Print isn’t dead, at least not to Victor Farina. Even as many remodelers slash or eliminate spending on printed marketing, Farina & Sons continues to be the remodeler of choice for many affluent Orlando–area homeowners because of its strategic use of its many appearances in print.
The $3.5 million company takes nothing for granted, not even its 57-year reputation. Like a self-sustaining marketing ecosystem, it actively seeks out media coverage, actively repurposes that coverage into marketing fodder, and actively — though discretely — positions the combined media-marketing package before its target market.
Year-in and year-out, “it all builds credibility and confidence that we know what we’re doing,” Farina says. Contrary to the lowest-price mentality that seems to dominate this economy, Farina & Sons often wins projects despite charging more than the competition. On a recent $800,000-plus renovation, the company’s bid was at least 10% above the other builders the client was considering, Farina says.
Elements of the strategy:
PR outreach: Farina says that his eight employees “do what they do best,” and since PR is not an in-house strong suit, he pays a monthly retainer to PR professional Bonnie LeFoley. For about $1,500 a month, the well-connected Orlando insider keeps tabs on the local media and pitches stories to reporters, many of whom she knows personally.
“Most small businesses think the press is waiting to write about them,” LeFoley says. “I have found that it takes a branding strategy to get the stories that have a real impact.”
Website. “When we get published, it immediately goes on our website,” Farina says. Under “press” at www.farinaandsons.com are several dozen PDFs of articles, as well as some paid advertisements that appeared in print. Industry affiliations and awards, along with photos of winning projects, are also showcased on the site.
Advertising. Remember the old advertising “as featured in” concept? A series of two-page Farina & Sons “zoned insert” ads showed magazines (including this one) in which the company was featured on the cover. The series emphasized three key selling points — the design/build process, energy-efficiency, and resale ROI — and of course encouraged readers to visit the website.
The silent salesperson. “Victor has little newsstands all over his office” — on the reception desk, in Farina’s office, next to the conference table — starring his company, LeFoley says. The magazines may appear to be casually arrayed, but they’re strategically placed to further reinforce the positive image to visitors.
These and other silent sellers are also on the office walls. There’s a bookshelf of magazines featuring the company, several framed articles, and an entire wall of awards.
Farina hopes to make many more print appearances in 2010 — ideally “a big splash every month,” he says. “Getting in magazines is very important, especially in today’s times. You want to show that you are strong.”
—Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.