In this industry, it can sometimes feel like you've hit a wall and exhausted every communications channel. You just can't think of a new, creative angle to tell the same story -- it's like writer's block, but for PR pros.
Last year, our team was ALMOST to this point with longtime client Irving Flood Control District Section III (IFCD 3). IFCD 3 is a taxpayer-funded organization that oversees construction and maintenance of water management facilities in the Valley Ranch community, which was developed on a flood plain.
IFCD 3's work is vital to safeguarding the people and property of Valley Ranch from flooding, but communicating the organization's role in the community and the importance of flood control can be a challenge due to the complex and technical nature of the work.
Just when we thought the creative juices had stopped flowing, Christi had a unique idea. What if we break it down to something an elementary student can understand, and then actually present it to them?
Our team -- and the client -- were completely on board with the idea. We decided to team with Valley Ranch Elementary School (VRE) to develop an educational program for the spring 2018 semester that would reach both students and families in the community.
The first phase involved an IFCD 3 engineer presenting an age-appropriate and compelling presentation about flood control to an eager group of second grade students at VRE.
The next month, students took the information they learned back to the classroom and built their own flood control systems out of craft supplies (styrofoam cups, straws, tape, clay, etc.) donated by IFCD 3. VRE then hosted a school-wide STEM challenge where the flood control projects were tested with real water and judged on effectiveness and creativity.
The collaboration was a hit. We worked with 100 second grade students who eagerly shared their new flood control knowledge with their parents and families. The YouTube videos racked up 500 combined views and we reached nearly 3,000 residents by sharing the collaboration on social media, in addition to gaining some local coverage in the The Irving Rambler.
But the biggest win was praise from VRE teachers and confirmed interest in continuing the program next year (and expanding to additional elementary schools). We can't wait!
Don't underestimate a child's ability to comprehend complex topics, or the impact they could have on a community. And don't be afraid to think outside of the box -- that's where some of the best and most rewarding ideas are found.