James Hardie

The Client

James Hardie, the world’s leading manufacturer of fiber cement siding and related products for the residential housing and light commercial construction markets.

The Challenge

When the recession made most homeowners wary of any major spending and new housing starts crashed, James Hardie’s awareness and presence with residential homebuilders and remodeling contractors (their direct customers) took a nosedive. Consumer awareness of the brand also suffered.

As the major player in the high-end siding market—and a product that was notably weather- and fire-resistant, and design-forward—James Hardie needed to take charge of its brand reputation and communications, and rebuild its competitive edge.

The Fix

CBD PR & Social Media created a push-pull communications plan that addressed both trade and consumer audiences. The battle was waged on three fronts:

  1. Rebuilding relationships with key trade editors whose interaction with the brand had lapsed, offering them strong editorial ideas, access to executives and exciting new content.
  2. Concurrent outreach to consumer general interest, lifestyle and home design media, with special focus in certain geographic markets (particularly those affected by severe weather and fires). For example, a James Hardie-clad home was the only one to withstand the extreme rain, wind and fire that wiped out most of the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens during Hurricane Sandy. Stories like this one needed to be lifted up to the media.
  3. Event and PR support for a powerful lead-generation initiative. The Ambassador Program, created by CBD Marketing, introduced the brand directly to high-value prospect homeowners. Broadcast placement, press conferences and social media support amped up the buzz nationally, including its signature “Hardie Home Sweepstakes.”

The Results

  • More than 9 million gross impressions every month against James Hardie‚Äôs target trade and consumer audiences
  • On average, 8-10 placements run each month (including broadcast feature pieces, bylined articles, product news, opinion pieces on industry issues and other related content)
  • CBD tracks more than 800 social media mentions each month about the brand and its huge portfolio of products
  • More leads in the first three months of the Ambassador program than the company normally sees in a year.

CBD PR & Social Media services:

  • Media relations (trade and consumer/local, regional, national)
  • Media training
  • Press conferences
  • Mat releases
  • Bylined articles
  • Case study content
  • Social media consulting
  • Event planning
  • Experiential marketing
  • Trade show support
  • Tracking and ROI reporting

Read here for CBD’s fully integrated marketing initiative for the James Hardie Ambassador program.