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Public Relations Plan – OPTIONS Family of Services Public Awareness/Outreach Campaign Kelsey Hollenbeck & Kelsey Shimasaki Spring 2012 Introduction OPTIONS Family of Services is a local non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to individuals with developmental disorders such as head injuries, hearing loss, autism and other neurological impairments. Their core philosophy is that with respect and support, people with disabilities can achieve their goals of living and working independently as full citizens of their communities. Unlike other organizations of its kind, OPTIONS provides comprehensive services to those on the Central Coast, including occupational and physical therapy and job placement, housing, extra-curricular activities and special events. In this respect, they have no direct competitors. The focus of this plan is the promotion of the first annual Oyster Festival in Morro Bay. The festival is the first of its kind on the Central Coast and marks a new collaboration with the Morro Bay Oyster Company. It will be held at the Morro Bay Golf Course on June 16th, from 128 p.m. and will feature a full bar, various oyster dishes and well as other foods, retail vendors, music by Walk Off The Earth and structures designed by the Do LaB. Situation Analysis Despite the current economic climate, OPTIONS hopes to continue fulfilling its mission of helping the disabled to realize their dreams and achieve full inclusion in their respective communities. As is the case with most non-profit organizations, OPTIONS has seen a decrease in funding in recent years. Last year, the suffered a sizeable budget cut of more than $300,000. This represents 10% of their medical services budget and 5% of their total budget. As of now, they have not yet been forced to make any program cuts, but they are currently readjusting to prepare for the possibility should these upcoming fundraisers prove unsuccessful in raising funds. Weaknesses This deficit is a major weakness as it forces staff members to shift their attention from providing the best quality services, to coming up with a means of generating revenue. Though

OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012


their past events have been successful in bringing in funds, they have had trouble making sure people understand that the Avila Beach Music Festival and That 80s Thing are put on by and benefitting OPTIONS. This lack of association is a weakness and challenge for the upcoming Oyster Festival. In terms of this specific event, OPTIONS is relatively understaffed, with only one Marketing Manager (Jacqueline Delaney) handing most of the logistics and promotions. Strengths However, Jacqueline is very knowledgeable and has successfully planned and executed events of this magnitude. Her expertise and experience, coupled with the aid of an outside PR firm Parker Sanpei (working on promotional materials, graphics and advertising) and CCPR (working on recruiting vendors and participating restaurants), is a definite strength. OPTIONS has good standing in the San Luis Obispo community and has been very successful in selling out past events, including the Avila Beach Music Festival and That 80s Thing. Opportunities The Oyster Festival presents a unique opportunity for OPTIONS, in that it is the first of its kind in the area. There are similar events in Humboldt, San Francisco and San Diego, but none on the Central Coast. The accessibility of the Morro Bay Oyster Company and its proximity to the venue are opportunities for success because it provides minimal logistical issues and provides attendees with an opportunity to support a local business. The event will be held at the Morro Bay golf course, which boasts 4000 acres and an ocean view. The large size presents the opportunity to host thousands of attendees, because there is no maximum occupancy. OPTIONS has had to turn people away at the doors of previous events, due to the event cap of 3000 people as mandated by the city of San Luis Obispo. This should not be an issue for the Oyster Festival. The festival also features various attractions, besides oysters, that present opportunities to attract attendees. The band Walk Off The Earth, whose recent cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” went viral last month with more than 87 million views on YouTube, will perform. The Do LaB, which makes the famous structures and stages for the Coachella Valley Music Festival and Burning Man, will make a stage and gazebo for the event. Other opportunities include reaching out to community members who have attended past OPTIONS events, and people who may be in the area for Father’s Day weekend looking for things to do. The magnitude of the event is attractive to potential vendors and participating restaurants that could receive a lot of exposure. The “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” competition presents the opportunity for a local restaurant to gain acclaim and media attention, and be judged by local food editors and wine industry judges, which might make them more inclined to participate.

OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012


Threats Aside from the possibility of further budget cuts, the primary threat to OPTIONS’ success with this event is the other events occurring that same weekend. The Oyster Festival, which will take place on June 16th, will be competing with the Live Oak Music Festival and the Pismo Beach Car Show for peoples’ time and money. However, the Live Oak Music Festival is located about 20 minutes West of Santa Barbara and Pismo is about 30 minutes South of Morro Bay. We believe this distance will help alleviate this threat. Additionally, the event falls on Father’s Day Weekend, which may threaten attendance as people might be traveling to visit family or have other plans. This presents a very real challenge: convincing people to spend their Saturday at the Oyster Festival, as opposed to somewhere else. While the tickets are fairly affordable at $20, the vendor fees are more expensive at $850 for food vendors and $450 for retail vendors. This may pose a threat to participation, if local businesses cannot justify spending the money in the current economic downturn, especially since this is the first annual Oyster Festival and therefore has no past measured success to ensure. Goals As a result of the aforementioned budget cuts, OPTIONS’ primary goal (in addition to providing quality services) is to increase fundraising. Their goal for this quarter and the remainder of the year is to make the first annual Oyster Festival as profitable as possible, through maximum ticket sales, to both attendees and vendors. In the next few years, they hope to continue to expand this event and sponsor more like it to raise funds to continue fulfilling their mission. Objectives OPTIONS’ objectives are as follows:  Sell a minimum of 3,000 GA tickets (at $20) to the Oyster Festival on June 16th (though 5,000 would be ideal)  Sell 10-15 retail vendor passes (at $450)  Sell 10 food vendor passes (at $850) to serve side dishes to complement oysters  Get 10 restaurants (preferably with existing oyster recipes) to participate in the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” competition during month of May. The winning oyster will be featured at the festival for patrons to purchase. Target Audiences Due to the accessible nature of the event, our target audience is fairly broad in that it ranges from Gen Y and Gen Z high school and college students to Baby Boomers. The event is relatively inexpensive ($20), features something for almost everyone (live music, artistic structures, full bar, oysters, etc.) and appeals to all-ages. Therefore, the ideal attendee is anyone with an interest in the aforementioned things with a disposable $20 and means of transportation to Morro Bay. That being said, past events have shown that the most likely attendees will fall OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012 3

within the Baby Boomers and/or Gen X demographic categories, so they should be targeted most heavily. An ideal retail vendor is a local business with a product in line with the theme of the event, which is looking to gain exposure in the community and willing to pay $450. Ideal food vendors are somewhat upscale restaurants with foods that both complement oysters and provide other options for attendees who are allergic to or do not like oysters, and who will pay $850. Upscale restaurants with a “signature” oyster recipe and a desire to win a title and gain local publicity will be targeted to participate in a “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” competition. Strategies This is largely a “Public Awareness/Outreach” campaign, as we must reach out to community members, retail stores and restaurants in order to meet our goals and accomplish our objectives for the quarter. Our overall strategy is to build awareness of the event and make sure people know what the Oyster Festival has to offer, where and when it is held, and most importantly, that it will benefit OPTIONS Family of Services. Tactics (Deliverables) Because OPTIONS has been planning the logistics of this event for months prior to our collaboration, most of the promotional materials/press releases have already been created and distributed. Our team will be responsible for recruiting the 10 retail vendors and 10 food vendors, as well as reaching out to restaurants to get 10 participants for the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” competition. We plan to create an email blast (using Constant Contact) as well as a mailer/letter for each of the three aforementioned audiences to explain the parameters of participation and gauge interest. We will also be involved in setting up and facilitating oyster tasting with Jacqueline, the judge and the restaurants interested in entering the competition. We hope to solidify all vendors and participants by May 25th. If time permits, we will also post some of the pre-existing promotional flyers and posters around campus, to inform students of the event.

OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012


Addendums Timeline: Week 4 – Finalize PR Plan. Research and compile list of restaurants and retailers. Week 5 – Begin drafting content for vendor email blast and letter. Post flyers on campus. Week 6 – Send out Constant Contact email. Get finalized letter to Jacqueline to be printed and mailed from OPTIONS office (May 1st). Week 7 – Help facilitate and attend “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” tasting. Follow up with interested food and retail vendors. Week 8 – Deadline for vendors (May 25th). Week 9 – Evaluate success of outreach campaign. Week 10 – Final. Week 11 – Oyster Festival (June 16th). Because of the May deadline, we’ll have plenty of time to measure our success before the CCPR May 31st deadline. The event is June 16th, and we both plan on attending! Key Messages: Central Coast natives and tourists should attend the first-annual Oyster Festival because it guarantees a day of fun and offers something for everyone. In addition to providing a wide variety of oysters, the festival will feature a full bar, 40+ local restaurants, chefs and retail participants, a “Shuck and Slurp” contest, music by Walk Off The Earth and other bands, and a stage and gazebo designed and constructed by the famous Do LaB. It is located on the beautiful Morro Bay Golf Course with ocean views. It is affordable at $20 a ticket for an attendee, $450 for a retail vendor and $850 for a food vendor. By participating, vendors and restaurants will be exposed to thousands of potential consumers. Select restaurants will also have the opportunity to gain exposure, acclaim and media attention by participating in the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” competition. The event benefits OPTIONS Family of Services, a worthy non-profit organization that provides much-needed services and support, including occupational and physical therapy and job placement, housing, extra-curricular activities and special events to the developmentally disabled on the Central Coast. They have a reputation for sponsoring popular and successful events in the community, such as That 80s Thing and the Avila Beach Music Festival.

OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012


References: Our point of contact at OPTIONS is Jacqueline Delaney, the Marketing Director. She can be contacted by emails at or by phone at (805) 772-6066 x 101 (work) or (805) 459-0701 (cell). She has been our primary source for the information included in this Strategic Plan. We also referenced pre-existing Oyster Festival documents (fact sheet, promotional poster, press release) and information from the Fall 2011 CCPR binder. We contacted the Morro Bay Golf Course to determine the acreage of the course and checked YouTube for the exact number of views of the Walk Off The Earth video.

OPTIONS PR Plan, Spring 2012


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