AN ALL-UNIVERSITY SUCCESFUL FORUM

Challenge

The nine universities of Montreal and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (BTMM) appointed CASACOM to develop an integrated communications strategy surrounding the first Forum Montréal, métropole universitaire (Montreal Forum: University Metropolis) held on February 4th, 2013. On the eve of the Sommet sur l’enseignement supérieur (Higher Education Summit) of the Government of Quebec (February 25th, 2013), the universities called upon the business community in a first-time concerted effort with a goal of demonstrating the economic, social and cultural contributions they bestow to the development of Quebec.

Through a detailed oriented framework and tight deadlines, CASACOM expedited this message while bringing together all stakeholders and exceeded the high expectations of the Montreal academic community.

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Strategies and Actions

Cognizant of the political context surrounding the issue of tuition fees and university funding, CASACOM developed a comprehensive and strategic communications and issues management plan, along with a tactical timeline for the implementation of associated activities. CASACOM wrote several analytical notes, media materials including press releases, and prepared thoughtful key messages and Q&As for the co-spokespeople of the Forum - Louise Roy, Chancellor and President of the Board of Directors of the Université de Montréal and Michel Leblanc, President of the BTMM. The team amassed all media representatives for the event and managed all media relations efforts from beginning to end and beyond. They brokered interviews as well as nurtured relationships with key co-spokespeople. With an actualized social media strategy and a detailed editorial calendar, the use of hashtag #U9MTL was followed and applied by all nine Montreal universities. To successfully carry out the project, CASACOM followed stringent project management procedures and never deviated from the overall goal.

Results

Despite tight deadlines and the prevailing political context, an impressive rally of over 500 people attended and many meaningful exchanges ensued making the Forum Montréal, métropole universitaire a great success.

CASACOM achieved all its objectives: generated positive press coverage, raised awareness of decision-makers and influential people with the contributions they made towards local universities, positioned the co-spokespeople as influential figures in the realm of higher education, and anchored the Forum as a defining moment that accorded enriching discussions prior to the Summit.

Overall CASACOM got over 44 media mentions and articles on the Forum, reaching a range of 22 million. With the use of hashtag # U9MTL, the Forum was one of the most popular topics on Twitter in Quebec - on February 4, it reached more than 319,470 views. Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration of Canal Savoir the highlights of the Forum were shared across Canada.