Following the research, the Frause team facilitated a strategic communications planning session that included representatives from various departments within the city and other important area stakeholders. Based on research findings and input received during the planning session, the Frause team developed a comprehensive strategic communications plan to satisfy three primary goals: 1) create a positive image of Lakewood as a location for business and industry; 2) change negative perceptions of the city among target audiences; and 3) increase top-of-mind awareness of the city among target audiences. The backbone of the communications plan was, and continues to be, an aggressive regional and national media relations campaign about the city, highlighting: 1) outdoor recreation, entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities; 2) high-end residential neighborhoods; 3) attractive industrial and commercial business development sites; and 4) major infrastructure improvements in previously undesirable neighborhoods.
Prior to implementation of the media relations campaign, local and regional media were filled with headlines about Lakewood’s high crime and bad neighborhoods. For the first time in Lakewood’s short history, positive media coverage about the city began to appear. To date, more than 60 articles have run in publications read by site selection consultants and business owners/managers, as well as by potential tourists.