The Start of
This past weekend, my senior capstone class took our final trip to Whitesville, W.Va. We had visited two times prior to this to see the town for ourselves and to connect the community. These trips helped our class get a sense of what this community needed and would benefit the most from our brand.
During my time in Whitesville, I learned that almost 40 years ago, Whitesville was a thriving town with many businesses and opportunities. Now though, the town is filled with empty storefronts and only a couple businesses remaining. While knowing we could not bring businesses to this town immediately, we knew we could find a way to attract more visitors and potentially boost their economy. In this post, I am going to explain how to execute your first brand launch by referencing my capstone project in Whitesville.
Identifying the Audience
We knew many residents in Whitesville would be very resistant to help revamp the town. The majority of the town consists retirees who have lived in the town their entire lives or families who are recovering after the the loss of the coal industry and trying to find jobs. Upon completion of our primary and secondary research on the town we knew the audience we wanted to target was the children and adults of Whitesville.
Coming Up With a Plan
After carefully selecting our audience, our next step was coming up with a plan. Our first course of action was to think about what could bring life to the town again. After interviewing residents of Whitesville on our last trip we concluded that many people enjoyed family friendly activities like a previous event called Family Adventure Night. Due to this, we decided to gear our brand launch activities towards families. For the final plan, the class took ideas from all the teams and combined them. Team Synergy came up with the idea for the children in the schools painting a mural in order to help beautify the town. My team, Team Reawakening, came up with the idea for another Family Adventure Night in the park that would include a celebration of the caboose's birthday and tie-dying shirts beforehand.
When It Rains... It Doesn't Always Pour
When the week for the brand launch finally approached, the weather was not in our favor. Friday, the day of the launch, rain was on the forecast. In an effort to save the event, Dr. Pressgrove changed the mural painting to that Wednesday. Her and a couple of students in our capstone packed up and traveled to Whitesville Tuesday night on such a short notice. When an obstacle like that happens, you have to find a way around it and always be prepared for the unexpected. Before going to the brand launch on Friday, we made sure we ordered all of our materials and supplies that we needed for the event and printed out the post-event surveys. As our team gathered together as on Friday morning, the skies were clear. After the clean up though, it started to rain. The movie night was the most important event, so utilized our back-up plan and moved it to a nearby building where the tie-dye and coloring also took place.
In The End…
When it is your first brand launch, at times it can be stressful. Luckily for us, we had everything prepared and planned for the rain in case anything happened. The birthday for the caboose was the only activity that was canceled, but in the end everyone seemed to have a great time and a lot of fun regardless of the weather. Following our itinerary was the key to a successful brand launch. We ended up a little behind schedule due to people arriving later than anticipated, but overall we stuck to our schedule.
The post-event surveys were also essential to our brand launch. These surveys asked residents how they felt about the event and if they would like future events like this. Most people seemed like they had a very positive experience and are excited for upcoming changes in the community.
My name is Danielle Knebel, I am a strategic communications major with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in communication studies. My position is media buyer for team Reawakening.