Our Case Studies

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Case Studies

Chicago Foundation for Women

Chicago Foundation for Women

Message Development, Media Relations

Background

Chicago Foundation for Women is the leading Chicago-area grant making organization dedicated to supporting basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. As CFW approached its 30th anniversary, the organization was looking for new messaging to freshen and clarify strategy and mission – messaging to present concisely and compellingly the case for supporting CFW. Following completion of the messaging engagement, CFW sought media relations counsel to support the 30th anniversary and the introduction of a major new initiative to promote gender equity.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants began our collaboration with CFW in 2013, interviewing staff, board, grantees and donors to gather a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s distinctiveness, legacy and importance to Chicago women and girls. This fact-finding underpinned message development that was tested among key stakeholders and used to train senior management and board members to prepare them for carrying forward the fundraising. The messaging provided a logical platform to build a broad-based strategic media relations plan throughout CFW’s 30th anniversary in 2015 – creating story ideas and drafting timely, issue-focused Op-Eds and seeking high-value speaking engagements to promote thought leadership. A centerpiece of the media planning was preparing the rollout of the signature new initiative, The 100% Project, a bold plan to achieve gender equity in the Chicago area by 2030.

Results

New messaging, together with a new visual identity and marketing collateral, have been rolled out to all constituencies and through all channels. The key theme: CFW’s central role in providing well-informed investments in organizations that promote opportunities for women and girls to achieve “their full potential and live in safe, just, and healthy communities.” In its 30th anniversary year, CFW CEO K. Sujata was the subject of major profiles in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain’s Chicago Business; a featured speaker at leading forums, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and the author of Op-Eds in leading publications. The 100% Project, whose goals and tactics are unlike anything presented before in the U.S., have become in 2016 a major point of discussion and attention across Chicago, firmly setting CFW on its path to improving economic security for women and girls across the region.

The Chicago Network

The Chicago Network

Leadership Messaging, Media Relations

Background

The Chicago Network is the leading organization of Chicago’s professional women who have reached the highest levels of achievement in business, government, academia, and the arts. Through research, programming, partnerships and thought leadership, The Network seeks to expand opportunities for the advancement of women. By identifying key workplace challenges and celebrating successes, The Network strives to raise awareness among men and women, break down barriers, and inspire the next generation of women.

Our Work

Since 2004, Melcher+Tucker has collaborated with the executive director to identify key issues, shape leadership messages, and conduct local and national media outreach. We have developed an experts list of Chicago Network members for major news organizations locally and across the country. MTC has assisted with writing and placing opinion pieces in influential Chicago business publications and in such national journals as Directorship and Directors Monthly. We also have managed the editorial process for the release of the annual Census Report, developing key messages, writing content, working with the graphic designer and overseeing all media outreach.

Results

Through carefully targeted media outreach – story placements, Op-Eds, TV and radio interviews – we have helped The Chicago Network achieve key objectives: to broaden public understanding of its mission and the role of women in the workplace. The Census Report, and more recently a research partnership with Crain's Chicago Business, have become a vital resource for data and analysis for senior managers, directors, and researchers, and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, and on Chicago Public Radio and WTTW's Chicago Tonight. The Network’s CEO is a trusted resource, locally and nationally, on issues such as women’s advancement in the workplace, next generation talent, and paying it forward. Rising awareness and perceived value of The Network also has led to a growing number of media and other partnerships and increased attendance at public and member events.

The Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation

The Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation

Message Development, Strategic Communications Planning

Background

The Chicago Public Library is internationally recognized for its leadership in reimagining the role of libraries, designing programs and promoting technology initiatives that connect Chicagoans of all ages and all backgrounds. The Library is a portal for opportunity in the 21st century. Many of the Library’s signature programs – from early childhood literacy to free homework help to CyberNavigators computer training – are made possible by funding from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Over 30 years, the Foundation’s private funding from individuals, foundations and corporations has provided $80 million to the Library. After years of growth, each organization sought fresh, clear messaging to build on their legacies of success, to raise broader awareness of the reinvention of the Library, and to increase private funding.

Our Work

Beginning in late 2014 and into 2016, Melcher+Tucker Consultants collaborated with the leadership of the Library and the Foundation to build messaging frameworks tailored separately to each organization and its stakeholders, while recognizing their interconnectedness. Key goals: develop messaging to elevate brand awareness that will increase use of Library programs by current users, attract new users, and inspire new private donors. We met regularly with each organization, and with both carried out interviews and focus groups with library staff and management and with private and foundation contributors to the Foundation to test familiarity with the full array of Library programs and the role of the Foundation. MTC also met regularly with FCB Chicago to coordinate the messaging with a new advertising campaign. And, for both the Library and Foundation, we developed strategic communications plans across all channels.

Results

A central concept emerged that unites stakeholders in the Library and the Foundation – curiosity. It is the idea that the Library is home to those who are curious, providing physical and digital space to Chicagoans of all ages to explore, connect, and grow. The Library connects the community to the highest-quality programs and services. Foundation funding provides new opportunities for the curious, and helps make a great Library exceptional. Messaging was tested with staff and board members of the Library and Foundation. The “curiosity” theme was rolled out in 2016 through marketing and advertising campaigns across Chicago and will underpin the communication of both organizations.

Communities In Schools of Chicago

“For Communities In Schools of Chicago working with Melcher+Tucker Consultants was like having a “third eye” with regard to understanding how to tell the story of our work supporting public school students. They have tremendous insight in forecasting which stories will resonate with Chicago media and beyond, and worked collaboratively with our organization, and our school and community partners, to develop rich, authentic stories that would raise our profile.”

Communities In Schools of Chicago

Branding, Strategic Communications

Background

Communities In Schools of Chicago (CISC) is a leading education nonprofit, which seeks to remove barriers to learning and success for public school children by creating partnerships between community organizations and schools to address social, emotional and health needs. As part of a new strategic plan to increase the number of students and schools served by its programs, CISC sought to strengthen its brand recognition and raise awareness among donors, public officials, school leaders, nonprofit executives and the media.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants, working with CISC’s executive director and development director, undertook a thorough review of all communications materials, conducted interviews with board members and school and community partners to gauge understanding and awareness of mission and strategy, and created a multi-tiered plan to build visibility. MTC advised CISC’s leadership on creating talking points and marketing collateral for staff and board members, helped shape case studies and focus messaging, and assisted in developing and writing a new series of research reports on topical social-emotional issues illustrating CISC’s expertise. MTC developed media lists, an editorial calendar and a series of story ideas designed to underpin CISC’s distinctive partnership strategy.

Results

Through introductions to Chicago and national education reporters and editors, CISC’s executive director is recognized as a valued expert on the challenges facing public school students. Letters to the Editor have been published in the Chicago Tribune and Op-Eds in Crain’s Chicago Business. Program profiles and leadership interviews have been featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and in the Chicago Tribune. Research reports on violence in schools and unmet mental health needs among school children led to Op-Eds and features in Catalyst, the leading education publication, and were widely distributed to all key CISC stakeholders.

The Field Museum

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants provided us with a critical messaging framework that will help our Development Committee and our Development staff talk persuasively with our donors about activities that are at the core of The Field Museum – scientific research and discovery in the Natural Sciences. With their assistance, we are now able to communicate more powerfully the role our research and collections play.”

The Field Museum

Message Development

Background

The Field Museum was at an important juncture – a senior leadership transition was under way in 2012, and the development department was seeking assistance in defining the key donor messages to support the importance of scientific research and discovery at the more than 100-year-old institution. Although they are pillars of The Field, the importance of natural science research – its legacy and current activities – and collections were not clearly understood. The development committee and members of its board of trustees needed a message hierarchy and positioning statements for their outreach to major donors.

Our Work

Working with The Field’s development leadership, the museum’s goal in developing messaging was to create broad, yet concise, themes to capture the specific research activities of each of the five departments and the importance of the 24-million specimens collection.  Melcher+Tucker Consultants carried out extensive research and fact-finding – reviewing  scientific and marketing materials from each science division and strategic plans, interviewing development department staff members, and carrying out one-on-one interviews with a representative group of The Field Museum's trustees from the board’s development committee. Our final product, presented to the development committee staff and board, provided a messaging framework highlighting science’s global reach, research impact and legacy.

Results

The messaging output provided The Field Museum’s development committee and board members with a clear set of talking points to use with major donors. The overarching message  "Advancing Science for a Changing World"  underscores the museum’s longstanding and ongoing contribution to world-class scientific research and real-world impact in fields ranging from developing early warning signs for climate change to laying the groundwork for new pharmaceuticals. Development staff and board members have praised the messaging work for unifying key themes and achievements – to demonstrate that The Field “makes science matter” - to advance fundraising at a particularly crucial time for The Field Museum.

GMI Ratings

“Rick Melcher exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism and dedication and it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with him.  I don't know anyone better at working with customers to understand what they need, and his thoughtful guidance and support were essential to our success.”

GMI Ratings

Competitive Analysis, Strategic Positioning, Market Development

Background

GMI Ratings (GMI) was the leading independent source of environmental, social, and corporate governance data, research, and analysis when it was acquired by MSCI, Inc. in 2014. Founded in 2000, GMI Ratings, formerly The Corporate Library, was a start-up company creating a new global market for ESG investment research – developing data and analytics, building awareness, and driving sales.

Our Work

Beginning in the fall of 2000, Melcher+Tucker Consultants undertook a broad marketing alliance with GMI Ratings. Working with the company leadership as an integral part of the initial planning team, we carried out competitive market research and product testing, and initiated business development.  During a 13-year engagement, from data base product launch through two mergers, we identified and segmented market opportunities, developed pricing models, participated in strategic planning, and took a leadership role in generating revenue from sales of access to GMI Ratings’ databases.

Results

GMI Ratings’ acquisition by MSCI was recognition of the company’s record for delivering timely, innovative and useful data resources to identify material ESG risk. MTC’s marketing and sales efforts helped open new opportunities for sales to investors, consultants, insurers, and companies, while focused customer service sustained and grew GMI Ratings. MTC supported the firm throughout its lifecycle, helping it to move beyond a critical time of transition and integration into one of the leading global sustainable investment research firms.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants has played an integral role in shaping the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s communications and marketing for more than a decade. MTC’s message development and strategic outreach capabilities have enhanced our ability to raise awareness of hunger in Cook County.”

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Strategic Communications Planning & Implementation, Branding, Media Relations

Background

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is one of the country’s largest food banks, providing 70 million pounds of food to men, women and children in the Chicago area through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs.  In 2001, preparing for a major expansion of facilities and programs, the Food Depository launched a $30 million capital campaign amidst a challenging fundraising environment. Following the campaign, the Food Depository expanded its marketing and communications activities to heighten visibility and raise awareness among funders, volunteers and policymakers. In 2009, the Food Depository marked its 30th anniversary and launched a citywide public awareness campaign. More recently, the Food Depository has refined its branding and messaging to heighten awareness of its every-day commitment to the community and its innovation.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants initially collaborated with the Food Depository's management and graphic designers to develop and write all content for the capital campaign materials. MTC interviewed management, staff and volunteers, and visited food pantries and homeless shelters. The campaign materials were widely praised for compelling story-telling. We developed the media plan and information kit for the campaign launch. Since the successful conclusion of the campaign and opening of a new warehouse and training center, MTC has provided counsel to senior management on issues ranging from brand messaging, leadership transition and strategic planning to public relations, issue development, and signature event planning. From 2014 through early 2016, MTC served as acting Chief Marketing Officer, working to develop messaging, a new advertising campaign and communications strategy.

Results

The Food Depository’s brand and its service have become widely recognized and respected locally and nationally. We have executed local and national media relations campaigns; assisted in the planning of major events, from the opening of a new facility to its 30th anniversary; conducted media training for senior management; and provided strategic counsel to leadership. The Food Depository has been featured in Chicago print and TV outlets, plus the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FastCompany, Business Week, The NewsHour and NBC Nightly News. Its current leader, Kate Maehr, was honored as one of Chicago’s top young executives in Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 issue and, in 2013, received Feeding America’s Dick Goebel Public Service award for her service to communities, extensive public policy advocacy, and tireless energy and creativity in developing solutions to help reach increasing numbers. Perhaps most important, the Food Depository is now serving more hungry men, women and children than ever before.

The Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

The Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Messaging, Media Relations

Background

In the spring of 2005, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, one of the leading public policy graduate schools in the country, sought outside counsel to provide additional support in raising the national visibility of its research, senior faculty and programs among local and national media and prospective students, faculty and donors. With competition for students, faculty and funding intensifying, Harris’s goal was to establish distinctiveness for its programs, connecting research to practice.

Our Work

Working closely with the Harris School’s director of marketing, its faculty and the dean, Melcher+Tucker Consultants developed a media relations and messaging campaign to promote faculty research and books, develop Op-Eds, and plan events both in the U.S. and abroad. Faculty were positioned as expert resources on timely topics such as welfare reform, early childhood education, tax policy and Presidential politics. We carried out media training for faculty. We also collaborated with the Cultural Policy Center, formerly affiliated with Harris, to plan conferences, draft materials, and provide talking points upon the release of major studies and books.

Results

The Harris School is nationally recognized for its prominent team of faculty and a growing pool of student applicants. Events including a speech by the King of Jordan, a symposium in El Salvador, and a panel discussion in Washington attracted local and international print and television coverage. Faculty are regularly cited as expert resources among such media as The Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Time and Chicago commercial and public television and radio stations. Harris can truly say it is “preparing talented individuals to become leaders and agents of social change.”

Illinois Collaboration on Youth

"Over the many years I have worked with Melcher+Tucker Consultants, I have always been impressed with their professionalism, strategic thinking and willingness to do what it takes to get things done. Their cheerful competence and wise guidance helped me and my organization successfully navigate through complex and challenging situations."

Illinois Collaboration on Youth

Message Development, Media Relations, Advocacy

Background

Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) is the leading statewide membership organization advancing the interests of at-risk youth and families, delivering programs, services and advocacy.  At a time of growing budgetary pressure on the human and social services sector, ICOY sought to raise visibility and understanding among the public, funders, and legislators of the importance of sustained support for community-based programs that keep juveniles out of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Greater awareness became even more critical in 2016, when the State of Illinois, operating without a budget, stopped funding much of the sector.

Our Work

Since 2012, Melcher+Tucker Consultants has worked with the CEO of ICOY and with the leadership of its member agencies to build targeted media relations and messaging campaigns aimed at key constituencies. We have assisted with writing new collateral describing programs and impact; provided counsel on building social media advocacy campaigns; and, helped write, edit and place Op-Eds and Letters to Editor across the State. MTC has positioned senior staff as expert resources throughout communities and with key legislators in the Illinois General Assembly. Beginning in mid-2016, we led all communications strategy and execution for Pay Now Illinois, the coalition of nearly 100 Illinois nonprofit agencies, organized by ICOY, suing state agencies and the Governor seeking payment for state contracts. MTC created messaging for the coalition, developed a Pay Now Illinois website, and coordinated all media outreach.

Results

Leadership of ICOY member agencies and ICOY’s CEO are recognized as key voices on the importance of community alternatives to incarceration on youth, families, and on efficient allocation of public resources. These leaders are regularly cited across media and are authors of commentary throughout the State. Especially notable is the awareness raised through the Pay Now Illinois lawsuit and advocacy campaign, galvanizing media coverage, including editorial support, locally and nationally, around the central message that paying agreed-upon contracts is a basic business obligation. Pay Now Illinois has been featured in such outlets as the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Associated Press, Bloomberg, NPR, and Reuters, among others.

Ann Lurie / Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation

“Working with Melcher+Tucker Consultants was a satisfying experience for me and my staff.  Rick and Anne can be trusted to both design and deliver a highly strategized and well-executed product or plan in a timely and thoroughly professional manner.”

Ann Lurie / Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation

Website & Content Development

Background

In spring 2012, Ann Lurie, president of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation and one of the country’s leading philanthropists, was in need of her first public website. The timing was especially important: the site needed to be developed, designed and launched ahead of the grand opening of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, for which Ms. Lurie is the largest benefactor.  The aim was to bring together two decades of life-changing philanthropic investments around the world and highlight the impact of Ms. Lurie’s contributions to health care, education, social services and the arts.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants was selected to project-manage the development of the site, working with senior foundation staff and our website design partner. We oversaw content development – writing copy for the site – and site design, ensuring that the process moved quickly to meet tight delivery deadlines. Our mission was to illustrate succinctly the history of Ms. Lurie’s philanthropy and the breadth of her commitment in Chicago and throughout the world.

Results

The Ann Lurie website launched in June of 2012, ahead of the opening of the new Children’s Hospital. The website unites Ms. Lurie’s personal biography, that of her late husband, Robert, and her legacy of philanthropy. The website also provides an archive of stories and profiles about Ms. Lurie’s philanthropy, and is updated regularly with news of additional impact.

New York University Silver School of Social Work

New York University Silver School of Social Work

Messaging, Brand Positioning, Strategic Communications Planning

Background

The New York University Silver School of Social Work has been at the forefront of clinical education and social change for 50 years. The roll out of a new Strategic Plan, underscoring the Dean’s vision to more closely integrate research and clinical work, expand globally and increase student and faculty diversity, required new messaging and brand positioning. This came at a time when other leading schools had staked out brand identities in clear, declarative and aspirational language, and as competition for students, faculty and research funding all were increasing.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants, working with the leadership of the School, including the Dean and the head of marketing/communications, began our engagement by conducting a competitive analysis of more than a dozen graduate schools of social work, assessing student demographics, placements, and key messaging.  We then carried out focus groups and individual interviews among 70 faculty, students, alumni, donors, and employers of Silver graduates seeking insight into the distinctiveness of Silver programs, core strengths and challenges, the value of a Silver degree, and the impact of graduates on the individuals and communities they serve.

Results

A key challenge to Silver’s repositioning was to elevate the growing role and impact of research at a school historically known for its exemplary clinical work. The new messaging stakes out Silver as an innovator, moving the field forward. Building on a legacy of commitment to social and economic justice, messaging highlights service to diverse global communities and the intersection of research and clinical, where research informs practice, and practice informs research.  Silver now intends to apply the messaging across multiple platforms for use by the admissions and placement departments, donors, faculty recruiters, and others. The new messaging also has been integrated into a broad strategic communications plan MTC created for the School.

Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will

Marketing & Media Relations

Background

One of the leading global architecture and design firms, Perkins+Will, sought media relations counsel to assist its Chicago marketing and firm-wide corporate public relations teams to raise the visibility of new projects, leadership, and its contribution to design innovation. The Chicago founding – and largest – office had recently named a new managing director, and was nearing completion of important new buildings in Chicago and around the world. In 2015, Perkins+Will celebrated its 80th anniversary, a signal achievement.

Our Work

Beginning in mid-2013, in preparation for the opening of William Jones College Preparatory High School, one of the first vertical urban high schools in the world, Melcher+Tucker Consultants developed a multi-media communications plan informed by interviews with the principal architects and Chicago Public School officials. Following the initial engagement, we have helped promote Perkins+Will thought leadership and new projects across all business sectors, including education, healthcare, corporate/commercial, corporate interiors and social responsibility. We work closely with internal marketing and public relations teams to coordinate all outreach for opportunities for expert commentary, story ideas and speaking. We have taken the lead on preparing and executing media plans for all new projects led by designers in P+W’s Chicago office, ranging from the student center at Case Western Reserve University to the Shanghai Natural History Museum, from the Newell Rubbermaid Design Center to the world headquarters of SRAM, a leading bike components maker in Chicago.

Results

Visibility and new-business wins are growing for the Chicago office. Eight decades after its founding, Perkins+Will is recognized for the vibrancy of its ideas. The firm’s design and architecture is inspiring new ways to work, to learn and to respond to the natural environment. Major design awards have been earned by Chicago-led projects overseas and in the U.S., including Shanghai Natural History Museum, Newell Rubbermaid Design Center, Rush University Medical Center, Tinkham Veale University Center at Case Western Reserve, and Jones College Prep. In 2015, Perkins+Will received the first Design for Learning Leadership award for its K-12 education work; five awards for Design Excellence from the American Institute of Architects; and, capping the year, the Firm of the Year from AIA’s Chicago Chapter. Media coverage has ranged widely, from the Chicago Tribune and Architectural Record to FastCompany and Travel+Leisure.

Project Exploration

"Melcher+Tucker helped us leverage our local work into the national education conversation. They not only help you tell your story, they know who you need to tell it to, and even who might fund it. When you work with them on a project - whether it's large or small - you have their full attention; they make you feel like you're their only client."

Project Exploration

Strategic Marketing and Communications Planning & Implementation

Background

Project Exploration is a Chicago-based nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science – particularly minority youth and girls – have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists. The organization’s out-of-school time programs – including Sisters for Science and Junior Paleontologists – impact the lives of hundreds of Chicago Public School students each year by fostering a long-term involvement in science. With the release of an independent 10-year study of Project Exploration alumni attesting to program success in helping boost high school graduation rates and students’ pursuit of science education and careers, the organization sought a messaging campaign to raise awareness with key constituents, ranging from media and funders to thought leaders, educators and policy makers. Subsequently, Project Exploration sought a fully built out public relations campaign.

Our Work

Since early 2011, Melcher+Tucker Consultants has worked closely with Project Exploration’s senior management to strengthen brand awareness and develop and implement a comprehensive strategic marketing and communications plan to capitalize on the organization’s demonstrable success. The goal: develop accessible, compelling story lines for internal staff, board, and external communities about Project Exploration’s distinctive approach to science education. We developed an Executive Summary and the media plan for the release of the 10-year study, advised the Project Exploration board about appropriate branding and messaging strategies to ensure sustained community presence, and worked with Chicago-area and national media on program-specific stories. We also worked on developing a Case Statement for active fundraising, and helped refine the e-marketing strategy.

Results

Through introductions to Chicago and national education and philanthropic media and effective story development, Project Exploration has attained widespread coverage and increasing recognition. The organization – its leadership and students – have been featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times, Education Week and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Gabrielle Lyon, co-founder, was named one of Chicago magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year in 2011. Newly-branded marketing materials have been presented to potential funders. The growing exposure has helped underscore the importance of Project Exploration’s mission to change the face of science.

University of Chicago Law School

University of Chicago Law School

Institutional Advancement, Media Relations

Background

In 2011, the University of Chicago Law School, one of the leading U.S. law schools, was readying the launch of a major new initiative – Law and Economics 2.0 – to expand the scholarship and influence of law and economics in the United States and broaden its impact throughout the world. The new initiative was designed to draw on the Law School’s storied history as the pioneer in the field. In preparation, the Law School sought a robust media campaign to build awareness in the U.S. and abroad. Subsequent to the launch, the Law School sought to further increase reach, impact and influence through a sustained media relations campaign focusing on faculty research, programs and institutional advancement.

Our Work

Beginning with the launch of Law and Economics 2.0, Melcher+Tucker Consultants managed all media outreach – creating media lists, press releases and supporting documents, and contacts with media, including interviews with the Dean of the Law School and faculty. In early 2012, we developed an ongoing communications strategy built around the release of timely faculty research, drafting and placing Op-Eds, and positioning faculty as experts on issues ranging from technology and privacy to finance, health care and Supreme Court cases. We also have been actively promoting new programs, clinics, conferences, and major gifts at the Law School.

Results

Throughout the course of our engagement, Law School leadership and senior faculty have been featured in influential print, television, radio and online media in the U.S. and globally. The launch of the Law and Economics initiative was covered by media such as the National Law Journal and the Financial Times. Faculty research has been highlighted on National Public Radio, in the New York Times, The Economist, and many other leading media. Faculty are regularly called upon as expert resources and as opinion leaders for Op-Eds in leading media, from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg View and the Financial Times. Bloomberg Business Week and The Economist have featured the Law School in major stories. At the same time, the Law School has received a rising number of major gifts to support new faculty and new programs, a sign of the School’s growing recognition and significance. The Law School is regularly ranked in the top four U.S. schools.

The School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

The School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

Brand Identity, Messaging, Media Relations

Background

One of the oldest and most prestigious graduate programs in social work, the School of Social Service Administration committed new resources to branding and marketing and communications to raise the visibility of the 100-year-old school and to increase the influence of the work of its senior faculty. The School also undertook a strategic communications audit to assess its local and national positioning ahead of its Centennial and capital campaigns.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultant’s work was closely connected to the objectives of the School’s development and communications offices and the dean. Activities included positioning leading faculty researchers as experts in such fields as poverty, children and family, race and immigration, and work and employment to local and national media. We interviewed SSA professors to prepare them for media interviews, and provided editorial guidance for the re-launch in the spring of 2007 of a national magazine of social policy. To support a strategic audit and understand the School’s brand identity, MTC conducted focus groups with alumni, and interviewed faculty, administrators, alumni and social service organization leaders. This work helped provide the framework for a targeted and expanded communications and messaging strategy.

Results

SSA celebrated its Centennial during the 2008-9 school year with great momentum. The School’s faculty and their research are often-cited in leading national newspapers, journals and on TV, ranging from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to NBC Nightly News. MTC created specific content for the Centennial web site, and developed talking points to help equip the School’s Visiting Committee with key messages. A new communications strategy was put in place, aligning messages, publications and media with SSA constituencies.

Ventas, Inc.

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants brought the ‘best of both worlds’ to Ventas, an S&P 500 company, when they created our new website. They are experienced professionals who helped us craft and effectively communicate our message. Their investigative, hands-on approach and understanding of our business resulted in exceptionally clear and concise content. The site successfully portrayed our brand identity and communicated our strengths to multiple constituencies, from media to investors. Melcher+Tucker share Ventas's passion for achieving superior results.”

Ventas, Inc.

Rebranding: Messaging, Visual Identity, Website, Collateral

Background

Over the past 15 years, Ventas, Inc., has grown into the nation’s largest seniors housing and healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT), and has been one of the top-performing financial stocks in the country. Despite its transformation, Ventas branding, its website, and marketing collateral had changed little – and certainly did not reflect the modern, highly successful company that it had become.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants project-managed a major rebranding effort for Ventas, overseeing a thorough website redesign, development of new logos, images, print collateral, and a tagline, “Reliable Capital. Delivering Value.” MTC wrote all of the copy for the new site drawing on extensive executive interviews and competitive analysis. Throughout, we worked with senior Ventas management to ensure that the project was brought in on budget and on time to coincide with the closing of its largest acquisition. Since the launch of the website, we have continued to provide strategic guidance on messaging and editorial content for internal and external audiences, creating messages and content for Ventas annual reports, marketing materials and videos.

Results

The Ventas website, www.ventasreit.com, combines video interviews, professionally-shot photography of seniors housing and healthcare properties, and an ease of navigation that allows key users – investors and prospective partners – to identify quickly the most important information. The new content and design project the brand identity of excellence in leadership, innovation and financial success that distinguish Ventas.

Writers Theatre

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants was instrumental in helping Writers Theatre craft the best possible fundraising brochure and accompanying materials for our On To A New Stage Campaign - a $32 million project to establish a Jeanne Gang-designed theatre center on Chicago's North Shore. Rick and Anne listened to the many voices at the table, and quickly assessed and understood the project and our potential audience. They integrated all of the project details and our story into a streamlined, cohesive, and high impact piece.”

Writers Theatre

Capital Campaign Collateral Development, Media Relations

Background

Writers Theatre, hailed as the “best drama company in the nation” by the Wall Street Journal, was launching a $34 million capital campaign – “On To A New Stage” – to build a signature new theater complex in the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe. Designed by internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principal Jeanne Gang, the new theater would recognize Writers’ reputation for excellence, allow for growth in audience and in new events for students and the local community. To prepare for the campaign, Writers needed assistance in developing messaging and materials to present to prospective donors, and training for development staff and board members to make “the ask.” Following groundbreaking for the new theater, Writers required media planning to prepare for the grand opening.

Our Work

Working with the development, artistic and board leadership of the theater, Melcher+Tucker Consultants and our graphic design partner carried out copy development and editing for the elegant fundraising brochure. We studied the competitive positioning of the theater, and led a team of theater executives and board members through fact-finding and messaging sessions to create the thematic narrative for the brochure – the vitality of Writers Theatre and the critical need for a new facility to sustain its distinctive artistic experience. Together with developing the content for the brochure, we equipped development staff and board members with an FAQ to answer the tough questions and make the strongest case for the new building. In the run-up to the official opening in February, 2016, we prepared a comprehensive local and national media relations plan to promote the theater’s artistic and executive leadership and the impact of the new theater on the broader Chicago theatrical community.

Results

The new brochure was produced and in the hands of fundraisers to begin discussions about the campaign with key stakeholders well ahead of the groundbreaking. Staff was also equipped with the additional messaging to support the campaign in presentations to prospective donors. Development staff and board members enthusiastically embraced the materials as integral to these important discussions, which helped meet targeted goals. Media relations, carried out with theater leadership and communications counsel, generated widespread excitement for the opening of the new center in early 2016. The opening received widespread Chicago area and national newspaper, magazine, TV and radio exposure, ranging from the Chicago Tribune and WTTW to American Way magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Archive

  • Seigle’s, Inc.

    “Melcher+Tucker are long on thoughtful advice, old and new market savvy, and media sense.  Their earned media results were remarkable.”

    Harry Seigle former chairman of Seigle’s Inc. and founder and principal of The Elgin Company

    Remaking a Homebuilding Icon

    Seigle's, Inc., one of the country’s largest regional manufacturers and distributors of building supplies, embarked on a strategy to focus predominately on the professional builder, shifting away from direct-to-consumer sales. Deciding not to compete with the big-box retailers, Seigle's concentrated on building relationships with both local and national homebuilders, and began preparing for its largest acquisition, a deal, which would cement its strategic change of direction. Yet, the $260 million, family-owned company based in Elgin, IL, lacked significant visibility and for its new strategy and branding.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began a comprehensive engagement to help define the company’s brand proposition and carry out strategic positioning to raise Seigle's profile among key constituents. Media relations activities included targeting local and national trade and general interest publications, aimed at promoting the new corporate strategy; establishing Seigle's executives as knowledgeable sources on industry and economic issues; and, highlighting distinctive policies such as corporate governance. MTC also helped develop a series of customer forums and accompanying monographs designed to increase awareness and credibility, and rewrote all of the website content.

    Seigle's new strategy was featured in major profiles in papers ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and throughout the industry’s leading trade journals. Owner-brothers Harry and Mark Seigle authored columns, and became regular sources for industry stories. In less than 18 months, MTC helped Seigle's convey its key messages to its core audiences. In September of 2005, Seigle's was sold to Stock Building Supply near the height of the housing cycle.

  • JPMorgan Chase

    Contributing to Communities in Which It Operates

    JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, began planning its first “Community Partnership Report,” a publication that was to demonstrate to employees, investors and other stakeholders the firm’s commitment to support “healthy, vibrant communities where we live and work,” in the words of former Chairman Bill Harrison. With operations in 50 countries, the challenge was to select case studies that represent the firm’s interests in community revitalization, public education, and arts and culture – and, to write the profiles in an analytical style similar to that in the best news magazines.

    Working with JPMorgan Chase executives around the world in marketing, corporate and social responsibility, philanthropy and community development departments, Melcher+Tucker Consultants was responsible for reporting and writing the case studies that form the core of the 48-page Community Partnership Report. We interviewed dozens of sources at the bank, at community and cultural organizations around the world, and among those directly benefiting from the firm’s activities – from London to Dallas to Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The case studies we produced: Brooklyn, “Revitalizing Downtown;” Texas, “Building Sustainable Communities;” London, “Inspiring Children;” South Africa, “Opening Doors to Opportunity;” and, Hong Kong, “Responding to SARS.”

    The Community Partnership Report was distributed to JPMorgan Chase stakeholders around the world, and made prominently available on its web site. The report was widely praised for its breadth of coverage, stunning photographs, and, perhaps most important, crisp and sensitive writing that illustrated the firm’s impact on communities it serves.

  • Cannon Design

    Creating Path-breaking Architecture for Clients Worldwide

    OWP/P l Cannon Design is a leading architecture, design and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, education and corporate/commercial design. Operating as OWP/P, before its merger with Cannon Design, the firm, with offices in Chicago and Phoenix, sought to raise its visibility both locally and nationally for individual architects, specific projects and other areas of expertise in an effort to distinguish the firm’s work and ideas.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began the engagement assisting industry leadership teams in developing internal messaging for the roll out of a new strategic plan. We then worked with each of the firm’s practice leaders and marketing coordinators in Chicago and Phoenix on a range of activities, from media training and writing press releases to story development and promotion of people, new projects, special programs, and trends, both to Chicago-area and national trade and general-interest media. We also were involved in developing the messages and media plan for the firm’s 50th anniversary celebration held in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Throughout, we positioned leaders as expert resources on projects and trends, including sustainable design, healthcare technology and prototypes for new schools.

    The firm, its innovative approach to design and its leaders have been featured in profiles in such major media as FastCompany (where we also launched an education design blog), the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Chicago Public Radio, and Architect. OWP/P, which merged with Cannon Design in 2009, is a global leader in both its operating approach to architecture and its delivery of built work across a range of industry sectors, with widespread awareness of its brand and operating philosophy.