The following case histories were chosen to show the diversity of methods we use to solve client needs. After evaluating a client’s circumstances, we develop a custom program to deliver the desired results most effectively. Sometimes, we find objectives can be achieved through a single discipline like publicity or direct mail. Once, we met a client’s needs with a low-cost (2.5 cents per completed call) series of recorded phone messages via technology that only targeted the consumers’ voice mail and answering machines. Most frequently, however, we find a mix of marketing tools offers the most effective solution. These case histories that follow, however, underscore the custom approach we employ.
The Jekyll Island Company
Atlanta, GA | 2007
Few pieces of Georgia are more important for proper preservation than state-owned Jekyll Island. This year, the General Assembly passed a closely monitored, tightly negotiated bill to redevelop this jewel of the Georgia coast and make it more accessible and attractive to Georgians, while strictly guarding its environmental uniqueness.
The Jekyll Island Company was formed to compete for the privilege of overseeing this redevelopment/preservation initiative. It brings together an intriguing array of environmental and land preservationists including legendary Georgians like Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and devoted environmentalist who has invested his personal resources to preserve land in Middle Georgia. It includes Starwood Investments, a major development organization with a history of innovative approaches to environmental preservation and integrity and the group that oversaw the environmental award winning redevelopment of Hampton Island.
The Jekyll Island Company hired iSquared Communications to provide strategic advice and communications planning. As a new entity in a highly competitive, closely scrutinized situation, the organization needed to get known and build credibility quickly with a select audience of elite decision-makers. Given the short horizon and the inability to sit across the table from many influencers and decision-makers, we have relied mostly on publicity.
Also, the Internet becomes a vital tool, particularly when instant communications and short-term objectives must be met. While full state of the art web design is a core strength at iSquared Communications, the client had already retained a web designer. We provided full assistance to quickly generate a fully-featured web site. All our communications are designed to entice people to the site in order to provide a clearer understanding of the firm’s capabilities and its innovative approach to environmentally sensitive land development.
While we have only been on board a few weeks, we have already generated significant publicity, including key articles in the Atlanta Constitution and Insider Advantage, an on-line newsletter produced by former Associated Press Capitol Bureau Chief Dick Pettys.
Contact: Wade Shealy, 404-803-6684
Atlanta, GA | 2004-Present
For the past three years, we have been under contract to the Georgia Department of Human Resources to work with WSB radio personality Clark Howard to execute its Secret Santa Program for Georgia’s foster kids. In this role, we coordinated all public relations, special events planning, internal posters and flyers, public service radio spots, media liaison, scheduling celebrities and guests, contact and coordination with key governmental officials and every other aspect of this very successful, long-term project.
Further, we provide complete administrative, logistical and marketing support for the statewide collection and distribution of individual, corporate and foundation contributions benefiting 3,500 children in state care, including a toll-free telephone line for donors, county staff, families and others involved in the program. Additionally, we provide complete media relations and other communications support for six public awareness media events hosted by Mr. Howard.
Obviously, this campaign relies largely on radio to capitalize on Mr. Howard’s signature medium. This involves coordinating and supporting six live remote radio broadcasts from a different venue each day.
Client satisfaction has been very high and this year we were told by Mr. Howard’s staff that the program is operating so much more successfully now than under previous vendors. We operate on a one-year renewable contract, which DHR has renewed twice. Feedback from individual DFACs workers from across the state was also extremely positive.
Contact: Dawn Noll, 404-657-3425
Georgia/Atlanta Chambers of Commerce Flag Referendum
Statewide | February-March 2004
Few issues created more division in Georgia than the presence of the Confederate battle emblem on the state flag. In 2004 – after a very conflict-ridden legislative vote - a new flag was placed on the March presidential primary ballot. A poll of likely voters, however, showed that the new flag would lose by a 52-48 margin; an outcome our clients believed would perpetuate a stain on the state’s global image and affect public and private economic development prospects.
Knowing that such a vote would have international implications for the state’s image, the Georgia and Atlanta Chambers of Commerce retained our firm to launch a targeted public information campaign on the flag. Our job was to identify likely voters and, using the polling data we were provided, craft a series of messages that would alter the likely outcome.
After evaluating the research, we developed a target list of individuals who could be influenced on the issue and produced two direct mail pieces targeting this group. The mail was dropped and to coincide with the arrival of the mailers, we initiated a series of recorded phone messages from well-known Georgians urging them to vote for the new flag and finally put the issue to rest.
This program – which was the state’s only adequately financed effort on the referendum – was commenced and completed in approximately three weeks. On election night, voters approved the new flag by a 75-25% margin. Needless to say, client satisfaction was extremely high and we had the satisfaction making a real contribution to Georgia’s image and its future.
Contact: Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, 404-586-8489
John Portman & Associates
Atlanta, GA | 2000-2004
John Portman is a Georgia icon. The renowned architect has redrawn the Atlanta skyline over the past 40-years. However, in the 1990s, its overseas commissions removed the firm from the U.S. market and for ten years it was virtually unseen on its home turf. They were so invisible, many old clients thought John Portman had died.
We were hired essentially to reintroduce Portman and its architectural team to the American market. We developed a series of direct mail pieces highlighting key managers and over a 12-month period, we targeted prospects in the education, hospitality and building owner markets. This helped convince prospects that John wasn’t dead – yet.
We initiated several research projects to develop information that would be helpful to prospective clients in making building design decisions. This was shared with prospects through additional direct mail and transformed into press releases that garnered more attention for the firm.
Simultaneously, we kicked off a public relations effort targeting general business and key industry trade publications, getting John back on the cover of influential periodicals. Finally, we wrote by-lined articles for the firm’s other architects and targeted specialty publications.
The result was a renaissance of publicity and inquiries. While commissions did not rebound as quickly as hoped due to general economic conditions, the effort did lead to longer-term leads and a renewed interest in the firm by prospects.
Contact: Jack Portman, 404-614-5252
Atlanta, GA | 2001-2003
Coalition America, Inc. (CAI) specializes in assembling healthcare provider networks and selling network access to organizations that need affordable employee healthcare away from their headquarter communities. After evaluating the budgets and the marketing objectives, we eschewed the more costly advertising options in favor of a highly cost-efficient publicity drive.
The iSquared Communications team launched a public relations campaign built around feature articles. We drew on experienced in-house feature writers and targeted key business and health-related publications covering their markets. We generated dozens of health-related feature articles carrying the by-lines of or quoting extensively key corporate executives. Because we used experienced feature writers, we had higher than expected “pick-ups” as editors chose our features over staff-generated material – often with little editing.
In fact, several features were picked up by multiple publications within the same market – an almost unheard of occurrence. Satisfaction with our work was demonstrated last year when the former CMO of the firm hired us to perform similar services for his new company.
Contact: Libby Roper, 404-459-7201
New Bethel, CT | 1997
After a Duracell after an employee was murdered in the People’s Republic of China and the resultant media coverage, Duracell’s management realized the need for a communications program to help mid- and upper-level management in remote locations manage a crisis. Duracell’s corporate marketing staff retained us to provide media and crisis communications training as well as to develop a custom reference handbook for each manager so they had materials to help them contain a problem until the communications professionals could arrive on site.
This book contained information like local media outlets, reporter names and contact information, company and facility fact sheets designed for quick duplication and distribution during media inquiries.
Further, we media trained managers in each location so they could handle the initial aspects of media scrutiny if confronted with an unexpected event. We also cross-trained managers so that if one person was unavailable due to emergency management requirements or injury, another manager could seamlessly take their place as facility spokesperson.
This award-winning project helped sensitize management to the consequences of a poorly handled crisis and prepare them to cope until help arrived. The client expressed strong appreciation for our efforts because it helped her win promotion to a similar job at the parent corporation, Gillette Company.
Contact: Jill Fallon, 508-976-3383
(Note: Ms. Fallon no longer works for Duracell, but was the individual who oversaw our efforts – this is her private number.)
Atlanta, GA | 1999-2000
As the new millennium approached, governments and businesses around the globe were consumed with concern that the software driving the world’s computers could collapse due to their inability to process time and date information as the century turned.
Worldspan had much to lose if that mishap occurred since it managed data operations for several global airlines. Worse, Worldspan computers had responsibility for the first airplane landing (in Guam at 12:01 a.m) after the start of the new millennium. If planes fell from the sky, theirs would be among the first.
Preparing for the ramifications of a potential global software meltdown as the millennium dawned – the so-called Y2K problem – Worldspan were hired us to help develop a communications program to deal with any nightmare scenarios that might prove true.
We worked with Worldspan’s communications team as a strategic advisor to prepare a planned media response, complete with trained, designated spokespersons, talking points, fact sheets and crisis management plans. Finally, we were on standby as part of the company’s major crisis team if problems did occur.
Throughout, we worked side-by-side with top communications and line managers in all aspects of planning and execution. We also discovered that sometimes the best communications plans are those you never implement.
(Note: The account team we worked with is no longer at the firm.)
Continental Global Group
Winfield, Alabama 2007
Continental Conveyor & Equipment traces its origins to 1936 when it operated within the Industrial Division of the Continental Gin Company. Through a combination of quality products, strong engineering and a reputation for customer service and equipment, Continental Conveyor & Equipment became a leader in conveyor and material-handling products in mineral extraction markets.
Management recently decided that a fresh approach to marketing was needed and we were selected during a very competitive regional search. The goal is to instill brand consistency and marketing discipline and fashion a unified international image for a company that looked differently in every major global market. We immediately updated the company logo and corporate identity symbols without sacrificing any existing brand equity. Due to the competition, company advertising had been silent far longer than desired. So, we immediately crafted new ads for three markets based on our spec designs. Simultaneously, we generated product-focused press releases that brought almost immediate results.
We also set media research efforts in motion concentrating on a new market where the company believed opportunities existed, but had no real direct experience.
This was accomplished over the past four months. We have only just begun, but so far, all feedback has been extremely positive. (This is excellent resource to learn how we work to set up an account and the speed of our learning curve.
Contact: Greg Chaffin, 205-487-6492
Tractor & Equipment Company Birmingham, Alabama | 1993-Present
From our newest client we take you to our oldest relationship Our 14-year ties to Tractor & Equipment Company highlight our most enduring client association. In many ways, this relationship stretches back to 1959 when one founding member (now largely retired) started calling on this company. In the 1970s, our president cut his teeth in this client’s marketing department during college.
We have directed the marketing programs over the past 14-years that have helped TEC become the nation’s #1 organization in its category. We have managed comprehensive public relations, media advertising, direct mail, brand management and marketing efforts while providing general strategic vision and direction.
In this case, we instigated a plan for long-term, incremental growth. This sustained effort with regular evaluations and updates has allowed the company to grow at rates well above industry averages. Its success led its major supplier to ask the firm assume new territories in adjoining states and we helped them launch an introductory marketing effort as it expanded.
This initiative was so successful, its revenues and growth in the new territories significantly surpass those in its traditional markets. A 14-year, uninterrupted relationship bespeaks a high degree of satisfaction.
Contact: Jeff Roberts, 205-591-2131
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