Transform a Mansion into a Mission
Built in 1855, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion is one of the oldest and most historic governor’s mansions in the U.S. But after more than 150 years of occupancy and recent neglect, the Mansion had fallen into complete disrepair.
Through a $15 million privately-funded renovation project, spearheaded by the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association (IGMA) and then-First-Lady of Illinois, Diana Rauner, the Mansion would get more than just a structural update, including a programmatic overhaul to position the Mansion as a center for art, history, and education in Illinois, including a professionally curated “Art of Illinois” exhibit. But IGMA couldn’t just build it and hope people would come. They needed an integrated strategy to educate the public on the importance of the restoration and establish the Mansion as a prime spot for visitors in Springfield.
While an incredible amount of work had been undertaken to raise funds and awareness for the Mansion’s renovations, the community had, at best, a passing idea of what the renovation would entail. It was time to re-introduce the Mansion.
In February 2018, IGMA hired Hawthorne Strategy Group for communications support. To drive a deeper understanding of the mission of the renovation, Hawthorne worked with IGMA to develop core and promotional materials and media relations efforts to expand the public perception beyond just a home renovation and drive attendance to the grand reopening weekend.