Money-saving angle key to successful Lennox effort

Lennox, a manufacturer of high-efficiency air conditioning and heating equipment, called for homeowners to submit energy-savings tips about how they beat the heat.

Money-saving angle key to successful Lennox effort

Client:  Lennox (Richardson, TX)
Agency:  MM2 Public Relations (Dallas, TX)
Campaign:  Lennox Home Energy Report Card
Duration: June – September 2013
Budget:  $52,000

A Home Energy Report Card survey helped Lennox, manufacturer of high-efficiency air conditioning and heating equipment, and MM2 Public Relations, its long-time AOR for PR, increase consumer brand awareness and drive engagement. 

“The two primary times people think about heating and air conditioning is when their system is broken and when the weather greatly changes,” explains Allen Evans, Lennox's interactive communications manager. “We wanted an integrated campaign to leverage the timing of the summer season and make noise about what Lennox does.”

GfK Roper surveyed US homeowners in late April about their energy consumption and conservation habits. Messaging derived from the survey and tips on how to improve energy efficiency were driven through media relations, Lennox's social media channels, and its website. 

“Designing the research to allow us to give a grade on energy efficiency set the foundation [to] offer consumers opportunities to contribute ideas and comments…and [allowed us to] stress that energy efficiency leads to money savings, which is appealing,” says agency EVP Annette Rogers. 

Evans notes the survey also helped the company talk more about home comfort than heating and cooling equipment, which isn't as engaging for consumers. 

The survey included questions that elicited fun data to help increase engagement. For example, 33% of respondents would prefer walking around in their underwear to paying higher utility bills during the summer.

The team pitched a fact sheet with tips, graphics illustrating key survey results, and a news release to traditional media outlets and blogs covering lifestyle, home, the environment, green topics, and more.

An Energy Savings Superstar contest called for homeowners to submit energy-savings tips and photos showing how they beat the heat on Lennox's residential website between July 1 and August 31. 

Survey facts and graphics were posted to the contest landing page, Facebook, and Twitter. The team also posted energy-savings advice and some creative tips submitted by contest entrants.

Lennox's Facebook audience voted for two contest finalists September 16 to 21. The grand prize winner, who received $10,000 in energy-efficient home comfort products, a year's supply of ice cream, and tickets to a local water park, was announced September 24 on Facebook, Lennox's website, and in a press release.

The campaign helped contribute to a year-over-year sales increase of about 10% during the third quarter.

It also contributed to a year-over-year increase of about 28% in unique website visitors (June 1 to September 30). During the same period, locator searches for Lennox dealers were up 12%, and consumer calls to the call center jumped 40%.

“We have many different marketing programs going on,” Evans says. “But when we look at Web traffic and social engagement increases and the fact that Lennox's overall national advertising spend is flat compared to 2012, what was different this year was this campaign.”

The contest drew nearly 400 qualified entries, about double the expectation.

Lennox's Facebook following climbed about 10% June 1 to September 30. Rogers says more likes were gained during the campaign than the total number of Facebook followers of one of Lennox's competitors.

Nearly 50 stories ran in outlets such as USA Today, Minneapolis Star Tribune,, Sirius CNN radio, and WGN Radio's “Mr. Fix-It” show.

Evans wants to make the Home Energy Report Card an annual campaign and perhaps expand it through partnerships.

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