Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Trex Leverages Influencer Dream Deck to Garner Consumer Coverage Amidst COVID-19

We work with our client, Trex Company, to fill the media pipeline with relevant and inspiring outdoor living content throughout the year. Keeping the brand top-of-mind among homeowners, while reinforcing the brand’s position as a leader among trade professionals, our PR program equips media with outdoor living ideas, approachable DIY tips and aspirational imagery.

An integral component of our program is partnering with established influencers, entrusting them to confidently amplify and adapt Trex’s brand messaging into approachable content for their followers. One such influencer, Evette Rios, has provided unparalleled value to our program. A proud Latina, TV personality, DIYer and lifestyle expert, her public persona and relationship with home and lifestyle media directly aligned with Trex’s consumer initiatives.

To launch our partnership, we collaborated with Evette to build the deck of her dreams – a modern addition to her vacation home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Complete with an outdoor kitchen, firepit, swim spa and dining area, Evette envisioned a space where she and her family could make the most of an extended outdoor living season, from early spring to late fall. Partnering with TrexPro Garloff Carpentry, Evette detailed the design and build process on her YouTube, social media and blog, providing her followers with candid insights (and plenty of laughs!) along the way.

The completion of Evette’s deck coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, as people reimaged how they spend time and interact with their outdoor living spaces. Given her deck’s expansive spaces for relaxing, cooking and socializing, we pitched Evette’s deck to consumer media as the ultimate COVID-19 oasis, perfect for an outdoor office (featured on TODAY), recess for her sons, and al fresco cooking and dining for her family.

In addition to TODAY, proactive media outreach garnered the attention of other national media outlets, including HouseBeautiful.com, which called her deck renovation, “the ultimate quarantine project,” highlighted Trex decking and Trex Outdoor Kitchens and reinforced Evette’s synergy with the brand as being based in a passion for sustainability – a critical message for Trex and eco-conscious consumers. Most recently, Evette’s deck was featured in an 8-page spread in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Rachael Ray in Season (available now in print). Showcasing the deck as an elevated, “treehouse” space, Evette positioned Trex decking as a weather-resistant, low-maintenance “game-changer,” while humorously noting that her indoor wooden floors are often more problematic than her composite deck.

Our partnership with Evette has delivered a considerable ROI for Trex, having secured print, digital, social and television placements throughout the build process – from design to completion. We look forward to cultivating relationships with more influencers, both domestically and internationally, to expose Trex to a wider audience and further solidify the brand as the undisputed leader in high performance, low maintenance outdoor living products.

Friday, February 12, 2021

PR + Podcasts – A New Media Frontier

According to a 2020 survey conducted by Statista, 55% of Americans state that they have listened to a podcast. Furthermore, 15% of Americans actively listen to one or more podcasts a month. Clearly, the platform of podcasts has become the auditory medium of choice for many. Able to be accessed on-the-go, podcasts offer the same value proposition as many streaming serv
ices and, in most cases, are free. As consumers choose what, when, where and how they listen, the podcast medium provides unsurpassed engagement and listener loyalty – as PR professionals, we’re taking note.

The medium of podcasts was invented by Dave Winer in 2004. Dubbing it, “RSS-to-iPod internet radio,” users could download episodes of his blog to their devices for later listening. Noticing the platform’s pickup, Apple launched a “Podcasts” portal in iTunes in 2005, becoming the dominant distributor of podcasts – a title it keeps to this day. Today, Spotify, Apple and Stitcher have evolved to become the “Big Three” distributors of over 34 million podcast episodes in over 100 languages.

There’s no doubt about it - podcasts are doing something right. The success of the podcast platform is centered around integration. Podcasts integrate sponsorship segments into the natural flow of the episode:

  • The host of the podcast often delivers the sponsored segment, without a jarring transition to a commercial break (think radio, TV)
  • The host vets the products to ensure that they are relevant to listeners
  • Ads are sold in quick-hit :30 and :60 second timeslots

Podcast integration with music streaming services provide many touchpoints, conducive to listenership loyalty:

  • Phone notification
  • E-mail notification
  • Lock screen notification
  • In-app notification

The numbers speak for themselves. According to eMarketer, listeners report greater trust in podcast advertisements (18%) than radio (10%), higher brand and message recall in podcasts (18%) than radio (11%) and greater enjoyment in podcasts (20%) than radio (11%).

Furthermore, podcasts are able to provide potential sponsors with vast listenership data, making possible a new frontier of niche content. For example, consider welding. A pitch for a radio show based on welding would not be successful – why would welding-specific advertisers back a show on FM radio? On the other hand, a welding podcast can approach prospective sponsors with concrete listenership and demographic numbers, demonstrating measurable ROI while providing relevant content to the welding community.

Podcasts continually seek thought leadership from both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations to fuel content creation. While it can be hard to source podcast opportunities, we’ve enjoyed exploring PodcastClout, a Cision-like software that’s perfect to start outlining a podcast PR strategy. In addition, Facebook Groups, long known to be an influencer-sourcing platform, are now abuzz with podcast opportunities, both seeking guests and looking to be placed.

The golden age of podcasts is here – and we can further fuel it. As public relations professionals, it is critical that we be the bridge between our clients and such opportunities, and further integrate podcasts into the larger PR strategy. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Celebrities Give the Gift of Outdoor Living to Deserving Friends

It’s never too early to begin planning for outdoor living season and our client, Trex Company, is on the radar of many after being featured in two star-studded episodes of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU.” Fans of the Property Brothers, actor Justin Hartley of “This is Us,” and Rainn Wilson, better known as Dwight Schrute from “The Office,” tuned in recently to see their favorite stars renovate homes for their loved ones, complete with outdoor oases.

By providing their famous low-maintenance, high-performance composite decking for the episodes, Trex was able to gain major exposure on multiple media platforms, which is crucial at a time when outdoor living is skyrocketing. Both episodes had a combined audience of more than 6.2 million people who learned about the benefits of composite decking and saw the beauty it can add to an outdoor space.

But Trex’s exposure wasn’t done there. For the viewer’s convenience, “Celeb IOU” publishes a Resource Guide on the Property Brothers’ website which includes product details for each episode, making it easy for viewers to replicate the beautiful spaces in their own homes. The Trex decking used in both the Justin Hartley and Rainn Wilson episodes was featured in the respective Resource Guides, giving the brand some extra love for supplying the decking.

The cherries on top of this partnership were two social media posts (see here & here) that appeared on the Property Brothers’ Instagram page, reaching an additional 1.8 million people!

Overall, this high-profile collaboration delivered tremendous ROI by  garnering valuable third-party endorsements and helping Trex to reach new audiences.