Public Relations Case Study: PR Coverage Increases Sales 50%
Clackamas Federal Credit Union, Habitat for Humanity & On The Go With Joe
Summary: it’s wonderful to get a lot of TV coverage and the below numbers may be impressive, however membership numbers from the credit union paint the true picture of what happens when you combine a solid community relations campaign with public relations. In the month following the coverage, Clackamas Federal Credit Union (Clackamas) experienced a 50% increase in new accounts than what they historically experience during that time period.
Molalla is a small, growing community where Clackamas Federal Credit Union (Clackamas) was actively seeking to grow its membership and deepen relationships. Because it is about 40 miles outside of Portland’s city center, we knew that marketing through traditional earned media methods would be tough (because it’s typically too far away for a reporter based in Portland to travel to) but necessary to reach this demographic.
We needed a strong campaign that would generate broad-reaching media to make a lasting impact on the community of Molalla. We strategically sought a partnership with a notable charity that would truly change lives in the town; choosing to partner with Habitat for Humanity to help build a house in Molalla. With community involvement being one of Clackamas’ core principles — combined with the fact that the media loves a good human interest story — this partnership was a home-run.
Working with Habitat represented a strong public relations opportunity to show employees giving their time and energy to make a difference. In addition to newspaper coverage with the local newspaper, (Molalla Pioneer), Clackamas recognized the campaign had potential to appeal to media outside of Molalla and sought television coverage from a TV station based in Portland.
Unless it is real news, most television markets will not run stories their competitors have already ran. Therefore, we strategically targeted morning show coverage with a reporter that would give us the most on-air time possible and have a strong following: Joe “V” with Good Day Oregon on KPTV (the FOX affiliate in Portland).
Convincing the reporter to drive all the way out to Molalla as early as 4 a.m. would be no easy task. Not only would we need to paint the visual aspects necessary to resonate with television, we needed to appeal to the human interest side of the story and offer real actions that he could partake in (again, television is visual!). We also needed to provide him with solid ideas for his live segments that aired approximately three times each hour during the show’s four-hour timespan.
The pitch to the reporter detailed the above mentioned necessities, segment ideas included:
- Getting a hammer in the reporter’s hand — letting him actually help “build” the home on live television.
- Showing Clackamas employees volunteering their time — providing both a visual element and a demonstration of a company culture works as a team to give back.
- Profiling the person that would be a new homeowner because of the assistance that Habitat and Clackamas jointly provided — offering a human-interest angle that journalists love while humanizing what could be seen as a typical donation/volunteer effort by a community entity (Clackamas).
The reporter was enticed through creative writing in an email format that laid out all of the above, along with follow up phone calls. With the morning show booked, now we needed to deliver on what was pitched and provide content that would make for good television to further our relationship with this reporter, while deepening our roots in Molalla.
We worked closely with the reporter ahead of time to plan the 9 live segments he would cover during the morning of the television shoot. We then organized interviews with the charity (Habitat), new homeowners, and Clackamas representative (CFO, Andrew Vahrenkamp). Each interviewee was carefully prepped ahead of time — even if they were not with Clackamas — to not only put key talking points in place, but to ensure everyone was comfortable, creating a smooth, stress-free morning.
It was very important to the reporter that we show an active site with a large group of volunteers building the home. This task was initially intimidating because with any ordinary organization, getting employee participation early in the morning would have been difficult. But it was surprisingly stress-free with Clackamas. Community involvement is one of Clackamas’ core principles, so a large number of staff volunteers showed up on time and in high spirits — resulting in a fun and rewarding experience for all. Of course everyone was wearing a Clackamas shirt, furthering our brand reach.
One hiccup in the planning stage that could have cancelled the entire television shoot occurred when Habitat raised the concern of noise disrupting the neighborhood since building would happen from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. The last thing any of us wanted to do was annoy the neighbors and make a bad impression! Therefore, we worked closely with Habitat to choose activities with the most minimal amount of noise disruption.
The broadcast coverage resulted in 9 live segments on Good Day Oregon on KPTV-FOX (local FOX affiliate), a segment on MORE Good Day Oregon and coverage on the Five O’Clock, Six O’Clock and 10 O’Clock news. According to the news monitoring service, Your News, Inc., the coverage was worth the following:
- $119,583 in calculated publicity equivalent
- $39,862 in calculated advertising equivalent
- Over 24 minutes of on-air time generated through public relations
While the above numbers may be impressive, membership numbers from the credit union paint the true picture of what happens when you combine a solid community relations campaign with public relations. In the month following the coverage, Clackamas experienced a 50% increase in new accounts than what they historically experience during that time period. More specifically, with the coverage running on 7/16/12, 209 new accounts were opened from 7/16/12 – 8/16/12, while during that time the previous year (7/16/11 – 8/16/11), 139 new accounts were opened.
Additionally, a story and photo ran in the local paper (Molalla Pioneer) and the paper’s website —furthering our goal to reach that community specifically.