Waukesha, WI is creating a sustainable, safe water supply system. From the beginning, Waukesha’s need for an alternative water source was highly publicized and debated not just locally or regionally, but internationally. This led to misinformation being disseminated which complicated and threatened the program. The program also requires construction in neighboring communities which will not directly benefit.
It was clear that the program needed an identity and a strong focus to providing correct information, as well as extensive public relations, public affairs, communications, and education to ensure strong relationships with stakeholders, news media, elected officials, and the public.
We performed qualitative and quantitative research at the beginning of the program, and will continue longitudinally throughout. This approach allows for situational awareness of stakeholder interests, concerns, misperceptions, while identifying emerging issues.
MKR developed a new brand for the program — the Great Water Alliance (GWA).
The name, derived from the Algonquin word for Lake Michigan (michigami, or “great water”), conveys the magnitude of the undertaking while emphasizing the regional cooperation necessary to make it all work. Establishing a discrete and recognizable identity was a monumental step for this momentous program as it heads towards the finish line.
The complexity of the Great Water Alliance required MKR to build and maintain a website that reflects the lofty goals of the GWA while being the go-to information source for all questions and content throughout the length of the program.
Audience of One
The GWA’s communication pieces require tailoring to different audiences, addressing specific concerns and needs, writing for a varied knowledge base, and conveying important messages in a consistent, comprehensible manner.
The intricacies and tensions of a program like the Great Water Alliance necessitate a strategic, open-dialogue, communications approach. MKR’s intention is to raise and maintain awareness among all audiences, to inspire new audiences to join in, and to be responsive to all inquiries as they arise.
2,200 unique monthly visits to the GWA website
79,100 reach and 3.26% engagement rate on Facebook
658 E-Newsletter sign-ups with an open rate of 37.6%