Rhodes Communications
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In our more than 30 years of business we’ve executed literally thousands of PR and marketing projects for our clients.

Hitching a Ride Into Space

February 22, 2016

“Advocacy PR Outreach to Opinion Leaders and Influencers “

 

Client

Iridium Communications Inc.

 

Market Sector

Space Industry

 

Date

2010-2011

Situation

Shrinking federal budgets are affecting the space industry. Many major space programs for missions such as scientific observations, climate change measurement and tracking orbital space debris are being slashed or delayed. The President’s new Space Policy adopted in 2010 calls for greater use of public-private partnerships to fill some of the gaps being created by these budget cuts, including the deployment of sensors and systems as “hosted payloads” on commercial satellites. Iridium’s upcoming satellite replenishment program, called Iridium NEXT, represents an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of one of the world’s largest-ever commercial satellite launch program, with 72 satellites going into orbit between 2015 and 2017.

 

Challenge

Inform decision makers and influencers in the U.S. government and space industry of the unique opportunity offered by Iridium NEXT, and reinforce the urgency of reserving slots on the Iridium satellites early in the design phase in order to make the 2015 launch deadlines.

Strategy

Iridium asked Rhodes Communications to spearhead this important effort with an aggressive PR strategy to spread the message to target audiences in government and industry through the top tier vertical media. In executing this plan, the Rhodes Communications account team identified the top media outlets reaching the high-level target audience, wrote and placed bylined articles and conducted interviews with key Iridium executives by influential journalists in this sector. Third-party industry experts were also enlisted to contribute bylined pieces making the case for the unique opportunity presented by Iridium NEXT. A key element in the strategy was to enlist the support of other satellite companies with an interest in advocating for hosted payloads. Rhodes Communications played an instrumental role in creating, organizing and publicizing a consortium of leading space and satellite industry companies to promote the greater employment of government hosted payloads on commercial satellites. Rhodes Communications was responsible for drafting the Hosted Payload Alliance Charter, setting goals and strategies and setting up the first organizational meeting, as well as issuing press releases and articles introducing the organization.

Results

Major articles on Iridium NEXT hosted payload opportunities appeared in the top tier vertical media outlets such as Space News, Defense News, Aviation Week & Space Technology, SatMagazine, Via Satellite and other publications. These article placements were supplemented and reinforced by a steady flow of relevant press releases, blog posts and social media outreach to maintain front-of-mind awareness in target audiences. Rhodes Communications also placed Iridium speakers at major industry conferences such as Satellite 2010 and National Space Symposium.

Samples of Work

Contracts Will Determine Value

Orbital, Iridium Ink Hosted Payload Deal

Public-Private Partnerships

Satellite Signals

Setting Up the Fast Track

Still Time for Payloads to Board Iridium Train

Time is Ripe

To Catch a Moving Train