Developing a social media campaign for the 2nd Annual Celebrate John Muir Health! Gala, “Reaching New Heights”

Developing a social media campaign for the 2nd Annual Celebrate John Muir Health! Gala, “Reaching New Heights”

Media outreach is a fundamental part of a successful public relations campaign. In addition to traditional media outreach, social media engagement has become a key ingredient in connecting businesses with their targeted audiences.

The Challenge

The John Muir Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of nonprofit health organization John Muir Health, hosted its second annual Celebrate John Muir Health! fundraising gala on Nov. 7, 2015. The Harden Partners team  promoted the event and educated the local community about the Foundation’s philanthropic mission

The Solution

The Harden team created a strategic campaign utilizing traditional and social media outreach to enhance community engagement surrounding the event.

  • Prior to the date of the gala, we created and managed social media accounts for the gala, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to share information directly with the local community and donors.
  • Developed weekly social media posts for the Facebook page bringing attention to John Muir Health’s comprehensive cancer care programs and services benefiting from the gala’s proceeds, including photos, videos and posts.
  • Posted social media content on Twitter and Instagram in real time from the event.
  • Drafted and distributed pre-event and post-event press releases for the gala.
  • Conducted outreach to local health media and society outlets to secure event coverage.

The Results

Social media outreach of the event resulted in active community awareness for the John Muir Health Foundation’s gala and philanthropy. During the campaign, the social media pages generated a following by members of the John Muir Health community.

The three-month campaign resulted in the following social media engagements:

  • The #CelebrateJMH15 event hashtag was used and reposted by several other social media accounts participating in the event—including Blue Print Studios (16,200 followers) and NORCAL Ambulance (68 followers).

In addition, traditional outreach resulted in media coverage published in targeted local and society outlets. The John Muir Health Foundation gala was featured in six media placements, including the hometown newspaper and social magazines of the East Bay.

  • Full-page story in Walnut Creek Magazine’s January/February 2016 print issue.
  • Half-page story in Diablo magazine’s February 2016 print issue.
  • Coverage in local and community media such as East County Today, Contra Costa Times, Diablo Gazette and Pleasanton Weekly.

The 2015 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study

Case Study: The 2015 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study

In 2015, Harden Partners was called upon to help Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® promote their third annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study to showcase how the workplace remains a foundation of financial security for many American households, and how employees rely on benefits for overall feelings of financial preparedness.

We developed and implemented an effective public relations plan geared toward the trade, broker/advisor, HR and mainstream business media outlets . The campaign was focused on key themes from the study which will be promoted through an ongoing PR and marketing campaign in 2015-2016.

Promotion Timing Key Research Theme
July 2015 The workplace remains a foundation of financial security for many American households.
Sept 2015 Tailored benefits and communications better address employee financial needs at different work stages.
Oct 2015 The Affordable Care Act is influencing the way employers fund and deliver benefits programs.
Jan 2016 Advancements in outsourced expertise and technology are reshaping the benefits landscape.
Feb 2016 Employers are rethinking their strategies amidst an increasingly complex benefits environment.


  • Media Hits (46): Total Circulation/Unique Visitors per Month – 3,319,121
  • Contributed Articles (8): Total Circulation/Unique Visitors per Month – 597,646
  • Placements in top-tier trade and consumer outlets including 401kWire, BenefitsPro, Human Resource Management, InsuranceNewsNet and Next Avenue

Moebs Services – Using Research to Establish Chicago Economist’s National Profile

The Challenge:

Moebs Services is an economic research firm based in Lake Bluff, Ill. that collects primary empirical data about more than 2,000 U.S. financial institutions. Though successful for more than two decades with clients and government agencies, the firm had absolutely no media recognition. The primary challenge for developing and implementing a successful campaign was to interpret, package, and present the data in an accessible and relevant manner. Other major obstacles were the firms’ lack of media experience and the importance of being a neutral third party expert source, not a consumer advocate.

The Solution:

With the dramatic changes in the financial landscape of banking and political climate in 2009, Harden Partners recognized an opportunity to build national awareness of the firm.

The team leveraged Moebs’ Annual Overdraft Fee Survey to make Moebs research timely, relevant and newsworthy and position Moebs as an expert source. The plan encompassed key message development, intensive media training, nationally issued news release, targeted pitches and Op Ed and bylined articles – all tying the overdraft fee survey into ongoing and emerging news stories.

The Results:

The campaign was a major success, generating widespread, ongoing coverage in national and international media.  The Harden team took CEO Moebs from being unknown to a nationally recognized expert who is now at the top of the rolodex for key national media reporters covering banking and industry pricing issues.  We leveraged that success by promoting other Moebs surveys and data through personal editorial contacts, news releases and story pitches that continued the national ongoing coverage of Moebs Services.  As a result of Harden Partners efforts, Mike became the number one expert for top-tier media reporters covering overdraft fee and pricing issues in banking at that time, with regular coverage in The New York TimesWall Street Journal,  USAToday, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Washington PostFinancial TimesChicago Tribune,Boston Globe, Marketplace on NPR, CBS Evening News, CNN Money, Fox TV.

East Bay Vintners Alliance – Urban Wine Xperience (UWX)

The Challenge:

Urban Wine Xperience is the one event of the year when all 20+ wineries come together to pour an array of whites, reds, roses, and sparkling. Harden Partners was brought on board to expand the impact and reach of the event.

More specifically, Harden Partners was charged with:

  • Increasing local and regional visibility of the East Bay Vintners Alliance (EBVA) which includes over 20 urban winery members and the Urban Wine Xperience event.
  • Generating sales of 1,000 tickets to EBVA’s signature event, “Urban Wine Xperience”, from 400 ticket sales the year prior.
  • Position EBVA member wineries collectively as “Urban Wine Country” and promote it as a travel destination in messaging and media outreach.

The Solution:

Harden Partners implemented a grassroots marketing strategy that included the following components:

  • Leveraging local media and using the EBVA’s growing social media community to hold a sweepstakes with ticket giveaway.
  • Physically canvassing surrounding areas with event flyers.
  • etting up multiple promotional deals via LivingSocial, TravelZoo, and Wineluv to increase visibility and sell tickets.
  • Months before the UWX a VIP reception was held to generate excitement about the upcoming events, forge and foster media and community influencer relationships, and educate attendees about EBVA and its members. Key influencers in media and politics attended.

Harden Partners pitched top tier media in the Bay Area to cover the Urban Wine Xperience in advance in event listings, profiles on vintners and articles focused on Urban Wine Country.

The Results:

Harden increased sales of UWX to 1,000+ tickets, more than double the previous year’s presales. Two days before the event tickets were selling at such a rapid rate that sales were cut off and the event was announced as “sold out.” Harden could have potentially sold more tickets, a change of venues for the next year’s event to accommodate the interest was recommended. Media placements led to an estimated advertising value of more than $75,000. The total budget for the event was only $20,000.