At the beginning of the year, we were contracted to provide PR and event support to the Specialist Education Support Network, an organisation that provides support to children with learning issues, for the launch of a new education centre in Lincoln.
At our first meeting with SESN director Richard Bell, we were informed that the new education centre was going to be named after the last surviving Dambuster, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE.
After World War II, Johnny dedicated his career to teaching and developed pioneering education programmes in mental health rehabilitation.
There was only one person suitable to open the new centre – Johnny Johnson himself. As PR practitioners, we knew that securing Johnny’s involvement in the launch was critical to the success of the event.
Thankfully, Johnny didn’t take much persuading and was honoured to be asked.
After securing Johnny’s involvement, we began to put in place a comprehensive and integrated PR plan for the launch and started to organise the event itself. As well as commissioning a photographer to gather a suite of high-quality pictures, we worked with the SESN team to create a guest list of stakeholders and journalists from across Lincolnshire.
After sending out a media invitation to our comprehensive list of journalists in the local media, we thought we were on track.
That was until the Beast from the East arrived in Lincolnshire! With record levels of snowfall, we took a joint decision with Richard to postpone the launch.
Weather forecasting is not a service we provide at present, but we’re pretty good at mitigating unscheduled events! After the postponement, we put a new date in the diary (7th March) and issued a fresh media call.
Snow-free, the event went ahead. Thankfully, postponing the launch of the education centre didn’t impact the turnout. And Johnny made it to Lincoln safely!
The event was well attended with journalists, photographers and stakeholders. Johnny was the star of the show, and after unveiling the plaque he spent the next two hours conducting back-to-back media interviews.
The launch was covered by a variety of broadcast and print outlets. Not only did it feature on BBC Look North and ITV Calendar, but the launch was mentioned on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincs FM’s rolling news throughout the day.
In total, the event received over 30 broadcast hits. We also managed to secure print coverage of the launch on Lincolnshire Live and The Lincolnite.
It was a pleasure to work with Richard and the wider SESN team. It was also an honour to meet George ‘Johnny’ Johnson – a true hero!
This launch event is a great example of how an event can give your organisation a solid PR boost. If you need help launching your next product or organising your next event, give us a call on 01522 528540.