Spreading the Good Word
A large, interdenominational church in Fairfield County came to SLPR after having lost a very public and emotional dispute with the surrounding community for plans to rebuild and enlarge their church. The rejection by a town commission was fueled by a groundswell of grass-roots support against the rebuilding project, started largely by a small group of neighbors. They spoke loudly and with conviction, and were largely the only voices heard on the issue, right up through the project’s rejection.
- Ensure that the leaders of the church were well prepared to tell their side of the story in a compelling and positive way.
- Recast the new rebuilding proposal as one that was responsive in all ways to previous community concerns and reasonable in scope.
- Launch a media relations campaign that positioned the church as a good neighbor and valuable member of the community.
- Communicate the details of the new rebuilding plan proactively to all stakeholders so that any opposition could be assessed up front and dealt with immediately.
Three years later and the news is all good. Both local boards – one of which previously rejected the plan and the other which never got a chance to consider it – approved the project. The State Traffic Commission approved the project. The church is now planning the project’s groundbreaking for sometime next year. This time there was no organized local opposition.
A New Look at One of Connecticut’s Oldest and Largest Companies
More than 20 years ago, SLPR was hired as the Connecticut public relations agency for a Hartford-based, multi-national, Dow 30 corporation. The goals were to communicate positive news about the company to its employees through the media, to educate the Connecticut media on the global scope of the company and raise awareness among the public of the company’s involvement in the community.
- Communicate the global news of the corporation on a daily basis to targeted Connecticut media and other influencers.
- Develop a separate media campaign for each major community event to maximize public awareness.
- Create media partnerships between the company and several different prominent Connecticut media outlets, to enrich coverage of company- sponsored community events;
- Prepare selected company executives to be effective company spokespersons on important issues.
The company’s public presence in Connecticut has never been stronger. SLPR has helped to build strong relationships between the company and the statewide business media, including editorial writers, business editors, reporters, publishers, general managers, television reporters and radio talk show hosts. These relationships have proven to be invaluable to the company, time and time again, with its spokespeople being readily available to the media and able to present the business to the public in the best possible light. The corporation and its business units are now recognized and lauded throughout Connecticut for being the state’s corporate leaders when it comes to philanthropic outreach, including efforts involving education, cultural and civic activities and widely attended community-based events. The company has earned numerous prestigious awards around the state as a result of these initiatives.
Helping to Shape Public Policy and Fund a Priceless Community Institution
A nationally renowned, Hartford-based arts and cultural institution came to SLPR hoping to leverage media exposure and support to get increased state funding. While most comparable venues in the country enjoyed millions of dollars in annual support from their respective state governments, this institution received less than $50,000 a year from the State of Connecticut. They came to SLPR looking for a way to get this message across to the public and to convince the state to provide the appropriate financial support.
- Develop compelling key messages that make the strongest possible case for increased public funding and prepare a spokesperson to effectively deliver those messages in a variety of communication situations.
- Execute a high-intensity media campaign to raise the profile of the issue to match the timeline of the public process.
- Focus on getting the editorial endorsement of the state’s newspaper of record.
The preparation and focus paid off in the form of a lead editorial in Connecticut’s largest daily newspaper, urging the State Legislature to pledge millions of dollars of support to this institution. Within three weeks, the State Legislature acted decisively, appropriating more than $2 million to this landmark cultural arts venue, funding which enabled this institution to continue to offer the best in cultural entertainment to patrons throughout Connecticut and the surrounding areas.