Different features make i-house more inviting to various markets

As Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway company, prepared to publicly unveil its i-house, which features numerous green technologies, it tapped into blogger interest in innovation and environmental issues.

Client: Clayton Homes (Maryville, TN)
PR agency
: Ackermann PR (Knoxville, TN)
Campaign
: National launch of the Clayton i-house
Duration
: April-June 2009
Budget
: $40,000

As Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway company, prepared to publicly unveil its i-house, which features numerous green technologies, it tapped into blogger interest in innovation and environmental issues. And because the house is also built to reduce utility bills, the company, aided by AOR Ackermann PR, took advantage of interest in consumer money-saving techniques.

Strategy
Clayton utilized its corporate ownership by officially revealing the home at Berkshire Hathaway's May annual shareholder meeting, where Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, and more than 8,000 consumers inspected it. In addition to the event and mainstream press outreach, the team built buzz by pitching niche bloggers who cover housing, green, and energy issues, according to Chris Nicely, VP of marketing at the company.

Tactics
Before the May meeting, the company pitched national print, broadcast, and radio outlets. After scoring an AP placement, Clayton augmented its outreach to bloggers with a link to the story, Nicely adds.

Results
On the day the AP profiled the i-house in a story that also ran on Yahoo's landing page, traffic at ClaytonHomes.com jumped from its daily average of 15,000 visits to more than 200,000, according to the company. About 1,400 consumers phoned Clayton's call center, while approximately 1,500 people became followers of the i-house's Facebook fan page that day, Nicely says.

"Throughout the last three months, we got almost 10,000 written inquiries," he adds.

Future
Ackermann continues to conduct media outreach for the i-house, as well as for the company's other products.

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