Case Studies

Case study #1

Company uses PR to revive its brand – and gains publicity worth millions

Challenge:

After the former CEO of a Fortune 300 electronics distributor ordered his team to never talk to the news media, the company lost much of its visibility in the marketplace. The new CEO decided to launch a worldwide branding initiative, with publicity as one strategy to rebuild their reputation. Kathy conducted media-training sessions with leaders in all divisions, including in London, Munich, Singapore, and Tokyo. A major goal was helping executives understand the value of publicity and how it directly contributes to sales.

Result:

The director of corporate communications joked that he consistently got his “unfair” share of media coverage, which represents millions of dollars worth of free publicity.

Case study #2

Large construction company’s crisis communication strategy focuses on field managers

Challenge:

As a builder of bridges, roads, and other high-visibility civic projects, this construction company luckily had never experienced a significant crisis. However, company leaders realized they needed a strategy that would include training field managers in crisis communication basics.

Result:

Kathy led media training and crisis communication sessions with on-site managers in several locations throughout the U.S. They received clear guidelines about what to say – and what not to say – in the event of a crisis. In order to prevent the reporters from speculating or relying on rumors, field managers learned how to give the media barebones information (without saying “no comment”) until the company spokesperson could arrive.

Case study #3

To ensure a smooth transition, corporation’s outgoing and incoming CEOs participate in video interview

Challenge:

After 13 years in his leadership position, the CEO of a $19 billion global corporation announced he was retiring. He would hand over the reins to the COO who had been groomed for the top leadership position. The corporate PR team decided to produce a video interview of the two executives, which would help ease the transition.

Result:

Kathy conducted an on-camera interview with both men, ensuring information flowed naturally. Thanks to her extensive on-camera experience, Kathy was able to create a comfortable environment that encouraged interaction, allowed the leaders’ personalities to shine, and convey confidence and trust. (View video excerpt at top of page.)

Case study #4

Global corporation trains managers to speak about sensitive legal issue

Challenge:

The EPA ordered this manufacturing company to clean up groundwater at a Superfund Site. Subsequently, local homeowners filed a class-action suit claiming decreased property values due to contamination. As the largest private employer in the state, the manufacturer received negative publicity about the lawsuit, risking its worldwide reputation.

Result:

While the company’s lawyers fought the suit in the court system, the company asked Kathy to conduct training sessions with managers in an effort to win in the “court of public opinion.” Through these trainings, employees were empowered to talk clearly about the issue, whether to the news media, during public meetings, or with friends and neighbors in the community. Ultimately, the company won the lawsuit in a jury trial.

Case study #5

Thanks to PR campaign, Arizona Indian tribes win over voters

Challenge:

Proposition 202, negotiated with the state, would allow Indian tribes to continue gaming operations and expand their operations. However, two competing propositions in the same election would deny gaming on Arizona Indian reservations. One of them had strong financial backing. The Indian Gaming Association, representing 17 tribes, hired Kathy to travel around the state, helping tribal leaders learn to speak effectively about the issues to voters.

Result:

Proposition 202 soundly defeated the other two propositions and limited, regulated gaming continues on the Indian reservations.

Case study #6

Fortune 500 company sails through tough (and potentially risky) interview

Challenge:

Dateline NBC requested an interview from a top retail company about a controversial topic. The public relations director weighed the pros and cons of appearing on the program and agreed to the interview. The company chose two subject-matter experts to appear on camera, but they were completely unfamiliar with high-pressure media interviews. Kathy conducted intensive media training sessions with the two employees, including mock interviews with hard-hitting questions and video playback.

Result:

The spokespeople told Kathy they were completely at ease while being grilled by Dateline thanks to the practice and critique. Ultimately, Dateline never used the footage, perhaps because the two managers handled the interview with such ease.

Case study #7

Kathy interviews President Bush in front of a live audience

Challenge:

A large association sought a high-profile speaker for its annual conference. They hired President George W. Bush but changed the normal format. Instead of asking Mr. Bush to answer questions from the audience, they hired Kathy to interview him on stage about the highlights of his presidency.

Result:

Kathy’s live, on-stage interview with Mr. Bush provided a more personable, engaging experience to the audience and lent much insight into the real person behind the title. Mr. Bush drew a standing ovation. Thanks to resoundingly positive feedback from its members, the association has hired Kathy to conduct similar interviews with other high-profile figures.