U.S. Green Building Council: Top 10 States

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Company: U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.
Company Description: The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy- saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, the annual Greenbuild Conference, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Public Affairs

Nomination Title: Top 10 States for LEED Campaign

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since January 1, 2014 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Top 10 States for LEED campaign is one of the organization’s most important and highly visible public affairs campaigns, and it is maintained on a rolling, annual basis. USGBC uses its Top 10 States campaign to make important connections with key policymakers and public officials, help raise the profile of our local chapters in key locations across the country and garner media coverage that helps USGBC raise brand awareness for LEED and public awareness of the green building movement more broadly.

Since January 2014, the Top 10 States for LEED has proven enormously successful in achieving these goals. USGBC begins its Top 10 campaign each year by sending an confidential letter from UGSBC CEO and founding chair Rick Fedrizzi to the governors’ offices of each of its Top 10 States. This proactive outreach lead to the offices of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley issuing February 2014 press releases regarding their respective states’ placement in the annual rankings. The Minnesota Department of Commerce also issued a press release regarding in February 2014. In 2015, changes in the gubernatorial administrations of both Illinois and Maryland meant that those offices did not send out releases for a consecutive year, but the Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resource sent its own release, and more than half of the state offices engaged in social media.

As part of its 2015 push, USGBC stepped up its federal outreach to congressional representative of key districts within the Top 10 States. USGBC’s outreach to Federal Congressional offices exceeded all previous efforts with state specific emails delivered to 185 congressional offices, or roughly 34 percent of all congressional members. This resulted in 878 individual opens. Social media traction as a result of this outreach was also higher than we have seen in all previous years. Seventeen congressional offices helped USGBC promote the Top 10 campaign via social media in February 2015.

In total, USGBC sent letters to nearly 500 individual letters to public officials’ and their staff in February 2015 (legislative directors) in the Top 10 states encouraging their participation in social media and promotion. Within 24 hours, the emails were opened 878 times with an average open rate of 302.91 percent, which means the emails were forwarded and shared within each of the offices and potentially with constituents and at least 10 members of Congress tweeted to their constituents celebrating their state’s inclusion in the Top 10.

USGBC also conducted a satellite media tour in February 2014 and February 2015 as part of its Top 10 States for LEED campaign. USGBC Chief Product Officer Scot Horst was featured during this segment of the campaign, and he produced a series of taped interviews resulting in two national syndicated TV placements and six nationally syndicated radio broadcasts in 2014. There were also 19 local TV stories aired in 10 of the nations top 100 media markets, 10 radio stories in top 100 media markets, and three additional TV stories placed in other media markets falling just outside of the top 100 in 2014. USGBC followed this up with a satellite media tour that produced 18 TV appearances in 2015 (two national, ten top 100) and another 15 radio segments (six national, eight top 100).

USGBC also released a national press release in February 2014 and February 2015 detailing the Top 10 States for LEED, as well as individualized press releases for each state in their respective month for their respective years. These combined efforts resulted in nearly 240 unique articles which were published at least 400 times over the course of both years. These placements were highly important because they allowed USGBC to help elevate the profile of their local chapter leaders, who were all featured prominently in their state press releases and who served as primary points of contact for incoming media inquires in the state.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2014 (up to 150 words).

1. Individual letters are sent to the governor’s offices of each state.
2. USGBC proactively engages important state policy-makers regarding their placement in the rankings.
3. Specific, highly visible projects are highlighted in all of the Top 10 States to help build brand awareness and produce positive publicity for USGBC member organizations.
4. Proactive pitching key reporters in each state and putting forward local chapter leadership as spokespersons for USGBC in the area.
5. A satellite media tour designed to promote LEED and highly visible projects throughout the nation through broadcast TV and radio coverage.
6. Social media engagement with federal, state and local lawmakers to promote LEED green buildings.
7. Infographics and other marketing collateral that are deployed throughout social media and the USGBC website.