Western Governors University (WGU) is a nationally recognized online, competency-based university designed for busy adults who must balance work, family and financial obligations but may not be able to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar university. In the fall of 2017, WGU prepared to launch WGU North Carolina, a partnership that was created through an agreement between the state of North Carolina and the nonprofit university. Since WGU is based in Utah, it hired Clairemont Communications to effectively understand the North Carolina landscape and to plan and execute a press conference that would officially launch WGU North Carolina.
Clairemont conducted research to better understand the public awareness level of WGU across the state. As suspected, general awareness of WGU in North Carolina was very low. Therefore, we knew the location of the press conference needed to have a big impact. We collectively decided on the North Carolina State Capitol building to send the message that this was not just another online university but a partnership with the support of state officials. Clairemont worked with WGU to establish the primary audiences we would be targeting to attend the press conference.
In order to grab the attention of busy reporters and influencers, Clairemont’s strategy featured a high-profile media event rich with visuals, exclusive interviews and elite spokespersons. With less than a month to plan and execute the press conference, the Clairemont team had to employ creative and tenacious efforts to secure permits for use of the State Capitol building and grounds. We were also tasked with helping secure a strong lineup of speakers at the press conference with little notice.
Our team surpassed expectations of building credibility for WGU NC by securing attendance from three prominent politicians and key thought leaders, including the Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the NC Chamber. With the goal of five local stories including broadcast coverage, Clairemont exceeded the objective by landing 31 total stories and securing on-site attendance from two TV stations.
The work Clairemont Communications conducted in partnership with Western Governors University earned an Award of Excellence by the North Carolina Public Relations Society and a Platinum Award by the Raleigh Public Relations Society. We are proud that this campaign represents one of the 219 awards we’ve received since starting Clairemont in 2010.
To read more about the work we do with clients, please visit the case study section of our blog.