Why Build.com partnered with unexpected influencers

Instead of interior design influencers, the home improvement retailer partnered with a star chef and café owner.

Star chef Ted Allen partnered with Build.com (Photo credit: Carolyn Fong)
Star chef Ted Allen partnered with Build.com (Photo credit: Carolyn Fong)

Company: Build.com
Campaign: Specially Made By Specialists
Creative partners: KWT Global (PR)
Duration: March - May 2019

Online home improvement retailer Build.com created a dream kitchen for celebrity chef Ted Allen and partnered with wellness entrepreneur Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton to put together her ideal bathroom.

Build.com was looking for a campaign that could introduce its products and services to new audiences.

“We were looking for influencers who were slightly outside the [interior design] space,” said Miranda King, Build.com’s marketing manager.

Instead of simply focusing on the aesthetic of various rooms in the home, the company wanted to illustrate their functionality.

The brand selected Allen, a food expert and host of Food Network show Chopped, and Ramirez-Fulton, founder and CEO of New York café and spa Chillhouse, to help design a kitchen and bathroom, respectively. The kitchen and bathroom are the rooms Build.com customers renovate the most frequently.

The first step was to get Allen and Ramirez-Fulton on the phone to discuss their vision.

“They walked us through their ideas, figuring out which products would allow them to build out their dream space,” King said.

Build.com also reached out to the design site Dwell.com early in the process about running a series of sponsored articles that would feature the stars’ finished rooms. Each article featured shop-able product mood boards, along with expert commentary, allowing readers to easily find items on Build.com.

The first article, which introduced readers to Ramirez-Fulton’s dream bathroom, went live on March 18, 2019, followed by three more: two on Allen, another on Ramirez-Fulton, published over a three-month period.

The articles were boosted with paid support. On social media, both stars posted about the series across social media channels, notably Instagram.

The four Dwell articles were viewed a collective 70,800 times.

The campaign generated 11 earned media placements, including write-ups in Food + Wine, The Zoe Report, MSN, House Beautiful, Real Simple, The Spruce, Yahoo and Well + Good.

On social media, the campaign generated more than 41,000 engagements. This included an Instagram post from Ramirez-Fulton, which received 1,417 likes and 44 comments.

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