Over the last year, CBD has been working with James Hardie Building Products to develop the Hardie Ambassador Program, which we rolled out in the suburbs of Chicago and D.C. The program is a unique lead-generation campaign designed to generate interest in James Hardie siding and create brand awareness in the market. At the same time, our goal is to build a large pipeline of high-quality leads and help prospects through the sales cycle.
While there is a robust and intricate digital component, the heart of this program lies with the Hardie Ambassadors. The teams are tasked with getting into the markets in Chicago and D.C. to engage in a grassroots marketing campaign, and I’ve been working alongside them since the program launched in March. From knocking on doors to attending local events and festivals, it is the job of the Ambassadors to generate leads and help spread the word about James Hardie — and they’re doing a great job.
Also important to the success of the program are the great tools we’ve developed at CBD for the Ambassadors to use in the field. This includes all new customer-facing marketing materials, a custom lead management app, a highly targeted email campaign, and a custom wrapped truck and mobile exhibit. Especially as we enter prime festival and event season, the mobile exhibits are an integral part of our campaign.
As you can see in the pictures, the mobile exhibit makes a statement, even before you open it up! The outside has been wrapped to look like James Hardie siding, and is done in colors you can actually buy. The trailer was custom built from the ground up to be a great display at festivals and events that can attract customers not just to see, but to interact with the products.
One side of the exhibit has a scaled-down corner of a home built with all James Hardie — shingle, plank, and batten board as well as trim and soffit. This gives consumers a great overview of all of the James Hardie products available and the chance to see what they look like on a building, not just on a shelf. There is also a magnetized display where people can mix and match all of the different siding and trim colors to compare all of the different combinations available.
On the other side of the trailer is our “knock-knock” test. We’re giving people the chance to feel James Hardie fiber cement siding and compare it to wood and vinyl siding. There is also a tablet playing stories of homeowners who have installed James Hardie products on their homes. All in all, the mobile exhibit provides a wealth of information in a fun and unique way. Feedback from customers and guests has been positive, and we’re starting to see the results of all the preparation that went into creating this interactive exhibit.
If you live in the Chicago or D.C. area, don’t be surprised if you see our mobile exhibit or Hardie Ambassadors in your neighborhood or local event. If you see us, please stop by to chat and check out the mobile exhibit first hand.
The monster International Home & Housewares Show hit Chicago a couple of weeks ago with 2,000+ exhibitors and some 60,000 attendees. This is the place for retail buyers — from the likes of Walmart to small specialty shops — to gain perspective and see what’s new.
Celebrity chefs and their wares were in abundance — for good reason. A top trend is the return of The Kitchen as the connecting point within a home. For meeting, eating, working and entertaining, the kitchen has become the hub. People are cooking again, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to save money. Often for health. Most interestingly for self expression and status. That’s right — status. This has divergent meanings, from social standing to being eco-conscious.
A highlight of the show for me was a keynote presentation by Tom Mirabile, the SVP, Global Trend & Design at Lifetime Brands, entitled, “Staying Relevant to an Unpredictable Consumer.” From fashion to food to housewares, many marketers are operating with a dangerously outdated view of today’s consumers. For instance, most people look at a “married with kids” family as typical when in fact only 20% of U.S. households fit that mold.
Currently in the U.S., two groups — Boomers and Gen Y’s — account for the largest numbers. While Boomers are trying to age gracefully, Gen Y’s are resourceful and seeking ways to express their creativity. Yet a desire for wellness factors into the food choices of both groups in a big way as people realize that to enjoy a higher quality of life, health is critical.
What were some of the key insights from the show? Functional Design was celebrated as evidenced by the shapes, colors and ergonomics of kitchen gadgets and wares. Appliances that allow for personalization were in abundance, like the Soda Stream machine that allows the user to create infinite varieties of flavors. Eco-friendly products were pervasive with lots of bamboo and other natural materials. And this is the show where Pantone unveils the color of the year. Going into 2014, let’s all celebrate Emerald (PMS 17-5641) for a big dose of harmony and balance.
You no longer have to possess Martha Stewart-like skills to pull off a successful business or charitable event!
Events are social in nature. No matter the type, the ultimate goal of any event is to foster relationships and make connections. Social media is a great tool to develop and maintain meaningful relationships through every phase of the event planning process and beyond.
First, have a social plan. Developing a strong social media plan is essential to increasing awareness and interest in your event. Creating Twitter pages and handles (and Facebook pages or tabs) for your event will allow you to post content beforehand, which will significantly boost your brand’s visibility.
These interactions can consist of:
- Asking for recommendations for local venues and caterers
- Educating your audience with informational posts
- Connecting and “cross-promoting” with other local businesses
- Providing event details
- Teasing followers with information about what’s on the horizon.
The possibilities are limitless, but the main goal remains the same: Drive attendance with engaging, interesting content.
During your event, social media can play just as much of a role as it did leading up to the big day. Tweeting or posting tips live from the event like, “Don’t miss out on the crab legs, they are divine!” or “There will be a big announcement at 9 p.m.” is a great way to get attendees engaged while making people who didn’t come wish they had. Asking for feedback during the event also ensures that your guests are happy, comfortable and left with a positive impression of your brand, product or company.
Afterwards, social media makes it easy to thank your attendees and post any content you gathered at the event like photos, videos or sound bites to keep your followers interested and engaged. This is the perfect opportunity to get constructive feedback, too. Monitoring sentiment and making changes based on the results can show you what you did right and, possibly, how you can improve next time.
In today’s tech savvy world, social media plays a significant role in effectively planning any event. Solid, long-term relationships are built on intimate interactions, and social media allows you to establish and maintain them.
Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away now. Will your company leverage this prime opportunity to cultivate and nurture relationships?
We don’t see a lot of B2B or B2C companies doing a great deal during Thanksgiving. As we collectively rush toward the December holidays, it’s understandable that we all have to prioritize internal and external touch points. But if you’re worried your organization is getting lost in the rush, strive to stand out by making Thansgiving a day of gratifying focus.
As relationships are a primary driver of most businesses, think about partners, alliances, customers and employees. Who deserves a hearty handshake, a warm hug or a little something extra? Delivering added value at an unexpected time can underscore the sincerity of your sentiments and create stronger bonds.
- Get social – As well as offering your heartfelt appreciation, find ways of engaging your community around their own traditions, recipes and remembrances.
- Connect – Internal promotions and gatherings inspire and motivate. What about a contest for employees to compete for the most creative way to reward customers or partners? Or celebrate individual accomplishments with an awards luncheon?
- Surprise and delight – A personal thank you call from your CEO to high value customers, a service award to a vendor, a special contribution to the personal cause of a alliance partner… You can be selective and strategic in your giving of thanks.
Create impactful memories this Thanksgiving for everyone who is a vital part of your community. Acknowledgement doesn’t have to cost a lot, and meaningful outreach pays big brand dividends.
Every executive is a spokesperson for their company and brand. Be sure your team is ready to meet with trade and business reporters by scheduling a CBD Media Training Workshop. With group sessions and one-on-one training, we help you align your most important messaging with what reporters and editors want to know.
Our coaching enhances knowledge and skills that you already have, while offering best practice tips to promote a unified voice for your company. From media interviews and webinars to panel discussions and video appearances at trade shows, we help you stay on message, and provide you with the tools necessary to influence any audience on behalf of your brand. Contact us for more information.
Going to SupplySide West in Las Vegas? If so, be sure to attend the conference’s Marketing Insights workshop on Tuesday, November 6, from 1–5 PM. Our very own Katie Whitmore, Senior Account Executive for Public Relations & Social Media, joins other industry experts to discuss the increasingly important business role of social media.
She’ll touch on customer engagement; the ability to listen to consumer needs, wants and concerns; how to follow the right influencers; and the impact of real-time customer feedback, among other topics.
Katie is responsible for planning and executing social media engagements on behalf of major global brands targeting both consumer and business-to-business audiences. She is certified by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association as a Social Media Community Manager and is adept at the many strategic and tactical components of successful social media planning and implementation.
The workshop will be moderated by Virgo Publishing President John Siefert. Along with Katie, the panel features Dr. Kantha Shelke, Principal at Corvus Blue; Scott Vaughan, Chief Marketing Officer at United Business Media; Vicky Harres, Audience Director at PR Newswire; Heather Granato, Group Editorial Director at Virgo; Steven Fink, Lexicon Group; and Suzanne Sheldon, The Sheldon Group. If you’re there, we invite you to participate in their sure-to-be-lively discussion!
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