• Ensure speedy site plan approval by the Town Council
• Gain savings against development charges and fees of approximately $2.5 million
I proposed a dual strategy of gaining substantial public support through the local press whilst working with Town Council and staff directly. To that end, I organized a press conference to announce the conditional sale of land from a local church to the developer and had the developer pose on the “field of dreams” with the mayor and church minister for the photo-op, to show support from two local community leaders for the project. The press reported the story as the solution to an emerging need for housing for older adults given the “grey tsunami” coming as the baby boomers retire. We also touted the up to 90 local jobs in nursing, janitorial and other staff roles the facility will create, in addition to construction jobs during the build. Having earned glowing media coverage and the mayor’s support, we proceeded to lobby councillors to persuade them to put in place a legislative framework that would allow for incentives to attract a development such as ours, which were commensurate with our goals of reduced development charges and related fees.
In addition to the positive press, site plan approval was achieved swiftly, and the Town staff proposed a legislative framework to reduce development charges and related fees by 50%. In response, we galvanized local seniors themselves to petition the Council to enact 100% off its portion of these charges, which would equal overall savings of approximately 81%. As a result, I earned roughly $2.57 million in savings for my client, equal to roughly 7% of the total development budget. Site-plan approval was secured within ten months of the land purchase, and just two months after submission.
• Amplify coverage of an academic study on Great Lakes water levels in the North American media
• Ensure Georgian Bay Forever was a key voice in this North American media coverage
We mapped out a strategy to ensure the GBF executive director, David Sweetnam, became an established expert voice on the issue, including by promoting his conference attendance and expert testimony to Parliament on social media and to GBF supporters, securing him a regular blog in The Huffington Post and professionalizing his public image in advance of the study’s release. The day the report was released, we secured a media conference in the press gallery theatre at the Ontario Legislature where GBF and other key stakeholders reacted to the report in the context of potential action by the provincial government, which was reported on by the Legislature press gallery.
Working with the Mowat Centre, who authored the academic study, we succeeded in securing media coverage across Canada and the US, including in The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and on CTV, in addition to coverage in nearly fifty local papers, radio stations and local TV stations across the water basin. David Sweetnam is now established as a sought after expert voice on issues related to the Great Lakes, and is regularly called for comment by Canadian national and local media, and has seen his requests to speak at conferences and symposia increase. We increased social media profile by over 900%, gaining hundreds of new followers, likes and engagement from the target markets (academics, boaters and environmentalists).
(This work was completed whilst working as a consultant at Key Gordon.)
• Increase attendance at monthly health seminars
• Attract new patients by leveraging earned media and social media
• Establish a public profile for the centre’s leading chiropractor as a healthcare expert
I proposed a strategy to ensure effective use of social media, leveraging the existing Facebook feed and website, and creating a Twitter feed to reach the local target audience of potential patients and seminar attendees. I proposed initial ad buys on local radio as an “in” to earn the chiropractor a place as a regular expert guest on regional radio. I also proposed a plan to celebrate the clinic’s twentieth anniversary to gain coverage in local media.
The Facebook feed has increased its engagement by roughly 1020% and continues to grow in terms of followers at a rate of 8% per week. The Twitter feed has already gained a following to rival identified rivals in the same geographic area. I negotiated an ad buy equal to six months’ cost for over a year, with twice daily adverts on a major regional radio station. The station has also hosted the chiropractor on for regular expert interviews related to healthcare, and to pitch his monthly seminar. The lead chiropractor has seen an increase in his invitations to speak at conferences and symposia, and just agreed to a monthly segment on local broadcast TV. Attendance at monthly seminars has more than doubled with five out of the past seven seminars standing-room-only. New patients to the client commonly cite social media adverts or radio as the impetus for coming into the clinic. As part of a 20th anniversary celebration — featuring the mayor and other local dignitaries and significant earned media coverage — we also redesigned the clinic logo.
• Gain progressive-minded support for the Liberal Party
• Promote policies aimed at the LGBT community
• Effect change in a discriminatory policy
We proposed zeroing in on a Liberal policy to end a ban on men who sleep with men from donating blood in Canada, both to advocate for change in the policy and to recruit progressive LGBT Canadians to the Liberal Party. To that end, I proposed a dual strategy of public relations and direct advertising. Charming adverts linking towards an online petition were placed in gay clubs and on LGBT dating apps (i.e. Grindr). We then released the campaign and nature of the advertising in a press release to national media. I also helped secure op ed columns to promote the policy in national media.
In addition to earned media coverage and an op ed, we recruited several thousand online signups to the petition, a significant percentage of whom were then converted into Liberal supporters for the 2015 Canadian election. A meeting with the senior staff of Canada Blood Services was secured as well, and my client was consulted on proposed changes to the policy in question as it will be phased out entirely.