Expanding a
growing business

The brief

Johnsons of Whixley is one of the largest commercial nursery businesses in Europe.

The company appointed us to act as its outsourced PR and marketing team, and deliver ongoing marketing and communications activity to raise the profile of the Johnsons Group and its wholesale commercial, cash and carry and garden centre divisions.

Our approach

The multi-platform campaign included ongoing public relations and social media activity, in addition to digital marketing campaigns and graphic design for point of sale material including signage, brochures and other sales literature.

Before carrying out any activity, we carried out an extensive audit of Johnsons’ current marketing activity. This included a brand development exercise to separate each division of the business with a clear brand identity.

We developed a schedule of regular, proactive press releases communicating positive news about the business within local, regional and trade media outlets, while capitalising on relevant features in industry media.

We also used our media database to react quickly to any relevant press requests including requests for comments on Brexit, the Autumn Statement, building a successful business in rural Yorkshire and advice on how to cope well with periods of downtime.

Media relations activity was supplemented with targeted award entries across business and trade media titles.

Alongside ongoing PR activity, we implemented a social media strategy to increase Johnsons’ profile across a range of platforms. This involved establishing a new Twitter account for the garden centre sales division, ensuring more audience-specific and relevant content.

We devised a series of campaigns throughout the calendar year to ensure consistent and proactive owned content as well as reacting to the news agenda and trending topics.

The results

Johnsons saw its highest volume of sales to the wholesale commercial division in 2016.

We secured 58 online pieces of coverage and 31 in print in industry magazines including Pro Landscaper and Garden Centre Retail magazine, online coverage on The Guardian and The Telegraph, as well as coverage on BBC Look North and BBC Radio York. There was a total readership of 4,296,002, 28,000 listeners and 165,000 viewers.

To date, our award entries for Johnsons have a 100% success rate of wins or shortlistings.

The nursery continues its relationship with Faith PR and works with us on a retained basis to deliver all PR and marketing communications campaigns both on and offline.

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