In 2017, The Gallup poll reported that the United States Navy had a 55% favorable rating by the general public. In comparison to the other branches of the military, the Navy placed third in the poll, with the United States Marines and Air Force being more favorable. The results of this poll greatly influenced the goals of the Navy Week program, bringing the campaign to Albuquerque as a larger part of its mission to increase the perception of “The Navy the Nation Needs.”
The goal of Albuquerque Navy Week was to introduce NAVCO to as many Albuquerque stakeholders as possible, with an objective to increase the number of events from 2016 (64 events) to 2018 (90 events).Another objective was to increase the impressions compared to the 2016 performance (3.2 million). The Siarza team reached 4.7 million. A third objective, to increase online impressions, was a large contributor to this number, with a 60% increase seen by the end of the campaign.
SiarzaSD made a large coordinated effort through its tactics to have the U.S. Navy appear with its various assets across the greater Albuquerque area. This became a major coordinated effort between NAVCO, General Dynamics (vendor for planning and logistics with the U.S. Navy), several organizations in Albuquerque and SiarzaSD. This project was truly a community collaborated project that exceeded all expectations.
Research was primarily carried out in order to maximize audience reach by finding potential outlets, all the while gaining a greater understanding of how best to pitch and cover Navy Week in the Albuquerque market.
SiarzaSD began with compiling a list of potential news outlets and contacts who would be interested in covering the event as determined by specific reach to Navy Week’s intended target audiences. It then searched past Navy Week coverage in other cities and states from both previous years and throughout 2018. Then, the Siarza team analyzed current events and announcements posted on New Mexico veterans affairs organizations’ websites, such as the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, the United Veterans Council of New Mexico, and the United States Navy military website.
SiarzaSD received metrics from the 2016 Albuquerque Navy Week coordinating team, General Dynamics (Formerly CSRA) and evaluated the performance, media interviews and events.
Prior to selecting Albuquerque as the destination for Navy Week, NAVCO compiled a Market Assessment Report (MAR) which analyzed city infrastructure and organization, including doing research on city government structure, economy, population, veteran affairs, education, STEM involvement, popular and local sports, community organizations, and public institutions, such as museums and attractions. Additionally, NAVCO distributed a Navy Week Program fact sheet, which contained a list of potential key talking points for Navy events that NAVCO wanted to be highlighted.
SiarzaSD made extensive use of NAVCO’s MAR throughout all stages of the campaign. It was useful for contacting relevant parties leading up to Navy Week in addition to understanding why Albuquerque was one of the 15 cities nationally selected as a Navy Week host, which in turn affected how Navy Week was framed to an Albuquerque audience by SiarzaSD in its public relations efforts.
PROJECT GOAL AND MISSION: The U.S. Navy Office of Information (CHINFO) set NAVCO’s Navy Week as an outreach mission: to educate and help Americans understand what the Navy does in communities around the United States without a significant Navy presence. During a Navy Week, 75-100 outreach events are coordinated with the identified target audiences.
- Generate 25% more impressions in comparison to the 2016 Albuquerque Navy Week by the end of the campaign, resulting in increased awareness for the US Navy.
- Increase the number of planned events for nine days by 20% in Albuquerque for ten U.S. Navy assets.
- Increase the use of digital marketing impressions by 20%, compared to 2016 Albuquerque Navy Week.
In order to accomplish these objectives, SiarzaSD planned the following strategies:
- Work with the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, New Mexico State Fair marketing teams and communications officers for a coordinated public relations and digital marketing effort.
- Introduce NAVCO and General Dynamics to over 50 target audience stakeholders to begin proper planning for the event
- Utilize the media to increase impressions for the ABQ Navy Week planned events by sending out times press releases and media alerts.
- Utilize social media strategically to increase NAVCO’s impression count for ABQ Navy Week
With limited hours, The Siarza team got creative. U.S. Navy Protocol was challenging due to federal guidelines. Ten different assets were difficult to manage simultaneously. Some assets planned their activities with SiarzaSD too close to Navy Week. For instance, the flag host, Rear Admiral Mark Bipes, was confirmed two weeks prior to the event. NAVCO’s lead planner and General Dynamics were not familiar with Albuquerque. There was not a budget for advertising or expenditures, so often assets
TACTICS: In conjunction with NAVCO planners and Albuquerque media professionals, SairzaSD executed the following tactics:
- Press releases and media alerts: SiarzaSD reached out to news and radio outlets, content creators, and other media professionals who worked with key target organizations to garner media coverage for Navy Week events.
- Stakeholders meetings: With two visits before Navy Week, the Siarza team planned visits where conducted and coordinated meetings with key influencers were held. Organizations that participated in stakeholder meetings included ABQid, Economic Forum, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Visit Albuquerque and the New Mexico State Fair.
- ollaborative media relations: SiarzaSD contacted reporters and gave a few of them exclusives through social media. Morning show appearances were booked. SiarzaSD collaborated with the following public relations and communications teams for cooperative press releases, media events and alerts: New Mexico State Fair, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, Bernalillo County, City of Albuquerque, City of Rio Rancho, Kirtland Air Force Base, City of Albuquerque Aviation Department and more.
- Influencer Social Media: SiarzaSD hosted an influencer event with an F/A 18 aircraft at the Albuquerque International Sunport and coordinated efforts with UNM, the City of Albuquerque, the U.S. Navy and the New Mexico State Fair social media team for increased exposure.
- Event Planning: Planned an event with the Albuquerque Boy Scouts Pack 241, coordinated all stakeholder meetings including the schedule for the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, a concert in Albuquerque Civic Plaza, and any last-minute cancellations that needed to be filled.
- Coordinating with large-scale events: SiarzaSD coordinated with the New Mexico State Fair to accommodate seven assets to be on display throughout Navy Week.