You look good and people notice. The ultimate benchmarks for success are butts in the seats, more products sold, additional memberships, support for your goals, a positive reputation and stellar celebrity for you, your products and services. We do that!
•Disneyland Pigskin Classic Premiere Series Game
•Treasures from Shanghai New Museum Exhibit
•Saddleback College Publicity Request Form
•Disney’s Mickey Markings
•Saddleback College Family Night Recruiting Event
•UCI School of Engineering Website
•OES Helping Laguna Beach Citizens
•Fountain Valley Regional Hospital Crisis
•Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort Increases Visibility
Challenge: Disneyland Pigskin Classic, the newest NCAA-sanctioned college football game, was to be played between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Stanford Cardinal. The bowl game was an unknown with no reputation. Coaches and athletic directors were reticent to be a part of it and there were no fans and no media to back it and give it credibility. Even Mutual Broadcasting stations were hesitant to carry the game.
Result: A strategic PR plan, with emphasis on branding, was put in place following research of coaches, alumni associations, sports media, and managers at sports venues. The execution of a press kit, two newsletters and publicity for 10 events that included a team presentation at Disneyland, golf challenge, fashion show, tailgate bash, hometown school events and the game itself, was flawless. Every time a station signed up to carry the game, a press release went out as well. We received more than 400 press clippings in major media and several newsletter and magazine features in trade and alumni publications. Attendance was 35% more than expected. The Disneyland theme park saw an attendance increase and overall gross revenues increase over the prior year. Division IA teams were demanding to be a part of the game and Disneyland Pigskin Classic teams were chosen for the following three years. Mutual Broadcasting Stations signed up, in advance, to carry the game the following year. This project received a PROTOS Award of Excellence, Special Events & Observances, from the Public Relations Society of America (OC).
Challenge: To help celebrate the grand opening of the brand new Dorothy and Donald Kennedy Wing at Bowers Museum — Orange County, California’s, largest, oldest and most prestigious museum — the acclaimed Shanghai Museum loaned it a valued collection. “Treasures from Shanghai, 5000 Years of Chinese Art and Culture” was the first U.S. exhibit from the Shanghai Museum in 20 years and the first time the artifacts appeared as a collection anywhere. Bowers had a very limited budget and staff to market these treasures.
Result: A strategic marketing plan included creative negotiations with media to increase advertising dollars, use of PR interns as volunteers, widespread use of targeted local special interest group mailing lists, and intense national and international media relations. We surpassed our weekly attendance goal of 1200, garnering as many as 2513, and kept an average of 1700-1800 from February through August. More than 300 clips were captured that included at least 20 airings on TV by more than 10 different stations. There were four interviews and additional mentions on local radio. A finely cultivated Associated Press story appeared nationally, both in print and online—including MSNBC.com and USA Today.com—and was also picked up by Chinese media bureaus, which ran stories both locally and in their country. Another coup was the feature story in Veranda magazine, a national Hearst publication. In addition, multiple features ran in both the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register newspapers, including a video interview on Discover OC (OC Register online). Feature stories appeared in several local lifestyle and business magazines and national arts publications, as well. A PROTOS trophy, the highest honor given by the Orange County Public Relations Society of America, was garnered for media relations.
Challenge: When news erupted, Saddleback College faculty and employees had no procedure to disseminate it. The public information office, and those in charge of the campus radio, TV and electronic signage were all inundated with multiple requests. They struggled with time and effort to go over guidelines with each requestor, interview them for the facts, check with multiple administrators regarding the validity of messages and event information, and disseminate or forward to the proper channel for dissemination.
Result: We formed a campus communications committee to create the Online Publicity Request Form—the only one of its kind in the nation. For the first time, on-campus faculty, staff and administrators were able to go to one online location to publicize messages or events—both on campus and off campus. The request form is an integrated checklist with guidelines and forms. These forms are now filled out, reviewed by administrators, and are automatically sent to the proper person who disseminates the information through the designated publicity vehicle. It saves time, money, and enhances the school’s reputation for disseminating valid information. The Online Publicity Request Form received state honors from the Community College Public Relations Organization for Internal Communications & Internet Usage.
Disney’s Mickey Markings
Challenge: The Walt Disney Company received hundreds of letters with photos from people who found animal, vegetable and mineral silhouette likenesses of Mickey Mouse. Could these be marketed in any way?
Result: We put together a Mickey Marking PR campaign that featured each “discovery” of Mickey and the person who found him. Mickey Markings secured a phenomenal amount of national media coverage, reinforced consumer loyalty by making owner fans "stars" in their hometowns and was the subject of a national NBC-TV segment that was nominated for a TV Emmy.
Challenge: California Community College enrollment was decreasing across the state. Among Saddleback College’s outreach programs for recruitment was an annual Family Night. The school had a small budget to entice potential students and their families to this crucial event that featured an evening program of information.
Result: A strategic advertising and media relations campaign was waged, focusing on feeder schools, parents, communities, students already in attendance, PTAs and local media. The school saw record crowds—triple the attendance—of previous years. Saddleback College achieved a 2% enrollment increase during a period of student decline statewide.
Challenge: The UC Irvine School of Engineering trained scholars to build beautiful machines, but it’s website was broken. The website was nothing more than a list of 64 links on a nondescript home page. It didn’t mirror the prestigious school, it’s programs or its faculty. The site was difficult to navigate and didn’t feature tools and documents required by students or faculty.
Results: We started over. In addition to providing web writing and photography, we formed and led a seven-member executive team that re-designed and streamlined the information architecture of the UCI School of Engineering website. The results were an increase in the number of page views by 45% monthly and enhancement of the School of Engineering’s reputation among its peers and potential students across the nation.
Challenge: The city of Laguna Beach was hit hard by a devastating wildfire, which displaced many homeowners and depressed the city and its inhabitants as a whole. This disaster would, most certainly, be followed by a major flood because of the denuded hillsides. No one expected the earthquake. They were certifiable disasters, which would leave citizens and city officials struggling to recover and rebuild in an environment of devastating chaos.
Result: The Governor declared the area a disaster. We were assigned to spearhead Public Information for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) in the city of Laguna Beach. In addition to working with the media, we created a library that held pamphlets, books and reliable information for rebuilding and for maneuvering through the complicated process of receiving funding and humanitarian aid. It also held information that prepared residents for additional disasters. We answered the requests of individual citizens and attended public forums about disaster relief. In addition, we produced a monthly newsletter and we wrote and produced the Flood Preparedness video for the Laguna Beach Fire Department.
Challenge: A racial-volcanic crisis erupted for Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center. A black man was seriously injured by a white police officer in a controversial Orange County shooting. The survivor was brought to the hospital’s trauma center. It was a media circus with reporters trying to gain access to the patient 24 hours. Employees, unauthorized to give information, were relaying incorrect facts and the patient’s doctors were uncomfortable speaking with the media about the condition of their patient, who became involved in a sensitive legal case.
Result: The patient was moved into a private room to lessen the impact on other patients. We worked with him and his lawyer to ensure that media interviews be granted only during visitation hours. A crisis communication plan was put into place that included official daily patient condition reports relayed directly to the media and hospital department heads and their staff. This eradicated misquotes and rumors. As the media frenzy increased, we prepared attending doctors for a press conference. A handout, with definitions of technical jargon and explanation of the patient's condition in layman terms, was given to reporters.
Following the press conference, the attending doctors felt more confident and became more accessible to the media, giving carefully prepared condition statements directly from their offices. With new access to attending physicians and regulated hours of visitation, the media circus died down and the hospital went back to business as usual.
Challenge: The owners of the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort were in the process of building a new, adjacent hotel. They wanted to enhance the reputation of the Hilton Waterfront and to get the positive word out about the new property, which was in need of city support and financial investors. In addition, they wanted to promote the Hilton Waterfront and its events.
Result: Media lists were formed, newsletters and press releases created and sent, press tours given, and an international strategic media relations plan was put in place. These resulted in sell-out attendances for the new Taste of Huntington Beach; goodwill towards the new property, enticement of financial backers, and the eventual completion of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa; and the highest sales volume in the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort's 10-year history.