Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the turf marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and use of Australian turf, under the Hort Innovation Turf Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2018/19.
The 2018/19 marketing program was focused on contributing to sustainable demand for Australian turf, working towards a five per cent increase in revenue for growers, as identified as a key industry priority in the turf Strategic Investment Plan (SIP).
The key objective of the 2018/19 strategy was to increase demand for turf by getting consumers to prioritise turf in their home improvement plans, through the creation of a value proposition. By educating consumers on the value of turf, driving top-of-mind awareness and inspiring the Australian dream, the key message of the campaign was that turf is unbeatable for easily improving the value of the home and a family’s quality of life.
Rugby League personality and Fox Sports presenter Nathan Hindmarsh and his wife, professional renovator and interior designer Bonnie Hindmarsh, were engaged to promote the benefits of turf to homeowners across traditional media and social platforms. As a down-to-earth and lawn-loving Aussie dad, Nathan appealed to everyday Australians by speaking to the emotional and physical benefits of a good lawn for enjoying family time with the kids and kicking the footy around.
As a seasoned renovator and director of Three Birds Renovations, Bonnie was able to communicate how transforming the backyard with turf adds value to the home – both financially and emotionally. Together, Nathan and Bonnie frequently appear in media and have a social following of over 500,000, which means they were able to communicate broadly on how the backyard is a massive hub of their home as a busy family with three children.
Public relations (PR)
Under the Hort Innovation Turf Fund R&D program, national research was conducted with real estate’s Raine & Horne that showed that 40 per cent of agents surveyed believe a nicely presented lawn can boost a house’s value by more than 20 per cent. In fact, almost one quarter (23.3 per cent) said it can add more than 30 per cent value. Based on the Australian median dwelling price, 20 per cent equates to $110,000. The survey results paired with quotes and photos from Nathan and Bonnie Hindmarsh provided an excellent opportunity for the promotion of turf.
Over the course of the marketing campaign, 11 pieces of earned media coverage were secured across television, metro and regional print and online channels. This equated to 4.46 million opportunities for people to see turf-related content. Highlights included a TV feature on The Today Show, as well as coverage in Better Homes and Gardens, on RealEstate.com, and in print in The Courier Mail.
Social media activity is a cost-efficient way to reach the public and also to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ in terms of how people are using turf, answer any questions they have, and give people an opportunity to simply share their love of turf.
The 2018/19 social strategy for turf focused on using Facebook as the key channel to drive awareness, inspiration and humour. Over the course of the campaign, the Lawnspiration Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lawnspiration) posted a variety of before and after renovation images, lawn tips and transformations. These posts proved to be a compelling and effective way of earning attention and engagements. The page received a large amount of user generated content in the form of comments as well as images shared by turf lovers of their own backyards and lawns, renovation before and afters, and families and furry companions enjoying their lawn. In total, 40 per cent of post engagements were received from females and 75 per cent of the audience who saw the content were within the campaign target age bracket of 25 to 54.
Nathan Hindmarsh created three short videos which were used at different intervals of the social campaign. These were some of the top shared, liked and commented on posts on the Lawnspiration Facebook page. The videos generated nearly 100,000 views and did a great job of raising awareness.
Overall, the social campaign delivered over one million impressions. The activity helped to direct consumers to the Lawnspiration website (www.lawnspiration.com.au) for more information, with analytics showing a spike in website traffic during the campaign.
Nathan and Bonnie also took to their personal Instagram accounts to share videos and images of lawns, including before and after renovation images. These posts had a combined reach of more than 450,000 people and received more than 12,000 video views and 7000 likes.
The new consumer-facing Lawnspiration website was launched in July 2018 and proved to be a popular destination for lawn lovers throughout 2018/19. Lawnspiration.com.au has good basic lawn information for consumers to educate themselves with, including varietal information, installation and maintenance information, and links to growers around Australia through the ‘find a grower’ feature.
Usage from the first few months of the website provided some interesting insights:
- Top searches so far have included: ‘Best time to lay’ and ‘Bindies’
- The majority of users are between 25 to 54 years of age, 77 per cent male and 23 per cent female
- Top pages so far have included: ‘Autumn care tips’, ‘Varieties’, ‘Tips’, and ‘Find Your Supplier’.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Turf Fund