PR Team: Cisco Systems (Chile) and Building Media Relations (Chile) Campaign: Broadband for the bicentennial Time Frame: May 2002 - ongoing to 2010 Budget: $8,000, $15,000 annually for researchIn 2002, Cisco Systems wanted to draw attention to the need for more broadband in Chile, which the company felt would help drive development of the country and simultaneously position Cisco as an IT leader in Chile that could make this broadband goal a reality. By 2010, Cisco wants 20% of households to have computers with high-speed internet access. Cisco knew that broadband was critical to Chile's development - to help both modernize and bring it closer to the global standards of other major countries. Strategy Cisco wanted to focus strongly on its belief that the development of broadband is directly linked with the development and modernization of nations, including Chile, explains Guillermo Aguirre, Cisco's marketing communications manager in Chile. And as the country begins planning for its bicentennial in 2010, Cisco knew technology would play a crucial role in that celebration, particularly if the country could point to a beneficial embrace of the technology during the bicentennial that benefited the entire country, from corporations to citizens. "This strategy was created as a way to expand Cisco's traditional areas of press coverage of technical issues and new equipment and solutions, and position the company in a superior level of public opinion - playing a leader in topics related to Chile's development through Cisco's commitment to the country," says Alejandra Bonati, an account manager with Building Media Relations (BMR), Cisco's agency in Chile. "We felt it is important that Cisco talk about more wide topics, especially when those are linked with the country's needs, allowing Cisco to be positioned as an opinion leader. So the Cisco and BMR teams realized that a good way was taking a big issue as an umbrella to create the campaign." Tactics Cisco and BMR set up an initial series of meetings in the latter half of 2002 with government officials, IT companies, and journalists to introduce the proposal for developing a broadband infrastructure that would provide high-speed internet access to at least 20% of households. In early 2003, Cisco introduced the Broadband Barometer, an indicator prepared by market-intelligence and advisory firm IDC, which will measure the growth of broadband in Chile every three months until 2010. Chile unveiled the barometer to members of Chile's government, garnering even more media coverage. Cisco recently unveiled development and construction plans for the broadband infrastructure, focusing again on government entities, IT businesses, and journalists, showing how Cisco's efforts will help bring about a digital Chile. Results Cisco's efforts have received heavy media coverage, not just for its plans to modernize Chile's IT infrastructure, but also as a multinational company that will help Chilean citizens reach a higher standard of living. Cisco and its broadband plan received coverage in 60 media outlets, including daily newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. "We think the main reason this has been successful is because the campaign is coming at the right moment, when the internet and broadband are beginning to be important issues to the public and the press," says Bonati. "IT and telecommunications have increased in importance for the country. And Cisco has been seen by the Chilean media as a neutral and expert company that is every day more involved with the internet and IT growth in the country." Cisco is also measuring the campaign's success by the increasing involvement of government officials, such as the undersecretary of telecommunications, and media coverage positioning Cisco in Chile as a technological leader with a vision for the future. Future Cisco and BMR will continue their outreach to the government, IT companies, and local media, with a particular focus on providing quarterly updates from the Broadband Barometer to showcase Cisco's progress toward developing broadband for the bicentennial in 2010.
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