Multiply the Message
By Lisa Readie Mayer
Here’s the theory: The better your backyard looks and functions, the more time you’ll want to spend in it. The more time you spend in it, the more grills, fire pits, casual furniture, and other outdoor living products you’ll buy to outfit it for cooking, relaxing, and entertaining.
That’s the strategic thinking behind the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s theme for its National Barbecue Month marketing communications promotion. The “Your Best Backyard” campaign is designed to increase excitement around grilling and outdoor living by reminding consumers how they can use grills, accessories, and outdoor furnishings to create the best backyard retreat for their lifestyle, decor, and budget.
Last year’s inaugural “Your Best Backyard” campaign evolves this year to focus on sheds. The 2018 campaign, “Your Best Backyard Shed,” taps into one of today’s hottest outdoor living trends, the “She Shed” or “Man-Cave.” These personalized outdoor spaces, created from standard, garden-storage sheds, are often used as peaceful retreats, offices, artist studios, workshops, crafting cottages, yoga studios, entertaining pavilions, outdoor dining rooms, pool houses, covered outdoor kitchens, or even backyard bars.
Whatever you call them or however you use them, backyard shed spaces are extremely popular and have become the prefab cornerstone to many custom, tricked-out Outdoor Rooms. Shed spaces have been the subject of several recent books, and are frequently featured in home and garden magazines, HGTV home-design shows, and news trend reports. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of shed pins on Pinterest, and nearly as many videos on YouTube.
“Sheds are personal, span all demographics in appeal, and (focusing on them) illustrates that HPBA is connected with the latest fashion in outdoor living,” says Eric Davis, of FLM Harvest, the public relations and marketing agency tasked with developing and implementing HPBA’s campaign. “Our goal is to create excitement for the outdoor lifestyle, and barbecue, and outdoor living products and accessories.”
This year, activities to support the campaign include an interactive online quiz that leads consumers through a series of fun questions to “Find Your Ideal Backyard Shed,” as well as an instructional video on how to customize a standard shed into an enviable entertaining space. The agency is also partnering with bloggers and other influencers to share shed tips and stories, and is disseminating content on social media about how to build and accessorize a shed. Consumers are encouraged to share photos of their backyard shed projects on social media using the hashtag #BestBackyard.
Another facet of the campaign targets Millennials through a contest called “7 Grills for 7 Households.” The goal is to introduce Millennials to the many varieties of grills and outdoor cooking appliances as the generation begins to form households and purchase homes.
HPBA’s 2018 National Barbecue Month “Your Best Backyard Shed” campaign.
Last year’s “Your Best Backyard” campaign was a huge success, according to Davis, and included a “Best Backyard” photo contest; how-to tips for increasing home values with outdoor living improvements; and an online quiz to help participants discover the kinds of elements they could use to outfit their outdoor space. A Millennial-targeted contest, “7 Grills for 7 Couples,” invited engaged and newlywed couples to post a photo on Instagram for a chance to win grills and accessories as prize packages, donated by HPBA member manufacturers.
Overall, the 2017 National Barbecue Month campaign earned more than 25.2 million media impressions, and reached more than 2.8 million impressions on social media. Facebook had the deepest engagement – the quiz reached 1.3 million with more than 15,000 clicks. The campaign also generated 7,400 recipe video views, and 3,700 post-engagements.
The Millennial-focused “7 Grills for 7 Couples” campaign earned nearly 500,000 impressions for the hashtag #7GrillsFor7Couples across Instagram and Twitter, and about 827,000 additional impressions throughout the contest period. Participating manufacturers benefited from exposure across multiple touch points where consumers could see images of the donated products.
Cooking outdoors brings the whole family together.
Strength in Numbers
Imagine the additional impact if retailers (and manufacturers) got behind HPBA’s National Barbecue Month “Your Best Backyard Shed” campaign. Promoting it locally in your store and through your social media would not only generate excitement and interest among your own customers, it could exponentially expand the number of consumers reached nationwide with information and aspirational images about this hot outdoor living trend.
Participating couldn’t be easier or more turnkey. The online quiz and other content can be found on the HPBA website. For plug ’n play graphics, logos, and other materials to use in your store’s marketing, contact Amanda Cohen at FLM Harvest (email or call (971) 247-4192). Extend the reach of the promotion as much as possible by reposting HPBA’s National Barbecue Month social media posts, and tagging HPBA when you post anything.
You might also capitalize on the promotion by hosting a “He-Shed/She-Shed Workshop” in your store during National Barbecue Month. Team up with a local interior designer to present ideas for outfitting a backyard shed as an outdoor kitchen, bar, or other custom outdoor living space. If your store doesn’t already sell sheds, or design and build Outdoor Rooms, invite a local shed business, carpenter, remodeler, or landscape architect to join your workshop’s panel of experts.
Create a PowerPoint presentation to inspire attendees with images of tricked-out backyard sheds from Pinterest or Google Images, and point out products you carry that would make ideal additions to a shed retreat. Run the PowerPoint on continuous loop in your store throughout the month, and create a Pinterest board of backyard shed pins for more customer inspiration.
There’s strength in numbers, so get behind HPBA’s “Your Best Backyard Shed” campaign for National Barbecue Month, to help spread the word and grow the desire for outdoor living spaces.
Millennials at the grill.