Posts Tagged ‘building products marketing’


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.


New Digital Design Guides for JADO, Porcher, and American Standard

Posted on September 18, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Navigating kitchen and bath design choices just became a whole lot easier, thanks to two new interactive “brochures” from American Standard Brands: the JADO/Porcher Design Guide and American Standard Designer’s Portfolio.

In the new design guides, users can click on product images and other hot links to easily access product information and specifications.

Created to improve the showroom selling experience for designers, dealers, and customers alike, the brochures allow designers to walk customers through the product showroom with a mobile device such as a tablet or iPad displaying the digital catalog. Users can connect to informative online videos — that play directly within the brochure — to guide them through features and benefits of particular product lines.

For more information on these new resources, view the complete press release for the digital design guides or email us.


What Brands Can Learn From the BlogHer 2012 Expo

Posted on August 8, 2012 by Nora DePalma

New York, NY — Last week, I provided a preview of BlogHer 2012. Now comes the report on the creative brand engagement strategies I saw at this conference and expo that attracted more than 5,000 blogging women:

Pfizer arranged for a select group of BlogHer 2012 attendees to take a dance class with the famed Rockette’s at Radio City Music Hall.

Most creative booth execution: the launch of Lysol Power & Free. They had two comedians, including one with a guitar who made up funny songs on the spot about all the bloggers, all ending with the same bouncy chorus repeating the product name over and over. Lysol was among several exhibitors who had places for bloggers to sit and recharge devices drained by all the tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook posts going on. There was a full bottle of Power & Free in every one of the 5,000 attendee bags.

Best all around: Pfizer. They had the largest expo floor footprint, but not all in one spot. They engaged with us in different ways—including my personal highlight—a dance lesson with the Rockettes in the rehearsal studios backstage at Radio City Music Hall. The experiences were different, but all were focused on a consistent message about wellness and aging. We were encouraged to visit their new website,

See more in the slideshow. In the meantime, here are five tips that building products brands can learn from the powerhouse marketers at BlogHer:

1.    The vibe is very much “girls weekend away,” so the more fun, the better. Informational booths had the slowest traffic, while massages, manicures and fun places to take pictures had lines and crowds.

What do manicures have to do with computer accessories? Nothing. Manicures have to do with building relationships. Make people feel good!

2.    Giveaways and contests were the second most-popular attraction, as were food samples.

3.    Make it easy to share, provide images and video…and don’t forget your logo.

4.    Flattering images will be shared. Does-this-make-me-look-fat pictures will not. Think about this when you ask bloggers to wear your t-shirts.

5.    Start the dialogue and use it to create conversational content. (See the Pfizer Get Old wall in the slide show.)

The creativity behind the brands at BlogHer12?  Nearly all the agencies on the scene were public relations agencies. Not ad agencies, not brand shops. PR people get this influence-building thing.  When it comes to blogger relations, it’s advantage: public relations.

Update: Our report from BlogHer was also highlighted on the PR Weekly blog. Follow the link to view the post and access additional BlogHer coverage.



AHR Expo Rides the Rising Tide of Energy Efficiency

Posted on February 7, 2012 by John OReilly

If you are actively involved in the HVAC business—whether wet heat, forced air or some creative combination of the two—and chose not to attend AHR Expo 2012 in Chicago last month, you owe yourself a heart-felt apology. You really should have made the scene—no excuses, please (if you didn’t, there’s always AHR Expo 2013 in Dallas).

The beleaguered construction market of recent years has taken a terrible toll on everyone’s marketing budget, and trade shows have been a particularly conspicuous target of sharp spending cuts. More and more decision-makers, potential exhibitors and attendees, are opting to hang onto their cash and stay home with scant regret, convinced there is precious little ROI to be gained spending another four or five days living out of a suitcase in Las Vegas, Orlando, or Wherever.

But while it may be a bitter season for most exhibitions, the annual AHR Expo continues to flourish. You’d think the prospect of spending three days in Chicago in mid-January would be reason enough for all interested parties to just say “no,” but you’d be wrong. In fact, this year’s event broke all the records any trade show covets. According to the AHR Expo’s website, the 2012 event saw…

  • Record visitor attendance: over 39,000 contractors, engineers, distributors, facility managers, manufacturers, reps and other HVACR professionals.
  • Record total attendance: over 58,000 visitors and exhibitor personnel.
  • Record exhibit floor: more than 428,000 net square feet of booth space in two halls at McCormick Place.

Much of the credit for this success goes to ASHRAE, its staff and membership for all the hard work that goes into making a successful exposition of this magnitude year after year after year. But I don’t think it’s especially radical to suggest there’s an even larger, more critical reality at play here, given the enthusiastic crowds at the AHR Expo in recent times.

National phenomenon: It comes down to two words: energy efficiency, and the galvanizing impact this movement is having despite the economy, or perhaps because of it. This impact affects not only on the people who attend the Expo, but also—and more importantly—American society as a whole. After all, absent a vibrant market for energy-efficient products, the number of exhibitors and attendees at the AHR Expo would be far fewer, no matter how hard show organizers worked.

Americans continue to regard the green movement in general with a skeptical eye. But when it comes to saving money on their fuel bills, a critical mass of homeowners are “all in.” A recent article by John K. McIlwain in Urban Land, the online publication of the Urban Land Institute, summed up the trend by quoting an unnamed developer to the effect that energy efficiency has become the “new granite countertop.”

“After all, no one asks what the payback period is for a countertop. Just as items that were once added to a new home or condo for an additional price are now standard, so too are energy-efficient equipment and design becoming standard features expected by the buyer or renter.” (Italics mine.)

The makers, designers, specifiers and installers of heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment understand this happy reality, and its beneficial resonance on their businesses and their careers. That’s why McCormick Place was humming with activity in late January—at least for the first two days of the AHR Expo—and why it will likely be humming again next January when the show moves to Dallas, and then in 2014 when it returns to New York, New York.

It’s also why if energy efficiency is the core rationale for how you earn your daily bread, you just might want to check out the AHR Expo, one of the very few trade shows these days that isn’t struggling to justify its existence.