For an 18-month project like the Jamestown 2007/America's 400th Anniversary, which encompassed much detail and preplanning, it was necessary for the team players to come up with fresh tactics and unique messaging that would attract national and international attention. To companies wishing to launch a similar commemorative initiative, Robin Crawford, senior vice president of Ruder Finn D.C and Ross Richardson, director of marketing and communications for Jamestown 2007, offer these best practices:
Make the story compelling to media by highlighting different angles: "We got some great experts to serve as spokespersons for the program," says Crawford. "This kept momentum going over 18 months." As a result, by the time the program was rolled out, the interest had not peaked.
Get buy-in from partners early and leverage them: "In media requests, there's always an 11th hour scramble, so having everyone on board was great," adds Crawford.
Incorporate an element of surprise for your target audiences: "People thought they knew what Jamestown was about because they had heard about John Smith and Pocahontas," says Richardson. "Through recent scholarship and archaeological discoveries, we were able to tell a new and fuller story about Jamestown."