St. Paul utilizes the RNC to escape Minneapolis' shadow

Though known as the Twin Cities, St. Paul has frequently lost the limelight to its sister city, Minneapolis. When the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) came into town, the City decided to mount a PR effort, says Erin Dady, director of marketing and convention planning for the city.

Though known as the Twin Cities, St. Paul has frequently lost the limelight to its sister city, Minneapolis. When the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) came into town, the City decided to mount a PR effort, says Erin Dady, director of marketing and convention planning for the city.

With the help of Goff & Howard (G&H) and Davis Communications Management, the City set out to highlight what makes St. Paul stand out.

Strategy
“We were really interested in raising the profile of St. Paul,” Dady says. The PR strategy was to create awareness for the city by pitching and closely monitoring coverage of the RNC, so in the future, visitors and media would not confuse the town with its sister city, says Mike Zipko, shareholder/account manager of media relations and public affairs for G&H.

Tactics
The City closely monitored its media relations, with outreach to both local media and journalists in town for the convention. The City also sent weekly e-mails to key media about St. Paul and held weekly conference calls with local reporters to discuss the planning process, in addition to strategically targeting business, political, and general outlets.

Additionally, the City closely oversaw advance media walkthroughs of St. Paul to increase their knowledge of the metropolis, according to Ted Davis, president of Davis Communications Management.

Results
Due to the media blitz, the City has booked four new conventions. Aside from substantive media placements, the team was particularly proud of the acknowledgement by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who said, “If you don't like St. Paul, you've got a screw loose.”

Future
The future of the campaign is still to be determined, but the interest in further raising the profile of St. Paul with key stakeholders remains, Dady says.

PR team:
City of St. Paul, Goff & Howard, and Davis Communications Management (all St. Paul, MN)

Campaign:
Introducing St. Paul, MN at RNC

Duration:
May-November 2008

Budget: $100,000

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