Earlier this month, Coles Marketing wrapped up work on the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show. It was another year of runaway success, marked by massive attendance and remarkable media coverage. And believe it or not, it was the 31st year Coles has been the public relations agency for the Home Show. It was one of the first clients landed by President Barbara Coles after she started the business.
So how does Coles maintain such an impressively long relationship with the Home Show? And how do we keep getting the media to show up in impressive numbers and give the same annual event big play, year in and year out?
The answer is simple: relationships, prodigious planning and pure hustle.
“The work begins many months before the actual 10-day show,” says Coles Account Manager/Social Media Strategist Tiffany Whisner, one of the firm’s primary point persons on the Indy Home
Show. “We keep track of the trending celebrities, both nationally and locally, and begin to brainstorm ideas for certain features and celebrities. We are always trying to think outside the box.”
Stay in touch
Coles touches base with local media throughout the calendar year with important news, such as high-profile celebrities who have been booked to appear at the show or the revelation of the builder and plans for next year’s Centerpiece Home.
Do your homework
As the event date approaches, the Coles team starts pitching a variety of interviewees, features and highlights to the media outlets to provide them the opportunity to cover many different aspects of the show. That way, each newspaper, TV station or other media feels like they can get their own distinct bite on coverage without treading the same ground.
“Many members of our staff have worked in the media themselves, so we all have extensive contacts. But most of all, we do our homework, and we treat our media relations colleagues with respect,” said Chris Mercier, Vice President, Public Relations.
Right before the show opens, Coles sends out an exhaustive media briefing kit filled with information and interviews on dozens of notable vendors and individuals. This is always accompanied by complimentary tickets for key journalists – plus creative gifts that keep the Home Show top of mind for on-air coverage. (You can never go wrong with flowers or food!)
“We attempt to grab the media’s attention from the start of the show with the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony and then continue that momentum throughout the 10-day event, with live and taped TV and radio coverage and stories in the local newspapers,” Whisner said. “We tie that into a strong social media presence on several different platforms — making sure media, show vendors and attendees all know the daily happenings at the Home Show.”
Capture and capitalize the buzz
In dealing with big celebrities, such as Kathy Ireland or Ty Pennington, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and protected, make sure their transportation arrangements are seamless and they have enough downtime to enjoy the city while they’re here.
And then, once the Home Show has closed in early February – do it all over again!
“With a long-term client partnership, a success for them is a success for us,” Whisner said. “We want our clients to be successful as a result of all our efforts, and this is especially true for the Home Show.”
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see a company grow as a result of our collaboration and efforts,” Mercier said. “These clients trust us to make the best decisions to help them stand out and succeed.”