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Virginia Tech Land Development and Design Initiative  

Situation: A leading national university in the real estate, construction, and engineering sectors, Virginia Tech recognized the dire need for qualified land development professionals and became the first university in the country to launch an academic program dedicated to land development. Since the inception of the Virginia Tech Land Development and Design Initiative in 2007, the program’s activities have been funded almost exclusively through annual corporate sponsorship. With that crucial financial support on the decline, LDDI’s leaders recognized the need to proactively enhance the program’s reputation among the private land development community. 

Results: Gray Ryan Communications developed and implemented a reputation management campaign tailored to LDDI’s key audience of current and potential sponsors. This campaign leveraged the program’s success of building a pipeline of new land development professionals to encourage greater financial support from the industry that benefited most. In less than six months and using recognized business leaders in the land development sector as authors, Gray Ryan secured op-eds in the top five regional and business news outlets in Virginia, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Roanoke Times, Daily Press, InsideBusiness, and Valley Business Front. Additionally, Gray Ryan coordinated a guest column in Civil + Structural Engineer, a top national trade publication. 

After the op-ed campaign, LDDI corporate sponsorships reached their highest level in the program’s history and increased 25% from the previous year. This 25% increase in sponsorships resulted in approximately $50,000 in new funding, which represented a return that was 10 times the campaign’s investment.

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