The Moving Pieces
The opening of a 152-room, LEGO branded hotel, with themed rooms and a 30 second walk to the LEGOLAND Florida Resort theme park, was sure to attract a lot of media attention. And on opening day at the LEGOLAND Hotel, there were a lot of moving pieces… literally.
LEGO minifigures parachuted…
… into a sea of running, excited kids.
A blizzard of confetti showered the crowd, and a LEGO dragon blew steam through its nose!
Put it all together with some speeches and everything that goes along with a typical Grand Opening ceremony…
… and you’ve got an amazing photo opportunity.
The Quick Turnaround
Photographer Chip Litherland and his team at the LEGOLAND Hotel Grand Opening captured the excitement of a day that will go down in LEGOLAND Florida’s history. These pictures will become part of the brand’s visual legacy. But thanks to a very quick turnaround, they were also part of the media buzz that started as soon as the event began.
Chip and his team published their photos within hours, managing to beat most of the major news media.
“It’s great for a company like LEGOLAND to be able to shape how they want a particular PR event to go,” says Chip.
How did they do it? With the help of visual asset management.
Let’s break down the process.
Step 1: Shooting.
Chip worked with two other photographers to shoot the Grand Opening. The event lasted only about ten minutes, so he knew he needed to work with a team to make sure they didn’t miss a moment.
One photographer was in a cherry picker, capturing the view from above. The other was on the ground with Chip, covering the action.
Together, they documented the day from every angle.
Step 2: Editing & Uploading
Right after the event, Chip ran all of the discs back to the office he uses at LEGOLAND and edited the selects on site.
Chip and the LEGOLAND team use Libris by PhotoShelter as their visual asset management system, so he created a new gallery for the Grand Opening and uploaded the selects right away.
“To take three photographers’ work and to combine it into one application online using Libris was great,” says Chip.
Step 3: Honing the Message
Next, the LEGOLAND marketing and PR teams logged in to Libris and looked at the pictures Chip uploaded to the Hotel Grand Opening edit (about 80 photos). Then, they narrowed it down to a media-ready gallery of 8-12 photos.
“They’re able to edit and control their message,” says Chip. “They’re able to take great photography of the best moments and push them out there really quickly using Libris.”
Step 4: Sounding the Alarm
The LEGOLAND team had a press release ready to go before the event started, so their last step was easy. All they had to do was add the link to the media gallery and send it out to their press list.
This process is quick and easy for the team – and it helps reporters meet their deadlines.
“They are hungry for pictures, and a lot of them don’t send their own photographers,” Chip explains.
Step 5: Spreading the Word
Once the press release landed in the reporters’ inboxes, they clicked the link to the Grand Opening gallery and entered a password (LEGOLAND uses a general download password for all of its media partners). No FTP instructions, no zip files. With just a few clicks, the reporters downloaded the images they needed.
LEGOLAND Marketing Manager Audrey Padgett says Libris has made it simpler for her team to share information a lot more quickly after an event like the Grand Opening.
“It’s very user-friendly for the media, and at the end of the day, that’s what they want,” says Audrey. “They want the information and the photos as quickly as possible.”
Most of LEGOLAND’s media partners are used to using Libris, and it doesn’t take long for the new reporters to catch on.
“The learning curve with Libris is really, really short,” says Chip.
The Big Picture
Chip and the marketing and PR team at LEGOLAND use Libris to streamline their public relations during big events like the Hotel Grand Opening and on a daily basis.
As they constantly field image requests from tourism guides, advertising agencies, restaurants and hotels, they can easily share a link to a gallery of the best general park photos.
Chip serves as both a photographer and a manager of the photo library – making him an invaluable part of the team.
Libris saves him countless hours, and makes visual asset management a team effort, since it allows more people to access the back end of the photo library.
This is especially helpful when the LEGOLAND team gets an image request from a reporter when Chip isn’t available.
When they get a call from a reporter who’s doing a story on the park, they can do a quick keyword search through LEGOLAND’s photo library of about 5,000 pictures and find exactly what they need.
For example, they can pull up every photo of a given roller coaster taken in the past 5 years and use Libris’ quick send feature to send one to a newspaper.
Or, the reporter can do an image search from the LEGOLAND Libris portal. If the reporter is working on a story about LEGOLAND’s healthy food options, they can use Libris’ keyword search to find photos of restaurants and food, like these Granny Apple Fries.
Speeding up your image delivery is one step to speeding up your public relations process, which will help you get more out of your public relations efforts. When your organization is at the center of the buzz – especially for a major milestone like this Grand Opening – you want to control the conversation. And as visual content becomes more important, you have to make sure your photos are ready to go when the news breaks.
A cloud-based visual asset management system can streamline your workflow and speed up your processes when it counts.