Moving world trade onto the internet
Midnight Communications was tasked with building the business of bolero.net, an e-commerce infrastructure provider enabling documents to be exchanged on-line, at a time when world trade remained a paper-driven process. At the time of Midnight's appointment in July 1999, awareness of bolero.net was low, even though it had had a web site since late 1998.
There had been no coverage in the IT press, only 600 people a week were visiting the web site, and Metrica evaluation showed that 29 per cent of press coverage had been negative. To build awareness, Midnight needed to reach the export/import communities in the major markets of the US, Western Europe and the Far East. PR had to work alone, as there was no advertising support.
With limited budget and time available, the agency had to find a way of illustrating the importance of bolero.net's paperless trading system.
It found UN figures showing the 'paper trail' cost international business dollars 420 billion and used this to lead all media announcements.
At the company re-launch in September, media activity centred on press with a wide regional or international reach. A series of 12 region and industry specific user endorsements was developed to use in media activity.
Following the launch, media tours were built around pre-scheduled customer visits. Major emphasis was placed on word-of-mouth, with early adopters encouraged to talk up the firm at international conferences. A range of DIY presentation kits were also developed and posted on the web site for visitors to download .
To get the bolero.net story into potential customers' e-mail bulletins at work, internet-based news services such as FT.com were also heavily targeted. In January an e-zine, ether, was created to publicise customer news, and there was an invitation to subscribe on the web site.
From September to June 2000 ,360 articles appeared in 28 countries about bolero.net, including seven in the FT and eight in the Straits Times.
Coverage in Asia improved three times quarter by quarter, and IT press coverage went from zero to 70 articles. Metrica evaluation showed message delivery was excellent for four out of five messages, and negative coverage was down to just two per cent.
Web site visits increased to 2,200 a week by June, and over 200 leads came in from firms interested in partnering bolero.net. Four thousand DIY presentations were downloaded, and more than 2,700 have subscribed to ether.
The Dolphin Initiative
The United Arab Emirates Offsets Group aimed to develop an extensive international gas supply and infrastructure system - The Dolphin Initiative. Burson-Marsteller created a 24/7 global communications function targeting 12 key markets, using each negotiation success of the project to generate further momentum to ongoing negotiations. In just 15 months the Dolphin brand became the pre-eminent energy brand in the Gulf region. Two supply and five market agreements were reached, as well as partnerships with major energy companies.
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