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August 2018

Petersburg Preservation Task Force Tiffany Window Marketing Campaign Success

Tiffany Window

In the fall of 2017, the Petersburg Preservation Task Force (PPTF), met with a group of Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) directors, managers and staff members to provide a tour to various venues in Old Towne Petersburg.  The tour started at historic Blandford Church, home of 15 Tiffany windows, then moved to Centre Hill Museum, broke for lunch, then picked up again at the Southside Depot, Appomattox Iron Works, with a end of day recap at the Jury's Inn.  The goal was to provide VTC with a tour that any tourist would experience.  This tour was in preparation for writing a marketing grant funded by VTC titled the Marketing Leverage Program.  The MLP allows for a group such as the PPTF to include the marketing money its tourism partners spend within the same calendar year.  Thus, the PPTF was allowed to include money spent by the City of Petersburg, Petersburg Area Regional Tourism (PART), and the Jury's Inn.  The maximum amount of the grant is $50,000.  PPTF applied in October, 2017 and was awarded the grant in March 2018.  It was the first time the PPTF secured a grant dedicated to marketing tourism since its inception in 2016.  The PPTF has a memorandum of understanding with the City of Petersburg to operate the museums and market them.  The document is reviewed annually and has up to five more years to conduct museum business.

Lythos Studios was retained by the PPTF to create a marketing plan for 2018.  The team we created consisted of Leslie Strickler of Etre Communications, who was Hamner's PR partner when working with the City of Petersburg from November 2016 through September 2017.  Darrell Cahoon is the graphic designer, and various media outlets have been employed to deliver the campaign message, "Living Color: Tiffany Window Treasures of Petersburg".

Tiffany Window

St. John Tiffany Window

The campaign consists of marketing to day trippers within a 75-100 mile radius of Petersburg.  The Tiffany Window campaign is employing television, radio, digital (Facebook, Youtube and Google), and some print.  Instead of focusing on Civil War history, the campaign is focused on the artwork housed at historic Blandford Church, the home of 15 Tiffany Windows.  The first of the television advertisements can be seen at this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa-5HX6SIUs&t=60s

 

 

 

 

Additional television spots appear on CBS6 during the 5:30a Sunrise sponsorship.

This grant was made possible by Virginia Tourism Corporation.  #loveva

Tiffany Window

Virginia.org

 

 

May 23, 2017

Siege Museum

Siege Museum
May, 2017

 Siege Museum

What happened at the Siege Museum?

Siege Museum

Siege Museum photo by John Rooney

One of the most exciting events of this project's (working with the Robert Bobb Group) duration was an event that happened at the Siege Museum aka Exchange Building in Petersburg. The previous City Council closed the City Museums in the fall of 2016.  A group of citizens gathered to form a board to manage the museums, which at that time included only Historic Blandford Church and Centre Hill Museum.  Later in a Memorandum of Understanding generated by the Petersburg Preservation Task Force (PPTF), the opportunity to manage the Siege Museum became possible.  Upon inspection of the contents of the museum, one of the PPTF members noticed the storage units for 2-3 dozen cannon balls.  Upon closer inspection, it appeared some of these were live and had been stored in the museum for over 40 years. These cannon balls dated from the Civil War.

The PPTF notified the Interim City Manager Tom Tyrrell who immediately contacted the Fire Chief who brought in the Virginia State Police to scan the ordinances with an X-ray device that determines if they are actually live.  Turned out there were four.  In a municipality such as Petersburg where funds are severely limited, the only option was to engage the ordinances at the City dump.  The procedure requires burying them in a landfill with an explosive device that detonates them simultaneously.

The street where the Museum faces was closed temporarily while the ordinances were inspected, removed and transported to the City dump.  The locals were lit up with questions.  "Are bombs in the Siege" was the most asked.  Following is a list of media reports that include local, statewide and national attention:

 

http://www.progress-index.com/news/20170419/editorial-shell-shocking-discovery

http://www.progress-index.com/http://wtvr.com/2017/03/21/vsp-bomb-squad-responding-to-siege-museum-in-petersburg/

http://wric.com/2017/03/21/petersburg-museum-to-be-guarded-overnight-after-ammunition-deemed-most-likely-live/

http://www.nbc12.com/story/34967104/police-guard-siege-museum-in-petersburg-after-live-civil-war-era-ammunition-found

http://www.progress-index.com/news/20170322/four-siege-shells-removed-from-petersburg-museum

http://www.progress-index.com/news/20170322/petersburg-votes-to-keep-consultants-running-city

http://www.progress-index.com/news/20170322/four-siege-shells-removed-from-petersburg-museum

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/22/likely-live-civil-war-era-cannon-balls-found-in-mu/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

http://wset.com/news/local/live-civil-war-cannon-balls-found-in-petersburg-museum

A history and photos of the Siege Museum can be found at

http://www.preservationpetersburg.org/explore_siege_museum.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2017

Petersburg Phase 1

discover
May, 2017

 Petersburg Phase 1

In November 2016, The Robert Bobb Group (RBG) retained two people, one of which is myself, the other is Leslie Strickler of Etre Communications, to manage the Public Information Office for the City of Petersburg.  We job shared as both of us are consultants in the Marketing environment.  I title this project Petersburg Phase 1 because our contract covered November 15, 2016 through the end of March 2017 and mirrors the RBG contract, although theirs was bit longer starting in late October 2016.

Petersburg Phase 1

Nelsie Birch, Tom Tyrrell, Jack Berry, Terry Burgess, Robert Bobb and Dileep Rajan

The first part of the project was as all Discovery.  My being hired was due to my experience with working with numerous groups in Petersburg for the past five years; first with the non-profit, Think Then Choose Wisely, which is discussed in a separate blog entry, and second with the Historic Petersburg Foundation.  Through HPF, Lythos Studios became familiar with many people in the Old Towne Petersburg area.

During this Discovery Phase of the project, we had to become familiar with a new City Manager, Finance Director, Deputy City Manager, nearly 15 department directors, numerous City employees, City Council members, firemen, policeman, and so on.  Our first assignment was to create a process for releasing information to the media.  The position had been vacant prior to RBG's arrival.

The team consisted of Robert Bobb, Tom Tyrrell, Nelsie Birch, Dileep Rajan, Leslie Strickler and myself at the very beginning.  Jack Berry, former CEO of Venture Richmond, joined the team in January as the Deputy City Manager.

The number of problems the City was experiencing are too many to list for this endeavor. However, they included a fiscal crisis that could not be corrected with bankruptcy because the Commonwealth does not allow its Cities to bankrupt themselves.

As RBG began to examine financial records from the various City departments and Constitutional Offices such as Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue, they realized that not only was the data lacking in transparency, it was simply wrong. Accounts that included revenues and expenses from Federal, State and Local levels were intertwined with indistinguishable account codes; thus making debits and credits nearly impossible to report accurately in a general ledger.  Numerous accountants and accounting firms simply walked out the door when confronted with this Herculean task of trying to determine what entries were real or not real.  The RBG group reports to City Council every other Tuesday night beginning at 6:30 pm.  There are many other closed door sessions, work sessions, a Saturday morning visioning session and most last for hours.  It is typical for a Tuesday night Council meeting to last past 11 pm and legally has to stop at midnight.

The City Council is made up from the following Wards and members:

1 Treska Wilson-Smith

2 Darrin Hill

3  Samuel Parham

4  Charles H. Cuthbert

5 W. Howard Myers

6 Annette Smith-Lee

7 John A. Hart Sr.

Petersburg Phase 1

Hart, Cuthbert, Parham, Wilson-Smith, Myers, Smith-Lee, Hill

During Petersburg Phase 1, we released information as the new Interim City Manager advised and as the team began to discover the complexities of the City of Petersburg government and culture.

At the end of March 2017, we found our contract was to be extended for another three months until June 30, 2017.  From inception, we have released hundreds of press materials, appeared on CBS6, NBC12, ABC8, NPR WCVE/88.9, and have been quoted in a variety of digital and printed publications.    The most interesting and exciting (from my perspective) event occurred at the Siege Museum which will be reported in a subsequent blog entry.  Some of the individual events are so interesting, they merit their own blog posts.

 

The City of Petersburg website is www.petersburg-va.org