UCSF, with medical facilities spread out all over San Francisco, was opening its first new campus in decades in the revitalized neighborhood known as Mission Bay. Three distinct hospitals – one for children, a cancer center, and a women’s center – would showcase advanced technology and provide a truly state-of-the-art experience for patients and staff. Communicating the new location, services and benefactors to the media was LCI’s primary function. In a crowded and competitive healthcare market, differentiators would be key to coverage.
LCI began working with in-house UCSF communications staff a full six months prior to the opening. Strategically, the goal was to provide an ongoing “drumbeat” of story ideas and news to local media. Coverage began quickly in all formats and was integrated within UCSF’s own communications tools in order to excite stakeholders and influencers about the move. LCI pitched national media regarding technological innovations (Hospital robots) and the involvement of benefactor Marc Benioff (Salesforce). LCI recommended a series of special events to drive interest and media coverage including life-flight helicopter tests at the new heliport on top of the UCSF/Benioff Childrens Hospital. Staff participated in a family walk day down the picturesque San Francisco waterfront to open the new facilities. Photo opps included the line-up of ambulances on move day and the UCSF Tech Day that drew the Mayor of San Francisco and other luminaries to observe healthcare robotics in action.
Media coverage was enormous and beyond even LCI’s high expectations. Multiple stories were published in Bay Area, regional and national outlets, including: The San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Bay Area News Group, San Jose Mercury News, Marin IJ, San Francisco Examiner and regional ethnic media. Broadcast coverage included BBC-TV, CNET, KPIX-TV, KTVU-TV, KNTV, KOFY, BBC-TV and every local radio news station. In addition, many national healthcare trade publications covered the opening. Interest in the new hospitals is high and the San Francisco Bay Area has embraced UCSF’s new Mission Bay campus.