City of Rock Hill Honored with Achievement Award

Staff Report From York County CEO

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

The City of Rock Hill received a Municipal Achievement Award for its communications plan for the BMX World Championships. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 21. The city won in the communications category. Thirty cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.

The tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe traveling to Rock Hill for the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships presented city officials with two challenges: To ensure all Rock Hill residents knew about the event and to foster community pride as the first American city to host the event in 16 years.

After the marketing services company that was initially selected couldn't be used, city staff stepped up to produce marketing materials for what would be the largest international sporting event in South Carolina history. Staff produced a detailed marketing and communications plan to guide the process, working closely with city management and parks, recreation and tourism department staff to identify clear objectives and key messages aimed mainly at local communication. 

The city also debuted a mobile app for ticket purchases, an event schedule, venue map, sponsors, push notifications and information about local restaurants and shops. City staff also produced a video that earned a 2017 Telly Award in the non-broadcast sports production category. When it came to the national and international news media who set up at the event, Rock Hill held a Rock Hill BMX Media Showdown. Reporters outfitted with a bike, helmet and instruction from a local rider participated in a series of races to experience the track first-hand.

Staff created the logo, all digital ads, video and social media posts, and used the local telecommunications and media services company to manage the digital placement and tracking. During the event, city workers staffed media center operations, managed social media, and updated the website and mobile app. The money the city saved by doing the communications work in-house could instead be spent on additional ad placement. 

City officials have since completed a marketing communications plan for Knowledge Park, an urban, mixed-use business park, basing the plan on the BMX event.

"Rock Hill used community presentations, partnerships and grassroots efforts to inform and engage Rock Hill residents about the BMX event," said Wayne George, executive director for the Municipal Association.