It was a great awards season and an exciting year for Hawthorne Strategy Group and our clients. This Spring, we took home a Silver Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago for work with Chicago Children's Choir, two PRSA Skyline awards for work with Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and Business France, and an Excellence Award from PRSA Chicago for work with McCormick Square. These awards are on top of the two Bulldog Stars of PR awards won last year. Below are some details around our winning programs.
Chicago Children's Choir: Strategic Media Relations Ongoing Program
The Publicity of Club of Chicago awarded us and our client, the Chicago Children’s Choir, a Silver Trumpet for our work. Titled, Elevating the Mission of Chicago Children’s Choir, our submission was different than the typical award entry - we were highlighting a year of strategic work, rather than a single campaign or event. The choir’s musical achievements are well-known in Chicago. Groups have performed alongside some of the most recognized modern-day musicians from Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé, to classically acclaimed artists including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin. Chicago Children’s Choir’s musical excellence has even gained world-wide recognition from tours of its premier ensemble, Voice of Chicago, which has performed in 26 countries across the globe including Italy, Cuba, and South Africa. Although its musical achievements were widely known, the choir’s core founding mission to drive social change by connecting youth from diverse backgrounds was not. With the February launch of its fundraising campaign, Raising Voices – a $12 million campaign to support program expansion in Chicago neighborhoods, establish a fund to drive more original work, and set up an endowment – the need to articulate & publicize the mission was essential to finish the quiet phase of the capital campaign strong and set the stage for the public phase. We worked hand-in-hand worked with the choir’s moving rebranding effort to develop a proactive outreach plan that would communicate its impact and break through current perceptions. The strategy targeted print, television, radio and online media contacts in Chicago, as well as nationally, to share the choir’s story as more than a music organization. We are tremendously proud of the results coming out of the first year of our partnership, which include: 465% increase in mission-based coverage compared to the previous year and more than 23 million people reached through mission-based coverage compared to just 2.8 million during the same time period in 2016.
Business France: Positioning France as a Destination for Chicago Tech Companies
Our first Skyline Award was for our work with Business France. Challenged with limited budgets, we needed to identify effective and efficient ways to develop a media relations program to reach Business France's goal of elevating an annual event for Chicago tech influencers. Our goal was to turn an existing panel event into an experience that would spark thought-provoking discussion about France’s potential as a landing place for Chicago tech. Our results were astounding. Attendance increased by 55% from previous years, more than 270 tech, business attended and we secured diverse coverage in 10 local media outlets through interviews, event features, and calendar placement. Social engagement drove 267 total impressions with targeted influencers.
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority: Digitizing MARTY
We also received a Skyline Award for our work with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) for app development. McCormick Place is in a competitive place with respect to size with its stature as the largest convention center in North America. It also has a leg up with its home city; located in the third largest city in the U.S. with unmatched connection to the rest of the world. Our mission, in collaboration with partners Elemento L2 and Big Club Digital, was to elevate McCormick Place as the premier exposition, convention, and tourism site in the nation. In doing so, we wanted to make exploring McCormick Square and surrounding neighborhoods and attractions as easy and seamless as possible. The result was MARTY, a first of its kind mobile application named after the extremely knowledgeable McCormick Place concierge - Marty Mallarky. The app was designed to help visitors and tourists easily learn the history of McCormick Place, the newest additions, and the attractions in the surrounding area. We are happy to report that the app has a 0% crash rate, and has increased traffic to local businesses in Bronzeville, Chinatown, South Loop, and other surrounding neighborhoods.
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority: Helping a Nation Say Farewell
The beginning of 2017 marked a significant point of change for the United States, one that will likely remain a flash point in history books for years to come. Politics aside, the end of the Obama Presidency was a significant moment in American politics. Though it meant many different things to different people – in Chicago, the overwhelming feeling was pride. The Obama Administration made a decision to say farewell where it all began, the South Side of Chicago. Not far from Grant Park, where the world converged to celebrate the election of America’s first African American President, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and Hawthorne Strategy Group prepared to host the world again at McCormick Place: this time to witness the last words of the Obama Presidency. Following the event, results included: 4,200 mentions of event including client name “McCormick Place” or “McCormick Square" equaling $16,346,360 in ad value; coverage from outlets in every state across the United States; no negative sentiment during event related to McCormick Place, security, or facilities; and no major incidents or safety concerns during ticket release or event.
We are particularly excited about these significant achievements for our agency and the work we have done with our clients. We thank all our friends for their continued dedication to our firm and wanted to share these recognitions with you. Our partners have been a vital part of our success during each of these campaigns.