MassDevelopment

Challenge

MassDevelopment is an economic engine for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, creating jobs and tax revenues through the financing of building rehabilitations, land purchases, environmental assessments and new facilities that make major developments possible. MassDevelopment enjoys a broad and deep base of supporters – from mayors in communities like Worcester and Fall River to housing activists, environmentalists, educators, bankers and builders.  MassDevelopment hired O’Neill and Associates to raise its profile in the general, business, trade and electronic media with a carefully planned and substantive communications strategy.

Solution

Messaging: O’Neill and Associates commenced its efforts with message development, to help distill MassDevelopment’s strengths and successes into succinct statements about why MassDevelopment works. O’Neill and Associates equipped MassDevelopment officials with messages that were easily accessible not just to experts, but also to a general audience.

Media Training: O’Neill and Associates worked with MassDevelopment officials to increase their comfort level and confidence interacting with the working press by providing an understanding of the needs, language and expectations of the media.

Media Outreach: O’Neill and Associates facilitated a series of desk-side briefings with key business, real estate, technology and economic reporters to remind them of MassDevelopment’s role and to cultivate relationships. O’Neill and Associates identified MassDevelopment’s best stories and matched them to the most compatible reporters, editors, columnists and media outlets. O’Neill and Associates also sought out partners among housing, development, banking, philanthropic and political organizations to team with MassDevelopment for promoting the agency’s accomplishments and agenda in the media. O’Neill and Associates worked with MassDevelopment to draft and place by-lined articles and op-ed pieces.  In addition, O’Neill and Associates worked to place MassDevelopment as the topic of feature stories and the source for expert quotes and timely op-eds in the regional newspapers covering areas where the agency has undertaken major projects.  O’Neill and Associates also pursued opportunities for MassDevelopment in the electronic media by making relevant radio and television producers and show hosts aware of the expertise and availability of MassDevelopment leadership.

Stakeholder Outreach: O’Neill and Associates worked to identify supporters in the business community and pitched MassDevelopment executives as speakers for regional chambers and business organization events.

Results

Due to O’Neill and Associates efforts, MassDevelopment has increased its standing with stakeholders including legislators, community leaders and educators, and leaders in Massachusetts’ real estate development, financial services, life sciences, manufacturing and higher education industries.

O’Neill and Associates helped guide a successful media and community outreach strategy around MassDevelopment’s work at Devens, Mass. – a 4,400-acre planned community with pre-permitted sites for business and economic development and premier lifestyle amenities. This work included assistance in the development of Op-Eds, talking points and other communications tools which were used at critical junctures in the project’s history.

O’Neill and Associates also provided strategic counsel to MassDevelopment around the successful process of attracting Bristol Myers Squib to the Devens community. O’Neill and Associates also managed the intense media interest around early plans for development of a movie studio in Plymouth, Mass. – a project for which MassDevelopment was called on to provide site-feasibility analysis.

The efforts of O’Neill and Associates were instrumental in helping to secure the place of MassDevelopment as a vital force in the economic development arena.

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