Lowes Foods, a family owned, Carolinas-based company, rolled out its new brand to shoppers in the Triangle last year at a time when the grocery store landscape was drastically changing. Not only were Kroger and Harris Teeter merging, but Publix was also expanding into the area, and both announcements were generating a lot of “noise” in the market. Lowes Foods’ executives recognized the need to incorporate a public relations component into the company’s rebranding efforts to ensure a thorough, integrated communications campaign. Hence, they engaged Clairemont Communications to raise awareness of three local redesigned stores.
Planning: As a result of the research findings, Clairemont established the objectives with our client as follows:
- Develop local community relationships with Lowes Foods prior to the grand opening of three local rebranded stores, securing at least eight community influencers to attend special preview events.
- Introduce the media to the new Lowes Foods brand by securing three traditional media (print and TV) stories.
- Secure at least three positive social media mentions and one blog post about the rebranded stores from an area mom blogger.
Execution: In order to effectively meet the primary objectives, Clairemont focused its efforts on the following areas:
- Preview Parties: Clairemont help our client compile a list of of influential moms, well-connected women, local dignitaries and community officials to invite to preview parties at the newly rebranded stores prior to the official grand openings. This allowed community influencers to experience the stores’ new concepts, including the Community Table, Pick & Prep, Chicken Kitchen, Beer Den and Sausage Works ahead of grand opening.
- Ribbon Cuttings: Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, we created a fun, visual and engaging approach that highlighted the stores’ commitment to fresh, local produce. We loaded the bed of the vintage Lowes Foods’ truck with fresh produce and tied a ribbon across the back gate. The store manager cut the ribbon on the truck and unloaded the produce by passing it down the line of local dignitaries and influencers.
- Blogger Tours: We targeted several key mom bloggers for a behind-the-scenes tour of the new store before it was publicly unveiled. We crafted a series of talking points based on our knowledge of area mom bloggers and issues that they value.
- Media Materials: An informative news release about Lowes Foods’ rebranding was written and tailored to highlight each of the rebranded stores in the Triangle. Clairemont Communications also filmed a video of employees and shoppers participating in the Chicken Dance at the first preview event. The video was incorporated into future media pitches and sent to media contacts in order to help them visualize Lowes Foods’ new, fun approach to grocery shopping.
- Coordinated Pitches: Creative and individualized pitches were used to pique the interest of targeted media contacts. Clairemont pushed beyond the obvious, tailoring the angle of each pitch to maximize engagement from reporters and bloggers. For example, TV stations and newspapers received details about the stores’ new brand and what made it different from the competition, while others – particularly mom bloggers – received information on how the new brand was designed to inspire new ideas, save time and make grocery shopping fun for the entire family.
Lowes Foods’ rebranded stores were widely accepted in the local communities in the Triangle. As part of an integrated campaign, Clairemont met expectations by securing 10 community influencers at special preview and grand opening events. We exceeded our goal for media coverage by securing four media placements, including three print stories and one TV story. We met our objectives by securing one post from a mom blogger, and through our outreach to influential mom groups, Clairemont exceeded our goal for social media by generating 10 posts about the rebranded Lowes Foods stores in the Triangle. Additionally, on May 12, the campaign was recognized with an Award of Excellence at the 2015 NCPRSA InSpire Awards.