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How do you re-launch a little-known museum that has been open for 8 years?

You construct the story around the founding couple's lifelong love of art.

Client

Hilbert Museum of California Art

Industry

Attractions and Tourism

Services

Full Service Marketing & PR

Mission Objective

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University opened in 2016 as the home of one of the world’s largest collections of California narrative art. As The Hilbert Collection grew, the museum embarked on a plan to nearly triple its footprint in Old Towne Orange. With the expansion underway, the time was right for the Hilbert Museum to shed its “best kept secret” reputation and prepare to step into the spotlight as a premiere art destination in Southern California. Mark Hilbert, the museum’s namesake donor, and Chapman University sought an agency partner with a background in museums/attractions that could oversee all marketing and PR efforts for the museum and drive the excitement, awareness and attendance that this expansion milestone deserved.

Strategic Flight Plan

The Rocket Launch team eagerly jumped on board nearly a year before the expansion grand opening to craft a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy for the museum. Noting the general lack of public awareness for the brand, we quickly determined that our efforts would need to run deeper than a simple advertising and PR campaign. Brand development and strategic planning were a critical first step to ensure the right infrastructure was in place before putting a spotlight on the brand and the expansion. Our team went to work honing the brand visuals and key messaging, which culminated in a new website and implementation of marketing best practices for all existing initiatives.

Then, with that strong foundation in place, we pivoted toward strategic planning for the expansion grand opening campaign. The initial phase included bringing together key Chapman University and museum stakeholders to determine timelines, establish goals and build out a marketing and events plan to cover construction through opening. This became the basis for creating the detailed marketing, communications, public relations, advertising and social media tactical plans, beginning in August 2023 and culminating with the expansion opening in February 2024.

Mission Results

Our team ensured that all marketing and PR components were thoughtfully implemented, seamlessly integrated and collectively leveraged toward one goal: establishing the Hilbert Museum as a premiere art destination. A comprehensive strategic plan resulted in comprehensive results from exponential increases in awareness and interest to a huge volume of media coverage and a packed opening weekend. A heavy emphasis on earned media efforts garnered a steady stream of coverage for the expansion over a full 7 months and a multi-channel advertising campaign pulled the impressions down-funnel to drive sell-out attendance.

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“We reached out to Rocket Launch ahead of the Hilbert Museum’s grand expansion to help raise awareness about the project and welcome visitors as soon as it was ready to open. We knew our stunning new building would be a dream come true – from the eye-catching exterior to the dynamic array of extraordinary exhibitions we planned to open with. The Rocket Launch team exceeded our expectations, delivering a spectacular suite of earned media coverage, digital and print advertising, social media management – the full gamut. During the first few weeks after our expansion grand opening, the feedback from visitors was awesome – everyone seemed to have seen at least one piece of publicity, and many mentioned more than one. We are so grateful for all the amazing work. Rocket Launch ROCKS!”
–Mary Platt, Museum Director

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