Case Studies  

 

 


 

 

Client:

Challenge:






Insight:




Solution:








Results:




WordSmart Corporation

Due to a business model built on outbound telemarketing and default automatic subscription, educational software company WordSmart generated significant customer complaints. This led to an “Unsatisfactory” rating from the San Diego Better Business Bureau, which also denied WordSmart’s request to be considered for membership.

WordSmart needed to establish a dialogue with the BBB and reduce its number of complaints. It was clear that the latter would require changing the way WordSmart did business. Initial dialogue with the BBB reinforced this insight.

We brokered in-person meetings between the CEOs of both organizations, obtained additional counsel on the BBB’s operations, advised the client on how to make its case, and insisted on changes that would reduce complaints. We supported a change suggested by a WordSmart staffer, helped present it to the BBB and tracked results. Follow-up communications and an evolving strategy led to a second in-person meeting where a breakthrough occurred.

At the second in-person meeting, the BBB CEO made the decision to change WordSmart’s rating to “Satisfactory.” Six months later, after diligent attention to resolving complaints, WordSmart’s application for BBB membership was approved and the company immediately became a member in good standing.


 

Client:

Challenge:


 

Insight:




Solution:






Results:









SeaWorld San Diego

In 1998, voters barely passed a measure allowing SeaWorld to build above the 30-foot coastal height limit. The campaign had alienated the editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune, among others, and planned projects were likely to be opposed.

Media and community leaders reinforced our perception that the campaign communications strategy had been flawed, that SeaWorld had a reservoir of good will and that improved communications could win support.

We developed an evolving strategy that explained SeaWorld’s need based on the competitive nature of the theme park industry, linked SeaWorld’s success to San Diego’s prosperity, and showed that denial would unacceptably jeopardize both SeaWorld and San Diego. Over two years, we helped resurrect and leverage widespread media and community support.

An editorial board meeting began the turnaround with a comprehensive "Q&A" in The San Diego Union-Tribune that led to two supportive editorials. Over the two years, we authored and placed op-eds, obtained many other editorial endorsements, recruited community group and community leader support, and ultimately helped obtain successful San Diego City Council (8-1) and California Coastal Commission (7-3) approvals.


San Diego Airport


                      page 1   page 2

Client:

Challenge:





Insight:





Solution:





Results:





San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

At the end of 2002, responsibility for operating San Diego International Airport was about to be turned over to the newly created Airport Authority from the Port of San Diego. At issue was how much money was going to be turned over along with the airport; the two sides were nearly $120 million apart.

Neither entity preferred to have the monetary dispute go public. However, the Authority determined it might be advantageous to proactively tell the story to win support. We developed a strategy based on the need for the airport to be financially viable after the transfer.

We helped manage a highly focused media and community relations campaign. Calls to community opinion leaders preceded conversations with the media. We helped manage the ongoing story prior to the airport’s transfer, making the Authority’s case.

Community opinion leaders and the media clearly understood the situation and supported our position. Media coverage was even-handed and advantageous to the Authority, as was an editorial. Ultimately, the Airport Authority got the $125 million it had been seeking.


San Diego Public Library Foundation


 

Client:

Challenge:






Insight:




Solution:






Results:




San Diego Public Library Foundation

In October 2003, the California Library Reconstruction and Renovation Board voted on a $20 million grant application for the proposed new main library. An earlier $20 million application had been turned down. The newly formed Foundation and the City needed to succeed to kick-start the $150 million project.

The new main had to be seen as a perfect solution to critical regional needs, as well as an icon of literacy and lifelong learning. It also needed to be tangible, something a computer animation being developed for fundraising could accomplish.

We spearheaded development of the computer animation, helped edit the new application and assisted in obtaining editorial support. When a wildfire disaster at the last minute prevented the Mayor from attending the Board presentation, we coordinated a videotaping of his comments late the night before at the fire communications center.

In spite of having been previously rejected, and not having the Mayor’s in-person support, the application was unanimously approved for the full $20 million, the largest grant given to any applicant.


BSA Logo

Client:

Challenge:




Insight:



Solution:





Results:



Boy Scouts of America Desert Pacific Council

In Fall 2001, the local Council was seeking a San Diego City Council-authorized lease extension in Balboa Park. It was highly controversial due to the Boy Scouts’ national policy prohibiting openly gay leaders and members.

While opposition to the national policy dominated, not everyone was willing to cut off a benefit for 25,000 local youth just to send a message to the national organization.

In media and community relations, we separated the local impact from the national policy and made it clear that the local Council had no say in changing the policy. We also helped highlight local Boy Scouts leaders who questioned or opposed the policy.

We wrote and placed the “pro” side of pro-and-con op-eds, obtained two supportive editorials (one print and one television) and helped achieve a favorable (6-3) City Council vote.


Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce Logo

Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce Logo

Client:

Challenge:




Insight:




Solution:




Results:



Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce

In 1992, between presidents and during a recession, the Chamber suffered declining membership, low visibility and lack of clout. We were tasked with enhancing visibility and communicating the value of membership.

When selection of a 30-year-old Latino as president generated a tidal wave of interest, we took unprecedented advantage of it. We also focused on the advantages of membership in all communications.

Helped create a media darling, generating astounding, sustained coverage (including The New York Times' front page). Counseled on strategy for the next six years, managed issues and developed new communications vehicles.

Membership increased from 2,100 to 4,500, revenues grew nearly eight-fold, and the Chamber became recognized as the most powerful and respected organization in the region.


                      page 1   page 2

Client:

Challenge:




Insight:



Solution:



Results:



SGPA Architecture and Planning

Delays and potential cost overruns in the expansion of San Diego's airport were being blamed on SGPA by the Port and in the media. We were brought in to turn around perceptions of the situation.

We unearthed the concept of a "megaproject," which naturally increases in scope, takes longer than planned and often requires additional budget.

We used that explanatory concept for all media relations, and worked behind the scenes with the Port to coordinate media and communications strategy.

The concept received great media play, contentiousness was kept behind the scenes, and the expansion was cited by The San Diego Union-Tribune as "… the design standard for any new airport additions" and any Port design.


 

Client:

Challenge:



Insight:



Solution:



Results:




Coca-Cola Bottling Company of San Diego

The local operation had no community profile. We were brought in to develop a plan to build a meaningful community profile leading to sales.

Consumer, retail and military customer, and community leader research showed a surprisingly unanimous reaction. Coca-Cola was unknown locally, but its opportunity was clear.

Our comprehensive plan proposed proprietary sports programming, offered through public schools, presented as a positive alternative to crime and violence.

The plan presented a community initiative that dovetailed with Olympic sponsorship, covered all demographics, addressed key issues and would lead to sales (in part because sports creates thirst).


 

Client:

Challenge:



Insight:



Solution:




Results:

TOPS Staffing Services

The $40 million company was the area's second largest staffing company, but was virtually unknown. We were brought in to raise its profile.

Unique in being independent and woman-owned, TOPS had a natural story to tell. Also, its owner had a desire to enhance participation in the community.

Generated extensive media coverage based on its woman ownership. Created a successful cause-marketing program to provide technology for public schools. Managed several other communications initiatives.

Significantly enhanced company and owner profiles, helped build business and ultimately helped position the company for a profitable sale.


 

Client:

Challenge:




Insight:



Solution:



Results:



Pro-NAFTA Campaign

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement was facing a difficult congressional vote. Support in San Diego, which stood to benefit, was low. The Chamber of Commerce engaged us to turn around public opinion.

We created a "message of the week" strategy, focusing on jobs, environmental issues, illegal immigration, exports and regional economic recovery.

Each week, we wrote and placed op-eds, solicited speaking engagements and media appearances, and wrote a special fax newsletter on the theme.

Public opinion moved from two-thirds against to a majority in favor. Nationally, ours was recognized as one of the best and most effective campaigns.

   
© 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 PJM Strategies Inc., dba Strategic Communications