In an ever-changing media landscape and with an exceedingly competitive product category, TIKI Brand was eager to shed its bamboo torch reputation and unfortunate affiliation with white supremacy and position itself as an innovative leader in the outdoor space. “The Agency” was tasked with building brand perception and awareness around TIKI Brand’s line of smokeless fire pits and outdoor string lights with built-in mosquito repellency to build credibility and break through the unsavory and competitive noise.
TIKI Brand was synonymous with the bamboo torches that brought them to consumer backyards, and unfortunately, tiki torches have gotten a bad reputation. They’ve been used by extremist groups to support radical ideals. On top of that, in a fiercely competitive landscape, it quickly became evident that challenger brands were seeing spikes in sales and earned media coverage.
TIKI Brand needed to step away from the unfortunate associations with white supremacy and show consumers what they had to offer.
Unfortunately, the affluent millennial target was the exact same consumer cohort with the lowest brand awareness and most outdated brand perceptions. We conducted an in-depth analysis into the target using Simmons data to further identify the media consumption habits of the fire pit and outdoor string light target audience and what influenced their purchase decisions. We learned that the consumer relies on reviews, so tapping into the third-party credibility of media outlets was crucial.
Using the Simmons data, we built comprehensive and personalized media lists comprised of outlets and editors who over-index with the target as well as those who wrote about fire pits, string lights and mosquito repellency in the past year.
Then, C-K implemented four main tactics to achieve the two campaign objectives.
Always-On Approach: We implemented an “always-on” media outreach approach during TIKI’s key season. Through Brandwatch social listening data, we identified relevant editorial topics throughout the season and created an ongoing proactive pitch cadence with different angles tying TIKI products to trending, seasonally relevant conversations. Each week, we sent a new angle to editors with images and collateral, making it easy for them to run a story.
Face-to-Face Interactions: Because the products are best seen in-person in their native environment, we found opportunities to get the products in front of editors, creating backyard experiences where editors could see the products first-hand and ask questions in real time.
Hands-On Testing: We offered all editors and contributors product samples so they could speak to the products first-hand and share their authentic experience with their readers.
Real-time Opportunities: Working like a newsroom, we kept a pulse on the category and competitive landscapes through Brandwatch and Critical Mention. We identified real-time opportunities and conquested competitive placements. If competitors were in the backyard, we wanted to be there too. We also utilized relevant macro trends, like staycations, to position TIKI Brand as a solution to consumer problems.
Finally, to understand the full TIKI Brand ecosystem, we monitored the tiki torch conversation through Brandwatch and Critical Mention, monitoring shifts in volume, sentiment and the conversation context. Data was the greatest defense against potential crisis, and the best asset to monitor the shift in brand perception.
Our media coverage lit up and stayed on for the duration of our campaign. Through our multi-tiered efforts, we secured high-quality placements in publications like New York Times Wirecutter, Popular Mechanics, Better Homes & Gardens, USA Today, Country Living, Martha Stewart, Forbes and many more.
TIKI Brand media relations had a hallmark year, and we exceeded all objectives.
Objective: Increase total placement volume by 10%.
Result: Total placement volume increased by 128% year-over-year.
Objective: Increase positive sentiment by 5%.
Result: Positive sentiment surrounding the tiki torch conversation grew by 16%.