Meeting/Event Information

Not Just Another Ribbon Cutting: Turning Opening Events into Strategic Messaging

March 08, 2019
8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
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Dayton Children’s Hospital Board Room
1 Children's Plaza
Dayton, OH 45404

With expansion projects that included a patient tower on Dayton Children’s Hospital main campus and an ambulatory destination center on a south campus - all opening within one year - it was important that each event be a tent pole to gain media and social media coverage, elevate a new brand and new logo, equate it with transforming care for the children of the region and build business for the hospital, especially with a strong competitor aggressively expanding marketing in the area.

Each event needed to target key audiences with key messages, using tactics to gain media coverage and make a lasting impression. For the south campus specialty care center, using physician liaisons to give customized tours to referring physicians and holding a special VIP event for current families, more than 90 percent of attendees reported they were now aware of the highly specialized care Dayton Children’s provided close to home as well as the most advanced technology that was available. These influencers’ perceptions drove social media buzz and business, exceeding visit projections in the first year. 

By highlighting the convenience and closeness of the emergency department in a “cut the gauze” event with a local family, the emergency department blew past its projections of patient visits in less than a month. A special tour and outreach to EMT squads earned favor by allowing them to get comfortable with the space and the staff before opening.

In focusing on a unique feature at the surgery center, a remote controlled airplane that children would ride to the operating room, we impressed parents with our kid-friendly approach to surgery, gain a spot on their social media shares and reach business goals in a short time. We didn’t forget about those referring physicians, with a packet of information and special materials delivered to the office.

The patient tower was a much bigger animal requiring more attention on more audiences – donors, community leaders, legislators, staff, patient families and community partners. It involved six events in seven days - a donor gala, referring physician tours, a media event, staff tours and a community open house. The key to each of these events was the “super-users” - nurses with in-depth knowledge of the spaces who hosted tours and explained the care that happened inside each room. Another key feature was the juxtaposition of high-tech, high-touch care – from a mobile tour app, to high tech tools inside the rooms, to a “buzz team” driving social media, to community partners hosting hands-on children’s activities downstairs. In the end, the most memorable moment for most was the dramatic reveal of a 22 foot tall, 45 foot long “Dragonflyer” playscape inside the tower’s main lobby – which we did not once, but twice for two different audiences.

In each opening event, we exceeded media goals, garnered survey results proving the right message found the mark and drove patient volume to these new buildings – all with strategic plans to avoid the traditional ribbon cutting.

Key Takeaways:

  • Think of opening events as less about the bricks and mortar and more about a lasting brand message
  • Develop tactics that make for good media coverage and engage all stakeholders in ways that will resonate with them
  • Execute high level, intricate plans involving multiple partners around a single focus, manage changing details and keep all parties happy!


Stacy Porter

Julie Cannon


$25.00 Member Ticket

$35.00 Non-Member Ticket

$15.00 Student Ticket

Future Meetings

2020 APR Bootcamp is POSTPONED to 2021

April 01, 2021
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM


Stay tuned for more info!

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