Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 13 - Specialty Item
Your Forest. Managed. Media Kit
Kidd Public Relations, Florida Division of Forestry

Golden Image Award

Research/Situation Analysis: Forests cover almost half of Florida’s total land area – more than 16 million acres. With Florida’s population expected to reach over 18 million by 2020, many of Florida’s forests are in danger of becoming over developed or improperly managed. At the current rate, the state is losing 1,200 acres of forest land per week. In addition to an explosive growth rate, recent hurricanes, forest fires and invasive tropical plants have had a devastating impact on Florida’s leading agriculture industry – forestry. As such, the Division of Forestry saw the need for a public awareness campaign informing Florida’s landowners about the benefits and resources available to help with preparing and managing their property. The closest resource for Florida’s landowners: County Foresters. Our most formidable challenge for this project was getting people to pay attention to an issue which had little to no short-term effects. When looking at the bigger picture, not only do forest lands contribute to the financial impact of our economy in the areas of agribusiness, tourism and recreation, but they provide environmental benefits critical to preserving our state. The booming growth rate not only means more landowners – but these landowners are often new to the world of Forestry. Because of this the role of the County Forester has become more important than ever. County Foresters are tasked with providing sound counsel and advice regarding land management and planning to Florida landowners. Primary research showed that the Division of Forestry’s 45 County Foresters were underutilized in the areas of development and execution of land management plans. To increase awareness amongst Florida landowners about the important role that County Foresters play, Kidd Group developed a comprehensive public awareness campaign: Your Forest. Managed. A critical component of this initiative included a strategic statewide press event schedule, targeting five major media markets. Creating and distributing a clever media kit was key to achieving significant media attendance and thus coverage for a public awareness issue with long-term implications. This media kit would serve as the initial stimulus of the campaign and help promote the primary message “Your Forest. Managed.” as well as the secondary statement encouraging Florida landowners to utilize their County Foresters for property management counsel.

Objectives: Develop a media kit which: (1) secures attendance at the press conference from one major print newspaper in each of the five target markets, (2) secures attendance at the press conference from at least one major television network in each of the five selected media markets, (3) helps garner coverage yielding a minimum of 2 million impressions throughout the state, (4) works to establish a relationship between County Foresters and at least one local media contact.

Implementation: The first step required planning and development of a compelling media kit that would grab the attention of the news room and move reporters to action. To make Florida’s long-term problem more of a reality, Kidd Group decided to bring the forest straight into the offices of journalists across the state. To get the media’s attention, each major television and newspaper outlet in the selected target markets received a brown box marked, “Live Media Kit: Open Immediately.” Reporters opened the box to find a baby pine tree, planting pot and fresh soil inside. Planting instructions were included for all recipients – of which step one directed them to attend the Your Forest. Managed. press conference. Major media markets that did not entertain a press conference received similar media kits. Their “step one” however instructed them to tap into press conference coverage via a statewide satellite feed. In an effort to promote sound forest land management, it was critical that each baby tree was delivered with precise timing to guarantee that it was not only alive, but healthy. This required meticulous planning on our part. Kidd Group contacted each news room across the state to ensure that addresses and recipient information was accurate for a timely delivery. The response across the state was overwhelming. Many reporters jokingly asked for additional plants and directly informed us that the baby pine had been safely planted into the pot provided. This media kit created a significant buzz amongst reporters while giving these individuals a sense of ownership in the fight for Florida’s forests.

Evaluation: (1) In a post campaign analysis, we found that attendance from one major print newspaper in five target markets was met and exceeded. A total of seven major print outlets from across the state attended and covered the events – a 40 percent increase from our original goal. This resulted in a total of 10 print articles all of which featured the “Your Forest. Managed.” key message. (2) Attendance from at least one major television network in the five target markets was achieved and surpassed as well. A total of seven major television networks attended and covered the press conferences – another 40 percent increase from the stated objective. Additionally, this attendance resulted in a total of 17 news spots. 100 percent of television spots featured the key message. (3) Final results showed that we garnered a cumulative 2,757,204 impressions – a 38 percent increase from the original goal. (4) In all five markets, County Foresters connected with at least one local media outlet. In many markets, multiple relationships were formed resulting in an estimated 125 percent achievement of this goal.

Budget: Overall budget for media kits: $500. Brown boxes negotiated at cost: $75. Planting pots and materials: $125. Pine trees donated by the Division of Forestry: $0. Planting instructions printed in-house: $0. Postage: $250. Total cost for media kits amounted to $450, bringing us 10 percent under budget.