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How the City of Austin's open rates boomed 150%

The City trusts Axios HQ to help its Mayor connect with constituents.

The challenge: The City was looking for a modern way for Mayor Adler to share thoughts directly with the community and recaps with the media after council meetings. It had to be:

  • Simple: The system his communication team used was “very clunky” and frustrating. They needed a seamless experience that could make their day-to-day work easier.
  • Concise: The Mayor is a fan of long-form communication, but his updates needed to be brief. The solution would, ideally, help the team stay accountable to that.

The solution: The City of Austin uses Axios HQ to send the Mayor’s weekly update of important messages to the  community — open rates have boomed 150% since adopting HQ. It’s also how they power post-council recaps for the media or others interested in what was passed. 

💭  Elizabeth Lewis, Communications Director: 

  • “For cities with a strong mayor system, this tool would be really useful for getting out to your constituents. All the research Axios HQ has done to make this tool work — you can see it working. Between the graphics, the Axioms, the use of emojis, it just leads to so much more engagement. Even if you have an older constituent base, it's a great, great form of communication. We’ve gotten so many compliments.”
  • “Smart Brevity is an important tool to learn as communicators. We have to be short and sweet and terse. We're in a completely different era of how people consume information, everything is graphic or Tweet based. Axios HQ is a good tool to train your brain to think differently about how you communicate. It helps structure your logic paths, too — saying this section should be bullets, or other tips. It’s so intuitive.” 

How it works: The City of Austin’s team is small and nimble. One person may log in to Axios HQ to draft their next edition, Mayor Adler or Elizabeth join in, make edits, and sign off before it gets sent. 

🧠  Elizabeth’s words of encouragement: 

  • Smart Brevity doesn’t mean the Mayor had to sacrifice long-form. We started a podcast, he still does a lot of earned media, and we’re doing a town hall every month tied to a theme. He gets to do long-form in other ways so the newsletter stays tight. He has been personally complimented on how much better it is.”

Go deeper: Read a real example of Mayor Adler's Smart Brevity communications.

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