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Public Relations Consultant 2018 ReportAdvertising & Public Engagement Services 2018 MSD RATE COMMISSION REPORT JANUARY –JULY, 2018 Overview The MSD Rate Commission wanted to expand outreach opportunities to educate and inform the public about the 2018 Stormwater Capital Rate proposal and to get the word out about public hearings on the project. TVG developed a multi-method approach that included strategic messaging, social media, traditional media, elected and city official outreach, community outreach, social and digital marketing. We also expanded the opportunity for the Rate Commission to receive public input on the 2018 Stormwater Capital Rate Proposal by adding an online streaming meeting, which allowed residents to participate and ask questions via email, Facebook and Twitter. For the 2018 Stormwater Capital Rate proposal we created foundational collateral assets including an identity system (logo & letterhead), social media branding and signage that can be used in the future by the Rate Commission. 2018 Branding & Identity Logo Stationery Social Branding Video & Radio Creative •4 videos were created and used as content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube during May and June, 2018. •The Videos were viewed 163 times on YouTube, over a 2-month period. •3 radio ads aired on 102.5 KEZK (KEZK- FM) Adult Contemporary (Adults 18+, 591,630 population) during April, May and June, 2018. •All 3 radio spots were also used in social media and had 54 total views on YouTube over a 3-month period. Print Advertising •St. Louis American •4 ads -¼ page •70,000 weekly circulation •Webster Kirkwood Times/South County Times •4 ads –¼ page •40,000 + circulation (WKT) •37,000 + circulation (SCT) •West Newsmagazine •3 ads –¼ page •134,000 + circulation •Call Newspapers •4 ads –¼ page •49,000 + circulation •West End Word •3 ads –¼ page •17,000 + circulation April –June, 2018 Print Advertising Print Advertising Charter-Required Public Notices •St. Louis American •March 15, 2018 •Classified Section •70,000 weekly circulation •St. Louis Post-Dispatch •March 14, 16 & 17, 2018 •Classified Section & STLToday.com •101,000 + circulation Transit Advertising •MetroLink Windscreens •April –June, 2018 •15 MetroLink windscreens were placed in various locations around St. Louis City and County •17 million MetroLink (light rail) riders annually •Metro Interior Bus Cards •April –June, 2018 •200 bus cards were placed in Metro buses in the St. Louis area •29 million Metro bus riders annually Media Relations Media Advisories & Press Releases •The Rate Commission’s messages to the public were covered on television, radio and print. •TVG sent multiple press releases and media advisories leading up to the public hearings during April and May. Media Relations •Media mentions from media advisories and press releases sent to local media outlets Media/Messaging Training With the increased opportunities for radio, print, TV, and social media, the Vandiver Group facilitated a media and messaging session on April 20, 2018 for members of the MSD Rate Commission. TVG helped identify the main spokespeople who could speak on behalf of the Rate Commission. TVG included tips and best practices for the Rate Commissioners who would appear on camera for the MSD Rate Commission’s streaming meeting. Elected Officials & Stakeholder Outreach Letters to Elected Officials •400+ letters were sent to St. Louis City and County elected officials in April, 2018. •400 + follow up emails were sent for meetings in May and June, 2018. •Letters included public hearing dates and the streaming meeting. •Letters included samples of social media posts and newsletter articles for easy sharing. •All active links to RC social media channels and the website were included, which many elected and city officials shared in their own social media accounts. Community Outreach Community Calendars •All public hearing dates were added to the following online May and June, 2018 community calendars: •St. Louis Public Radio •Fox2Now •St. Louis Post-Dispatch •St. Louis Magazine •St. Louis American •Times Newspapers •West News Magazine Messages on MSD Bills Messaging Added to May and June, 2018 MSD Bills JUNE: “MSD Rate Commission public hearings will be held on June 6 & 29 to receive public input on the 2018 Stormwater Capital Rate Proposal. Let your voice be heard! Attend a public hearing to share feedback with the independent Rate Commission. Find out more @stlmsd.com/ratecommission” MAY: “MSD Rate Commission public hearings will be held in May & June. Let your voice be heard! Join the discussion and provide feedback on the proposed Stormwater Capital Rate at one of seven public hearings. If you can’t make a public hearing, join the streaming meeting. Find out more @stlmsd.com/ratecommission” Google AdWords Google AdWords ran in April and May, 2018. •Overall impressions: 1,304,041 •Text ad: 15,269 •Display ad: 1,288,772 •Overall clicks to Rate Commission webpage: 8,301 •Text ad: 577 clicks •Display ad: 7,724 clicks Facebook The Rate Commission Facebook page was created in March, 2018. The page currently has 232 followers. Through targeted boosting the page reached a total of 41,930 users. Nearly 1,400 users engaged with content by liking, commenting and sharing posts. In total, users liked posts 465 times, shared content 88 times, commented 27 times and clicked on posts 813 times. Some 215 people marked the Public Hearing event posts as “interested” meaning they were interested in attending the hearings. Twitter The Rate Commission Twitter account was created in March, 2018. Twitter is viewed as a “news source” by some who participate in this channel, so it was used to push out information. Although no tweets were promoted, they organically gained 17,800 total impressions. 92 users engaged with content by liking, retweeting and clicking on posts. In total, users liked posts 25 times, retweeted content 26 times, and clicked on tweets 41 times, with 13 followers. YouTube The Rate Commission YouTube page was created in March, 2018. Without boosting there were a total of 263 views on YouTube. The video viewed the most and for the longest duration is the replay of the streaming meeting conducted by the Rate Commission on May 30, 2018. Public Hearings Overall 119 participants attended public hearings, or logged into or viewed the streaming meeting: Sunset Hills –15 Bridgeton -1 Manchester –6 Forest Park –3 Maryland Heights –8 Streaming meeting –76 views MSD Offices -10 Streaming Meeting 76 Total VIEWS The streaming meeting took place on May 30, 2018 at 1 PM, allowing interested participants to view an entire meeting live, online. Participants were encouraged to submit comments/questions via email, Facebook and Twitter. There were approximately 15 questions asked during the streaming meeting. The majority of comments came in on Twitter and were addressed, live. Streaming Meeting: Turning a Negative into a Positive After answering a number of questions via Twitter during the live stream, we were able to turn incoming negative comments into positive ones. Rate Commission Signage Rate Commission signage was designed to develop consistent branding and messaging, to increase awareness about public hearings and to be used for future Rate Commission initiatives. Recommendations •Add additional focus and effort in social media to publicize individual hearings. •Boost tweets to increase engagement on Twitter, as boosts on Facebook did push the message out to more people. •Use some paid advertising for YouTube videos (streaming meeting, educational videos). •Keep posting on the RC’s social media accounts all year –do not let the accounts go dormant. Continue to update followers on the status of the proposal, and push out updates to customers. •Look at outcomes of advertising and target even more closely where to spend dollars. •Offer more live streaming meetings. Consider live streaming each public hearing, or a majority of them, to make it easier for people to “attend.” •Add additional messaging on MSD bills in the months leading up to the hearings. •Add additional promotion tactics on the proposed plan, after the Rate Commission makes their recommendation, and the MSD Board approves or denies it, in order to educate customers about the upcoming vote on the issue. •Push out information on the date of the vote, and continue to educate and inform voters of the issues.