like one. Proactively share information and ideas. Find ways to connect inside and outside of business. Let them know — through deeds and words — that you consider them a partner.

Teammates: You can take your pick from lots of sports analogies, but since it’s summer, we’ll go with a water one: everyone rowing in the same direction. Share the direction, share in the success and challenges, and help everyone see how their role fits into the big picture.

Media: PR 101 — you cannot build relationships with the media by simply pitching stories. Think — really think — about what the reporters, editors, publishers and producers need, and help find it for them, even when it’s unrelated to the story you want to place.  Everyone is under the gun to get their job done, but if you understand that your objectives won’t always mesh, you can approach your interactions with true collaborative intent.  

Vendors: We’re a vendor (although we cringe at the word). Think of your vendor as an extension of your team — share the information they need to do the best possible job for you. Let them know how their efforts have helped you. A kind word and some understanding go a long way. And they will go the extra mile for a partner, as opposed to just another customer.

Nonprofit/Community/Civic Organizations: They have needs, but they can also be a resource. Take the time to meet with any organization you plan to join or support and really discuss how you can help one another. You would be surprised at how many organizations have mutually beneficial opportunities, if you just take the time to learn about each other.

Complementary Firms/Businesses: During the economic downturn, we saw firms lining up to “partner,” as a desperate step toward getting new business. In many cases, it didn’t work. Partnerships require effort, understanding and commitment, and each party has to be interested in the other’s success, and in the opportunities to collaborate. That is why PRGN, our global PR network, works so well. Our colleagues — agency principals — around the world value other members, especially through the lens of how those members can help their firms and their clients.

If partnerships are like marriages, we just celebrated our 14th anniversary last week. We’ve seen other partnerships come and go, but we’ve worked hard to apply our partnership approach to all of the people and organizations we touch every day. You can ask some of them how well it’s working if you come to our event with the Boston Business Journal on August 26. Hope to see you there.

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New services at Castle: In-house creative and production with MK3 Creative

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 5, 2010

Let’s call 2010 a year for fresh starts — after the past year, many businesses are more than ready for one. Putting those words into action, here at Castle we have exciting news about expanded services offerings in collaboration with our new strategic partner, Emmy Award-winning video and event production company, MK3 Creative. MK3 is fully integrated into Castle — under one roof and delivering the resources and expertise to give our clients critical marketing services that are natural complements to Castle’s communications and event management services.  
MK3 Creative masters both the medium and the message, combining the storytelling ability of an ad agency with the in-house capabilities of a production company. This includes video and event production, concept and copywriting, graphic design and interactive/digital services. We now have an on-site video editing suite, as well as a portable suite to service clients at their offices, conferences or other remote locations.  

There is a growing need for organizations to have cohesive brand and content control across all marketing platforms: traditional and social media, websites, events and more. This efficiency of resources allows our clients to experience high-level creative services — from PR campaigns, digital content (video and web), event and incentive services (theming, logistics, travel, presentation design, A/V, original video content).  

This is a not just a new model for delivering communications services, it’s the right model — the breadth of today’s marketing needs met under one roof, by one team, dedicated to client satisfaction.  

We look forward to sharing more about this new collaboration in the coming months. Feel free to get in touch to learn more. Check out MK3 Creative’s new website, too.  

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