Introducing a New Hospital to the Community: Groundbreaking Ceremony

The Issue
The leadership of a rural hospital wanted to communicate the difference in healthcare delivery that the new hospital facility would make in their area. This was a replacement hospital that would be focused on outpatient and emergency care and was being built partially with tax dollars from the community.

The Challenge
The ground breaking had to be scheduled for January due to the construction schedule. There was not a structure that would hold the number of people who needed to be invited and it would be hard to attract people to an event on a cold dreary day in January. The state administration had recently changed and it was difficult to get media attention when there was a lot of political news around the legislature and the new governor.

Strategies
Formal and elaborate invitations were sent to key people in the community who had previously come to public relations events produced by TCI for the hospital. Press releases and public notices were published in print publications. A large well-appointed and heated tent was used to accommodate over 250 people who attended the event. Parking and transportation were well organized with greeters and hot coffee in an adjacent building. The press releases generated broadcast media coverage on site early in the morning which boosted attendance. Speakers were well known and respected public officials and the Chief Executive Officer. The Chairman of the Board was the Master of Ceremonies. The highlight of the event was an interactive video tour of the hospital from the reception to the Emergency Room. Following the program the back of the tent was opened and the audience could see the gold shovel groundbreaking from the warmth of their tent. Refreshments were served by a top catering company in an adjacent building while media interviewed speakers and guests.

Results
The hospital received widespread coverage on all broadcast and print media in the area. Follow up stories were also published. The hospital’s construction became a topic of positive comments for months in the area. One of the benefits will be the jumpstart in marketing that the hospital will have at the start of operations. The Open House of the new structure will be a continuation of the story and will again jumpstart the public’s use of the hospital’s services.