Chicago, Illinois
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Case Studies

Improvise During A Pandemic

Services Provided: Event Strategy, Promotional Campaigns

THE CHALLENGE

Innovate around a local triathlon cancelled due to a pandemic.

SOLUTION

We launched a virtual edition of the sporting event which embraced the deeply personal, grassroots flavor of the original event while also creating new opportunities for non-traditional participants. We dubbed it “Leon’s Mom’s Virtual Duathlon” and motivated individuals to see their names atop her refrigerator once finishing their challenge. We offered a nominal entry fee for one of five biking and running events, allowing people to engage in physical activity with social distancing guidelines in mind. We integrated an upgrade offer for those who wanted to commemorate the experience with race memorabilia, and we developed an opt-in donation option to support our local charity partner.

RESULTS

Through an integrated marketing plan, we generated hundreds of participants and reached 57,000 organic social impressions. We also created compelling opportunities to stay connected with our customers, integrate with our sponsors, reach non-traditional participants, and support a long-standing charity partner.

Creating Brand Identity

Services Provided: Event Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility

THE CHALLENGE

While the multisport industry was growing in popularity, year-over-year registration for a major market triathlon was in decline, primarily from a lack of new participants.

SOLUTION

We connected with local influencers, training groups, and veteran participants to better understand the marketplace. Based on the market research, we recognized a growing fear of swimming in Lake Michigan and a direct lack of swim-related programming. As a result, we created free, organized open water swim training events for the entire community. Local triathlon clubs and swim experts were recruited as volunteer coaches and provided small-group swimming lessons. Local breweries and restaurants were recruited to provide post-event social opportunities.

RESULTS

The swim clinics became the largest single feeder of first-time participants into the triathlon weekend, contributing to a 30% growth in new triathletes. More than 75 coaches supported 12,000 swimmers between 2012 and 2019, including 9,000 first-time open water swimmers. The swim clinics became one of the largest swim programs in the nation, selling-out at 1,000 swimmers and generating more than $100,000 in charitable donations.

Major Event Cancellation

Services Provided: Media Relations, Event Strategy, Continuity Planning

THE CHALLENGE

City leadership publicly announced concerns regarding inclement weather and the ability for event producers to safely host an annual sporting event, which created participant confusion and generated intense media scrutiny.

SOLUTION

We immediately assembled key, internal operations, finance, and communications team members, as well as key stakeholders from city agencies, to identify and evaluate a myriad of contingency plans. We then created and implemented a systematic, emergency event cancellation process, which included a novel approach to sporting event cancellation practices and a major network press conference.

RESULTS

Within 72 hours, we achieved more than 5 billion global media impressions and supportive marks from 98% of participants. The positive brand impressions led to a sold-out event capacity the following year.