BRANDING AND CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Garden City comprises East Africa’s largest retail mall, residential and office space, plans for a hotel and grounds. The Garden City investors and developers wanted a reliable partner for all of their marketing and communications needs to support the property sales teams; position the mall to attract high footfall and manage all aspects of the launch.
The initial part of the brief focused on strengthening the visuals and straplines, through a new website design and setting up social media channels and a digital newsletter to win local buy-in to the project. We event managed the launch, ran the Garden City press office and managed crisis communications (through an unsuccessful terrorist attack).
Gong successfully managed the opening of Garden City in September 2015 organising and managing all aspects of the launch including a gala opening for 500 people. Billboards were sorted, adverts placed and marketing materials redeveloped and distributed. At time of writing in 2019, we are still working with Garden City across its portfolio of assets.
POSITIONING A FRESH APPROACH TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Working together with Solar Africa’s UK based team, we set out to publicise a major new client reference site for Solar Africa in East Africa.
Gong advised on initial media relations strategy in Africa and suggested logo and website redesigns.
We wrote case studies, worked on their messaging and prepared relevant press releases.
Gong secured coverage for Solar Africa in target business press such as the Financial Times and the Guardian and local media such as CCTV.
Business leads have resulted from Gong’s networking support and media relations activities.
LAUNCHING IN NEW MARKETS
Continental Re (CRe) is a pan-African reinsurance company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. CRe partnered with leading private equity firm, ECP to fund its pan-Africa expansion.
Gong was tasked with refreshing the entire suite of marketing assets from web site to annual report to make the brand as crisp and cohesive as possible.
From its base in West Africa, CRe wanted to expand its reach into the dynamic East African market by opening an office in Kenya to target insurance companies in Nairobi. This followed a new office opening closer to home in Cote d’Ivoire.
Gong rolled out the branding to signpost a dynamic new phase of growth. We then set up a series of well attended events, which helped kick start media outreach to generate high profile coverage.
The launch events, each for over 100 guests were well attended by industry influencers and commentators. Follow on PR included coverage of new appointments, interviews in South African, pan African, Francophone and international insurance and business press.
Gong is currently working with CRe on managing and promoting an annual competition for insurance journalism with events across Africa and in London.
COMMUNICATING THROUGH A NATURAL RESOURCES CRISIS
ADVISING THE CEO OF A WATER COMPANY
Our client managed water production, treatment and distribution for the capital city and 56 other main cities in an African country. The Company is QSE-certified on all areas of its business and ranks as a “mature” company on the ISO 26000 scale.
One September morning, a pipe in its water treatment plant incurred a rupture. The tear caused a severe loss of pressure resulting in water shortages across the capital. The client’s immediate response was to repair the leak by placing a cast around the pipe, to avoid further damage. Unfortunately, the cast did not hold and collapsed again 7 days later, mainly due to heavy rains.
Working with both the PE investor and the CEO of the water company, Gong developed a crisis communications strategy. The company needed to communicate clearly that it was the old infrastructure that had been underinvested by the government that had failed. The PE investor needed to keep the government on-side. With this nuanced brief, we developed media materials and talking points and encouraged clear regular media engagement to get the message out pro-actively. Following the eye of the crisis storm Gong developed recommendations for a longer-term communications strategy and plan.
TURNING AROUND STAKEHOLDER SUPPORT FOR A PE FIRM DEAL
AN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION BUSINESS
Our client, a US headquartered private equity firm, had been working on a deal for 2 years in the higher education sector to acquire a university which was in part owned by a professional services membership body.
In order for the transaction to proceed, the members needed to vote through the resolution. Other stakeholders also needed to be reassured that the new owner would be good news for the future prosperity of the university, its students, staff and professional alumni.
With only weeks until the vote, we created a fully integrated campaign designed to reach each of the different audiences with the same messages to build support where it could positively influence the overall outcome.
We developed content for physical meetings, made videos, worked with the student body to communicate via facebook, ran newspaper ads, wrote and placed editorial opinion pieces in the most read local business newspaper and monitored sentiment throughout.
The vote was in favour and the deal lived on.
CRISIS SUPPORT THROUGH A SHORT SELLER ATTACK
A GLOBAL AGRIBUSINESS
Our client, a listed global agri-business was accused of dubious accounting practices by an infamous US short seller. His previous high profile targets included a company called Sinai Forest, (with high profile investors including the legendary hedge fund manager John Paulson) whose shares lost so much value during the reputation crisis that the company ceased trading, leaving only the short seller with a valuable upside.
The Gong team were first ‘to the scene’ when the story was about to break in London. The Financial Times called us with their story and we sprang into action. Our recommended strategy was to retaliate forcefully to refute the false claims rather than hunker down and try to ‘ride out’ the storm.
After an intensive period of media coverage and speculation and consistent presentation of the facts by the client, it emerged stronger from the crisis with its reputation as a business force for good not only intact, but strengthened by its high profile sustainability ‘next’ practices.
EDGE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Fund managers control billions of pounds for UK investors but with so much choice on offer how to position Edge Investment Management as the go-to specialist fund manager for the creative sector?
With a highly experienced team behind the organisation, Gong’s approach was to focus on depth of expertise, specifically that of founder and CEO David Glick, and to create a tailor-made media programme whereby Gong wrote and placed a series of op-eds in key publications aimed at retail investors. The programme was painstakingly designed for maximum exposure requiring minimum input from a time constrained CEO.
Opinion pieces appeared in the Daily Mail, Investment Advisor, Money Observer and the Huffington Post. The latter op-ed secured over 73,000 impressions and was re-tweeted by the CBI, a target influencer for Edge, to all its members. Thus reinforcing the positioning of Edge as the obvious and respected choice when it comes to investing in creative industries.
BUILDING VALUE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Gong was appointed to launch True Office in the UK and the US after the successful exit of the founder’s previous company, Fifty Lessons, another Gong client. Gong was tasked with building True Office’s profile and illustrating the relevance of its innovative game style training to financial services.
Gong focused on linking True Office’s compliance training proposition to the news agenda leveraging its participation in the FinTech Innovation Lab. This strategy evolved to include an invitation to build and host a bespoke mini game on the FT’s Alphaville website.
Gong achieved international media coverage in the Fortune 500 issue, Forbes, Sunday Times, Reuters and American Banker, while the FT’s Alphaville blog generated 400 new business enquiries from its target audience and created a storm of Twitter discussion. True Office was bought by the NYSE in 2014.
LAUNCH OF A DISRUPTIVE INVESTMENT PLATFORM
Gong launched disruptive investment portal, Homestrings.com, aimed at HNW diaspora wanting to invest in their own communities. Following a successful launch, Gong was retained and tasked with attracting a larger relevant audience to the platform to expand its investment base.
Gong positioned Homestrings as a reliable conduit through which HNW diaspora could access profitable and impactful investment opportunities. This was done through conversation stimulating content marketing, tight and targeted media relations and a social media campaign designed to convene an online community of potential investors.
Stronger brand awareness for Homestrings.com via positive exposure in the relevant English and French business press (e.g. FT, BBC Afrique, BBC Radio4 In Business, IHT, WSJ, Reuters, Money Observer and CNBC) was the result of Gong’s PR efforts. Homestrings’ Twitter followers have grown to nearly 3000; Facebook likes to over 400 and it now has an active and engaged LinkedIn community.
BRAND POSITIONING AND BOOK LAUNCH
HEIDRICK AND STRUGGLES
Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s leading executive search firms, asked Gong to create a campaign to reposition and reinvigorate the CEO & Board Practice in the UK under its new leader in order to support the development of more board-level search work.
Gong helped devise and refine a plan to interview FTSE 100 CEOs by teaming up the practice leader with city journalist, Andrew Cave. Their fascinating interviews yielded material that was good enough to be published as a book. Gong ran the process to find the right publisher and the resulting book, Secrets of CEOs was trailed in the Telegraph pre-launch over a week.
Gong secured worldwide coverage for the book’s publication in the top broadcast and print media. The book topped Amazon UK’s Business and Finance list in its first week of publication and its author, who had engaged over 70 FTSE 100 CEOs in one-to-ones, was invited to present at a host of business events. The Board Practice won half a million pounds of new business as a direct result. This campaign was a finalist in the best B2B section of the PR Week awards and led to Gong being asked to launch Heidrick & Struggles’ new global alternative energy practice.