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.
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Guardian Life Insurance: The 2015 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study

The Challenge
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.


  • 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.

Fractal – Making Predictive Analytics (and Fractal) a Household Word

The Challenge

Fractal Analytics has been at the forefront of the analytics industry since 2000. At that time, predictive analytics was a relatively unknown term and technology. Since that time, analytics has become a household word, involved in everything from business to healthcare to sports. While Fractal was one of the early forerunners in the space, a great number of analytics firms began to propagate in recent years and assert their stake as “industry leaders.”

In 2014, Harden Partners was engaged to raise the visibility of Fractal Analytics as a true pioneer in the analytics space, bring increased visibility to their leading solutions, and highlight their various industries of involvement—CPG, financial services, insurance, retail and technology. Few knew that Fractal provided solutions to Fortune 500 companies and laid claim to the following clients:

  • The Top 5 Household and Personal Products Companies
  • 7 of the Top 20 Specialty Retailers
  • 6 of the Top 20 Commercial Banks
  • 4 of the Top 25 National Insurance Carriers
  • 11 Global Enterprise Software and Gaming Providers

Fractal Analytics certainly had the credentials. They were just not as well-known as some of the new-combers to the space. They needed a strategic public relations team to elevate their visibility, promote their tremendous success and longevity, and bring them the awareness and recognition they deserved.

The Solution

Harden Partners immediately got to work identifying the key influencers in the media and analyst communities who could become ambassadors for Fractal’s outstanding solutions. Harden worked with the Fractal team and identified key spokespeople who could effectively share Fractal’s past as well as its vision for the future. We immediately arranged for a “Road Show” wherein our spokesperson travelled to New York, San Francisco and Boston and met with the top-tier press and analysts in each city. Simultaneously, we arranged for phone briefings with influential media and analysts in other cities all with the sole purpose of introducing, or in some cases, reintroducing Fractal Analytics and their industry-leading solutions and services.

The Results

The results of the “Road Show” were quite impressive landing approximately 20 briefings in a two week period culminating in coverage and briefings with CIO Journal/The Wall Street Journal, Wall Street & Technology, TechRepublic, Datanami, TechTarget, SiliconANGLE, Data Informed,

Business Intelligence Journal, ZDNet, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and analyst firms Aberdeen, Forrester Group, Gartner, IDC, Outsell, Mesabi Group, and Hurwitz & Associates.

Harden Partners was highly successful in elevating Fractal Analytics’ presence and industry-leading solutions which has led to such accolades as being named a “Cool Vendor in Analytics” by Gartner and being named repeatedly to Inc. Magazine’s list of “Fastest Growing Private Companies.” Fractal and predictive analytics are here to stay!

ShopWithMe – Bringing Brand Recognition to a Multifaceted Retail App

The Challenge

ShopWithMe is a single software platform that simplifies the ordering, inventory and payments process by connecting independent retailers and suppliers. With limited ramp-up time, Harden Partners was tasked with bringing brand awareness of this new retail solution, ShopWithMe, to the top technology, retail associations and retail trade publications. Furthermore, Harden Partners was asked to connect with media attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and invite them to visit the Zappos pop-up store (also in Las Vegas) to see the technology in action. One of the main challenges Harden encountered was that we had no access to a media list for CES and journalists attending the conference.

The Solution

Harden Partners worked with ShopWithMe to leverage their presence at the Zappos pop-up store—which was in close proximity to the CES Show and thousands of technology media from around the world.

As part of this strategy, Harden Partners:

  • Monitored the tweets and articles emanating from CES and invited journalists to the pop-up store in Las Vegas.
  • Suggested and implemented a plan to arrange for transportation to and from the convention center to make it as convenient as possible for media to visit the pop-up store.
  • Addressed reporter questions and followed up with images, additional background information, etc. to ensure a highly favorable article.
  • For those media unable to visit the physical store, Harden
  • Arranged conference calls for the media who were unable to visit the physical store to hear more about ShopWithMe and accompanied the same with visuals and b-roll footage.

The Results

  • Harden secured a number of top technology and retail media such as 1to1 Media, TechCocktail, CBS Television, CNBC, TechCrunch, Integrated Solutions for Retailers, Fierce Retail and more.
  • Harden facilitated interviews with design:retail, Mobile Marketing & Technology, Media Post, Consumer Goods Technology and USA Today.
  • Harden introduced ShopWithMe to POPAI, a top retail association of importance to the client.

Fireman’s Fund: Harden Fuels the Fire at the World’s Largest Risk Management Conference

The Challenge

An aging workforce presents strategic risks for companies across various industries, including insurance and risk management. With more skilled workers retiring from lifelong trades, it leaves vacancies to be filled by workers with less on-the-job expertise. This was a key issue addressed at the RIMS 2014 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Denver where Scott Steinmetz, former assistant vice president of risk services and solutions at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company teamed up with Dr. Michaela Grimm, senior economist at Allianz Group economic Research and Corporate Development for a panel discussion titled, “Managing the Risks of an Aging Workforce Population.” Harden Partners was called upon to help promote this educational session and raise the profiles of these two risk management experts.

The Strategy

Harden Partners developed and implemented an effective PR campaign geared toward the risk management sector. Harden Partners showcased the speakers’ insight on how to manage the evolving employment and senior care landscape. The firm’s persistent outreach helped raise awareness for the Fireman’s Fund brand and provided Steinmetz and Dr. Grimm with a great opportunity to meet with editors and journalists to discuss the importance of assessing the risks posed by an increase in older as well as younger, less skilled workers, and having a risk management strategy in place. Harden Partners made a conscious effort to truly understand this problem facing the insurance industry in order to maximize media coverage.

The Results

Harden designed and executed a proactive influencer outreach plan with compelling messaging that generated a buzz with our target audience. We secured seven interviews at the RIMS Conference with key trade publications such as Property & Casualty 360 and Reactions. These meetings generated articles in outlets including Business Insurance and Insurance Business America, along with a segment on A.M. Best TV. In addition, we secured an interview with A.M. Best TV for Lauren Bailey, vice president of entertainment insurance at Fireman’s Fund to discuss their partnership with the Event Safety Alliance in an effort to reduce risks at live events.

Following the RIMS Conference, Harden developed an exclusive contributed article (“Learning from an Aging Workforce”) for Risk & Insurance as part of their Risk Insider Program. The topic resonated so well with reporters that it led to additional interviews which resulted in two features.

Aspiriant: Leveraging a merger to establish industry leadership

The Goal

When two leading independent wealth management firms decided to merge, they brought Harden Partners in to develop and execute a communications strategy that would generate positive media coverage and help maintain clients’ loyalty. Key objectives were to explain the merger’s benefits and use it as an opportunity to position the new firm as the leader in the independent wealth management industry.

The Plan

Harden Partners created core messages as part of a comprehensive communications program aimed at clients, the industry and media. Highlights included:

  • Messaging that positioned the firms’ merger as “bucking the trend” of industry consolidations by creating a viable independent model for wealth management firms looking to grow or transition their business
  • Crafting compelling direct communications to clients that conveyed the benefits of the combined firm’s increased size, people, and expanded resources in serving their needs across generations
  • Maximizing all media opportunities to secure coverage and preparing the firm’s leaders to effectively deliver the merger positioning and messages in media interviews

The Results

  • Extensive favorable coverage about the merger was generated in all regional major dailies and business journals as well as national trade and business publications. Clients and competitors told the firm, “Your merger story was everywhere!”
  • The firm’s leaders and key messages were prominently quoted in media coverage. Articles called it “a merger of two leading wealth management firms” and a “clear alternative” to existing industry combinations.
  • Their clients expressed overwhelming support. In addition, the merged firm’s broader array of services almost immediately enabled it to expand several client relationships.
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John Muir Health Foundation: Launching a capital campaign

The Challenge

John Muir Health Foundation plays a key role in building financial, political and volunteer support for John Muir Health System, a major regional healthcare system in Northern California. However, community awareness of the Foundation’s mission as the major philanthropic arm for this community resource was minimal. As the Foundation launched the biggest capital campaign in the history of John Muir Health, they sought to “make the case” for expansion and win media recognition and community support.

The Solution

Harden Partners worked with the Foundation to craft messages, develop stories and create media and speaking opportunities to spotlight the Foundation, its projects and its volunteer and donor base. Highlights included:

  • Launching the capital campaign by positioning the Foundation as the key philanthropic arm for the award-winning health system.
  • Developing and placing a series of philanthropic profiles and human-interest stories to penetrate “micro-markets” across the region.
  • Maximizing all media opportunities to promote the Foundation’s events and their capital campaign milestones.
  • Positioning the Foundation’s board and volunteers as ambassadors to inspire support.

The Results

  • Extensive and ongoing favorable coverage about the Foundation, the capital campaign and its people. News coverage included major dailies and key local community newspapers.
  • Site tours for key influencers, including Chambers of Commerce, service clubs and government officials, and speaking engagements before community organizations.
  • Increased community awareness of the Foundation, its mission and its role in the John Muir Health expansion and renovation projects.

Covenant House California: Putting a national nonprofit on the map in a major local metro area

The Challenge

Covenant House, a highly regarded national non-profit serving at-risk youth, had very little public recognition for the services it provides for homeless youth in the San Francisco Bay area. The organization was opening a new facility in a redevelopment area of downtown Oakland. It wanted to use this event to educate potential donors and volunteers, elected officials and the local community about the significance of their mission and programs.

The Solution

Since so many worthy causes and issues are competing for limited media “shelf-space,” a strong, proactive public relations campaign was created to garner media coverage and gain the attention of public officials.

  • Prior to the grand opening of the new center, we reached out to media to highlight the organization’s mission and values, positioning it as one of the solutions to the problems of urban youth and homelessness.
  • We conducted media training for the local and headquarters team so that they were prepared to discuss issues in the most compelling manner and make the most of media interview opportunities.
  • To enhance excitement around the event and visibility for the organization, we recruited local radio personalities and community leaders to participate in Covenant House events and programs.
  • We used the grand opening of Covenant House as a news peg to generate exclusive “advances” at major media outlets.
  • Capitalizing on the visual opportunities of working with youth, we launched our campaign with TV coverage on the number one local station, showing Covenant House’s van working the streets at night reaching out to kids in trouble.

The Results

Media coverage of the grand opening of the new facility represented a major breakthrough in community awareness for Covenant House in Northern California. During a three-month campaign, Covenant House received 20 media placements on radio, TV and in print. The news coverage included a front-page feature story in the hometown newspaper as well as mentions in Sports and Lifestyle sections of the San Francisco Chronicle and two stories on the Bay Area’s top-rated TV news station.

  • A front-page story in the Oakland Tribune
  • Two stories on KTVU, the Bay Area’s number-one rated TV station
  • Coverage on KISS, a top soft rock station and KCBS, top-rated AM news station in the Bat Area
  • Coverage in ethnic and community media
  • Coverage in San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Business Times