460 Palm by ETCO Homes is a luxury condo home project in the heart of Beverly Hills. The project features spacious residences, stylish architecture, and generous living space of up to 3,664 square feet.
Challenge 460 Palm’s target demographic was affluent international and domestic buyers. NewGround needed to reach this coveted, elusive, high-end audience. These buyers are often reached with pricey spreads in glossy magazines, but the team wanted alternatives to costly media plans. How to reach the jetsetters, pied-a-terra shoppers, and locals looking to move without breaking the bank?
Solution The cost-effective solution to reach the target audience was in a combination of public relations and social media. The targeting options on sites like Facebook and LinkedIN can be finely calibrated. We customized messages to international audiences, affluent homeshoppers browsing second home options, and high-end brokers. Facebook became the highest driver of website traffic, surpassing the usual suspects like Zillow and Google.
The Public Relations efforts worked in conjuction with the social team, and a wide range of local, national, and trade media outlets were engaged for coverage about the community. We pursued the media using a variety of tactics such as news releases, fact sheets, interviews with the client and buyers, and press tours of the community at various stages of development. The results were impressive and the community was published in a variety of places that helped drive traffic and sales while simultaneously providing content to the social media team. This included prestigious media outlets such as The Robb Report, Curbed,Entertainment Tonight, Beverly Hills Magazine, and TheHollywood Reporter. The articles let the developer talk proudly about all the unparalleled amenities, finishes, features, and design. The glowing press pieces were used in the sales centers, website, and on social media. The trade media also helped with creating awareness and boosting the project’s digital presence. Articles appeared in Builderand Developer, Globest.com, Professional Builder, Multi Housing News, TecHome Builder, and elsewhere. The articles could then be used to advertise the project to niche audiences online.
Result The campaign delivered strong leads to the sales team who were then able to communicate with the audience segment based on the message that sparked interest. The multi-faceted, multi-lingual campaign led to a rapid sell out and a very happy client.
Boral Roofing: Bringing a Game Changing Product to Market
No other product like it had ever been introduced – anywhere.
The nation’s largest manufacturer of sustainable concrete and clay tile roofing had just developed a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind durable tile for roofs. What made the product a potential market disruptor wasn’t its durability; it was its unique ability to prevent the formation of smog.
A brand-new technology, the tile would be launched in the United States with the goal of attracting the interest of builders, architects, contractors, and consumers.
While an undeniable game changer, the new roofing tile had been developed by talented scientists and its original name lacked the branding and intrigue needed to capture the attention of the building industry and American homeowners. This was the first challenge in a campaign that would essentially need to engage both audiences to be truly successful.
Additionally, the science behind how the roof tile actually worked was highly technical. While the product’s ability to prevent smog was both novel and impressive, the campaign needed to convince the building industry and consumers alike why smog prevention should matter to them and why the investment to purchase the roof tile was worth the expense.
New Ground kicked off the campaign by giving the product a catchy name that would garner significant interest and attention. The moniker "Boral Smog-Eating Tile" was born. We followed this up by teaching the scientists how to liven up the language surrounding their new technology, including explanations of how the tile worked.
Next, we set the campaign stage with current research from both the World Health Organization and American Lung Association directly linking air pollution to serious and often life-threatening diseases including cancers, asthma, stroke, and heart disease (among others). We then presented the Smog-Eating Tile as one easily-accessible solution to reduce smog and the occurrence of the diseases associated with it. To put this in layman’s terms, we created an analogy that 2,000 square feet of the tiles could destroy the same amount of smog as a car produces from being driven 10,800 miles. To illustrate this we used a simple infographic to visually explain the positive impact that each homeowner with the tile could make on the environment and human health.
We also leveraged strategic partnership opportunities to broaden our audience reach and show the country how easily the tile could integrate onto an average home and still make a huge impact. One of these notable partnerships was with KB Home, the recognized national builder, who integrated the tile onto a high-profile sustainable home model to educate homebuyers, municipalities, and related industries on how current technologies were innovating homes and positively helping the environment while being affordable to most.
A second partnership with Green Builder Media and Disney featured the Smog-Eating Tile on an educational exhibit at Disney Epcot. Over the course of the two-year exhibit, an estimated 611,200 people viewed the tile on the home, garnering knowledge about the sustainable home solutions available today and the positive earth impacts they impart.
In its totality, the campaign targeted leading national publications, major market newspapers, building industry trades, architecture and roofing outlets, broadcast stations, and programs and news syndicates. Additionally, the program maximized exposure of the revolutionary product at leading national builder events, leveraging the power of large attendance pools and robust media interview opportunities onsite.
Media, industry, and consumer interest in the new name "Boral Smog-Eating Tile” was phenomenal. A buzz surrounding the name ensued. The campaign results reflected this enthusiasm with wide reaching national coverage, builder alliances and leads, product adoption, Smog-Eating Tile and air pollution policy discussions at Harvard, and increased interest from environmental advocacy groups.
Major news placements included articles in consumer news outlets including: Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, KCAL-TV Channel 9 Los Angeles, KCBS-TV Channel 5 Los Angeles, WTVT-TV Channel 13 Tampa Bay’s Good Day Morning Show, Consumer Reports, and Popular Mechanics, etc.
The team reached industry audiences by securing Smog-Eating Tile articles in building, architecture, roofing, and sustainability publications including: Builder Magazine, Builder and Developer, BUILDERNews, Commercial Building Products, ecohome, Multi-Housing News, Architectural Record, Architectural West, ArchiType, The Planning Report, Greenbuilder, Building Products, AvidBuilder, Sustainable Chicago, Professional Roofing, Roofing Contractor, and Western Roofing, among many others.
Because of the prestige of each of the strategic partnerships as well as the expanded audiences reached through them, the profile of Smog-Eating Tile was tremendously elevated among both industry and consumers.
In short, Smog-Eating Tile was a hit that beat a number of related products to market and whose "Smog-Eating" name, like "Kleenex" in its own industry, was so successfully promoted that it’s now widely used to describe all of them.
NewGround PR & Marketing was hired to represent former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros on three different levels – to help maintain his profile as a public figure, to highlight his work with the Latino community in the U.S., and to publicize the activities of his company, CityView, with the goal of attracting capital and development partners. The project was to monitor, manage, and create strategic press opportunities for Mr. Cisneros under each of these categories and to secure keynote speaking engagements at functions and conferences.
NewGround worked on securing keynote speaking engagements that included speeches at The Economist National Conference, the Urban Land Fall Meeting, BiPartisan Policy Center Forum on Housing, Congress of New Urbanism, Housing Leadership Summit, and many others. For Cisneros’ company, CityView, an institutional lender focusing on smart growth projects across the country, it was critical to get in front of public sector leaders across the country and to place articles in publications read by key constituencies.
NewGround’s approach to publicizing the activities of CityView was met with great success. The positive coverage secured in the consumer, real estate, and business press was instrumental in generating interest in the company’s projects, which proved vital for attracting new capital partners and forging new development partnerships.
Major accomplishments included regular appearances for Mr. Cisneros on FOX News, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, and national networks. Articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. Awards included Multi-Housing News’ "Executive of the Year", Professional Builder’s "The Most Influential People in Housing over the Past 75 Years", ULI’s "Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Award", and the "William F. McKenna Award" for Mr. Cisneros’ work in the affordable housing arena.
Jacaranda MBK Homes / MBK Rental Living
Jacaranda by MBK Homes is a community of 45 single-family detached homes in central Orange County. The urban infill project featured five versatile floor plans of classic Spanish architecture. The competitive and attractive pricing began in the low $500,000s, with some homes offering granny suites, which are popular with multigenerational buyers. However, the neighborhood’s location on busy streets and the grand opening during the holiday season presented challenges. MBK needed to attract buyers and the hurdles were clear.
The holidays are a notoriously slow time for home buying. Compounding the challenge, Jacaranda consisted of two sites that were separated by nearly two miles of older apartment projects and other older homes (though they were branded as one community). Timing and location and surrounding inventory all presented unique challenges to overcome.
Home sales increase when more leads come in and when the sales team is properly trained on rapid lead response time. This is where the process began. The MBK sales team is excellent, and the plan began with incentives to support their efforts - incentives to prospects to share contact info, and incentives for the sales team to quickly reply.
Who was Jacaranda’s ideal buyer? The data provided by website traffic, social media engagement, and by the sales team revealed that many buyers were younger families of Vietnamese descent who very often had older parents living in nearby Little Saigon. These families were in search of homes for themselves as well as their parents. A campaign was conceived - incentivize leads with a contest to win a generous Amazon gift card for holiday shopping and showcase the models featuring amenities for multigenerational living.
The goal was to achieve a "360 effect" so that potential buyers were fully aware of the community as they browsed online. The NewGround strategists, creatives, and integrated marketing pros used the powerful tools provided by companies like Google, Facebook, listing directories, and retargeting companies - and even a guerrilla marketing "street team" -to drive visitors to the promotional page. All posts and ads featured the same language because with consistency comes memorability. Once users clicked on the ad and entered their names, their contact information was sent to the Jacaranda sales office and the well-coached sales team set appointments. The personal contact and a supportive email marketing program allowed for immediate and effective interaction.
Response to the campaign was impressive, driving increased traffic to the site and introducing new buyers to the homes. The sales office was quickly abuzz with potential homebuyers. The campaign began just after Thanksgiving and by early New Year’s Day the lead count had tripled and the community was nearly sold out.
Latitude 33 “Surf Chic” Event
Latitude 33 is a beach-inspired condominium development located on the border of Venice and Marina del Rey in Los Angeles. This 122-unit community was a dilapidated 70s-era office building that sat vacant for many years. WestBrook Development transformed Latitude 33 into a modern complex by incorporating stylistic elements of the Venice neighborhood into the design and architecture of the building. The community opened during the heart of the recession, in July of 2010.
The office building had sat vacant for decades while a series of developers attempted to revitalize the project. The last developer to attempt went bankrupt, leaving neighbors believing the rebuild would never happen. Even though WestBrook Development was awarded the project by the bankruptcy court, Latitude 33 was still vying for the favor of the surrounding communities of Venice and Marina del Rey. Changing public opinion about the project was crucial, especially since WestBrook was also up against a devastating real estate downturn. Simply put, our job was to convince neighbors that Latitude 33 was a positive and essential component of their community and indeed a desirable home-buying opportunity.
NewGround specializes in holding newsworthy events that bring positive attention to projects. One example of this was a NewGround-organized fundraiser benefit for Heal the Bay, a prominent local charity with a massive support base. The event, called "Surf Chic", featured an auction of surfboards hand painted by eight well-known artists, which were placed throughout the courtyard of Latitude 33 for a stunning visual effect.
We garnered interest in the "Surf Chic" event by arranging a strategic partnership between Angeleno magazine and Latitude 33. By teaming up with the upscale lifestyle publication, we aligned Latitude 33 with the target demographic. We promoted the event via social media channels, tweeted the heck out of it while encouraging retweets, and did a series of e-blasts that were sent to Latitude 33’s, Angeleno’s, and Heal the Bay’s interest and subscriber lists.
The "Surf Chic" benefit was a resounding success. More than 400 influential guests attended, thousands of dollars were raised, and the event was extensively covered by print and broadcast media. Other popular events included artist spotlights, musician showcases, yoga workshops, and restaurant tours.
NewGround's multipronged strategy, which centered on the creation of high-profile, community-centric, and newsworthy events at Latitude 33, dramatically changed public opinion regarding the development. Latitude 33 came to be perceived as a cool destination and a unique community landmark that enriched the local environment. Despite a difficult real estate market, the community sold out at a rapid rate.
Rural 1st is the consumer lending division of Farm Credit Mid-America. For more than a century, Farm Credit’s mission has been to support rural America, from small farms to agribusiness, with specialized financing solutions. Rural 1st is a natural extension of that mission, helping customers secure financing to “make the move” from urban and suburban locations to country living.
For those seeking a lender on a rural property, finding financing for rural home or land purchases can be challenging because many lenders don’t offer financing to meet the unique needs of this growing niche market. This gap presented an opportunity for Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) to meet these needs with specialized financing solutions, rural expertise and high-touch personal service consolidated under the new Rural 1st brand.
For NewGround, the challenge and opportunity was to create a new brand identity that could capture that market, while still resonating strongly with the core message of the Farm Credit parent brand. After building that brand identity, ongoing efforts would help build out a full 360 campaign, including strategy and creative. The timing of the engagement meant that NewGround would have just six months to go from market research to brand concepts, then on to campaign creative and strategic planning.
NewGround began working with Farm Credit Mid-America and Rural 1st in February 2018. The initial engagement called for the agency creative team to rapidly define and develop the Rural 1st brand: the target audience, how it should be positioned, the value it would provide to consumers, and how it would be established visually (in communications and advertising). Eight weeks after engagement, essential elements of the Rural 1st brand—including logo designs and recommended visual approach—were presented to focus groups in Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.
Creating the new brand let the agency team engage the combined talents of every single member of the team. The process was involved, highly creative, and deeply satisfying. Starting with the brand name Rural 1st, we set out to define a brand that balances "rural lifestyle" with finance, a brand that can appeal to the motivations and desires of a range of prospect audience types and offer prospective customers a way to realize their dream of country living.
This work began with developing an understanding of these prospective customers. Working with existing data alongside desk research and brainstorming with the Rural 1st team, four core target audiences profiles were created, complete with attitudes and demographics as well as mini-portraits for each of the defined segments. The team then worked to develop the brand positioning (brand definition in the context of the competitive landscape) and a brand story (the unifying expression of the brand that, combined with the positioning, can drive all communications).
The logo shows—rather than tells—what Rural 1st is. The blue in the logo signifies solid, stable and reliable. Green suggests financial security. And since the brand spotlights rural settings and an outdoor lifestyle, there is the suggestion of rolling hills rather than a house to convey growth, space and freedom.
The brand’s new website, Rural1st.com, brought together all the key elements of this new brand.
· The Rural 1st story, heritage, product offering, and critically, competitive differentiation
· Reflection of the needs and motivations of our defined audience segments
· Imagery reflecting the Rural 1st lifestyle (custom photography)
· User interface, functionality and experience designed to demonstrate the ease of working with Rural 1st
As Rural 1st was a new brand in a highly crowded marketplace (financial services in general; mortgage lending in particular), the team needed a creative approach that would connect quickly and visually with prospects and leverage their interest in pursuing the dream of country living. This work built on the newly-defined brand image and identity, leveraging the consumer insights mined through the focus group research and investigation of market trends.
The “Checkbox” campaign plays on the conflict between consumers’ current urban/suburban lives and their desire for a rural lifestyle and makes real the possibility of moving to the country. It’s simple, yet evocative and powerful. The imagery communicates the values of freedom and space that the land represents. It establishes rapidly and firmly that this brand is about living and experiencing and enjoying nature.
As the campaign evolved, campaign executions expanded beyond simply country living scenes, leveraging clear contrasts between city/suburban leisure activities (watching TV, being surrounded by neighbors, kids playing video games) and rural pursuits (telling stories around the bonfire, making s’mores, running through fields and creeks).
Executions for multiple channels—print (newspaper and magazine), digital (banners), social media, website—were developed to reach target audiences effectively and to build rapid awareness. Results were monitored to ensure relevant and impactful messaging, and as the campaign progressed, delivered awareness and acquisition communications in parallel.
Building on the brand development and 360 campaign, NewGround’s social strategy was designed to create a voice that was human and approachable while engaging prospects and customers in broader conversations. NewGround designed and implemented a plan to rapidly build awareness, engage consumers and influencers, grow consideration and convert prospects to customers.
The social media campaign launched the new brand online with an initial strategy of posting lightly, but still driving and increasing engagement. Rural 1st launched on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Several months after launch, NewGround built on the social media learnings with a comprehensive messaging architecture, a thorough communications roadmap and an in-depth style guide that included tone and language specifications. These foundational documents established a strong, clear voice for Rural 1st.
The paid social approach leveraged the initial campaign concept and was designed to increase awareness as well as drive leads, all aligned with the master theme “My Dream Home. My Home.” For organic content, the team used a mix of relevant topics within the overall campaign theme, showcasing the lifestyle aspects of rural living—capturing the audiences’ interest and engaging them on an ongoing basis.
To ensure new and engaging content throughout the year, the team developed clear themes for each quarter. Within these thematic arcs, the content demonstrates Rural 1st‘s expertise, while also showcasing the fact that the dream of rural living can become reality.
As part of launching the Rural 1st brand, Farm Credit secured a two-year sponsorship agreement with pro golfer J.B. Holmes, a 5-time PGA winner who was born and raised in Kentucky. His experience of rural living and commitment to family make him the ideal Rural 1st spokesperson. A key component of our work on Rural 1st involved activating the Holmes sponsorship and developing content that would connect the golfer to the Rural 1st brand.
The main pre-launch event was the Bridgestone Invitational held in Akron, Ohio in August 2018. The event was the perfect platform for introducing both the Rural 1st brand and J.B. Holmes as the brand ambassador. The team took advantage of numerous opportunities for exposure and engagement, including a hospitality tent event where select audiences—media, strategic partners and influencers—had the opportunity to meet J.B. and connect with Rural 1st executives.
The team developed and distributed a press release at the Bridgestone Invitational announcing the upcoming launch of Rural 1st. This outreach—positioned as an invitation to the Bridgestone Invitational—targeted key consumer, business and trade media in the greater Akron area as well as the four-state area where Rural 1st was launching.
For this event, key invitees were selected from the client-approved influencer list in the Akron metro area to meet at the event. For social media, posts leading up to the event introduced Rural 1st and showcased J.B. Holmes both as brand ambassador and as one of the leading players in the tournament. Throughout the tournament, the team posted images of J.B. and the brand event to generate excitement around the upcoming launch of the new brand.
Within nine months of launch, Rural 1st generated a remarkable awareness of 10% (in the targeted four-state territory) and far surpassed the ambitious goal for leads generation. In addition to the tremendous results, this project clearly demonstrates this agency’s tremendous capabilities and represented an invaluable opportunity to grow and thrive as a team.
Tejon Ranch is a California landmark, a fertile and majestic land of rugged mountains and broad valleys that straddles Los Angeles and Kern counties. Tejon is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, Hollywood location scouts, and now wine lovers. NewGround was initially hired to promote the ranch to a variety of audiences and, based on the creativity on display with the PR and social media work, NewGround was hired to do the branding for a forthcoming wine that would suit the legendary and iconic ranch.
Tejon Ranch is a magnificent and expansive place, but not a place known for wine. Although excellent, old-vine grapes have grown there for decades but had not been formally brought to market. NewGround was hired to introduce the wine to the discerning wine enthusiast public.
Each client is unique and the branding process never precisely unfolds the same way twice. However, the elements and deliverables are similar from client to client. The process begins with the creative team coming to understand the unique story of the client. Tejon was no different. The process for Tejon began as it does with all clients: with an "Imaging Session", a deep dive into the client’s story. For Tejon and other clients, this includes interviews with executives and stakeholders and there are other brainstorming strategies and even games to play to understand the essence of a client. This process leads to a creative brief, a passionately written "manifesto" that brings to life the brand, its concept, its values, and its vision. The process includes taglines and descriptions. From there, a series of logos are articulated and ultimately several concepts are presented visually. One theme is selected, revised, and made official. The logo, tagline, and manifesto provide everything needed to know about talking about the wine, whether online or experientially. The final deliverable is a brand book, which includes templates for ads and the specifics of bottling and packaging. Fonts, colors, and a usage guide is also included.
By embracing the unique history and place of the ranch and its grapes, Tejon Wine enters the market as a luxury wine steeped in history yet appealing to the contemporary palette. The wine and the ranch both share an essentially Californian quality and now Californians are discovering that these wines manage to capture in one beautiful bottle the best that Tejon has to offer.
Terra Search Partners is a national executive search firm helping real estate companies build great teams. Terra Search Partners serves many of the country’s foremost REITs, private equity firms, pension fund advisors, private developers and owners, family owned businesses and non-profits. As a national executive search firm with a commitment to exemplary work, the company saw the need for a website, which needed to be exemplary itself.
The company required a website that struck a balance between “boutique” and “highly professional” while also focusing on the firm’s San Francisco roots. The site needed to organize and showcase a plethora of articles, speeches and resources developed over many years by the executive team that continuously provided immense benefits to job seekers. Additionally, a workable database of job seekers and resumes would be required. From a design perspective, the site needed to look contemporary and polished on every device, from desktop to smart phone.
The team delivered a meticulously-designed site that is both current and fresh, yet stands apart from other corporate sites by emphasizing the capabilities of the small but mighty San Francisco team. The team used its precise technical expertise to create a library of accessible insight for job seekers from the years of content developed by the executive team including articles, speeches and other resources. A highly technical, custom database of job seekers and resumes was created with both the functionality and manageability required from the Terra Search Partners team for easy maintenance. The NewGround team chose to use a custom responsive design, making the site available and adaptable on all mobile devices.
By listening to and honing in on the client’s vision, NewGround delivered a website that is as functional as it is well designed. A unique approach pairs custom photography of the team with words and phrases that capture the essence of Terra’s core values. And the website is a valuable tool for prospecting and assisting job hunters. Today, websites are at the center of NewGround’s comprehensive PR, Marketing & Social Media services.
TLofts: Tapping into trends for new media opportunities
TLofts is an ecofriendly condominium development on the westside of Los Angeles. The project is comprised of 84 loft units with open, flexible floor plans, and a percentage of the homes were designed as live/work units. During the construction phase of the project, T Lofts’ sales center was located on a main thoroughfare parallel to the project and surrounded by 2.5 million square feet of office space occupied by more than 7,000 professionals (a substantial pool of potential buyers).
The project faced two major challenges. Planned during boom times, sales were to begin during the economic downturn on an industrial street sandwiched between two storage facilities. How to connect with potential buyers during the most difficult real estate market in recent history? How to convince trendy Angelenos that TLofts was a hip destination with superior design? While we knew there were a lot of young professionals (our target market) working in the massive amount of office space just a block away, we weren’t allowed to market the project to them, so how could we let them know that TLofts existed? Our challenge was clear, and welcomed.
During this time, the L.A. food truck craze was in its infancy and NewGround, always looking for ways to tap into trends, approached the owners of the Kogi Korean BBQ truck, which was frequented largely by young professionals, and proposed that they show up at the TLofts sales center at lunch time. Up until then, the food truck had only ever parked at bars and entertainment venues in the late evening, so we explained that thousands of professionals worked across the street and the intersection at which the sales center was located saw more than 100,000 car trips each day. The owners of the food truck quickly agreed. We joined forces with Kogi’s owners and took advantage of another emerging trend – Twitter - to tweet out the first-of-its-kind event and location.
Before the Kogi truck showed up on the first day we could see people coming out of the surrounding offices and heading over to the sales center. More than 100 people were waiting as the truck arrived. Many were tweeting, texting, and emailing their friends and colleagues about the truck’s location, and the TLofts name went viral. Many of those in line went into the sales center and we heard some call friends and tell them about the project. We also received calls at the sales center with people saying they couldn’t make it to eat at the truck that day but wanted information about TLofts.
The experience was so successful for the Kogi owners that they asked to come back every Thursday. Eventually, other food trucks caught on and we had a different food truck parked at the sales center and eventually the project itself every day. This resulted in a massive amount of online attention for TLofts and made the project become a destination for exactly the demographic the developer needed to reach.
As the food truck phenomenon at TLofts became a bonafide success, a tragic earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. Images of tragedy and calls for help filled the airwaves. NewGround asked the food trucks and American Red Cross to participate in a fundraiser to benefit the survivors. Four days after the devastating event, 26 trucks gathered at TLofts with the promise to donate part or all of their earnings for the day to the Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief. NewGround and the food truck owners tweeted in the days leading up to the event, followers retweeted, and more than 5,000 people showed up. The media took notice. As more people visited, many toured the lofts and alerted home-shopping friends. Quickly, sales were brisk.
The result of NewGround’s efforts was that during the most challenging real estate recession in recent history, TLofts sold out in record time.
TRI POINTE GROUP: PROMOTING A MERGER AND SUCCESS
The TRI Pointe Group history began with the formation of TRI Pointe Homes in 2009. Based in Irvine, CA, the company is engaged in the design, construction, and sale of innovative single-family homes in planned communities located in major metropolitan areas throughout California and Colorado. In 2013, TRI Pointe Homes (NYSE: TPH) became the first homebuilder to go public since 2004.
Since public relations was not a focus for TRI Pointe during its initial years of existence, little had been done to grow the company's reputation in the industry. Thus, the homebuilder was advised to hire a PR firm when they made the decision to go public in order to establish itself as a power player.
With the announcement of their initial public offering (IPO) imminent, TRI Pointe needed a consistent presence in the press to raise awareness of the company among its key audiences of investors, developers, and land sellers. It was imperative for TRI Pointe to disseminate several main message points that included: leadership by a seasoned and respected executive team with public company backgrounds and 25 years of experience in sourcing, acquiring, and developing land; the ability to secure land on a consistent basis in locations with access to transportation and employment centers; a strategy differentiating it from most public builders that involves a three-year, sell-through model and keeping debt low; and a continued increase in sales at all communities in each of its markets.
TRI Pointe decided to heed the advice and bring on a PR agency before announcing its IPO. NewGround was selected for the job based on our knowledge of the building industry and national business press, as well as our experience raising the exposure of companies with key audiences and heightening reputations via strategic corporate PR campaigns.
NewGround helped develop a comprehensive campaign around the IPO. We created media materials such as fact sheets and advisories, distributed news releases across all of the wires, and reached out directly to the top outlets that we wanted to ensure would cover the big news. Exclusives and one-on-one time with CEO Doug Bauer and major shareholder Barry Sternlicht were offered to the top 15 magazines and newspapers. Coverage was featured on television programs such as Mad Money hosted by Jim Cramer, Countdown to the Closing Bell hosted by Liz Claman, as well as in prestigious publications including the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Investor’s Business Daily, and Forbes, just to name a few.
The homebuilder has gained major exposure from NewGround's extensive PR campaign. We estimate that more than 100 stories were published in various media outlets, including many that are typically hard to break. All the press associated with the IPO has been calculated to have a total PR value of more than $1 million.
Since the IPO, NewGround has continued its proactive PR campaign, including massive media outreach surrounding TRI Pointe’s acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s five home building brands, after which the company was rebranded as TRI Pointe Group and became one of the largest homebuilders in the country. As a result of NewGround’s efforts, TRI Pointe was named 2014 Developer of the Year (Builder and Developer magazine) and 2015 Builder of the Year (Builder magazine). We have secured regular appearances for CEO Doug Bauer on FOX Business as well as two CNBC shows (Closing Bell and Mad Money) and regular coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Investor’s Business Daily, GlobeSt.com, Builder, Professional Builder, and many more. To date, media exposure for the company has climbed substantially and the PR value stands at more than $6 million.
Our high and consistent level of success with TRI Pointe spurred its division Trendmaker Homes to hire us as its agency to raise its profile as it expands its Texas operations.
Opera Depot is an online gathering place for opera enthusiasts to track down, find, and purchase hard-to-find rare and historic opera recordings. The site has been bootstrapped by a dedicated Bay Area maestro, Andrew Whitfield, and with a growing customer base, the time has come for an updated look.
Opera Depot founder Andrew Whitfield explains, "When I created a label for historical opera recordings, I didn't know much about branding, but I did know that I wanted it to have a combination of classical and modern."
Every new logo begins with a deep dive into the client’s values, history, and vision. For Opera Depot, this process meant learning about Wagner, legendary divas, and an overview of western culture.
Whitfield was elated with the results, stating, "This logo achieves my vision very elegantly by incorporating the winged helmet of a Valkyrie (made famous by Bugs Bunny) with the clean and contemporary look. It was very important to me that the logo be more evocative than literal so that it wouldn't come across as cliché, and the team delivered."
Whether you are in real estate, the world of classical music, or anywhere else that respects creativity and a job well done, when it comes to creating a new look and letting your brand shine, trust the NewGround PR & Marketing team. The results will be epic.
This was an exciting and rich departure from the usual work, and was a thrill and pleasure for all involved.
Fortune 1000 companies, multi-national corporations, related companies, and the agencies who support them, can benefit from knowing about small, nimble, start-up businesses and concepts. This knowledge gives them a competitive advantage. Companies seeking to profit from this knowledge are the potential clients of San Francisco startup Venture Scanner. The person who makes contact with Venture Scanner is most likely the Chief Marketing Officer or Chief Innovation Officer and has a high degree of fluency with all things digital.
The website for this cost-conscious start-up had to show site visitors that Venture Scanner has data, technology, and analysts to enable clients to navigate emerging technology sectors to glean insights and identify companies that could be of strategic interest. Meanwhile, Robert O’Shaughnessy had just joined NewGround PR & Marketing as the president of marketing + digital services. Right out the gate, this compelling new client presented the first challenge and first opportunity for Robert and the digital team that was just then being built.
Every new website, like every new branding + identity project, begins with a deep dive into the client’s values, mission, history, and goals. Who are you? How do you want to present yourself? How should you present yourself? And who is your audience (perceived and actual)? After a deep dive, the customer profile emerged. Venture Scanner has data on 230,000 companies in 168 countries. It updates daily. The proprietary database can index, search, and cluster similar companies. And the analysts fully immerse themselves in the research of these companies and startup technologies and sectors; in so doing, they match startups against a client’s specific business needs. Which is all a way of saying: wow, this is some incredible technology–how do we convey it with visuals and with words?
The website had two goals: get leads, and create a presentation space to make an emotionally compelling value proposition.
The team reviewed websites in similar and other sectors to discuss likes and dislikes and ultimately four visual models were voted the top favorites of the team. Then the information architecture and site map were created with the identified goals central to the concept. As with all website projects, several design directions are presented. One is selected. There was one round of revisions (the number of revisions is determined by project scope). Then it was on to production and launch.
Every new website is, like a child or a work of art, a kind of birth and is loved by the creators. But the reception in this case has been overwhelmingly positive. Highly abstract and technical concepts are compellingly presented. Leads are rolling in. And nimble start-up Hasan attractive website that enticingly showcases the company. And for the NewGround team, we have a special place in our hearts for this, our agency’s first website.
Woodside Homes: Restoring Reputation
Woodside Homes is a private homebuilder and land developer currently operating in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. The company focuses on designing and building innovative single-family and multi-family homes for the entry level and move-up markets. With decades of experience in the industry, Woodside was one of just a handful of builders that, through a restructuring process, survived the crash of the housing market. In 2010, the company successfully emerged from a 14-month reorganization and reached out to NewGround for help restoring its reputation. Woodside’s focus was two-fold, as the company needed to not only mend its image with homebuyers and real estate brokers on a regional level, but also to repair its reputation with the real estate industry on a national scale.
The restoration of Woodside’s image was considered crucial for attracting capital partners, developers, and sellers. To generate positive press about Woodside both nationally and regionally, the NewGround team implemented a multipronged strategy that targeted a diverse array of media outlets.
NewGround reached out to the national media first, resulting in a cover story on Woodside Homes in Big Builder magazine and additional features about the company by the Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters, CNBC, and many other news outlets. By controlling the message points, we secured positive news coverage that emphasized Woodside’s reemergence as a stronger company with a clean balance sheet, solid assets, increased market share, and a savvy management team that was focused on future success.
The NewGround team then instituted an outreach campaign on the regional level, which included both media and industry relations. We created specific plans tailored for each division of Woodside whose image with local brokerage communities had suffered. Our strategy in Texas, for example, involved positive coverage of Woodside in broker publications, as well as in local newspapers and the business press. We also organized a series of special events for brokers that were hosted at Woodside developments. These occasions served as an opportunity to show the brokers that Woodside had emerged as a stable company intent on remaining in the home building business over the long term.
Following the initial reputation management campaign, one of NewGround’s key initiatives was to publicize Woodside’s recapitalization transaction that included the issuance of $128 million in notes to refinance its debt from the reorganization, and a $75 million equity offering to existing shareholders. This noteworthy recapitalization, which closed toward the end of 2012, sent a clear signal that Woodside had gained the confidence of investors and created the right capital structure to aggressively grow market share as the home building industry recovered. We were extremely effective in obtaining positive coverage of Woodside in influential media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and Builder magazine, to name a few.
In addition to publicizing Woodside’s recent recapitalization, the NewGround team was tasked with garnering both national and regional coverage of the company’s “Better by Design” concept that has informed the home builder’s entire way of doing business. Led by a management team with unparalleled experience and stature within the industry, Woodside is now guided by an innovative operating strategy focused on new home designs and a positive buying experience. The “Better by Design” concept has provided Woodside with cohesive branding that has been integrated into all of the home builder’s communities. It clearly distinguishes Woodside in the market by emphasizing the company’s focus on design. Woodside has tailored the design experience at its communities in such a way as to ensure maximum convenience for its customers and keep them engaged throughout the entire sales process. This has been achieved through interactive features such as Inspiration Walls in every one of the company’s sales offices, a design-focused blog on the builder’s website, and a Style Profile quiz that matches a buyer’s personal tastes to a professionally selected mix of design options available for any Woodside home.
The NewGround team was highly effective in obtaining consistently positive press coverage that helped restore and maintain Woodside’s reputation, raise additional capital, and promote the “Better by Design” program on the divisional level, which served to inform local land sellers and developers about Woodside’s immense success in the wake of the company’s restructuring and recapitalization, as well as to drive traffic and sales at its new home communities.