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Hospice of Michigan




Digital Advertising
Media Relations
Social Media


Hospice of Michigan is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and care to patients and their loved ones at end-of-life. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, in 2023 Hospice of Michigan brought back its annual Barley, BBQ & Beats fundraiser, a popular event that combines the joy of live music, barbecue from leading pit masters and hand-crafted cocktails from select Michigan distilleries to create a memorable experience for attendees. Not only did the event return to Detroit (April 21), Grand Rapids (May 6) and Cadillac (May 19) in spring 2023, but it launched in three new cities – Ann Arbor (Sept. 21, benefiting Arbor Hospice), Traverse City (Oct. 20) and Alpena (Nov. 3) – in fall 2023.  

To promote all six events, Franco developed a comprehensive integrated communications strategy that included media relations, social media and digital advertising to increase awareness and drive ticket sales.  


Digital Advertising

Digital promotion for the event launched with a web-traffic campaign highlighting the event’s return to six locations throughout Michigan. The Franco team implemented location-specific campaigns for each of the events, testing messaging and creative assets that showed how each location had something unique to offer, whether that was the event being hosted at the iconic St. Andrews Hall in Detroit or a special guest appearance from Kelsea Ballerini in Grand Rapids. 


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Organic Social 

The success of our organic social media strategy for these events can be attributed to a thoughtful and multifaceted approach. By leveraging engaging content, including visually appealing graphics, compelling videos and behind-the-scenes glimpses, we captured the attention of our target audience. The strategic use of relevant hashtags and tagging vendors, sponsors and musical talent helped broaden our reach and increase visibility. Additionally, consistent and timely posting, along with community interaction, fostered a sense of connection and enthusiasm among followers.  

Media Relations

Franco supported the fundraiser with a two-pronged media relations approach. This began with a statewide Barley, BBQ & Beats announcement to spread awareness and sell tickets to all six events. Franco leveraged its media relationships across the state to reintroduce Detroit, Grand Rapids and Cadillac to this beloved fundraiser, as well as give Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Alpena audiences an idea of what to expect in fall 2023.  

From there, the team tailored its outreach specific to Detroit, Grand Rapids, Cadillac, Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Alpena – working chronologically to promote each of the six events across spring and fall. Not only were the drink, food and music vendors unique to each community, but the pitches had to be, too! This phase relied heavily on creative media pitches to visually highlight the main elements of the fundraiser – hand-crafted cocktails, mouth-watering barbecue and live local music. Franco worked closely with the Hospice of Michigan team (and vendors across the state) to secure and prepare for broadcast interviews and segment opportunities. 


Overall, Barley, BBQ & Beats welcomed 4,000 loyal supporters and new friends to successful events across the state – all to benefit Hospice of Michigan’s Open Access program. While Franco was primarily responsible for media relations, social media and digital efforts, the team worked collaboratively with our Hospice of Michigan contacts on the integrated communications program. 

By leveraging the power of digital advertising, Facebook and LinkedIn campaigns combined generated over 900,000 impressions and 28,000 clicks 

The impressive metrics of 100,000 total impressions, over 80,000 reach and almost 2,000 engagements reflect the effectiveness of our comprehensive organic social media strategy, which focused on building a genuine online community around the events. 

Franco’s media relations efforts earned 136 pieces of coverage across the spring and fall events. This included Barley, BBQ & Beats mentions and interviews from media outlets across the state, such as FOX 2, CBS Detroit, The Detroit News, FOX 17, WOOD-TV, The Cadillac News 9&10 News and more 

And in true Barley, BBQ & Beats fashion, even the interviews promoting the events were fun – highlighting Barley through cocktail segments, BBQ through cooking segments and Beats through music segments. 

Thanks to our integrated communications strategy that included earned (media relations), shared (organic social) and paid (digital and traditional advertising) tactics, all six events sold out before the campaigns finished running in the respective markets.