Controlling the Message
Specialty Hospitals of Washington, owner of United Medical Center, hired BWF to handle the rebranding of Greater Southeast Community Hospital, a faltering medical center in urban Washington, D.C.
Situation: BWF was hired by Specialty Hospitals of Washington for the rebranding of Greater Southeast Community Hospital, a faltering medical center in urban Washington, D.C. Specialty Hospitals took ownership of the property and looked to BWF to spread the word through community partnerships and public relations outreach about the multi-million dollar developments the company had invested into the property. In the midst of the rebranding campaign, the power and backup generators at the newly rebuilt hospital failed, requiring all patients to be evacuated from the property and moved to other area hospitals. The power failure occurred at approximately 10:00PM on a weeknight, and patients at the hospital began contacting the media.
Objectives: While it was inevitable that the media was going to cover the event, BWF was tasked to control the story as much as possible through strategic messaging.
Process: Regardless of the fact that the crisis occurred outside of regular business hours, BWF was ready and prepared to handle the situation immediately. BWF contacted the Chairman of Specialty Hospitals of Washington and crafted a statement to release to the media. The statement acknowledged the issue, explained how safety precautions were taken to ensure all patients were kept out of danger, and how Specialty planned to remedy the underlying issue with a long-term solution. The statement was swiftly constructed and dispersed to the appropriate media, and then BWF followed up with a phone call to the four major television networks to ensure that the statement was received before they went live with their late night news story.
Results: While the four major television networks did report the story, all mentions were brief and in line with the messaging that BWF provided. The story did not get any print mentions and there were no follow-up reports after the fact.