Nothing about our work is routine.

It’s just that some stuff matters more to our clients than other stuff. In every case, though, communication matters. We’re proud to share a few examples of our work.

Protecting Brand Equity

AirTran Airways acquisition and integration communications

In the face of an increasingly competitive and consolidating market, Southwest Airlines sought to expand its footprint and enter key East Coast markets dominated by legacy carriers or low-cost competitors that had a stronghold on gate space and landing rights. Southwest had a history of independence and organic growth, but recognized that it would have to make an acquisition in order to grow quickly and finally gain access to these crucial routes. With Atlanta, New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan as primary targets for Southwest, low-cost competitor AirTran Airways quickly came into focus.

One primary issue was keeping the acquisition plans a secret. Although Southwest has a large and capable communications staff, confidentiality was essential until the final days before the announcement. To augment its inner circle of staff working on the deal, Southwest’s top management turned to Dix & Eaton as a strategic partner in preparing for announcement day.

Because Southwest had never completed such a major acquisition and an earlier effort to buy Frontier Airlines had fallen through, the stakes were high. Knowing transparency was important post-announcement, Southwest placed a premium on communications with internal and external audiences regarding the rationale and mechanics of this large acquisition in alignment with Southwest’s unique company culture.

Dix & Eaton’s role was to support the Investor Relations, Operations and Communications teams to address needs for specific document generation and expertise to make all audiences, including employees, more comfortable in an organization unfamiliar with a large integration project. A key strategic initiative was to create a distinct website to announce and provide an informational archive for the many customers, investors and media who would require constant updates.

Dix & Eaton established a dedicated team of writers and Web design professionals to support website development and content creation for announcement day launch. The D&E team also worked on the nuts and bolts of the announcement, creating and refining news releases, talking points, messages to employees and investor communications pieces to support the executive team. Members of the team were on the ground to provide communications support prior to and on announcement day, including communications coaching for media relations teams unaccustomed to messaging for this type of announcement.

In the end, Southwest was able to maintain confidentiality throughout the process up to announcement day while still being thoroughly prepared to make the announcement in person and online. Southwest’s messages clearly resonated in each story produced and the acquisition was well-received without the typical overhang of leaks that can compromise the integrity of an announcement. Southwest had a head start on planning for integration of the two companies by receiving counsel on likely hurdles and primary objectives for the integration progress.

Learn more about Aviation Communications, Change Communications and Crisis Preparedness

Going digital with a corporate social responsibility report

Telling a compelling story online

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Challenge:

Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) has published a corporate social responsibly (CSR) report every year since 2009. After we partnered with ITW to enhance the overall process for the 2013 report, the next goal was to continue to evolve the format to better meet stakeholders’ needs and further reduce the report’s environmental footprint.

Solution:

Dix & Eaton proposed a microsite to house the report, which ITW embraced immediately. Our process was largely the same as the prior year, with D&E handling the project management, ideation, interviews, content development, and (digital) graphic design. We used a primary web address and template that will be consistent year-to-year while allowing for updates to reflect the report’s new content and theme.  The analytics we track also help us evaluate content and guide future reports.

Results:

ITW’s 2014 CSR Report is modern, functional and compelling – and creates a foundation from which to tell the company’s story in the future.  The updated format did not change the core of the story – ITW’s commitment and areas of focus are clear and consistent, and case studies have even greater prominence, further supporting the story. The microsite aligns with ITW’s overall sustainability goals by helping to reduce its environmental footprint. Just as importantly, the online format makes for easier sharing of content with stakeholders, particularly across the company’s social media channels. The microsite is located at http://withpurpose.itw-csr.com/. A PDF of the report is also available for download from the site.

Learn more about CSR/Sustainability Reporting and Website Design & Development

Driving Organizational Performance and Managing Change

Investor relations, corporate communications and national trade public relations support company’s continued growth

Dix & Eaton’s well-established nexus as a trusted advisor to the “C-suite” continually helps Forest City Enterprises, Inc. – an NYSE-listed real estate company with $10.6 billion in total assets – navigate change, reframe investor perceptions and differentiate itself in the marketplace to support growth. 

Dix & Eaton enjoys a long and deep relationship with Forest City, including in the areas of investor relations, corporate communications and an ongoing national trade public relations program that focuses on Forest City’s commercial business in core markets.

Of particular significance, D&E provided senior-level counsel and helped the company shape strategy and messaging throughout a leadership transition to the first CEO who is not a member of Forest City’s founding family. In addition to producing the annual report for more than a decade, key investor relations activities include an investor survey and an investor relations peer audit that helped redesign the way the company communicates with investors. D&E has also developed and facilitated several senior leadership meetings to help define next steps for implementing Forest City’s strategy and driving organizational performance.

Learn more about Media Relations and Annual Reports

A Sample of Our Clients

  • American Greetings Logo
  • Cleveland Convention Center Logo
  • Cleveland Museum of Art Logo
  • Cleveland-Orchestra Logo
  • Colgan air Logo
  • DENTSPLY Logo
  • Direct-Energy Logo
  • Eaton Corporation Logo
  • Energizer Logo
  • Forest City Logo
  • Glatfelter Logo
  • Goodyear Logo
  • Hugo Boss Logo
  • ICG: Logo
  • Kelly Services: Logo
  • Lincoln Electric Logo
  • Sherwin-Williams Logo
  • Southwest Airlines: Logo
  • Swagelok Logo
  • Timken Logo
  • United Health Group: Logo
  • Continental Logo