The Watergarden Gallery at Ulbrich's
As big box competitors started to nibble away at their nursery business, owner Tom Ulbrich made the strategic decision to shift his company's marketing emphasis to water garden design and supply. He came to Flynn & Friends for help in changing Ulbrich's image from a garden-variety local garden center to a high-end regional destination for affluent water garden enthusiasts.
This is the story of how we helped rebrand this second-generation Western New York family business.
Ulbrich's hired Flynn & Friends to develop a new name, identity and logo for the business; do creative for print, radio, television, and outdoor; and plan and buy media. As Ulbrich's agency of record, our goal was to create and reinforce an image that positioned our client as the place in Western New York for water garden design and supply.
Our first challenge was to develop a new name.
Over a period of several weeks we developed dozens of potential identities, finally deciding on "The Water Garden Gallery at Ulbrich's". The name worked for two reasons. The first was that the word "Gallery" captured the aesthetic appeal of water gardening, consistent with the interests of the target market. The second, and equally important reason, was that it maintained continuity with the existing business identity by including "At Ulbrich's".
Name in place, logo followed. Melding an artist's palette with a lily pad, the visual further reinforced the "gallery" idea, while a friendly frog carried over from past advertising added a splash of fun.
A print ad in Spree Magazine (shown at right) further developed this image with water garden photographs displayed in gallery-style frames under the headline "Everything you need to create a masterpiece in your own backyard".
We also brought the new logo to life – quite literally – in a 10-second TV commercial. The lower cost of a :10 commercial allowed us to run approximately 1/3 more spots than we would with a :30, adding that much to our frequency, which we discuss in the next section.
At the same time, we designed a billboard specifically for two available locations along the main route to Ulbrich's, one eastbound and one westbound. This local presence helped point visitors to their nearby location.
Meantime, Ulbrich's itself implemented the Water Garden Gallery theme throughout their property. They hung framed pictures of water gardens inside, had a water colorist paint water gardens on their outside walls, and re-did all of their signage, including investing in a lit sign with the new logo and name.
Creative created and implemented, it was time to plan the media buy that would get the Ulbrich's message out.
Like many small businesses, Ulbrich's approach to buying media prior to hiring Flynn & Friends could be best described as "shoot from the hip". They had no filter in place to manage the distractions of dealing with the myriad of media sales reps, much less a systematic approach to targeting their prime demographic.
Working with a limited budget, yet needing enough exposure to make an impact, the key for Ulbrich's was utilizing the right media. An immediate advantage of working with Flynn & Friends was that the agency provided an unbiased approach. Our goal was (and is) to use the best media to achieve the best results.
Demographics were our starting point. Because water garden products are typically the purchase of a more affluent audience, we focused on consumers age 35+. Television and radio represented the best way to get the message out.
In buying media, we subscribe to the adage "frequency, frequency, frequency". (In case you're rusty on your media terms, "frequency" is the number of times a viewer is exposed to a message. "Reach" is defined as the number of people exposed to the message.)
Why the emphasis on frequency? Increasing frequency has a more than proportional relationship to increased awareness. Awareness is related to preference, preference is related to sales, and sales are related to market share and profitability, and increasing market share and profitability are why Ulbrich's hired us in the first place.
In Rochester, 181 spots ran over a two-month period; in the Genesee Valley, 567 spots ran during that same period – that's a frequency of 9 spots per day (3 - 3.5 is considered a good frequency).
In Buffalo, we bought airtime during news programs on Channels 2 and 4 to reach our target demographic. On Channel 2, we had a frequency of 4.9 spots per day and a reach of 65% of our targeted households; Channel 4's frequency was particularly outstanding – 7.6 with a reach of 91.2% over the two-month period.
We also negotiated value-added promotions to enhance the media buy. Channel 2 incorporated a contest on their web site, with the winner receiving a completely installed water garden valued at $5,000. Several thousand people entered the contest – a strong indication of the message's reach. Channel 4 made Ulbrich's the exclusive sponsor of the Wake Up Gardening segment that airs every Sunday during the stations "Weekend Wakeup" show, hosted by Sally Cunningham.
Planning and Buying Radio
Frequency was once again the strategy in the decision to utilize WBEN as the sole radio outlet for Ulbrich's message. We felt that this perennial favorite of the older Buffalo-area consumer was the ideal vehicle to reach Ulbrich's target market.
Because consumer buying decisions tend to be made later in the week, we ran the commercials Thursday through Sunday, achieving a frequency of 6.7 and a reach of 173,700 individuals. In addition to the paid spots, we negotiated value-added live broadcasts of the "Home Gardening Show with Ken Brown" and "The Home Improvement Hour with Domenic Cortese", increasing awareness considerably.
The Point Of All This
Question 1: Does your business need a media plan? An unbiased understanding of the options available that doesn't play favorites? A big advantage of working with Flynn & Friends is our knowledge, skill in negotiation, and track record for getting value added.
Question 2: Do you have a brand or business identity, need a new one, or have one that isn't working? Your name, logo, color set, packaging, signage and other visual and verbal elements should be used consistently and effectively to make sure your cash cow isn't getting led to slaughter. If you're so inclined, take a minute and browse some examples of our logos.
Ulbrich's had a brand tied to what they decided was a limited business; they made a strategic decision to take their uniqueness as experts in water gardens and water gardening and rebrand themselves. Sales were up and Tom Ulbrich had more time to concentrate on his business because we got the media off his back.
In other words, working with Flynn & Friends could be the answer to your marketing issues.
Call or email us if you'd like to talk. We look forward to hearing from you!