What does a PR Agency Do? Ribbon Cutting Case Study

By Posted in - Awards & Case Studies & Real Estate PR on March 3rd, 2014

People commonly ask us what a PR agency does. We thought one of the best ways to answer that question would be to share case studies of campaigns that have been recognized at the North Carolina chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s (NCPRSA) InSpire Awards. Over the past three years, Clairemont has won 75 industry awards including this InSpire Award-winning campaign.

Client: LStar Management

Situation Analysis: When the original developer of Edenmoor went bankrupt, it left behind an unfinished master-planned community. With 68 families living there, but no developer to finish the construction or maintain what had been built, roads began to collapse, the clubhouse was vandalized and residents grew concerned about the increasing safety hazards.

The demise of Edenmoor was widely reported in local media. The extent of the negative coverage was reason for concern when new developer, LStar Management, purchased the community. Could LStar overcome the stigmas associated with the neighborhood brought on by its predecessor, convince media that the company had the expertise and financial backing to turn around this failed community and attract builders to start constructing homes again? With the new ownership going into effect in October, LStar turned to Clairemont for help in securing neutral to positive media coverage and improving the perception of the community by the end of the year, allowing for less than three months to make progress.

Objectives: Based on extensive primary and secondary research and a timeframe of less than three months, our objectives were very straightforward, as follows:

1. Build an arsenal of communications materials prior to the property acquisition announcement.

2. Secure at least five neutral or positive news articles by year’s end.

3. Establish a social media presence prior to a mid-December ribbon-cutting ceremony.

4. Recruit 10 homebuilders interested in buying and building on lots in the community.

Execution:

Communications Materials: Clairemont conducted a messaging session with the community development team in order to devise a message board to guide all communications. We also crafted a fact sheet, a Q&A document and backgrounders, as well as event and pitch-specific media kits.

Acquisition Closing Announcement: While there had been media speculation about LStar’s acquisition of Edenmoor, Clairemont advised LStar to wait until the deal closed before publicly disclosing details. Skeptical about how reporters might respond given the negative coverage we uncovered during the media audit, our pitches directly addressed their previously reported concerns. Our goal was to receive neutral and unbiased coverage. We were pleasantly surprised at the reporters’ positive reactions. Headlines told the story of the community getting a “facelift” and a “second chance” from the new owners. Our client’s favorite story referred to LStar as the white horse.

EMS Dedication + Name Change: Following on the success of our first announcement, six weeks later Clairemont helped LStar host a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for a new EMS station that the developer donated to the county. Once at the event, residents and media were surprised with even more news, as we unveiled the new name, Walnut Creek, and brand identity to go along with all of the improvements being made in the community. The response was overwhelmingly positive with media coverage continuing along with a transformation and renewal theme, and LStar receiving accolades at the event from residents, county officials and media for the impressive amount of progress it had made in improving the community in a short period of time.

Social Media: In order to keep residents, potential homebuyers, builders, real estate brokers and media informed about Walnut Creek, Clairemont established a Walnut Creek Facebook page and Twitter feed. Additionally, we devised a blog strategy and editorial calendar.

Evaluation:

Our results directly correlate to our objectives, as follows:

1. Build an arsenal of communications materials prior to the property acquisition announcement.

  • Clairemont created key messages, a fact sheet, backgrounders and other materials to support LStar, delivered on time prior to the closing announcement.

2. Secure at least five neutral or positive news articles by year’s end.

  • Clairemont secured 14 positive news stories between Oct. 31 and the end of 2011. By issuing our media releases on Business Wire, the two announcements also received 1,272 online views.

3. Establish a social media presence prior to a mid-December ribbon-cutting ceremony.

  • Per our client-approved timeline, Clairemont set up and launched Facebook and Twitter for Walnut Creek in conjunction with the event. A new blog was launched in January.

4. Recruit 10 homebuilders interested in buying and building on lots in the community.

  • As a result of the positive news coverage, LStar was contacted by several builders interested in constructing new homes in Walnut Creek. At the completion of this campaign, one builder had already started construction, and 14 more are undergoing LStar’s stringent homebuilder application process.

LStar recognizes that the first three months of community and public interaction under its new ownership were critical to its rebranding and reputation management efforts.

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