CASE STUDY: SAVOR INDIANA
FUELING THE INDIANA ECONOMY WITH AN INDEPENDENT TV SERIES ON FABULOUS FOOD
- The Whale Hunters Services: Private Consulting
- Goal: To create a strategic plan to help identify and effectively articulate the benefits of the TV series to potential sponsors, endorsing organizations, and Indiana communities.
- Employees: 3
- Location: Indianapolis, IN
At dinner celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, Marla Williams asked her husband Greg what he’d like to do for the next 25 years of their married life. Greg thought for a minute then said, “I’ve always wanted to produce a television series.” Greg and Marla had honored their passion for the film and video industry for twenty-five years by developing a production company, Associated Images Moving Picture Production Company, which worked for national broadcast networks and produced projects for advertising and public relations clients. They had even shot a short feature film for another film company. But by 2006, their creative, entrepreneurial spirit was nudging them to start focusing time and energy on a new television show of their own – one that would have a real and lasting impact on the people of Indiana and their local communities.
Whatever it would be, Greg and Marla knew their goal was to create a sustainable commercial television series that would help to improve Indiana’s economy. The creative ideas for possible show concepts actually came easily given their background. Basing their concept upon a survey designed by one of Indiana’s economic development entities, they decided to create a television series that would use data about the new trend of Culinary Tourism to encourage economic growth in Indiana’s smaller communities. Tapping into the growing trends of “foodies,” local markets, and family time, Greg and Marla mapped out a solid plan for the show’s pilot and soon found an organization interested in sponsoring it. But the team’s biggest challenge was still to come: how to fund the series in a sustainable manner.
Greg and Marla knew the importance of creating a credible pitch package and positioning the pilot and series with sponsors, local stations, and potential agency partners.
With a great deal of time and money invested in the project, they could not afford to jeopardize the opportunity with anything less than perfection. They looked for the right resource to help them prepare, and quickly found The Whale Hunters and its founder, Dr. Barbara Weaver Smith.
The Whale Hunters was recommended to Greg and Marla by a trusted advisor who had used their services with great success. When Marla met The Whale Hunters founder, Barbara Weaver Smith, she knew that this unique process was exactly the help she needed. Marla discovered critical tools and tips on how to appropriately position the pilot and series with each target audience. She engaged The Whale Hunters in a custom consulting arrangement to help her develop the necessary materials and prepare for specific meetings at each stage of the process.
As part of the engagement, Barbara and The Whale Hunters team carefully listened to the key challenges ahead, conducted extensive market and competitive research, and helped develop a professional set of pitch materials that demonstrated the series’ benefits to various audiences. They also created a comprehensive plan for promoting the show and securing sponsors.
After taking the new pitch package to a handful of potential sponsors, Marla was able to land three major sponsors who agreed to participate, even without involving their respective advertising agencies. With these major sponsors in tow and the ability to prove the show’s value to key stakeholders, she was able to secure the weekly airtime on television stations in Indiana’s top five TV markets. SAVOR INDIANA began airing on May 2, 2010. Today, SAVOR INDIANA airs nine times weekly, is carried on Comcast and Bright House Video on Demand Systems, is streamed at SavorIndiana.com and on YouTube, and features fabulous local Indiana cuisine and attractions from small towns and communities throughout the state. At the end of 2012, the show reaches 13 million viewers each week. And as for Greg and Marla – although busier than ever– they are living out their passion and realizing their dream every day, while giving something back to the people of Indiana and to the communities they love.