The idea to transform the city of Devonport in Tasmania was not a new concept. The Devonport City Council had attempted to better use the spectacular waterfront through a redeveloped city plan five times in the past 30 years.
However, at its most critical stage, something had always prevented the plan being adopted by Council and it being implemented.
Council then began the $250 million LIVING CITY project. When Council entered into the third phase of LIVING CITY, a project to transform the heart of the city and revive the region, it sought Kellie O’Brien Media’s services in a bid to gain community feedback after an already long and successful principle plan process 12 months prior.
A key element of gaining community support was to provide aldermen with the confidence to adopt the plan to allow for the final stage of the four-phase project to proceed. This was the point at which many of the previous plans had failed.
One of the biggest criticisms council had encountered in the journey of LIVING CITY to that point was the community not feeling they were fully informed and regularly updated on proceedings with the project.
Kellie created a full communications plan for council, which involved the public launch of the Master Plan in August 2014 through to its unanimous adoption by Council at its September 2014 meeting, and into the fourth and final stage of the plan from October 2014.
The communications plan incorporated traditional public relations, social media marketing content, email marketing and creating a dedicated LIVING CITY website at www.livingcitydevonport.com, which included copywriting and a regularly updated news page to allow Council to become its own news agency. The plan also included a dedicated LIVING CITY Youtube channel and the cinema launch itself.
Along with these tasks, Kellie also helped write part of the Master Plan, and assist in developing two videos – a flythrough of the city as it will appear once the project is complete and a history video of the long-held vision to transform the city.
The two videos were screened at the launch, which Kellie was also a key player in planning. The launch was held at Cmax Cinemas and included a packed audience of media, business leaders, representations from neighbouring councils and dignitaries, including Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman. Speakers were Mr Hodgman, Devonport Mayor Steve Martin and leading businessman Royce Fairbrother.
A major part of the Master Plan success, this tightly run launch was unique as it combined not only the formal elements of the videos viewed on a big screen, inspiring speeches and well attended media conference, but also cooperation of the cinema to have an indoor market space in the cinema foyer to capture the essence of the culture within LIVING CITY. This tied in perfectly with a similar angled front-page newspaper story on the same day.
Through traditional public relations, the project secured coverage in all three major Tasmanian newspapers, all three TV station nightly news programs and two radio stations during the launch. This also included extensive coverage on their websites.
The day prior to launch and day of the launch, LIVING CITY also featured consecutive front-page stories.
The Youtube channel consisted of the cinema-screened videos, which attracted more than 2000 views, and coverage of a community forum, which was organised for two weeks after the launch and featured another packed house at the cinema to view the videos and have their questions answered by key players in the project.
The website ranked No. 1 for its keywords in the search results within hours of the launch of the site and attracted 2000 hits within 24 hours.
The website was key to providing those unable to attend the launch or community forum with the opportunity to view the two videos, download copies of the Master Plan and keep up to date with developments with the project.
Other key benefits of the website were the ability to inform and direct developers for negotiations, share the importance of the project to the city and allow easy access to an online community forum. The project attracted 300 community questions and comments.
Finally, setting up an email marketing system and implementing an email marketing plan resulted in above-average open and click through rates for its industry on news filtered to interested parties on a monthly basis.
The implementation of a full communications plan with digital and traditional assets by Kellie O’Brien Media aided in the Master Plan being unanimously adopted by Council, marking an historic moment for the city of Devonport.
As stated by one alderman: “In all my time on Council I’ve never seen the community so enthusiastic and positive about a project as they have been in LIVING CITY.’’
Read the Testimonial from the Devonport City Council HERE.
Learn how you can work with Kellie O’Brien Media HERE.