Challenge: The Home Building Association of Richmond (HBAR) had been hit hard by the economic downturn and its membership was shrinking. HBAR tasked Commonwealth Partnerships with developing a strategic PR campaign to help the association stabilize and grow its membership. There were a number of challenges to meeting the organization’s objective. The economic conditions meant that HBAR had to re-introduce itself to current and potential members. New messaging was required to establish the association’s value for members. Additionally, HBAR had lost its footing as a leading expert and go-to source on new home and real estate questions. Finally, the association’s members included a diverse group of audiences from a variety of business sectors and HBAR need to reach all of them.
Solution: The media relations campaign was implemented throughout 2012. We worked to secure profiles of HBAR’s leadership, feature stories on the home building industry that included HBAR, media interviews with HBAR’s leaders, and event calendar listings for HBAR programs. We positioned HBAR as a resource and pitched the association’s CEO as an expert on home building and the new home industry. By taking this approach of HBAR as a resource, editors and reporters were receptive to stories about trends in the new home industry. We also worked with HBAR leaders to develop new strategic messaging.
Results: The campaign generated significant media coverage in local print, online, and broadcast outlets. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the region’s largest news source, published multiple feature stories about the new home industry and prominently featured HBAR. We also coordinated a new monthly column in the paper for HBAR’s CEO. HBAR programs were featured on dozens of event calendars throughout the year. HBAR’s CEO was profiled and quoted in multiple news outlets. The media relations campaign raised awareness for HBAR and positioned it as the leading voice on the new home industry. Attendance at HBAR events rose and membership jumped 12% year over year.