Case Study

Client: Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD)

As the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, Cheyenne Frontier Days is an iconic brand and a huge economic engine for Wyoming.

The Challenge

Cheyenne Frontier Days is also the frequent target of animal rights groups that often paint a misleading picture of the rodeo. After years of not responding to negative attacks and allowing others to tell a one-sided story, CFD management realized that the organization’s reputation was being harmed. 

It engaged Pushkin PR to help CFD repair a damaged brand. We developed a reputation management program for CFD that included several components.

Communications Problem? We can help

The Solution

We created a strategy that emphasized proactive response to criticism, media training and ongoing monitoring.

  • We developed a new Animal Care section on the CFD website that includes everything CFD does behind the scenes and during the rodeo to prevent animal injuries and treat any animals that do get injured.
  • The new section included Facts vs. Fiction and Straight Talk About Animal Care to dispel the myth that rodeo is abusive to animals.
  • We developed a new social media program including CFD’s first Facebook and Twitter pages, and a series of story-telling YouTube videos. We also provided daily social media monitoring services.
  • We met with the editorial board of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle to answer accusations the paper received from animal rights activists.
  • We developed and implemented a crisis communications plan for CFD and provided on-site crisis management during CFD.
  • We provided key messages and media training for CFD staff and volunteers, and conducted training for CFD’s core crisis team.
  • We developed a resource guide for CFD sponsors and entertainers who were also the target of negative attacks.

The Results

  • After years of bad press from the local paper, we secured a front page story in the Sunday Wyoming Tribune Eagle headlined “Animals Get Utmost Care.”
  • CFD’s Facebook page now has over 117,000 likes.
  • Google search results that once had a negative sentiment are now positive in nature.
  • Of our efforts, Dan Cheney, former CFD CEO said, “I think together we were able to change the culture at CFD to be one of transparency and strategic response. This undoubtedly improved the brand, which led to many improvements in the overall metrics of the organization.”

Like many organizations receiving bad publicity, CFD believed if they ignored it, it would eventually go away. However, that approach gives adversaries the power to tell your story for you. We empowered CFD to take the power back and share its own messages about the type of organization it is. Doing so, CFD not only changed its image, but the organizational culture.