State of Oklahoma’s Grand River Dam Authority, City of
Siloam Springs, and Walton Family Foundation
WOKA Whitewater Park -- Brand creation, media launch, leadership hard hat tours, influencer and community engagement
Launched October 2020. Anticipated Opening Summer 2023.
The State of Oklahoma’s Grand River Dam Authority, with funding partners the Walton Family Foundation and City of Siloam Springs, Ark., engaged SixPR to announce and launch the public/private partnership to build a premier whitewater park along the Illinois River bordering Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The name WOKA was selected as a combined partnership term of “water,” “Oklahoma,” and “Arkansas.”
PRIMARY | HISTORICAL AND LEGAL – SixPR’s research included any unknown meanings that may be detrimental as related to Oklahoma’s Native American history and specifically, the Cherokee Nation.” Additional research concluded the name did not have any trademark or copyright infringements.
SECONDARY | INTERNAL FOCUS GROUP – SixPR held a focus group meeting with all public and private partners involved to discuss branding concepts, the scale of the whitewater park and its professional levels, and how the project connect to each organization’s mission.
OTHER | INDUSTRY AND INFLUENCER RESEARCH – SixPR conducted external research on other premier whitewater parks to learn more about each park’s brand promise, technical descriptions, communications channels, industry media outlets, bloggers, and influencers.
DELIVERABLE – SixPR compiled all research information and presented findings to the public/private partnership group prior to proceeding with branding and identification processes.
Develop and execute a proactive, public education and earned media campaign announcing the public/private partnership and maintain public engagement during the whitewater park’s three-year construction phase.
Target audience: The audiences identified were distinct and for multiple purposes. They included:
Additional audiences included the public-at-large in the areas surrounding the development, large urban cities in proximity, and whitewater park enthusiasts and influencers.
Strategy / Tactics:
Strategies employed to ensure the campaign met its objectives included brand development, informational website, social media launch, additional creative assets, launch events, earned media, and community engagement.
The SixPR team developed a comprehensive launch timeline, provided updates to creative, and developed a specialized media distribution list for industry outlets and bloggers.
Impact due to pandemic
The initial groundbreaking ceremony was rescheduled several times throughout the year due to the ongoing, global pandemic and concern for the safety and wellbeing of the key leaders participating.
However, the construction timeline needed to proceed.
In lieu of a ceremonial groundbreaking and news conference, SixPR devised a plan to hold an offsite media event in October 2020.
This effort required media to pre-register for an interview timeslot, development of a backdrop to showcase brand and creative imagery, printed press packet and digital media packets.
In order to recreate an news conference format, the digital media packet included pre-filmed video statements to incorporate into a finished news package. These statements included:
Onsite photography and B-roll video, brand, and artistic renderings of the future project completed the packet.
As an official groundbreaking was not held, SixPR recommended to the project partners to hold an onsite construction tour. This would ensure the subject would remain a hot topic of conversation among our audiences.
In June 2021, SixPR executed a two-part construction tour consisting of Walton Family and Foundation leadership, elected officials and GRDA board members in the first half of the day. The second half of the day hosted media outlets from both Arkansas and Oklahoma. Project managers were stationed at different locations throughout the park and guests rotated to each with a “walking tour” map to help discern what element would be built in that location.
SixPR successfully developed and executed an educational and earned media campaign to launch a public/private project and engage the public through a multi-year construction phase.
The expected opening is Summer 2023.