Vollrath Associates

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Public Relations

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“Translating Thought — Encouraging Action. Every Story has a place. Let us help you put your story in the right place.”

Badger Meter – Water Utility Solutions

Public Relations

Situation

Many water utilities are looking to upgrade their metering systems, but not quite sure where to start in the face of rising infrastructure requirements and constantly evolving technology. In our increasingly on-demand world, they need fast, easy access to powerful information. Enter the BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) managed solution.

 

On January 29, 2014, Badger Meter became the first major water meter company to release a cost-effective cellular based solution for system wide deployment. The BEACON AMA managed service offering combines the powerful BEACON AMA hosted software suite with proven fixed (radio) and/or cellular network meter reading technology.

 

Challenge

BEACON AMA is a game-changing solution. Game-changing solutions require public relations efforts that educate, inspire and move customers to act.

 

Vollrath Associates was challenged to introduce BEACON AMA’s managed service offering to the municipal and water utility trade media, along with the general media and Badger Meter investor community. To capitalize on the company’s first-to-market position, Vollrath Associates and Badger Meter worked in tandem to create a public relations program that emphasized the product’s powerful, yet intuitive approach, cutting-edge cellular technology and utility optimizing capabilities.

 

Results

To make a splash in the growing and increasingly competitive water metering technology industry, the product was publicly launched at a major industry conference. From there, a public relations campaign was born.

 

PR Highlights Include:

  • 16 trade media articles placements including coverage in industry leading trade publications, by-lined articles and technology features
  • 57+ news stories generated during January and February 2014
  • Public relations launch efforts contributed to positive marketplace acceptance including strong sales for BEACON AMA Starter Kits and product deployments

 

The product launch campaign as a whole also received a Gold Award in the MarCom Awards competition, which recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communications professionals from around the world.

 

The successful launch created a spring board for ongoing public relations efforts for BEACON AMA and Badger Meter’s other products and services for the water utility market.
 

 

 

Blaze Pizza

Public Relations

 
After opening its first location in Wisconsin in 2013, Blaze “Fast-Fire’d” Pizza, a leader in the fast-casual, artisan pizza category teamed up with Vollrath Associates to enhance the franchise’s public relations efforts and make a name for itself in the Milwaukee market.  With only 12 locations across the United States, Blaze needed to find a way to introduce its new pizza concept as the fast-casual dining trend was sweeping the nation.

 

Challenge

Vollrath Associates was challenged to introduce Blaze Pizza’s unique spin on a traditional pizzeria to the Milwaukee market, starting with the franchise’s Brookfield location, to increase visibility, build brand awareness and generate excitement about the new, up-and-coming restaurant. Modeled after restaurants like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza offers fresh, artisanal pizzas that are made-to-order and “fast-fire’d” to perfection in 180 seconds or less.

 

Results

Vollrath Associates developed a comprehensive public relations plan to launch the restaurant in the area, informing media of the new trend and highlighting some of the restaurant’s distinctive features, including over 40 artisan and contemporary toppings used to custom-create each pizza, blazing hot ovens and the infamous 100 calorie slice.  Through a series of releases, pitches and advisories, Vollrath Associates successfully told the company’s story to reporters, bloggers and media personalities, garnering attention from several outlets.

 

Coverage highlights include:

 

As the restaurant expands to new locations, Vollrath Associates continues to help Blaze tell its story and introduce this fresh and unique concept to new communities in the Milwaukee area.
 

 

 

Divino Wine and Dine

Public Relations

 

Situation

In the fall of 2012, Divino Wine and Dine turned to Vollrath Associates to assist with the public relations for its new restaurant opening. Serving up small plates, half-size portions of pasta and a wide selection of wines, craft beers and Italian liqueurs, the Italian eatery specializes in classics with a twist.

 

Challenge

Vollrath Associates was challenged to introduce Divino Wine and Dine to the Milwaukee dining community, foodies and the general public. Opening in the place of the former Palermo Villa, public relations efforts conveyed a more contemporary restaurant with a touch of old Italy, and of course, great food.

 

Results

Vollrath Associates successfully launched Divino Wine and Dine’s December opening, leading to media placements and increased awareness for patrons eager to try the new restaurant. Coverage in key Milwaukee media outlets told the story of a cozy east side hangout with an updated environment as appetizing as the menu. Highlighting the return of the classic Palermo Villa pizza, half-orders of hearty pasta dishes and perfect wine pairings by-the-glass, Divino continues to draw interest in print, broadcast and online media.

 

As the restaurant evolves, so does its public relations. Vollrath Associates continues to assist Divino in telling its story regarding new promotions and announcements, happy hour specials, menu items, and more. Delizioso!

 

 

 

 

Festa Italiana

Public Relations

 

Situation

Established over 35 years ago, Festa Italiana is Milwaukee’s oldest ethnic festival and the largest Italian festival of its kind in the country. Festa Italiana attracts huge crowds to the lakefront each year through food, entertainment, cultural attractions and the best fireworks in Milwaukee.

 

Challenge

Vollrath Associates was challenged to generate interest for Festa’s new offerings each year and increase festival attendance among families in Milwaukee and the Chicago area.

 

Results

2014 marked Vollrath Associates fourth consecutive year assisting Festa Italiana.  Vollrath Associates every year develops a comprehensive public relations and marketing plan that involves goals, objectives, several creative PR tactics and an effective social media strategy to inspire interest and excitement about the event.  In 2014, the team at VA lead an aggressive PR campaign telling the Festa story through online, TV, radio and print coverage.  Through PR, Festa’s story was told by promoting key elements such as main headliners, food, celebrity chefs, new attractions and its mobile app Festa MKE.  Earned media coverage for the 37th annual Festa Italiana was significant, resulting in approximately 138.7 million media impressions and a total of approximately 102 placements.  The Festa MKE mobile app, the first ethnic festival app in Milwaukee, resulted in approximately 2,000 downloads in just a short timeframe.  The Festa MKE app added a new and exciting component to the 2013 festivalgoing experience.

 

The total number of media impressions earned from our media buy was 8.3 million targeting residents, Italians and non-Italians in Milwaukee, state of Wisconsin, Chicago and Northern Illinois.  With the help of GT Creative, based in Milwaukee, Wis., the majority of our ads focused on the two main elements that bring people to  Festa – food and entertainment.  Through a mix of digital, print, radio, TV and outdoor, all ads supported consistent themes related to food, major attractions and Italian entertainment.  A clean creative look was established to focus on our primary theme – “It Feels Good to be Italian!”  The creative was very effective in making the Festa image continue to look modern, with a little something for everyone to enjoy.

 

Festa’s Facebook page “likes” continue to increase each year.  In 2014, the Facebook page reached over 10,000 fans.  Through Twitter, we reached 167,679 accounts and over 91,075 impressions.  Through enhanced digital communication, we were able to generate conversations with festival-goers and the Milwaukee community, alert fans about upcoming media appearances and tweet coverage, reach bloggers for additional outreach, cross-promote with sponsors, travel and consumer sites and tell the Festa story while it’s happening through videos, images and conversation.  The Festa MKE app also incorporated a strong social media function to engage fans and help generate buzz through conversation on social media.

 

 

 

Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Public Relations

 

Situation

Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a leading national hotel management company, owns and/or manages 20 hotels, resorts and other distinct properties in 11 states. A force in the hospitality industry, the company provides expertise in management, development and historic renovations.  The company’s portfolio includes a wide variety of properties including city-center meeting hotels, upscale resorts and branded first-class hotels.  The company’s individual properties were very visible in each of its markets, but the corporate Marcus Hotels’ brand was not as well recognized.

 

Challenge

To support the company’s growth and strategy to add new hotels across the U.S., Vollrath Associates was challenged to increase the visibility of the company’s corporate brand among industry peers, hotel owners and developers.

 

Results

Vollrath Associates developed a comprehensive public relations plan that helped to tell the company’s story through a variety of public relations tactics and increase awareness of the corporate brand in the mind of developers, investors, customers and associates. By positioning the company’s experts as thought leaders and proactive communications related to acquisitions, new properties, leadership, innovations and excellence, the Marcus Hotels & Resorts brand is recognized among its target audiences and is considered a leading hotel management company.

 

 

 

 

Milwaukee Air & Water Show

Public Relations

 

Situation

From its grassroots beginnings in 2002, the Milwaukee Air & Water Show has grown into Milwaukee’s largest free event, providing a substantial economic impact to Milwaukee’s local economy and a source of entertainment for the entire family. Since its partnership with the air show in 2010, Vollrath Associates has been instrumental in the event’s continued growth and success.

 

Challenge

Vollrath Associates was challenged to generate excitement for the show and to increase visibility and attendance for the event in the Milwaukee community.

 

Results

Vollrath Associates developed an extensive public relations program in 2010 that has grown and evolved each year.  Our team works with major acts and performers, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, to position the Milwaukee Air & Water Show as Milwaukee’s largest free event each summer.  Through effective PR tactics including press conferences, media rides, exclusive interviews, community outreach and social media, in 2013, the air show continues to achieve record attendance.  In 2013, Vollrath  Associates also assisted former Green Bay Packer Ahman Green and former Milwaukee Brewer Jeff Cirillo jump with the All Veterans Parachute Demonstration  Team.  The celebrity jumps garnered a lot of media interest and visibility for the 2013 show!

 

2013 Air & Water Show Media Coverage Highlights Included:

 

Returning to Milwaukee for the first time since 2010, the Blue Angels kicked off the 2014 show with a special visit in January. Despite freezing temperatures, a dynamic press conference held at the 128th Air Refueling Wing generated a lot of buzz…and thoughts of warmer weather.

 

2014 Blue Angels Press Conference Highlights Included:

Stay tuned for more coverage and announcements….the 2014 show takes off June 21 and 22 along Milwaukee’s lakefront!

 

 

 

Wil-Kil Pest Control

Public Relations

 

Situation

Wil-Kil Pest Control, Wisconsin’s largest pest management company, provides quality pest management for residential and commercial properties throughout the upper Midwest. In 2009, the resurgence of bed bugs as a result of increased travel and changing treatment options was gaining national attention.  The difficulty to treat bed bugs presented a major challenge for the pest control industry.  To combat the problem, Wil-Kil Pest Control took a proactive stance and obtained the first canine scent detection dog in Wisconsin.

 

Challenge

Vollrath Associates was challenged to communicate to target audiences how effective bed bug canines were to solving the growing problem.  Bed bug canines are trained to proactively detect bed bugs and average 97% accuracy in a controlled environment.  Combined with the company’s heat treatment services, Wil-Kil offered the most effective solution in the prevention and treatment of bed bugs.

 

Results

Vollrath Associates developed a complete media relations program educating business owners and residents about the benefits of using a bed bug canine for proactive inspections and detection.  PR efforts resulted in:

  • News articles and interviews in leading Wisconsin publications
  • Demand for the company’s bed bug services increased by 75%
  • Wil-Kil acquired a second bed bug canine in 2011 to meet the growing demand for its bed bug treatment services
  • Wil-Kil has gained a reputation among Wisconsin media  as the go-to experts in bed bug detection and treatment

As a result of the successful public relations program, Vollrath Associates continues to assist Wil-Kil Pest Control with all of its public relations needs and its efforts to educate businesses and individuals about timely pests, new legislation, trends and of course, bed bugs.

 

Ongoing coverage highlights include: