Louis Karno and Company was hired to launch the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s opening and to generate sustained momentum. A branding and communications campaign was developed and implemented for their transformation from the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium to the new Discovery Center. But, when the state cut off funding, the firm was called in to help plan and message the transition.
To develop the branding and communications campaigns, we conducted a communications audit of all marketing materials for the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium and reviewed them for consistency and messaging. We also developed and administered an online communications survey and one-on-one interviews with managerial staff. The research goal was to obtain information to assist with developing the messaging, communications tactics, and brand.
The media relations and associated branding campaign was multifaceted involving communication with print, broadcast, and radio news outlets. Specific media distribution lists were created to target local media, regional media, and national media. The campaign began a couple of months before the opening with press materials being distributed to national publications with a long lead-time (i.e. magazines, journals).
In 2013, the Discovery Center was removed from state support, and transitioned to a private nonprofit. This was tremendous change, as the organization’s debt and operating budget had been based on state support, and not on gate and membership revenue. The firm worked to revamp messaging, redirect promotional work to social media – and help to build pricing and the membership program. The Discovery Center not only succeeded through the transition, but has gone on to thrive as a non-profit – now working to revamp their marketing assets and website under the guidelines set up by the Louis Karno Team.