Moving Forward in a Crisis
Silver Spring Transit Center
The Montgomery County government hired a local construction firm for a long term and highly visible construction project. Due to a variety of issues, the County put the project on hold for more than one year and the construction firm was blamed in the press for the delay. The company was in danger of losing its credibility among community members, elected officials, and the company’s clientele. Despite numerous entreaties to the County to resume construction, the project remained at a standstill.
Chesapeake was hired to protect the contractor’s reputation before various audiences, gain balanced media coverage and achieve a fair resolution. Because the matter could result in litigation, it was vital that all actions be taken in conjunction with the legal team.
After developing a messaging deck, we kicked off the campaign with a full day of one-on-one media interviews, resulting in positive coverage among all print and broadcast media outlets. We carefully timed future communications with the County to coincide with the media cycle to ensure optimum coverage, incentivizing them to work cooperatively with the client towards resolution and to tone down their rhetoric. Chesapeake CEO Ellen Coren also acted as an informal liaison between both parties to move the situation forward in a constructive way.
Based on the facts of the case, we were able to shift negative public opinion away from the client and reach an agreement with the County to resume construction. When the issue went to court, Chesapeake continued working with the media. The County decided to settle the case against our client and paid the company a substantial sum as part of the settlement. Perhaps most importantly, Chesapeake’s work enabled our client to maintain a relationship of mutual respect with the County throughout.