Paul Holmes 19 Jun 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide/Washington developed an earned media program for the American Furniture Manufacturers Association (AFMA) to provide consumers with the education and confidence to purchase new home furnishings. The program consists of four AFMA-branded media kits (one per quarter), providing all of the tools reporters require to develop stories: research results, product photography, press materials and camera-ready charts that illustrate the results. To reach target consumer audiences, Ogilvy PR targeted lifestyle media with clearly articulated messages that communicated the meaningful and emotional characteristics of furniture. Research played a major role in developing consumer messages, based on our firm belief in research and building product loyalty through emotive relationships with the product.
To deliver the most helpful materials to members of the lifestyle media: Members of the lifestyle media receive thousands of media kits per year. It was imperative that Ogilvy PR develop press materials that provide reporters with editorial content relevant to their audiences’ lifestyles.
To provide valid, scientific research: In order to ensure credible research results, Ogilvy PR worked with independent research organizations.
To develop cost-effective materials on a limited association budget: These kits were completed to fit the client’s budget in a cost-efficient manner, without a portfolio, to reduce costs while maintaining a professional look.
PR PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
To drive consumers to furniture retailers to purchase new home furnishings
To increase consumer awareness that home furnishings are an integral and important part of their lives
To brand AFMA as the industry leader in cutting-edge research and consumer trends
Ogilvy PR conducted a qualitative research study to learn more about furniture consumers and develop program strategy, messages and tactics. Ogilvy PR's research methodology included both in-home interviews (ethnographies) and consumer focus groups. The research participants included people representing several different life stages and living situations in U.S. metropolitan areas. Ogilvy PR probed five distinct areas: (1) spending decisions, (2) life stage considerations when it comes to furniture purchases, (3) overall feelings about furniture, (4) reasons for purchasing furniture and (5) barriers to purchase. The research demonstrated that in order to successfully complete a purchase, consumers need to be reassured their decision is the right one and given confidence about their personal taste and style preferences.
Throughout the program, Ogilvy PR used the positive attributes of furniture that were uncovered by the research phase to deliver AFMA messages. The communications consist of four primary messages designed to resonate with consumers and spark their interest in furniture:
- It’s important to find your own personal furniture style
- You can find what you want - home furnishings that fit your budget and your lifestyle are available
- Furniture shopping is easy and fun
- Furniture expresses who you are and makes your house your home
In addition to this study, Ogilvy PR conducted individual omnibus surveys for each media kit, to provide additional research related to the topic of the kits. Each of the kits provided with this entry contain timely, relevant research which create another newspeg for reporters.
Primary home furnishings purchasers: women ages 25-54
Secondary home furnishings purchasers: men 25-54
In order to achieve AFMA’s objectives, Ogilvy PR developed a branded earned media program, addressing the research findings and encouraging consumers – via educational messages – to feel more confident and independent about their purchasing decisions. Ogilvy PR concluded from the research findings that a public relations campaign would be most effective if it reached target audiences via the lifestyle media with clearly articulated messages that communicated the meaningful and emotional characteristics of furniture.
In addition to mailing the kits to the lifestyle media, Ogilvy PR made the media kits and product photography accessible via a media-only web site, www.afmanews.com.
In order to be successful, Ogilvy PR needed to develop kits that included a creative and interesting approach to home furnishings. Each of the kits – designed to provide consumers with education and confidence to purchase new home furnishings – provided new angles for the media to write articles for their publications.
- Venus and Mars: Two Worlds…One Planet: How Women and Men Can Furnish in Harmony
- Room to Grow: Furniture Trends From Toddlers to Teens: How to Buy Furniture for Kids
- Today’s Home Offices: Furnishing the Home Office That’s Perfect for You: How to Create Your Home Office
- Furnishing Your First Nest In Style: Advice for Newlyweds and New Homeowners
3,401 Total Program News Clips, 1.2 Billion Impressions, All 50 States, All Top 50 Markets
Virtually all daily newspapers, including USA Today, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times featured one or more of the Furnish Your Life media kits, including survey results and product photography. Hundreds of secondary dailies and weeklies have featured one or more of the kits.
Members of the lifestyle media contact the AFMA and Ogilvy PR requesting to continue to receive these materials and additional information for articles they are writing.
AFMA’s media web site, http://www.afmanews.com/, received thousands of hits per month, including requests for downloadable photography.