On behalf of Deanie's Seafood, markit360 designed and executed an external relations campaign to elevate awareness of the brand, reinforcing its ties to the local community and highlighting the unique attributes of its second location in the New Orleans French Quarter.
Deanie's Seafood added 1,300 square feet of private party space to its French Quarter location when it was rebuilt and expanded in 2006 after sustaining damage during Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, the restaurant commissioned a unique, custom glass "aquarium" sculpture depicting Louisiana seafood and wildlife by local glass artist James Vella, which is now the centerpiece of the main dining room.
Deanie's Seafood wanted to celebrate the installation as a tribute to the local fishing industry while offering a new, sophisticated impression of the French Quarter location with a campaign targeting the New Orleans hospitality industry, meeting/convention planners, local businesses, government, media, nonprofit partner donors, arts groups, and industry trade groups.
markit360 planned and coordinated an exclusive, invitation-only event and benefit at Deanie's Seafood in the French Quarter to unveil the life sized art installation committed to sustainable Louisiana seafood.
The event would serve to announce the beginning of an ongoing partnership that would be supported by a multi-faceted campaign targeting local and national audiences.
In keeping with its vision of supporting and representing the local fishing industry, Deanie's sought a partnership whose message it could broadcast to a wide audience of visitors and locals in a meaningful way. markit360 researched several nonprofits and made its recommendation based on the organization's legitimacy, reach and involvement with Louisiana seafood.
Based on these criteria, markit360 recommended America's WETLAND Foundation, which works to raise awareness of wetlands' loss and advocates conservation of coastal Louisiana as critical to cultural, economic, and natural resources. Louisiana contributes one-third of the nation's seafood supply, and its wetlands protect and nurture 90% of the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.
markit360 worked with the glass sculptor to merchandise a limited-edition art piece–a fishing lure ornament named "Louisiana's A-Lure"–that would be available only at Deanie's Seafood, with a percentage of sales dedicated to the nonprofit. Deanie's Seafood also dedicated the Louisiana wildlife sculpture to America's WETLAND Foundation "in recognition of its tremendous efforts to conserve and protect Coastal Louisiana." The event featured a silent charitable auction and raffle of more than 20 items donated by local businesses. The ongoing campaign utilizes a multimedia outreach plan that includes point-of-purchase signage and collateral at both Deanie's locations, brochures distributed through concierge desks and visitor centers, public relations and online communications, internet sales, and social media tools.
The program has generated success, as evidenced by event attendance, message impressions, guest feedback, the quality of the relationship built with the Foundation, ongoing impressions and interest, and private event bookings at the French Quarter location. The event was a spectacular presentation of Deanie's Seafood's food, ambience, hospitality, and goodwill. The restaurant offered many Deanie's signature dishes including grilled and raw oyster stations, crawfish balls, shrimp and grits and seafood gumbo. They also featured specialty cocktail stations, a live jazz band, lavish floral arrangements, and staging of private rooms to entice event planners. Four hundred and fifty guests attended and the event raised nearly $5,000 for the benefactor in addition to a generous donation from the Chifici family.
Guest comments from the hospitality industry indicated that the campaign changed their perception of Deanie's from that of a great local seafood joint to one of an upscale private event venue ("I loved the courtyard! I had no idea they had so much space"; "It was a first class event"; "It's an easy sale!") Likewise, the nonprofit representatives reported that the dedication event was superior in quality and execution to any similar partnership they had experienced.