Case Study: Empower Erie

A group of community leaders in Erie, Pa., reached out to Turn Two with a unique challenge.

The city is one of the few of its size in the United States without a true community college. The advocacy group, Empower Erie, wanted to build the case for why the state and Erie County should support an effort to address this problem. Despite the clear economic and social benefits that the college would bring, it lacked the public and political support needed to ensure its success.

With that in mind, Empower Erie enlisted Turn Two to build and execute on a communications strategy that would bolster support for the community college.

Turn Two’s strategy focused on reaching several key audience segments, including state education officials charged with reviewing and recommending approval of the plan, local and state lawmakers, regional business leaders, and local supporters and skeptics.

For each of these audiences, Turn Two developed key messages and recommended tactics for delivering these messages.

Through personal outreach, email and social media marketing, media relations, and an array of other tactics, we created an ongoing campaign that focused on showing the economic and social impact of a college.

A pivotal tactic proved to be a well-timed op-ed by a prominent local businessman and civic leader just days ahead of a key local election in which the community college issue had become a key issue.

Ultimately, Empower Erie’s campaign achieved what previous efforts had failed to do: gaining the key votes of local county elected officials to move the formal plan to state officials, who are currently assessing the plan.