Changing the Conversation

BASS PRO SHOPS

SHOWCASE
Bass Pro Shops

FROM “GLORIFIED BAIT SHOP” TO NATIONAL DESTINATION

For a business getting city funds to help transform a local landmark, winning over the hearts and minds of a community required an aggressive strategic communications plan to present the vision of a new “must-see” destination.

The iconic 32-story steel Pyramid in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, remained dormant for nearly a decade after serving as a concert and sports venue. Bass Pro Shops leased the Pyramid and developed plans for a one-of-a-kind, immersive retail destination experience, complete with hotel, bowling alley, alligator swamp and more.
However, company officials didn’t communicate these features to the public effectively, and local sentiment was overwhelmingly negative. Many Memphis residents couldn’t believe a civic icon would become a “glorified bait shop.” Then, when multiple projected opening dates were missed, the perception became that the “bait shop” was a quagmire that would never open.

PCI was tasked with communicating the project’s expanded vision, announcing a new (and final!) grand opening date, and positioning the project as a national “must-see” destination.

APPROACH
Identified a series of “tent pole” stories, such as job fairs and key construction milestones, timed over six months to illustrate the project’s momentum and build excitement in traditional and social media leading up to the grand opening
Developed a message framework as the foundation for all communications—spokesperson interviews, social media content and media materials—for succinct messaging that framed the Pyramid as a destination, rather than just a store
Developed and managed the Facebook and Twitter pages, and developed a weekly behind-the-scenes video series revealing sneak peeks inside the Pyramid
Highlighted a different feature of the Pyramid each day ahead of opening week to demonstrate the project’s breadth, hosting more than 200 reporters on-site to preview different amenities and facilitate interviews. For example, we previewed the hotel on Monday, and the observation deck on Tuesday
RESULTS
2nd-most attended Memphis tourist attraction in 2015
990 earned media placements
1 billion audience impressions
35,000 guests on opening day, the most successful store opening in company history
15,000+ fans on the Pyramid’s Facebook by opening night, earned organically
31,000+ people who engaged with Facebook posts during opening week
SAMPLE MEDIA PLACEMENTS
KEEP IN TOUCH
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