Supercharging The Future: Creating Industry Inroads & Building Audience Engagement with Powering Chicago

Powering Chicago Case Study - Content Marketing


In 2019, Powering Chicago, the unionized electrical industry labor-management partnership between IBEW Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of the City of Chicago, needed to boost their industry presence through greater digital and marketplace awareness.

With major shifts in the industry signaling both opportunities and challenges, Powering Chicago took the next step toward becoming the premier voice of the Chicagoland electrical industry by beginning its search for a marketing group capable of:

  • Educating decision makers about the value and advantages of union labor
  • Increasing digital presence by improving website traffic & social media followers
  • Earning high-profile media placements and increasing business lead generation
  • Using outreach strategies to attract qualified candidates to its apprenticeship program

With the help of The Harbinger Group, our Chicago marketing consulting firm dedicated to delivering customized communication strategies to mission-driven businesses nationwide, Powering Chicago has been able to consistently exceed these goals. Over three years, we’ve developed and implemented strategies that have outperformed annual marketing KPIs, and have plans to further supercharge Powering Chicago’s industry reach for years to come. 


At A Glance

Since August 2019, The Harbinger Group has helped Powering Chicago achieve…

  • Secured more than 200 qualified business leads for Powering Chicago members
  • 153% increase in website traffic
  • 150% average increase of followers on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  • Secured 60 pieces of media coverage
  • 1,000% increase in email contact acquisition

Powering Chicago Case Study - Content Marketing

For our work with Powering Chicago, The Harbinger Group was recognized with three prestigious Silver Stevie Awards for…

  • Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Brand / Reputation Management
  • Best E-Book
  • Branded Content Campaign of the Year


The Challenge

In 2019, the unionized electrical industry stood at a pivotal moment — with the increase in demand for new green technologies, the rise in adoption of electric vehicles and government initiatives emphasizing a transition to alternative energy sources, status-quo marketing solutions were no longer enough to produce significant business results.

Moreover, Powering Chicago needed new ways to connect with its expansive and diverse audience, which is comprised of members of the electrical construction industry, union electricians, electrical contractors, prospective pre-apprenticeship program members and industry partners in the Cook County area and beyond. 

After an extensive search, The Harbinger Group was chosen as the firm best-equipped to not only create innovative marketing solutions at a pivotal industry moment, but also as the team of marketing professionals most suited to speak to the myriad audiences Powering Chicago intended to reach.

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The Solution

Using a signature in-house content marketing strategy, we began by identifying the target audiences tied to Powering Chicago through a detailed discovery process while simultaneously uncovering the most effective ways to engage them. In 2019, after collecting a combination of intake briefings, field interviews with industry experts, detailed media analyses and more, we identified both notable decision-makers and influencers within the electrical construction industry as well as the best methods to reach them.

We then followed our custom six-step approach — consisting of critical analysis, strategy development, brand positioning and messaging, planning, activation and evaluation — to construct an annual comprehensive plan in line with the scope of Powering Chicago’s unique marketing goals. At each annual evaluation meeting during the three-year collaboration period, we’ve re-assessed Powering Chicago’s changing needs, adopting new strategies and tactics to continue to boost their overall marketplace presence.

At a glance, our three-year approach has involved the following tactics:

  • Content production rooted in SEO optimization and disseminated across earned, owned and paid media channels
  • Assessments conducted using custom audience tools across social media channels to discern the strongest platforms for audience engagement
  • Industry research to uncover untapped partnership and engagement opportunities
  • Compelling pitch development for earned media coverage
    Ad campaign activation across all relevant social media channels



Year 1

Year one focused heavily on revitalizing all Powering Chicago social media channels in order to funnel website traffic and increase overall lead generation.

  • +1,400% Facebook Engagements
  • +7,400% LinkedIn Engagements
  • +895% Twitter Engagements
  • 21 Earned Media Placements
  • 12,200 Social Media Shares
  • 34,000,000 Total Audience Reach
  • +873% Social Media Website Traffic
  • +3,872% Social Media Community Growth


Year 2

Year two saw a pivot to focus on three distinct categories: honing and prioritizing a video-focused content strategy on the Powering Chicago website and YouTube channels, website optimization for better lead generation and improved digital ad targeting.

  • 800,000+ Digital Ad Targets Reached
  • 6,585 Email Contacts Acquired
  • 800+ Social Media Posts
  • 100+ Website Additions
  • 33 Videos Produced
  • 27 Media Placements
  • 12 Newsletters Distributed
  • 9 Industry Panel Appearances
  • 75 Qualified Leads Generated


Year 3

Year three focused on building, attracting, growing and nurturing leads through additional content production strategies such as eBook and email development.

  • +1,000% Email Contacts Acquired
  • +225% Digital Ad Impressions
  • +111% Media Placements
  • +80% YouTube Subscribers
  • +54% Emails Distributed
  • +21% Email Open Rate
  • +5% Click-Thru Rate
  • +32% Qualified Leads From eBook Downloads
  • +26% Website Session Length Increase
  • +28% New Website Users
  • +25% Social Media Posts
  • +12.5% Focus Partnerships
  • 204 eBooks Downloaded
  • 99 Qualified Leads Generated



Across three years, The Harbinger Group has exceeded its goals of more than doubling website traffic, improving social media engagements more than tenfold, generating 200+ qualified leads and increasing email contact acquisition by 1,000 percent.

During this time, Powering Chicago and The Harbinger Group were able to work together to constantly pivot and evolve brand strategies and tactics, ensuring the partnership was able to remain responsive at a pivotal moment in the electrical construction.



“The Harbinger Group was chosen after an extensive search to assist Powering Chicago in increasing its brand presence digitally and in the Chicagoland marketplace. After performing a thorough assessment of our current and long-term goals, The Harbinger Group worked intimately with the Powering Chicago team to develop, implement and execute strategies that have multiplied our impact and presence throughout the various identified mediums. Thanks to The Harbinger Group we are on our path to not only achieve but exceed established goals.”