When Cargill’s meat business chose downtown Wichita as the location for its state-of-the-art $15 million Cargill Innovation Center, it was critical to communicate the details, vision and importance of the center to diverse audiences, including employees, the business community, local politicians and media, trade media and, ultimately, Cargill customers.
Because Cargill’s research and development efforts over the years have yielded numerous innovations that have not only benefitted Cargill customers, but also the industry at large, construction of the Cargill Innovation Center represented a key expansion of the company’s product and process development capabilities.
Groundbreaking (Summer 2010) — Rather than a typical shovel line to break ground, Associated worked with Cargill to create a construction kickoff worthy of a global meat industry leader, orchestrating a grill lighting ceremony and luncheon. Associated provided project management and logistics organization to help the large event come together, and the agency developed press materials and provided media relations to ensure broad news coverage in the region and with trade media.
Grand Opening (Summer 2011) — Associated provided a communications campaign for the event using the theme “What’s next,” worded not as a question but as a confident, forward-looking statement of Cargill’s ongoing commitment to research, development and customer success. Elements included a press kit and media preview tour, press conference, brochure, room signage, employee emails, digital countdown board for employees, sales team presentation and webinars, as well as a View-Master direct mailer to educate customers and a custom chef coat mailer to confirm customer meetings.
The grill lighting ceremony event was wildly successful with more than 300 guests and dignitaries attending and extremely positive media coverage appearing in the Wichita Eagle, Wichita Business Journal, on local CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates and two local news radio stations as well as in meat and grocery trade press.
For the grand opening, a variety of elements kept employees well-informed and drove several hundred to sneak-peek events. Customers were made aware of the center’s benefits, and several innovation sessions were scheduled. Extensive media coverage was secured with all key local print and broadcast outlets, as well as target trade media. Associated’s creative theme and materials were widely praised by Cargill leaders. Scott Eilert, Cargill vice president in charge of the Innovation Center, specifically cited Associated during the event as an important business partner that was essential to helping Cargill tell the center’s story.