You are on page 1of 5

Youth Escort Policy Public Relations Plan

Current as of 07/02/12 Background The Citadel recently implemented a youth escort policy stating that a parent or guardian must accompany shoppers under the age of eighteen on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 pm until close. The following plan has been developed to handle requests for information and outline an appropriate communications strategy during the initial months of the youth escort program in the shopping center. Early and frequent communication in the implementation of a new policy is important in order to ensure the success of the policy while avoiding marginalization of youth shoppers. Goals Demonstrate that The Citadel values all of its consumers equally. Demonstrate The Citadels intention to be open and highly communicative with its merchants and the larger Colorado Springs community. Successfully implement and enforce the youth escort policy to support merchants while minimizing conflict with potential young shoppers.

Overall Strategy Provide accurate and timely information on the situation leading up to the implementation of the policy to the media community, businesses, and associates of The Citadel: if and when asked. Information would not be released until necessary, in an immediate response to a query. It is critical to address issues and concerns. Educate Citadel merchants and security personnel on appropriate communication tactics in terms of the policy.

Overall Challenges / Issues Maintaining a positive environment for all parties in The Citadel Potential loss of traffic 1

Enforcing the youth escort policy with minimal physical and verbal conflict

Greater Colorado Springs Community Challenges / Issues Sentiment of exclusion of certain demographics

Associate Challenges / Issues Associates being fearful of impact of the organizations policy due to potential loss of business Associates using proper communication techniques toward consumers

Target Audiences The Citadel employees and merchants Community Current consumers Community - Greater Colorado Springs Community leaders/Elected officials (if and when necessary) News Media

Key Messages The Citadel welcomes shoppers of all ages. However, if you are under 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00pm until close for the safety and security of all patrons. Youth escort policies have been implemented in two-thirds of shopping centers nationwide, and they have proven successful for all parties involved. The Colorado Springs community is important to The Citadel, and we value your support throughout the last 40 years.

Strategies / Tactics Communicating Policy To Citadel Employees and Merchants Use existing employee and merchant meetings during various shifts to inform employees and merchants of the status of the situation and answer questions. Provide employees and merchants with an emergency contact list. Host Coffees with the Jills or with Security Director to make the leadership available. 2

Provide employees and merchants key message cards with answers to frequently asked questions. Post information, as it becomes available, through email newsletter.

Communicating to the Community Current Consumers Post signs at every entrance to welcome shoppers, but remind them of the escort policy in a friendly manner. Provide informational pamphlets about The Citadel and the new policy at Guest Services, and post information online. Encourage traffic into The Citadel with events and promotions, so as not to experience loss in consumers of a certain demographic.

Spreading the Word to the Community- Greater Colorado Springs Create a FAQ one page sheet about the new program and post it on the website.

Responding To Community Leaders / Elected Officials Schedule one-on-one meetings with local community leaders and elected officials to provide them with information about the safety and loitering concerns if necessary.

Engaging News Media Set up one-on-ones with local news media outlets to explain the current situation if and when asked, and let them know that The Citadel is always concerned when youth are not being supervised. This policy is for their safety and security.

Guidelines for Tracking Measurable Communication Outreach Track attendance at quarterly merchant meetings Track requests for Coffee with the Jills or Security Director Track effectiveness of promotions and Citadel events Track key messages in news media Track Web Site hits on The Citadels information page Track activity on social media sites Collect and record all questions and comments from all parties by topic 3

Communication Checklist As needed to handle necessary communication Citadel Employees and Merchants: Quarterly Meetings: Invite all employees and merchants and encourage attendance . Discuss goals and execution of new policy, and update employees and merchants with any policy changes or new information. Key Message Cards: Develop pocket-sized cards using key messages listed above. Print and hand out to employees and merchants at meetings. Post Information in Newsletters: Draft informational copy using key messages and send via newsletter. Update as new information becomes available. Community Current Consumers Design, print, and post stand-alone signs at Citadel entrances, Guest Services, and in restrooms. Design virtual flyer for new policy and post on website and Facebook. Community Leaders/Elected Officials: One-on-Ones; as necessary: Develop list of Community Leaders and Elected Officials Schedule meetings (upon request) The meetings should be held at Community Leaders/Elected Officials offices News Media: One-on-Ones; in response to query only: Red Energy to maintain list of News Media Schedule meetings at their offices (upon request if necessary) Provide them with a fact sheet including The Citadels policy and information on similar youth escort policies nationwide, and how it benefits the youth themselves, other patrons, and the merchants.

Youth Escort Policy (YEP) Frequently Asked Questions


Q: A: Why does The Citadel need a youth escort policy? The Citadel is implementing a youth escort policy for the safety and security of all patrons. The safety of our young shoppers is especially important to us, and we will maintain the youth escort policy so long as it is effective. How does the youth escort policy work? The Citadel welcomes shoppers of all ages. However, on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:00pm until close a parent or guardian must accompany shoppers under the age of 18. The policy extends to the interior of The Citadel as well as the parking lot. Each parent may escort NUMBER youths at a time. Is The Citadel the only shopping center with a youth escort policy? About 66% of shopping centers nationwide have implemented a youth escort policy, and they have proven successful for all parties involved. What happens if a minor goes to the mall unaccompanied during YEP hours? During YEP hours, if a patron is unable to demonstrate to that he or she is over the age of 18, he or she will be asked to leave by Citadel security. A young shopper may re-enter the mall at any time during the youth escort hours with a parent or guardian. We appreciate the compliance and cooperation of our shoppers in regard to the policy.

Q: A:

Q: A: Q: A:

For more information about the youth escort policy, please contact: Jill Kobe, General Manager (719) 591-2900 Randy Duffy, Security Director (719) 591-2900 ext. 105