Development, Spokesperson Training, Public Affairs, Media Relations, Digital
Racine County was presented with the opportunity to attract an immediate development from Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn), a leading global electronics manufacturer. The company’s investment would bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and thousands of new jobs to the region. While the opportunity was huge, the path forward was challenging. Success would require unparalleled collaboration, visionary leadership and clear and consistent communication.
Understanding the tremendous opportunity facing the region, as well as the scope of the challenges that must be overcome to achieve the region’s great potential, Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC), in coordination with Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant, engaged Mueller Communications to help develop and implement a strategic communications effort to help the region achieve its goals.
Site Selection Announcement
Upon engagement, Mueller Communications (Mueller) immediately got to work preparing for the unprecedented announcement that Mount Pleasant would be the future home of Foxconn’s first major North American investment. While navigating the highly confidential news, Mueller laid the groundwork for a successful rollout, including by:
Creating a message map to serve as approved language for use when creating communications materials and as a resource to leadership – including elected officials – who would be communicating about the project. It articulated the positive, proactive opportunity facing the region and mitigated potential issues or areas of concern.
Implementing a media protocol for individuals and organizations who may receive inquiries from the media. All media requests were directed through Mueller and responded to with approved standby media statements.
Training key spokespeople. In preparation for a media event announcing Foxconn’s site selection, Mueller developed talking points for and helped prepare key spokespeople for rollout.
Creating a website to serve as a key resource for project information.
Mueller also planned and executed a rollout media event, including drafting and distributing invitations to a targeted list of VIPs, creating the event run of show and conducting outreach to the media. The event, which was attended by hundreds of local stakeholders and dozens of members of the media, was highly successful. The announcement was covered in every major media outlet in the region, and also received statewide and national attention.
Local Financing Package
Following the site announcement, we collectively turned our attention to the local governmental approvals that would be necessary to move the project forward – including a local financing package. Understanding the complexities of the financing information, and the need to highlight the ROI and key taxpayer protections, Mueller arranged for an embargoed media briefing with key media outlets. During the off-the-record briefing, subject matter experts walked media members through the financing plan and addressed key questions. The embargoed meeting was followed by on-the-record interviews with spokespeople. As a result, media coverage of the local financing package was accurate, balanced and largely positive. The media approach was celebrated by local reporters, who greatly appreciated the transparency and availability of experts.
Another key aspect of Mueller’s role was to develop the strategy for and help to implement local information sessions throughout Racine County. The sessions were an opportunity for residents to meet with subject matter experts to learn more about key aspects of the project, ask questions and share feedback.
Mueller promoted the events, and created many of the visuals and handouts available at the various stations. In total, the three information sessions were attended by hundreds of local residents.
Ongoing Community Engagement
Through ongoing website updates and e-newsletter communications, Mueller Communications continues to communicate with the community to keep them informed and engaged. Weekly e-newsletters highlight upcoming meetings and opportunities for public comment, share positive media coverage and include video testimonials from local leaders.
Though much work remains, Mueller’s work has helped frame Foxconn’s investment as the incredible opportunity it is and has helped keep the community and the media engaged and informed.