Maunakea Observatories


The Maunakea Observatories (MKO) are a collaboration of telescopes atop Maunakea, the single best site for astronomical observation world-wide. In recent years, highly visible conflict has erupted on the global stage, rooted in future land development for additional telescopes on the mountain. Bennet Group has created and executed an integrated reputation management campaign to redefine the public’s sentiment toward the astronomy field in general and MKO in particular. This integrated campaign work included strategic communications across disciplines, including branding, marketing, media relations, fundraising/donor communications, issues management, event-based communications, and public affairs.


  • Provided hands-on strategic communications support throughout the year, including in-depth work in the following campaigns: Maunakea Scholars, EnVision Maunakea, crisis communications and on-going proactive media relations to tell the Maunakea Observatories story.
  • Played a vital role in overseeing the entirety of the integrated communications strategy while keeping all tactical execution focused on the overarching communications objectives for MKO.
  • Successfully pitched and collaborated in development of extensive earned media opportunities on a local, national and international scale.


  • Success of the MKO reputation management initiatives were measured in terms of volume of media coverage, sentiment, message penetration and the impression garnered from community interactions on the part of the client.
  • Bennet Group secured or facilitated more than 100 quality earned media placements, prominently featuring our strategic messaging, in 2016.
  • Following a year of predominantly negative sentiment in coverage related to the Maunakea Observatories in 2015 and gradual improvement in 2016, the balance of sentiment for stories in 2017 mentioning Doug Simons or the Maunakea Observatories was 28 percent positive, 72 percent neutral and zero percent negative about the MKO brand, indicating that Bennet Group had created successful public positioning for the observatories as valuable to the Hawaii community.