Crown Castle International owns and operates more than 15,000 broadcast and wireless transmission sites in the United States, Australia and Great Britain. When the company was preparing to announce a major new broadcast innovation called OptiShare technology, its executives wanted a multimedia presentation created for use as the main promotional tool in Crown Castle's marketing campaign.
The new presentation would have to serve two masters, however. First, it had to run continuously in kiosks at the annual Tower Summit, an important communications-infrastructure industry trade show. Second, it would be distributed on an autorun CD to hundreds of potential customers and business partners.
Nigel Pestell, Crown Castle's vice president of marketing, began the project by organizing information about OptiShare in a linear storyboard format. He used Microsoft PowerPoint to arrange photos, graphics and technical information, and to develop the flow of the presentation. "I used PowerPoint as the delivery medium to get the story line down," he says. "It's a program that everyone is familiar with and everyone can understand."
But Pestell knew that the end product needed more than PowerPoint, as did LJF Associates, the Houston-based marketing company Crown Castle contracted with to supervise production of the presentation. LJF's president, Linda Freede, assessed Pestell's mock-up presentation and determined that a Macromedia Flash-based presentation would best fit Crown Castle's plan.
LJF wrote the presentation's script and outlined style guidelines for logo use, color schemes, fonts and the CD label art. But when it came to turning the content into a Flash presentation, LJF turned to multimedia production company Epic Software Group.
Using the draft script and the PowerPoint file, Epic laid out the presentation in a frame-by-frame visual outline. The company brought in artists and animators, licensed background music, hired a narrator, and went through an extensive testing period to ensure compatibility with almost any desktop computer system.
"Bringing all the pieces together was really like a scavenger hunt," says Vic Cherubini, president of Epic. "We had to find a narrator that would sound good to an international audience, locate music that fit, and bring a lot of information down into a concise presentation."
What began as a 20-minute PowerPoint slideshow was condensed into a dynamic five-minute Flash presentation that works as a trade show kiosk feature and as a stand-alone, autorun-CD presentation.
Crown Castle distributed more than 500 CDs at the Tower Summit trade show and received requests for another 1,000 discs in the days following. Initial feedback was positive, with the first sales of the OptiShare product made two months ahead of schedule. In addition, project expenses were significantly lower than expected, and it ultimately cost only half of what similar projects have run in the past. As a result, Crown Castle is working with the Epic Software Group to create other multimedia promotional materials for its products.