Defeating Legislation Designed to Eliminate an Entire Industry

Challenge

A specialty financial services client was facing a series of measures from its state legislature that would have restricted the company’s product offering to the point of making its business – and its entire industry – unviable. On the other side of this issue, the client faced intense pressure from established, powerful constituencies, including the state bankers association and a large, politically influential law firm, both seeking to protect their own business interests. Those groups leveraged numerous communications channels to push their agenda, including state and national media, advertising, lobbying and grassroots. 

Solution

Hillenby developed, executed and coordinated a full-scale public affairs campaign in partnership with our client’s internal government relations and communications team, as well as external state lobbying, public affairs and grassroots professionals. We first developed a persuasive suite of messages and materials that visually and graphically portrayed our clients’ position on the proposed legislation. We also helped develop an advocacy website that was both an informational resource and a grassroots tool for engaging customers, employees and other interested parties.

We also worked with the client to develop a robust group of third-party advocates. First, the founder of the business – who had previously sold it – was a well-known figure in the state, and a personal outreach plan was developed for him. We worked to help draft and place op-ed pieces on his behalf that appeared in the state’s major daily newspapers, and we worked with him to write personal letters to key legislators. We also worked with the client to collect supportive letters from other business leaders in the state, while helping coordinate similar efforts by other companies in their industry through their state trade association.

Hillenby also implemented a unique, targeted digital advertising strategy focused specifically on legislators and their staff. Hillenby’s design team produced a series of eye-catching digital banner ads conveying the client’s messages, and we also helped create a series of radio spots that ran on the state capital’s news/talk station. Because of the affordable and targeted nature of the digital advertising networks, we were able to deliver with a modest budget an effective volume of advertising for the several months this issue was in play. 

Results

After a months-long campaign, the legislature did not advance the measures that would have eliminated our client’s business. The efforts that began with this legislative session positioned our team and the client to have a jump on the next legislative session, where the measures again failed to advance.   

Expertise

  • Messaging
  • Campaign Coordination
  • Coalition Building
  • Editorial
  • Graphic Design
  • Advertising
  • National & State Media Relations