In-home promotions might seem like a throwback to 1950s Tupperware parties, but with PR pros at the helm, these brand-building events are cutting edge, with viral marketing and social networking components.
Such events still feature traditional brand building activities, small group settings, and a party atmosphere, but as with other contemporary PR initiatives, these events also focus on creating a continuing dialogue with consumers.
For this reason, brands like Ford, Hershey, and Procter & Gamble have relied on House Party, a word-of-mouth and immersive marketing services company, that typically does a thousand or more parties at a time for a particular project.
Hosts are chosen according to a brand's specified demographic, psychographic target, and their viral propensity to promote the product.
"There are definite pros to associating your brand with [segmented] social groups," says Matt Dornic, president of 3 Dog Agency. "As in social media... people want to do what their friends are doing and belong."
While guidelines and promotional materials are provided, "we want [brand hosts] to have the party they want to have, and a degree of influence," says Kitty Kolding, CEO of House Party. "We don't want to over-program it."
House Party helped to launch Hershey's Bliss brand over the weekend of April 25 with approximately 10,000 house parties.
"Through this program, we reached our core target, [which can be harder] to reach elsewhere," says Jody Cook, director of product publicity at Hershey. "We're still looking for ways to build on those relationships," through opt-ins to Hershey's Web and e-mailing list.
In-home promotions are a direct way to tap target demographics
In-home promotions can create long-term dialogues
Brand ambassadors promote more familiarity with a brand