Everything you achieve in business – from innovation and process improvement,
to market share gains, safety goals, financial performance and more
– occurs through conversations that lead to those results.
Based on a referral from an offshore drilling contractor client of Ward, HAM Marine contracted the agency to develop and improve their corporate image and to attract work with drilling contractors. The agency recommended an aggressive strategy designed to identify obstacles to gaining new customers and attacking those issues. Ward first advised HAM Marine to conduct an industry survey of drilling contractors that focused on current issues and needs to ensure HAM Marine was addressing true industry concerns and demands. The survey showed that the shipyard was the absolute last-resort choice, while a competitor had a stronghold on market share. Next the agency recommended and facilitated a Corporate Advisory Board to build relationships with decision-makers and allow them to literally build the shipyard to their specifications. A highly targeted advertising and media relations campaign provided “air attack” to address primary concerns drilling contractors faced when building or refurbishing a vessel.
The Advisory Board met quarterly for two years. Through these meetings, industry decision-makers offered insight to their expectations of an ideal shipyard. Specific market needs were revealed, misconceptions were clarified, and solutions to obstacles were identified. As a result, HAM Marine implemented significant changes to its business. At the same time, results from the survey provided critical insights that Ward rolled into the media relations campaign.The perception of the shipyard in the industry began changing dramatically. Two years later,
with a shipyard full of work from numerous contractors, Ward’s benchmark survey found the client to be the number one yard. Soon the client acquired the assets of the shipyard that only months before was unbeatable. A successful IPO followed.
Society of Petroleum Engineers
The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a global professional organization dedicated to providing professional development and networking opportunities for members and promoting educational programs relevant to the industry. The Gulf Coast Section (SPE-GCS) had consistently provided nearly $70,000 in college scholarships annually and supported numerous educational programs in area schools, yet there was no community and little industry awareness of these contributions. Realizing the need to consistently increase overall awareness about SPE-GCS’s efforts, the SPE-GCS board hired Ward, Ward successfully publicized several events for SPE-GCS, beginning with five Houston-area High School Recruiting Fairs, which attracted bright minds into engineering and raised awareness of the section’s scholarship program. Ward developed and distributed media alerts and flyers promoting the fairs. The agency also promoted SPE-GCS’s Scholarship Program by targeting neighborhood publications where teachers and parents of potential scholarship recipients resided, including developing a PSA which ran consistently during drive times on one of Houston’s most listened-to radio stations. Finally, Ward secured stories in neighborhood publications to promote the Computers For Schools Program that matches computer needs of Gulf Coast area schools with appropriate equipment from the SPE-GCS inventory of slightly used systems donated by industry companies.
Ward started from ground zero and began developing media relationships on behalf of SPE-GCS. For the first time, news of the organization’s community outreach programs reached students, teachers, counselors, industry leaders and members of the Gulf Coast community on a regular basis. Placements in the general and community press communicated a message of community and industry advocacy by SPE-GCS. Overall, Ward garnered more than 50 various
media placements for SPE during the year, averaging four placements a month.
Shell Global Solutions
Shell Global Solutions contracted Ward to produce a digital support presentation to inform perspective purchasers of one of Shell’s major technology areas, mitigation of Vortex Induced Vibration (VIV). Ward met with innovators of the VIV technology to understand the science behind the technology. As the presentation would target individuals attending the 2002 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the audience included engineers and key decision-makers visiting OTC who would purchase and implement the technology on their deepwater platforms. With a budget of less than $25,000 and a very short implementation timeline (less than a month), Ward set out to accomplish the objectives, through interviewing engineers and studying background information in order to convey the technology’s capabilities through a short, catchy “flash” digital presentation suitable for Shell’s trade show booth and through a longer more informative PowerPoint presentation that could also be shown in the booth. In addition, support materials were written and produced in electronic format for use by sales people and for downloading via the Internet.
The introduction of Shell’s VIV technology service at the Offshore Technology Conference was a success due in part to the creative presentation and associated digital material used to disseminate information to the deepwater exploration and production community. The client was extremely pleased with the final product and results it produced (several major multi-million-dollar sales leads came from the booth activity) and for forming the basis of a more complete sales and marketing package. Since producing the original material, Ward has revamped the materials and has gone on to provide additional material for the client,
resulting in that most important measurement of success -- a repeat customer.
Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce
Increased competition for attendance at the many festivals and fairs slated in April has forced even long-standing community events to distinguish themselves newly to their long-time patrons. Such was the challenge for The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce 22nd Annual Airport Festival when it was scheduled the week before the much larger Wings Over Houston Air Show. FMC Technologies retained Ward on behalf of the chamber to help combat the confusion and to improve the chances that media would cover the festival during the 100th anniversary of flight. Ward developed a media kit concept that would capture the theme of the event while drawing media interest through the Candy Bomber. In addition to including a wide variety of angles in the media kit, the team developed an unusual packaging concept to attract media attention upon delivery (and to house a special chocolate treat for media recipients). A colored
flier depicting both historical aircraft and the candy bomber served as the kit’s cover. The printed materials were contained within a clear plastic tube resembling an airlift drop package. The flier was also reduced to cover a Hershey’s bar, which was also included in the media kit. The kit was “dropped” to a variety of Houston media reporters.
As a result of the IAH Airport Festival media kit and Ward’s media follow-up, the festival received more coverage than it had ever received in its 21-year history, including for the first time, television coverage. Several advance placements in local media including a KHOU-TV Morning News interview with Halvorsen, a live performance by an event performer on KRIV-TV, and a photo in The Houston Chronicle. Post-event publicity was highlighted by a Houston Chronicle State section cover page feature story on Halvorsen, which included a color photo. Due to the well researched and well written media kit, which told a business-to-business story through a consumer media angle,many of our messages appeared verbatim, including product information on the Halvorsen Loader!
Park @ Voss
In an area dense with multi-family housing, Park @ Voss’ primary objective was to drive traffic to the property following a $4.8 million renovation so that potential renters could see the changes firsthand and call attention to harder-to-sell studios by making small-space living an appealing urban solution. The company contracted Ward to initiate media relations in support of these objectives. Ward identified audiences that were good candidates for studio living. To reach these audiences and demonstrate the functionality of small-space living, Ward developed a student interior design competition that provided five students with free reign to redesign a studio on a $1,000 budget. The client designated scholarship funds that would be awarded to students for their winning designs. Ward identified universities that offered interior design programs, and more than 20 students from around Texas turned out for the initial orientation. Ward coordinated a three-tier selection process to heighten media anticipation, which included an orientation and measuring day, design plan presentation day, and the final installation, public touring and award announcement weekend. The agency engaged local media personalities to serve as judges of the final designs, including KRIV-TV’s Home Team designer Gill Warrick and Houston Chronicle design editor, Maggie Galehouse, throughout the contest. Ward solicited sponsorships to elevate the stature of the competition through names like Lighting Unlimited, Lowes, Sensa Granite and Wallpapers To Go, resulting in more than $15,000 in donations.
Hurricane Rita forced the competition to be rescheduled from fall to spring,and with a new school semester underway,Ward virtually started from scratch. But it all worked out. Pre-event coverage,including a four-part segment by Gill Warrick and a Houston Chronicle story, helped drive more than 200 people to Park @ Voss on the public touring day to view the redesigned studio apartments and vote for their favorites. After the event, a Houston Chronicle lifestyle feature by Maggie Galehouse with photos of winning studios served as a virtual tour of the property.Media coverage equated to a PR equivalency of nearly $ 140,000-five and a half times the project investment. But the real measures of success were the event goers who asked for a leasing agent to help them get their own studio!
Durfee Music School of Texas
The Durfee Music School of Texas engaged Ward to develop a new website and marketing collateral.