CASE STUDY

Project:

Consumer Advocacy

Client:

Consumers for Innovative Technology (CIT)

services:

Multi-media marketing, e-mail, interactive online, experiential events and grassroots efforts


Berg Muirhead was engaged by a consortium of international and statewide technology corporations to lead a Michigan technology advocacy coalition called Consumers for Innovative Technology (CIT). The mission of the organization was to educate consumers and apply grassroots initiatives to advocate for the growth of and access to innovative technology in Michigan. Berg Muirhead Vice President, Peter Van Dyke, served as the CIT’s executive director.

The first major initiative for CIT was to execute an aggressive media and community relations strategy to help pass a major piece of legislation that would open the state’s cable market to competition. This would mark not only a major shift in policy and consumers’ access to advanced technology and competitive rates. Berg Muirhead executed a multi-layer approach to reach consumers across the state including conducting forums and meetings with community organizations from business groups and chambers to faith-based organizations and neighborhood clubs. We also wrote and rallied consumers to write op eds and send letters to editors, and we garnered extensive earned media placements. These tactics educated the audience and encouraged them to influence legislators, which resulted in the bill getting signed.  

After this successful campaign, Van Dyke was tasked with building the organization while continuing to advocate for pro-technology legislation at the state and municipal level. Van Dyke executed a variety of strategies to strengthen CIT’s reputation and membership base, including social media engagement and advertising, informational seminars and developing collaborations with other organizations, media and businesses.  

While growing the organization, Van Dyke continued to educate consumers and legislators on the state of technology in Michigan. He produced a daily blog, monthly e-newsletter, and was active on Facebook and Twitter. Van Dyke also brought together consumers and legislators in several events across the state, including social media training seminars for legislators and their constituents. Additionally, the organization had an ongoing online survey, which rotated monthly, and several extensive e-mail surveys. Van Dyke used this information to track consumer opinions and formed campaign based on the results.  He also sent the survey results to legislators to educate them about their constituents.  

The work Berg Muirhead/Peter Van Dyke did as the executive director of CIT yielded great results. Under his leadership, the membership grew from 1,000 to 11,000 Michigan consumers and the sustaining membership increase from one to 10 funders and partners. The legislative initiatives ranged from advocating to eliminate the sunset of the Michigan Telecommunication Act to working with the state and municipalities to pass copper theft legislation. Van Dyke was able to successfully rally members to connect with legislators to pass these pieces of legislation and several other bills.