Archive for October 2012


Registration Now Open for Coverings 2013: Ultimate Tile + Stone Show

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Registration is now open online for Coverings 2013, sure to be the most exciting tile and stone super show ever, as the Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience comes to Atlanta for the first time in its 20+ year history. Coverings is on track to have more than 900 exhibitors from more than 50 countries when it opens at the Georgia World Congress Center on April 29 through May 2, 2013.

By registering early for Coverings, attendees will benefit from advance notice about events and conference sessions, plus contests and giveaways.  In addition, visitors have immediate access to the best hotel discount packages arranged by Coverings at hotels such as the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Omni Hotel at CNN Center and the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Rooms are sure to go fast, so it pays to book early.

Prospective attendees could even win a free trip to Coverings by entering the Coverings Facebook Peach Photo Contest. Go to for details on photographing yourself with the Coverings peach in front of an inspiring tile or stone location, or relevant industry location.

For free online registration or for information about exhibiting, go to



Noritz Consumer Survey Featured in Los Angeles Times

Posted on October 23, 2012 by Nora DePalma

The 2012 Noritz Continuous Hot Water Report and infographic were recently featured in the Los Angeles Times. Findings in the report reveal the importance of hot, continuous water among homeowners and how American bathing habits range from efficient to excessive. The 2012 Noritz Continuous Hot Water Report also includes telling infographics about age and gender differences and positive data about homeowner willingness to save energy and reduce strain on utilities.

“Increased demand, such as frequent showers or simultaneous use of multiple hot water appliances, places a tremendous burden on conventional tank water heaters, which necessarily have a finite storage capacity to meet demand,” says Jason Fleming, marketing manager for Noritz America. “A properly sized tankless heater, however, will never run out of hot water.”


Effective Marketing Communications to Millennials: Socializing and Strategy

Posted on October 22, 2012 by Nora DePalma

So your building products brand has a Twitter account, and an iPhone app is in the works. Think that’s effective marketing communications to successfully engage Millennials? A new generation is beginning to buy starter homes and tackle home improvement projects, and their attitudes toward advertising and branding are vastly different than other age groups. Millennials – young people ages 16 to about 34 – are sophisticated consumers who are fluent in technology, heavy users of social media, and they can see right through traditional advertising techniques.

Here are a few tips for successfully engaging these young consumers:

Give something back. A study by PR News found that Millennials are 7% more likely to choose a product if the purchase supports a cause than non-Millennials. If your brand supports a cause, especially a cause the brand shares a relevant and authentic connection to, it can be easier to gain the attention and respect of the Millennial generation according to a study by Cone Inc. and AMP.

Cause marketing can also be an excellent loyalty strategy when targeting young consumers: Millennials who feel a deep commitment to a cause can be more likely to develop a “strong personal relationship” with a brand that supports that cause.

Be a smart social butterfly. The importance of having a social media presence for your brand is old news by now, but make sure you’re managing your accounts in a thoughtful way. Social media is first and foremost about interaction, so don’t just broadcast promotional posts and tweets and call it a day. Look at what your target audience is already chatting about and converse, don’t sell.

Millennials want the opportunity to speak to and about your brand. Ask them engaging questions through your social media accounts, and provide space to rate and review products. The younger generation can be turned off by straight marketing pitches, so conversation is key.

Creativity counts. One of the best ways to gain the attention of Millennials is to produce fun, creative social content. A relatively small investment in creating a unique campaign on Facebook or YouTube can result in millions of impressions if the content is appealing to young consumers and they find it to be something that is worth sharing.

This point is particularly key in the building products industry. Prospects need education on the process and the products. Edutainment fits the bill: inspiring confidence and action.

Finally: keep your messaging consistent across all your earned, owned and paid media outreach. Not only will you maximize awareness, you build trust with a generation that has an innate mistrust of marketers.


Contractor Marketing Campaign Success Story for a Tool Company

Posted on October 14, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Ames Taping Tools hired O’Reilly-DePalma to rebuild awareness and preference for the brand’s offerings among wall and ceiling contractors.

O’Reilly-DePalma recommended a cost-efficient media buy and developed supporting creative to communicate the Ames value proposition to the contractor.

We also identified a narrow list of key influencers with whom we maintained regular contact on Ames’ behalf, resulting in earned media coverage in Architectural Record, Construction Dimensions and BUILDER magazine.  Not to mention two cover stories in Walls & Ceilings and Construction Dimensions Magazine that resulted from bylines pitched and produced by O’Reilly-DePalma.



Uponor Launches New PEX-a Commercial Plumbing Products

Posted on October 13, 2012 by John OReilly

Uponor PEX-a Pipe Support

To continue its momentum in the commercial plumbing and heating markets, Uponor is introducing the PEX-a Pipe Support and two additional Engineered Polymer (EP) Multi-port Tees to its offering.

PEX-a Pipe Support is a steel channel that provides continuous support of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubing in suspended piping applications, including both commercial plumbing and hydronic heating distribution systems.  Enabling hanger spacing equal to that of copper, the support is available in 9-foot lengths for 1″, 1¼”, 1½” and 2″ PEX-a pipe sizes.

Commercial EP Multi-port Tee

— The new EP Multi-port Tees are ideal for parallel piping in multi-family and hospitality applications, allowing header termination and water distribution to lavatories with one fitting. Both feature a 1″ ProPEX® inlet with ½” ProPEX branch outlets in 7- or 8-outlet configurations. Compared to individual tees, the multi-ports offer up to 60% fewer connections and 78% less combined length.

“We are continuing to see growth in the commercial marketplace and are answering the need for products that make it faster, easier and more efficient to install PEX-a piping systems,” says Jayson Drake, director, Plumbing and Fire Safety, at Uponor.

For more information, see


What Makes a Good Case Study?

Posted on October 9, 2012 by John OReilly

Everyone appreciates a good case study…

…especially manufacturers, looking for a credible way to depict the value propositions of their products in real-world settings through third-party testimonials;

…especially specifiers, builders and installers, looking to showcase their most attention-worthy projects and the professional skills that brought them to a successful conclusion;

…especially the media, always in need of compelling, newsworthy editorial that they may not have the time, the resources or the good fortune to uncover themselves;

…especially the readers of these case studies, trade and consumer, seeking innovative ideas to make their own lives easier, more productive and more fulfilling.

In many instances, these case studies — “project profiles” might be a more accurate term — are rendered briefly, sometimes with simple bullet points: a quick overview of the most salient details. It is enough to celebrate a high-profile project, allow for a quick bow by the key participants, while underlining critical role the highlighted product played in it.

But our changing media landscape now offers more opportunities for another type of case study, one that permits deeper storytelling and a genuine narrative arc. The editors who solicit — or are at least receptive — to this longer-form case study will likely insist that branding on behalf of a manufacturer or product be removed. But if one of their readers tells your product story through his on-the-job experiences, that is a more believable approach that is readily embraced by many editors.

So what are the core elements of a successful, B-to-B case study these days?

Compelling story line: If the project is large or prestigious, perhaps headed to LEED Platinum status or a high-profile design award, etc., that certainly helps. But a high profile is not essential to success. The best story lines involve problem-solving: What kinds of challenges did the individual at the center of the “action” encounter? How did the chosen product (yours) help him meet these challenges? Finally, what were the payoffs — preferably in tangible, measureable benefits — for all involved?

Credible players telling the story: Readers — and the editors who serve them — tend to place greater value on the words and experiences of other readers: people who do exactly what they do for a living. That’s why testimonial advertising is such a staple of business-to-business advertising. A professional reliving his successful saga for the edification of his like-minded brethren is compelling stuff, because it’s so easy readers to imagine themselves grappling with similar circumstances. “If that product/system/method helped that guy succeed, hey, maybe I should give it a shot, too.”

Captivating pictures enhancing the story: If you’re tempted to skimp in this area, don’t. Chances are, the editors already have had to themselves, which is why they need your help. Whether working in print or online, editors love good images because they bring readers closer to the action, while making stories more real and — best-case scenario — more comprehensible. Last, but far from least, excellent photography adds luster to any story, as well as to the media hosting or publishing it.

In short, excellent photography or illustration is the capstone of a well-conceived and well-written case study. It is an essential ingredient the media’s cultivation of loyal, enthusiastic audiences who believe and value what they are reading.

For more on the art of the case study, check out our three part series on a builders materials case study completed by O’Reilly-DePalma that garnered over 40 million impressions.


Case Study: Exploratorium’s New Net Zero Home Features Innovative Radiant System

Posted on October 7, 2012 by John OReilly

Architect’s rendering of new Exploratorium, opening in 2013.

When the new Exploratorium museum — now in the final stages of construction on San Francisco’s waterfront — becomes fully operational in the spring of 2013, its goal is to become the largest net-zero energy museum in the United States, if not the world. (A “net zero-energy” building produces as much energy as it consumes.)

The subject of a cover story in the September 2012 issue of PM Engineer magazine (pme), this massive gut-renovation project at the 800-foot-long Pier 15 aims to be 57 percent more efficient than the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline standard for a typical museum. Among its green innovations are a 1.3 megawatt-AC, photovoltaic solar-panel system, providing all of the structure’s electricity; and a crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) radiant tubing system that uses the San Francisco Bay as a giant heat sink and heat source to warm or cool the building.

Joe Wenisch

The 200,000-foot network of PEX tubing, manufactured by Uponor, is embedded in concrete slabs on two levels and spans 82 different heating-cooling zones. Each zone has a control valve and a thermostat to switch between heating and cooling, whatever the seasonal need. No other type of water-heating equipment is used in the building, nor is there any use of fossil fuels except for highly limited cooking purposes in a small restaurant.

“We did not wish to sacrifice comfort for energy savings on this project, and radiant is a premium comfort system,” says project manager Joe Wenisch of the Integral Group, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer on the project. Radiant technology was an especially good fit with the Exploratorium’s open exhibit space, featuring 30- to 40-foot-high ceilings.

“Radiant allows us to heat and cool at the floor level where the people are, rather than attempting to condition such a large volume of air in those high-ceiling rooms,” he says.

For more information, visit


American Standard Named 2012 WaterSense Partner of the Year

Posted on October 5, 2012 by Nora DePalma

American Standard Brands has been honored with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2012 WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the company’s water-saving technological advances and ongoing efforts to raise awareness about water conservation.

The WaterSense program, sponsored by the EPA, encourages consumers to reduce their water usage through water saving products and services, as well as by making simple changes in behavior to help conserve water. The WaterSense Partner of the Year awards recognize organizations that are on the cutting edge of water efficiency innovation, collaboration and outreach.

“American Standard Brands is privileged to be recognized by the EPA as its 2012 WaterSense Partner of the Year for the pioneering product solutions, technical leadership and outstanding performance that have been part of our company’s heritage for over 140 years,” said Jay Gould, president and CEO of American Standard Brands.

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release or email us.


Jeffrey Earnhardt Racing Uponor Ford Mustang in Charlotte

Posted on October 3, 2012 by John OReilly

MOORESVILLE, NC — Jeffrey Earnhardt announced that he would be driving the #39 Uponor Ford Mustang for Go Green Racing in the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, Oct. 12. Earnhardt will be racing in his fifth Nationwide race of the season and looks forward to competing in his hometown.

“It’s always nice when family and friends can get to the track and be part of the day,” said Earnhardt. “We’ve had to choose which races to run this season so I could preserve my rookie status for 2013, and we’re glad that our sponsor Uponor chose Charlotte.”

Uponor is a leading manufacturer and supplier of plumbing, fire sprinkler and radiant heating and cooling systems for commercial and residential building markets across North America and Europe. Uponor’s Director of Brand Management Ingrid Mattsson commented, “The Uponor team is thrilled to bring Earnhardt racing to our contractors and partners and looks forward to cheering on Jeffrey in the Uponor Ford Mustang.”

Earnhardt’s been maintaining his focus through intense MMA (mixed martial arts) training while working on sponsorship plans for 2013. He won an MMA contest earlier this year with a unanimous decision.

“Our JEI group has been working hard to make sure we run a full season in 2013, and I’ve been front and center with sponsors so they get to know me and the value of working together,” he says. “Uponor is a world-class company and it’s pretty special having the opportunity to be part of their team. We’re going to give 110% to make sure their customers enjoy the experience.”

The race will be televised Oct. 12, 2012, on ESPN at 7 p.m. EDT. Jeffrey can be heard weekly at 9 p.m. on SiriusXM NASCAR radio with Claire B. Lang.