Xenophon Strategies, PRGN member in Washington DC, was the public relations agency of record for Virgin America during the new-entrant airline efforts to seek certification by the U.S. Department of Transportation
Foreign involvement in U.S. commercial aviation has long been a sensitive subject. Xenophon Strategies was challenged to help the airline develop a separate, positive U.S. identity while investor outreach and the certification process moved forward.
Because communications during the equity process is tightly regulated, Xenophon’s strategy was aimed at creating positive news announcements throughout all stages of the airline’s development. By rolling out news strategically, the airline would be positioned to enter the market with immediate impact followed by a period of sustained media coverage, including:
- Defining the airline in a positive way during the critical initial period by driving positive news throughout the equity, application and review process
- Reinforcing that the airline is owned and controlled by U.S. corporations and management teams by promoting lead investors and prominent executives in the media
- Establishing the U.S. based corporate communications staff, not those based in the U.K., as the source of accurate and timely informat for media
- Provided consistent and positive media coverage throughout the certification process in publications like The Wall Street Journal
- Monitored and corrected stories that appeared with messages counter to our desired position
- Worked with the airline’s communications team to build relationships with Xenophon’s longtime media contacts
- Helped establish the airline’s own media presence
Our strategy was highly successful. Virgin America was granted preliminary approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation in March 2007, concluding three years of work for the airline.