DC Influencer: Robert Pflieger, National Association of Home Builders

Robert Pflieger, SVP of comms, National Association of Home Builders, creates a rallying cry around the issue of homeownership.

Robert Pflieger, SVP of comms, National Association of Home Builders, creates a rallying cry around the issue of homeownership. 

Talk about efforts to educate audiences about the importance of homeownership to the economy.
There was a growing frustration among our members that housing's role in the economic recovery was missing from the political debate, so we created Protect Homeownership rallies.

We wanted to take our message out of Washington, so we visited eight different cities in key swing states, from Tampa to Las Vegas, focusing on three key elements: strong attendee turnout, a great speaker agenda, and statewide media attention.

It's important to understand housing's role in the economy to understand why we created the rally strategy to begin with.

In normal economic times, housing accounts for more than 17% of gross domestic product. Constructing 100 single-family homes generates more than 300 jobs and almost $9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local, and federal governments that helps fund local school systems and build strong communities.

What have you found to be the most effective outreach methods to get the word out about the rallies?
There is no one magic bullet. Our success has been based on a variety of factors: an enthusiastic grassroots membership; good local leadership with strong local connections to the community; and the association hired Weber Merritt, a Washington-based public affairs firm skilled in rally organizing.

We also used social media tactics, but they were not the most efficient way to drive attendance. We found our local radio spots, canvassing, word of mouth, and also the quality of our speakers to be most effective.

Would you say your efforts have shown any success thus far?
Absolutely. The rallies are part of a bigger strategy to raise housing's profile in this political season. We've had high-level, quality speakers - from mayors and state legislators to governors and members of Congress to CEOs of major corporations to some first- time homeowners.

They all focused on the message of the value of home- ownership and its contribution to America. As a result, we have enjoyed good radio, TV, and print media coverage before and after the event.

Most importantly, we put the spotlight on a subject that touches nearly all Americans.

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