Communications Programme for Electricity Generation Project
The world’s leading provider of mobile power generation services was constructing a 232 MW electricity generation plant on the Mozambique / South African border, in the small Mozambican border town of Ressano Garcia. A truly ground-breaking project, once installed, the plant would deliver supplementary power to the emerging economies of Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia.
Being the flagship project of the FTSE 100 company at the time, communications around the project held huge significance both from a reputational perspective and investor standpoint.
The communications programme encompassed all media, promotion, corporate responsibility and regulatory disclosure activities, as well as the programming and VIP protocol arrangements for two separate project inauguration ceremonies held at the facility, two hours north of the Mozambican capital Maputo. These project inaugurations included the attendance of Presidents, numerous Government Ministers and a range of dignitaries and business leaders from Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and the United Kingdom.
The entire communications programme resulted in significant local and international news coverage across trade and industry press, as well as in general media. The story was picked up by numerous broadcast outlets in Southern Africa, as well as internationally with BBC World, CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC. It was also featured extensively across the UK financial press.
The corporate responsibility programme and wider stakeholder engagement aspects established strong goodwill within the local community and built a robust licence to operate with governmental and other stakeholder groups.
Crisis Communications – Typhoon Hagibis, Rugby World Cup 2019
During Rugby World Cup 2019, Super Typhoon Hagibis, one of the largest tropical storms ever recorded, made landfall in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, causing serious damage across wide areas of Japan and resulting in significant disruption to the tournament.
As a communications team working together with tournament operations, we faced an incredibly challenging situation. While working to achieve as minimal disruption to the tournament as possible, our overriding objective was to ensure the safety of our stakeholders. This included more than 100,000 foreign fans situated in the path of the storm, many of whom lacked appreciation of the potential danger of the situation. As we worked through numerous operational contingencies on how to manage and mitigate the impact of the storm, we simultaneously worked to keep our public informed and to ensure that fans understood the absolute necessity to shelter in place during the period of peak danger.
While the typhoon led to the unfortunate cancellation of three tournament matches, we delivered a highly successful crisis communications programme across all our channels. In addition to issuing constant media updates and holding multiple press conferences, the constantly evolving situation and requirement to keep our public informed meant that our direct communications via social media played a hugely important role during the crisis.
The tournament was able to get back up and running within hours of the storm passing and the final pool match featuring host nation Japan was able to be played in Yokohama the following day. Japan went on to win in emphatic style and progressed to the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time in their history. Following the successful staging of the match, we were then able to leverage the heart-warming story of the Canadian Rugby Team joining the local community in the clean-up of the host city of their cancelled match against Namibia.
The speed at which both Japan and the tournament was able to get back up and running following the typhoon, the unmitigated success of the Japanese national team and the extraordinary actions of the Canadians generated incredible goodwill for the tournament and ensured that any negative sentiment leading into the crisis was quickly forgotten. While as a team we had very little sleep over the course of the week, the sense of having successfully navigated the crisis and come out even stronger at the other end, was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Japanese Media Engagement – Rugby World Cup 2019
A primary pillar of our domestic communications strategy for Rugby World 2019 was to broaden the awareness and positive appeal of rugby to wider audiences in Japan, many of whom would be exposed to rugby for the first time. A major element of this strategy was to work with high profile, non-sports media and journalists to bring positive rugby stories to these audiences. If we could instil excitement and passion for rugby within this influential group of journalists, we could in turn expect them to transmit this to our targeted audience.
Focusing on Japanese lifestyle and general interest magazines such as GQ, Forbes, AERA, ASAHI, ANAN, Tarzan, Monthly Bungei-Shunjyu and Number, we organised various media engagement activities in the lead up to the tournament, including domestic media trips and tours to England and Australia.
In November 2018, Japan played a full rugby international against England at Twickenham, the home of rugby. Using the test match as an anchor point for our trip, we built a media tour that included a VIP tour of the Tower of London, watching London Japanese RFC in a local club rugby match, interviewing Japan’s Ambassador to the UK, experiencing the pre-game atmosphere around Twickenham Stadium, the England v Japan test match, experiencing a Premiership Rugby match between Bristol and Exeter and a visit to Rugby School, the birthplace of rugby.
The tour was immensely successful and resulted significant, high quality and highly favourable coverage across our targeted media. It also cemented relationships with a number of key influential journalists and media outlets that would bring significant value for the remainder of the RWC2019 project. The London media tour was so successful that we were commissioned to organise a second media tour to Australia, six months later. Both of these media tours achieved a ROI far in excess of what we had planned, and to this day remain a benchmark for high level media engagement within professional sport in Japan.
Internal Communications Programme – Commonwealth Games
As both an official sponsor and supplier to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the games held extra significance for the world’s leading provider of mobile power generation services as they were to be hosted in the company’s hometown. To leverage its sponsorship and take advantage of the games being held so close to the company’s global manufacturing facility, as a communications team we designed and delivered an end-to-end communications programme with a primary focus on internal communications and customer engagement.
Following the public announcement of the contract win we began planning a programme that would fully harness the opportunity to shine a light on the company’s international reach and global business success, all originating from its base in Glasgow.
Our first activation was a kick-off event at the manufacturing facility which brought together local dignitaries, busines leaders, members of the media and our colleagues from manufacturing. The event culminated in the reveal of the specially commissioned Graffiti Generator a homage to Glasgow’s vibrant street art scene. The social media campaign around the Graffiti Generator was a major success and was the company’s first foray into a more edgy and creative approach to digital communications and social media.
To drive internal awareness and excitement, in the lead up to and throughout the games we delivered internal mailers and blog pieces to the company’s 7,000 strong global workforce on a bi-weekly basis. This was reinforced with two additions of a glossy, internal magazine entitled ‘Bringing it Home’.
In addition, we also delivered a hospitality programme for key customers from around the world. Guests were able to see the company’s world-class Event Services in action at various games locations and we could also take the opportunity to host them at the company’s impressive manufacturing facility.
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