Business as we knew it changed completely in March 2020. We quickly saw there was no time to wait to see how things were going to play out. Instead, we needed to proactively jump into crisis communications planning for our clients.
Our clients depend on us as their marketing partner and resource. We have been able to stay flexible and responsive by finding unique ways of helping them support their business and the local community. Below are a few examples of how we pivoted strategy for our clients amidst this unprecedented time.
What started as a small idea to provide some much needed at-home activities to the community, blossomed into a full-blown campaign after our team sprang into action. With all departments working together, our team created a 13-page, free, downloadable activity book called Recess at Home with Arizona Center. The book included coloring pages of iconic landmarks at Arizona Center, word games involving their tenants and offerings, Arizona themed trivia, and recipes from Arizona Center restaurants.
To garner even more community participation, we launched a coloring contest where participants can enter by sharing their completed page on any social media channel, tagging Arizona Center and using the branded hashtag #ArizonaCenterRecess for a chance to win one of five $50 gift cards to an Arizona Center restaurant of their choice. A truly unique way to bring a commercial property’s brand to life in a way that people of all ages can enjoy has also captured the attention of multiple local news publications.
Restaurants were one of the hardest hit industries during this pandemic. To assist our multi-location client Venezia’s Pizzeria, we worked quickly to shift all messaging and imagery in current content plans to be appropriate for the times. This included updating content across their website, emails, and social media channels to communicate new operational updates and precautions that were taken to keep employees and customers safe. With several fast-paced initiatives, it was imperative for our team to move quickly to spread the word using both social media and public relations outreach in addition to staying on top of the news coverage and online responses.
It was all hands-on deck as we helped publicize the client’s innovative ways of making it through the new normal. For example, our team consistently updated web pages with the latest changes and offerings and translated it to be easily digestible on social media. Venezia’s Pizzeria was quick to adapt to contactless delivery and streamline curbside pickup. They even stayed ahead of the curve by selling pantry staples like flour, pasta noodles, their Signature Marinara Sauce, and ground beef. As a team, we helped plan and manage a social media campaign for Employee Appreciation Day, where Venezia’s Pizzeria donated 100% of profits from food order sales directly back to their hardworking employees, resulting in astonishing weekday-sales and record-breaking social media engagements.
Venezia’s Pizzeria was also the first restaurant in town to offer delivery by robots, powered by Starship. This innovative idea earned them not only local media attention, but national coverage as well. Our public relations team helped facilitate interviews from notable news outlets such as The New York Post and Fox News.
Another group highly affected by the pandemic is the senior population which has caused major shifts in traditional senior living community operations, as seen with our client Sun Health. As a team, we were able to adjust our tactics to best fit the new norm by relying on all things digital. We helped them seamlessly move from providing many of their services and all of their sales presentations in-person to providing them via digital platforms.
We quickly worked with the Sun Health Wellness Team to adjust their in-person classes to be offered online and on-demand to ensure the greater community still had access to educational content. We made an educated assumption that more people would be on social media during coronavirus isolation and took advantage of underspend opportunity to reallocate funds in Facebook advertising. Sun Health Communities is also working to adapt to virtual appointments and webinars for sharing information about their living options. We facilitated a guide and provided direction for them to create videos at home which we will in turn edit and help distribute to their community. This brand-new style of communications and engagement for this age-group has been very well received with a high response rate.
Since the media has been receptive to positive news on how people are reacting to coronavirus, we leveraged the Sun Health Medical Director and submitted bylined articles to local news media supporting what seniors can do to stay connected with technology and also what seniors who are not tech savvy can do to stay busy. We also secured a variety of news segments and features to guide this at-risk population on what precautions they can take to stay safe, as well as the precautions taken at all three Sun Health communities. This type of informative content can help alleviate stress, and we saw the opportunity to insert Sun Health into the conversation and serve as an expert with regards to the senior population.
Casino Del Sol
Our client, Casino Del Sol, was the first casino in the state to announce they were temporarily closing their doors for the safety of their guests and employees. Our team acted quickly to write statements that were used for their website, email, social media and to send to local media to keep all stakeholders updated and on the same page. As the situation progressed, we continued to communicate regularly about concert postponements and tentative reopening dates.
Even though Casino Del Sol has temporarily closed, they are still giving back to the community. Casino Del Sol’s culinary staff has been preparing and delivering lunches to thousands of local healthcare workers on the front lines at Tucson hospitals. Over six days, they served more than 3,000 healthcare workers at five hospitals as well as multiple Pascua Yaqui Tribe public service departments. Our public relations team worked directly with the local Tucson hospitals to coordinate the lunch donations.
In addition to coordinating with the hospitals, our public relations team coordinated with the news media to share this positive story of the community coming together during these trying times. We were able to secure TV stations to come see the deliveries in action and garner an audience of over 24.7 million with a total publicity value of $4,287,504 thus far.
The professional sports industry was also completely shut down due to the pandemic. As a team, we helped our NBA client The Phoenix Suns maintain season membership campaigns to remind the community there will be something to look forward to when everything is back to normal. We coordinated timely advertising messages for a TV spot that ran on April 26th during an episode of the much-anticipated ESPN Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance.’” Our ad, supporting their timely campaign titled “We Are The Valley,” provides an encouraging message of hope for our community during these times. The commercial includes shots of players like Devin Booker interacting with fans, visiting kids in the hospital, and more. The :30 second spots ends with, “Together, we are better” and “Together, we are the Valley.” Encouraging and uplifting messaging is much needed right now, and we were happy to ensure our client, a staple in the Valley, helped deliver that message.
Flexibility and Timeliness is Key
As an agency that supports many different clients and industries, we are focused on staying nimble during this time. Our responses have ranged from making standard messaging updates to creating new ideas that spurred unique visibility for our clients.
The constant changes that come with COVID-19 can be frustrating to deal with, so we ensure that we maintain high responsiveness and empathy for our clients. We are an extension of their team, and often a support system, so it is imperative to show them we are in this together and are here to serve them however they need to maintain their success.