case study: searstone

Public Relations

property & construction


Long before the SearStone retirement community welcomed its first residents, the project existed only in the mind of architect Bill Sears. S&A coordinated initial public information efforts that helped the community get zoning approval and stay in the news as it started accepting deposits from future residents. Following years of regulatory struggle and the Great Recession, SearStone received its licensure and opened its doors in 2013. To help spread the news, we implemented a customized media relations campaign.


  • Work with SearStone’s marketing team to create a PR timeline for the licensure announcement.
  • Upon receiving news of the licensure, immediately call local media contacts. Monitor immediate coverage on news blogs.
  • Research, draft and distribute a press release employing a features approach that highlights the Sears’ family history and fulfilment of a dream. Identify SearStone residents for interviews as they move in.
  • Explore additional communications channels including the N.C. State University Red and White for Life alumni blog.


Within 60 days, S&A tracked 28 pickups from 19 different media outlets. They ranged from blog posts and press release pickups to full-length articles of move-in day and a profile of Bill Sears as the News & Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week.” We estimate that our efforts generated 633,868 total impressions (537,772 from local media).
Over the years, SearStone has relied on us for a variety of services, including:

  • Government relations
  • Community outreach
  • Public affairs
  • Media relations
  • Event promotion
  • Newsletter and website content
  • Guest articles
  • Editing/proofreading
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Crisis plan development and training
  • Resident surveys

“SearStone has partnered with S&A Communications for the last 10 years and can attest to their driven, results-oriented agency mentality,” said Allie Ligay, sales manager. “We continue to partner with them not only because they’re able to secure the media coverage we need – but because they have been a true partner in helping us grow.”