Community HousingWorks: Day Long Event and News Conference to Promote New Community
Community HousingWorks (CHW), a non-profit housing developer, retained Manolatos Nelson Murphy Advertising & Public Relations (MNM) to organize and promote an all-day event, the opening of their North Park Seniors community (NPS), a first-of-its kind LGBT-affirming senior apartment community in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego.
MNM previously supported the groundbreaking ceremony for this project, and that experience helped our team quickly create a list of media outlets and reporters to target. MNM also developed a list of elected leaders and community stakeholders to invite. These included Mayor Kevin Faulconer, current and former City Councilmembers, LGBT community leaders, housing advocates, funders of the project and neighborhood leaders.
A unique challenge required additional research and careful implementation: due to fair housing laws, neither CHW nor MNM could imply this community would only serve LGBT seniors. It would, in fact, be open to all seniors. Our team worked with CHW leadership and their attorneys to develop language that accurately describes the community.
Once a date was confirmed, MNM had approximately 3 months to finalize materials and organize the event.
A Save the Date was distributed to a large email list developed by MNM. This drew recipients to an event management page to RSVP.
Two months before the event, MNM finalized the design for the formal invite, which was printed and mailed to VIPs, and an electronic version that was distributed to a large mailing list. In addition to finalizing comments from elected officials and major funders for the program, MNM also secured a video message from Congresswoman Susan Davis to play at the event.
For several weeks before the opening, MNM primed local reporters with information about the community’s significance and reminding them to attend. A day before the event, MNM successfully placed a story leading up to the grand opening.
MNM also developed a series of client-approved social media posts establishing the event’s significance, including two event hashtags (#YouAreHome #NorthParkSeniors) and photos of residents and the community.
At the event, MNM managed the site tours and coordinated media relations. We also managed CHW’s Twitter account, live-Tweeting from the event, posting photos, quotes from the press conference, etc. on social media in real time.
After the event’s conclusion, MNM finalized the press release with photos from the event and distributed it to local media, LGBT media and development and affordable housing media.
MNM’s social media campaign generated tremendous results: the event hashtags were trending topics in San Diego and each created more than 500,000 impressions on Twitter. Numerous elected officials, including Senator Toni Atkins, Supervisor Ron Roberts, Assemblymember Todd Gloria and Councilmember Chris Ward, used the hashtags in their own social media posts, adding additional visibility. Several of them also retweeted CHW and used MNM’s photos of the event in their social media posts. Assemblymember Gloria and Councilmember Ward also spoke at the event’s press conference.
Media coverage reached each segment that we targeted, including general audiences, LGBT media and housing-specific outlets. The Union-Tribune, KUSI, KPBS, 10News, Times of San Diego, Metro San Diego, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Multi-Housing News, McKnight Senior Living and Affordable Housing Finance covered the event and used large portions of our press release for content.
Attendance at the event exceeded any previous CHW grand opening. CHW was thrilled with the results of MNM’s work and has since added event management for grand openings to our ongoing work. The resident spokesman personally thanked MNM staff for helping him to feel comfortable sharing a deeply personal story with a large audience and media.