Stockyards Heritage Case Study
“Public opinion is a chaos of misinformation,” Gore Vidal once lamented. Our client, Stockyards Heritage, knew this all too well. For two years, public opinion had thwarted their plans to redevelop Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards district. When the redevelopment plans became known, it unleashed a torrent of anger and protest among area business leaders, preservationists and residents citywide. City Council meetings pertaining to the matter quickly grew contentious. “You can’t touch the Stockyards,” seemed to be the protesters’ collective cry. “It must be preserved!”
The problem was Stockyards Heritage had no intention of robbing the 70-acre district of its history. On the contrary, our client’s mission was to safeguard and perpetuate it. By improving safety, developing new attractions, preserving everything possible and consciously repurposing the rest, Stockyards Heritage hoped to protect the Fort Worth Stockyards for new cohorts and generations to come.
The problem wasn’t a conflict of interests. It was misinformation. After a two-year stall, our client, Stockyards Heritage, needed to set the public record straight. That’s when J.O. came in.
Many agencies would look at these circumstances and simply strive to mitigate the negative sentiments directed at their client. We wanted to do more. At J.O., we know how to leverage “published opinion” in order to change public opinion.
We knew we had to find a way to tell our client’s real story. So, we created a comprehensive public relations plan including broadcast and print media outreach, social media and viral video. We also redesigned and rewrote a temporary website and launched in less than three weeks. We hosted an “Open House,” a live event where concerned citizens and Stockyards Heritage were able to discuss the issues one-on-one, face-to-face. Every news station covered the open house event as well as the days following. Two months later, Stockyards Heritage hosted an international longhorn auction, bringing more than 100 longhorns and 1,000 visitors to their newly renovated arena and grounds — something that had not happened in over 20 years.
The goal of the campaign was nothing less than to reverse public opinion. And we succeeded.
The Open House campaign generated substantial positive earned media, including over 28 individual pieces of coverage amounting to more than 82,000 views, 6,000 social shares and millions of impressions.
Stockyards Heritage continues to mold its public image and inform the community of its intentions to not only preserve, but enhance the Fort Worth Stockyards and the visitor experience — all with J.O. at its side.