Company Relocation to Northern Virginia from Washington, D.C.

This case study describes the challenge and the opportunity in dealing with the Washington media during one big project. The company involved was a corporation of 1500 employees on two continents, and a network of correspondents worldwide.

The Challenge and the Opportunity

One of the city’s largest employers at the time, the company needed to relocate. They entered negotiations with three different jurisdictions in a quiet search for a new site. Two of three options meant leaving the city where the company had been founded and had operated for half a century. So, there were financial, business, corporate identity, and emotional factors in play.

City beat reporters were on the alert for a good year or two before the official announcement was made. Yet, because of all the sensitivities in play, the company wanted to contain the story until all the pieces were in place. When the announcement was made, the news was released to everyone - all stakeholders, internal and external - at the same time.

While at least a couple of city beat reporters who had been hoping for “exclusives” felt disappointed, the company avoided any sense of ... 

The Solutions

  • Press releases
  • Press kit: press releases, maps, backgrounders, photographs
  • Collateral: postcards 
  • Newspaper profile of the COO
  • Local broadcast and print media coverage to inform the public
  • All media material was shared to the employee intranet

The Outcomes

Because it was a local business story about one of the city’s largest employers it was broadly covered by the local media. The announcement was made jointly with state and local government officials at the new jurisdiction. The event got TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine coverage. 

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