Infrastructure Expansion Project
Situation: An energy client was seeking to construct a major project across a 4-state, 42-county territory. The project faced regulatory challenges, public opposition, and significant permitting hurdles.
How we helped: We developed a comprehensive public affairs strategy, aligning media outreach, landowner engagement, communication with the general public, and permit messaging.
Using thoughtful research and boots-on-the-ground intelligence, we built a communications/field program that successfully supported the project. This included elected official outreach, strategic approaches to public-facing permit requirements, media relations, and a comprehensive and responsive community engagement/charitable donation program.
Result: The client was awarded all of the critical permits required before the project could move forward. The client continues to benefit from stronger relationships with local elected officials and a strategic approach to community engagement.
Market Identification and Positioning
Situation: A client in the health care space was seeking support identifying new government and private sector clients to target and assistance with the competitive RFP process.
How we helped: We activated our nationwide network of state, county and municipal experts to identify communities seeking near-site/on-site health care services. Working with the client’s development team, we provided education to policy makers about the benefits of the client’s model and anticipated cost savings.
We nurtured the client’s relationships with key RFP leaders, positioning the client to succeed in the competitive process.
Result: The client is actively pursuing opportunities in 11 states.
Federal Legislation/Public Lands
Situation: The Tennessee Wilderness Act had been introduced in every Congress since 2012. An international non-profit was committed to passing the Act in 2018, anticipating a much more challenging political environment in the year following.
How we helped: We identified the need to provide political cover to members of Congress who were facing opposition to the bill from a small but powerful group. We identified conservative voices in the faith, conservation, and outdoorsmen communities to speak out on behalf of the Act.
We worked with the client’s D.C. lobbying team to find a place for the Act to fit in a broader bill. We succeeded in rolling the Act into the Farm Bill, making a ‘yes’ vote the prudent decision for our targets. We aggressively thanked our targets for their ‘yes’ votes in the days and weeks following passage, building strong relationships for future programs.
Result: In December 2018, 19,556 acres of the Cherokee National Forest were given official Wilderness designation and the associated protections (adding to the then existing 66,389 acres previously protected).
Situation: An incumbent provider faced a highly competitive landscape ahead of a contract renewal period with the state.
How we helped: We worked strategically with the client’s government relations and corporate communications teams to raise the client’s profile across the state and build goodwill with state and regional opinion leaders.
Through targeted media outreach, we highlighted donations and community events that were already happening to let the larger public know about the client’s record of community engagement.
We also positioned the client, and its CEO, as a thought leader in the state. We planned off-the-record conversations with key stakeholders as well as large, 250+ person virtual events to provide the company a platform to communicate directly with targeted audiences.
Result: The client was awarded the contract renewal and is now cementing its reputation in the state as a thought leader.
Brand Launch & Ongoing Communications
Situation: A behavioral healthcare company sought to enter seven markets stretching from Knoxville, Tenn., to Wytheville, Va., to operate outpatient recovery treatment services for opioid use disorder. The company replaced a previous company with a tarnished reputation and sought to build trust, introduce itself to its local communities, and start a positive conversation in Appalachia around recovery treatment.
How we helped: We developed a comprehensive brand launch strategy focusing on healthcare business news, national industry news, and local news that included message development, embargoed media outreach, and event planning.
After the immediate announcement of the company in business, industry, and local news, we held a series of open houses at the company’s clinics to welcome community members, opinion leaders, and local media to gain trust and introduce the company to the community. After the initial brand launch, we have sustained regular earned media through boosting community partnerships, opinion engagement, and a steady drumbeat of stories around the state of the opioid epidemic.
Result: The client fully distinguished itself in the seven markets in which it operates, took advantage of positive earned media to continue to build new relationships in its communities, and is in a position to expand treatment for opioid use disorder in the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region.
Local Government Ordinance Change
Situation: Downtown Nashville was overrun with unregulated, dangerous party vehicles. City leaders needed to act to preserve the character and safety of the city.
How we helped: In just 36 hours, our team identified champions to lead a coalition representing business leaders, residents and community leaders in the downtown area. We developed talking points, petitions, a social media campaign, and aggressive media strategy to support the coalition in its call for action.
We worked with lobbyists to target key members of the Metro Council for outreach from coalition members. We built a strong presence at each public hearing about the proposed ordinance. And we continued to drive media coverage of the need for action.
Result: The Metro Council passed legislation putting basic restrictions on party vehicles, 33-3.
INSIGHT & ANALYSIS
Situation: A client with a 13-state footprint was looking to assess its reputation.
How we helped: Our team developed a 3-prong approach: footprint-wide traditional polling, targeted in-person focus groups, and 1-on-1 conversations with opinion leaders from across the company’s geographic footprint. We developed messaging, survey instruments, and discussion guides to support this work.
We ultimately surveyed more than 400 individuals with direct knowledge of the company, connected with 45 individuals through focus group discussions, and conducted more than 60 interviews.
Result: We provided the company with a clear assessment of their brand’s strengths and weaknesses, assessing the relative value of certain messages for internal and external communications.