Weber Shandwick - Community Relations Campaign

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Company: Weber Shandwick, São Paulo, Brazil
Company Description: Weber Shandwick is a leading global communications and engagement firm in 79 cities across 34 countries, with a network extending to 127 cities in 81 countries. The firm’s diverse team of strategists, analysts, producers, designers, developers and campaign activators has won the most prestigious awards in the world for innovative, creative approaches and impactful work.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Community Relations

Nomination Title: Meu Lugar no Rio (“My place in Rio”)

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Background

In the months leading up to the Olympic Games, the Rio 2016 Olympic Organizing Committee had a serious problem: the community of the non Rio-based volunteers was dropping out in massive numbers. The reason? Inability to secure affordable housing. Accommodation costs– in high demand among tourists, athletes, families, fans worldwide – had skyrocketed. And volunteers critical to the Game’s success were without accomodation.

We needed to avoid a fast-approaching crisis and boost volunteer community morale. All while maintaining the Olympic spirit well-known around the globe.

The Idea

We looked to the cornerstone of the Olympics – the hosting of the Games. We tapped into Rio’s host city pride, engaging its citizens to help host the thousands of individuals needed to make the Games happen.

My Place in Rio – Meu Lugar no Rio – was born.

A hosting platform and social hub, My Place in Rio, connected volunteers from all over the world with local hosts willing to open their homes. We created social and digital content to motivate our hosts to look at the bigger picture and be part of the shared Olympic experiece. The result? A robust network of welcoming hosts offering low-cost or free housing to thousands of volunteers.

Strategy

Via social listening we learned that non-Rio resident volunteers were concerned about the lack of affordable accommodations. This community was actively engaged online. We also knew Rio residents, excited about the upcoming Games, were active on social media, too.

The platform made it easy for thousands of volunteers to connect with approved Rio resident hosts and secure free and low-cost housing.

Strategic media outreach was also essential to engage Rio residents. We targeted mass media outlets to spread the word about the platform. To find hosts on neighborhoods close or with easy public access to the Olympic Park, we also worked with local outlets, NGOs, churches, community associations and local volunteers, who encouraged friends and family to become hosts.

Execution

We kicked off the campaign in February 2016, four months prior to the Opening Ceremony.

The My Place in Rio platform was constructed from scratch less than 30 days as we had no time to lose. We also created protocols to guarantee that volunteers and hosts would be safe and have full support from the Olympic Committee. And we designed an exclusive tile that was placed on each host house as a recognition prize for their important role.

We drove awareness of, and interest in, My Place in Rio, among Rio residents, via strategic media relations and the platform itself became a great source of news content for the whole volunteers program as it brought to life engaging stories and fantastic characters.

We utilized limited paid media, only US$2.000,00 on Facebook. Social media engagement included rallying and exciting volunteers via the official Volunteers Facebook Group with renewed faith on the program and many hosts excited with the possibility to be an important part of the Olympics and asking more people to join the initiative.

Results

The Games were a huge success, fueled by thousands of volunteers from around the world. The near crisis situation facing the organizing committee had been averted.

By tapping into Rio residents’ volunteer spirit and desire to make a difference, we created an active community that successfully matched unpaid volunteers with local hosts. My Place in Rio quickly became a way for citizens to show they were all hosting the Olympics. The campaign was directly responsible for delivering free and low-cost accommodation to more than 21% of the volunteer workforce.My Place in Rio exceed organizers expectations by 40%, and the proprietary platform is now part of the toolkit for future Games.We engaged 67,000 people through the Rio 2016 Volunteer Official Group on Facebook, and reached more than 500,000 thousand Rio residents via paid media.Strategic media relations delivered more than 100 broadcast, print and online articles.

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 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Ability to revert a crisis involving the volunteers only five months before the Opening Ceremony in Rio 2016.
-Agility to discover the problem and find the best solution under a tight deadline: My Place in Rio hosting platform was constructed from scratch less than 30 days prior to the Games, helping to solve the volunteer community housing shortage.
-The platform was directly responsible for delivering free and low-cost accommodation to more than 21% of the volunteer community.
-Positive legacy for upcoming events: My Place in Rio exceeded organizers expectations by 40%, and the proprietary platform is now part of the toolkit for future Games.
-Spread through social, earned and paid media: We engaged 67,000 people through the Rio 2016 Volunteer Official Group on Facebook, and reached more than 500,000 thousand Rio residents via paid media. Strategic media relations delivered more than 100 broadcast, print and online.

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