Strategic Interactive (SI) is a leader in the growing field of web-based training. Since it’s founding in 1995, SI has worked to combine the latest in Intranet and Internet technologies with proven educational and learning processes to produce interactive human resources, productivity, support and training systems. SI works with large, dispersed companies to enhance people productivity and actuate significant savings in training and human resources costs. By receiving traditional hardcopy online, companies no longer have to assemble people from remote sites to conduct training; it can all be done online.
After the completion of the design and development of an interactive training program for the Michigan Virtual Automotive College (MVAC), SI was dissatisfied with the press it received. The program provided autoworkers greater access to continuing education and advanced training by offering the content online. Although the MVAC program received significant press in both trade and general media, SI garnered little coverage. After deciding it needed a more focused approach to public relations, the company enlisted the help of Eiler Communications.
After gaining an understanding of SI’s technology and interests, we worked with the company to identify media targets, develop key marketing strategies and define public relations opportunities. We found that SI’s sales efforts were focused primarily at human resources managers and secondarily at IT managers. We also learned that SI had an impressive customer base of Fortune 100 companies that were willing to serve as media references. We focused our strategy around two main benefits. First, web-based training offers companies significant savings over traditional training models. Second, that web-based training is a more effective educational tool allowing employees to learn at their own pace thereby increasing retention. We created a PR program that was designed to influence the reputation of SI’s customers to attract media attention and focus on the benefits the customer received as means of highlighting SI’s capabilities.
We created a backgrounder for SI focusing on the company’s growth and technology. A list of customer projects was developed, from which we could create press releases and customer case studies. We also identified key publications and contacts that would cover web-based training issues.
After setting the foundation, it was time to kick-off the program. We created media attention around the launch of Dow’s People Success System (PSS) Navigator. SI created the PSS Navigator as an Intranet system which allows Dow employees worldwide to access job descriptions and competency information valuable for company advancement. Our goal was to generate news coverage. It was essential we reach media in the top HR and IT publications, in media that covered the chemical industry to support Dow’s interests, and in local and regional business media in both SI and Dow’s home markets. We also looked to use the occasion to build relationships with SI’s key media for the future. We worked with SI and Dow Chemical’s PR staff to announce the program, and scheduled interviews with key editors, Dow and SI executives to accomplish our goal.
The program attracted attention from many areas. Interviews were arranged with Web Week, the leading web industry publication, Chemical Market Reporter, a primary publication in the chemical industry, Midland Daily News, Dow’s hometown newspaper, and HR Executive, the number one human resources publication. The interviews yielded outstanding coverage. The announcement also received press in Software Magazine, Greater Lansing Business Monthly and The Lansing State Journal.
SI struck an interest in American Airlines and Merck Pharmaceutical, among others, as a result of the visibility created by the media attention. SI’s relationship with Dow was strengthened by the coverage in the chemical industry, which led to more opportunities to work together. The coverage not only benefited SI, interest was also generated toward Dow. At an industry trade show, representatives from several chemical companies approached Dow with questions about the PSS Navigator program and were given SI’s contact information.
SI pursued the sales leads the kick-off created and drafted a business proposal for American Airlines.