Case Study: Repositioning a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Secure Media Coverage

Amy Stern - 12/05/2018

Public Relations Event Background

A team of real estate developers with a focus on preserving affordable housing across the United States came to 3E Public Relations requesting our event management expertise. They were planning a rededication and ribbon cutting ceremony for one of their properties in Jersey City known as Summit Plaza. Designated as Section 8 housing, Summit Plaza was recently transformed by Belveron Real Estate Partners and LIHC Investment Group with multiple improvements that went above and beyond the minimum requirements for HUD (Housing & Urban Development) assisted public housing.

Ribbon Cutting Public Relations Goals and Objectivesnew_jersey_ribbon_cutting

The client’s objective in hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony was to draw attention to the positive impact their upgrades would have on the existing residents and the community at-large. They were also looking ahead to several future projects in the municipality and as a result, were intent on establishing a positive association with their brand while at the same time facilitating a relationship with the mayor and other local officials.

Public Relations Event Strategy

3E Public Relations’ initial task was to craft a strategy that would convey news value to the media. The current media environment often makes it difficult to garner coverage for ribbon cutting events, as the press views them as redundant and without a real news hook. Therefore, we needed to communicate to the media and a broader civic audience, “Why should I cover this?”

Digging deep into the history of Summit Plaza, which was built in 1972, and the status of current redevelopment issues in Jersey City, we repositioned the messaging surrounding the event to amplify several hard news angles:

  • Summit Plaza as a Model of Urban Preservation
  • A Conversation about the Importance of Affordable Housing in Urban Redevelopment Zones
  • Newly Renovated Section 8 Housing to Improve Quality of Life for City Residents

This strategy allowed us to create interest across multiple categories: urban redevelopment, Section 8 housing, real estate and politics. In addition, we led the effort to ensure key influencers were in attendance, collectively reinforcing the value of the event to the media. These influencers included: the Mayor, Council President, NJ Field Office Director for HUD, Director of Housing, Economic Development & Commerce for the city, and the Jersey City Housing Authority.

Value of the 3E Public Relations Team

The multi-disciplinary team from 3E Public Relations combined its expertise in media relations and event planning to deliver a host of public_relations_event_strategyservices. This was especially important to our clients who lived in California and Maine and were relying on us to attract local media and manage all onsite logistics.

Our services included the following:

  • Develop key messaging points for all speakers
  • Create a database of key influencers to include press, politicians, governmental agencies and other project partners
  • Prepare and disseminate invitations with follow-up phone calls to all invitees
  • Advance outreach to key media contacts who had previously covered Jersey City and Section 8 housing
  • Cut through the “red tape” and quickly facilitate relationships with key members of the Mayor’s staff and the City Council to ensure attendance
  • Draft official press release and additional media collateral including fact sheet about the project
  • Facilitate scheduling and execution of onsite and post-event interviews
  • Manage multiple onsite media outlets – coordinate access to dignitaries and executives for interviews, direct video and photography access to achieve best photo opportunities
  • Vet and manage onsite video team and photography team, hired by 3E to create a portfolio of images for post event use – for media who were unable to attend and for client’s use on website, social media and for future sales meetings

Public Relations Results

3E Public Relations’ expertise in building and nurturing relationships allowed us to secure the attendance of the Mayor of Jersey City, as wellribbon_cutting_public_relations_new_jersey as the Council President, resulting in more press interest in the event.

Onsite media included:

  • Jersey Journal – Hudson County’s largest daily newspaper
  • Fios1 News
  • Comcast TV
  • – the state’s largest online news portal and home to The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest daily newspaper

Our suggestion to hire both a videographer and photographer reinforced existing press relationships because we are seen not only as a resource for news, but for content, as well. For example, the reporter from WMBC-TV requested additional photos before filing her story and we had a wealth of quality options for her to choose from. In addition, Real Estate NJ was unable to attend, but they included a video slide show on their website and have plans to do a feature story about the client’s and their focus on affordable housing. The Jersey Journal included coverage in print and online with a digital slide show, as well.

The event exceeded our client’s expectations. We not only secured media coverage and reinforced brand equity, but as a result of delivering the mayor, our client was able to secure a face-to-face meeting with him in subsequent weeks to discuss additional improvements to Summit Plaza and future projects for the city.

Planning a ribbon cutting ceremony or other type of event for your brand? Email me to discuss how a public relations strategy can help you generate media coverage. I look forward to discussing your goals and objectives!




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