Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gateway to Online Marketing

With the digital world in full swing, companies are looking for ways to incorporate new online marketing strategies into budgets. This not only includes online and e-newsletter advertising, but also valuable editorial content available through target media outlets. Many trade and consumer publications, blogs, digital magazines, and websites enable companies to submit their own editorial content online through submission forms. For example, press releases, product profiles, case-studies, feature articles, and much more.

This is something we PR professionals call self-publishing. And, by using these valuable tools, companies have the ability to exponentially increase their online presence. Researching online submission sites and guidelines can be an arduous task. It is important to know upfront which sites will add value to an organization’s branding message. Also, following instructions is a key factor to achieving publication. This is one of the many reasons why companies turn to public / media relations firms like ours for assistance.

Our team of experts can help develop strategic digital and integrated marketing plans as a gateway to increasing brand awareness. The premise behind this is one of our mottos: Content is King!

We assess, analyze and execute online submissions to help benefit our clients’ overall editorial content and reach, as a clear supplement to other forms of published company news and product information. In turn, we help companies expand their website press sections to more well-rounded displays of multimedia placements, ultimately building brand awareness for their design services and / or product launches.

To learn more about our services, please visit our website at


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Privacy Comes Easy

Our client, Highwood USA, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture, accessories as well as decking and fence material, recently completed a privacy fence installation featuring the company’s long-lasting synthetic fence material along a freeway in northern Virginia. The customer for this project was a Home Owners’ Association in need of a fence solution that had the following qualities:
  • When installed, the fence had to be attractive and natural in both color and appearance. The HOA desired a privacy fence that would blend with the environment. 

  • The fence was required to be ultra-low maintenance and sturdy to provide a no-fuss solution and require minimal upkeep, ultimately offering exceptional durability and long-term value. 

  • Providing a sound barrier to the freeway noise was a key desire of the Home Owners’ Association members. 

  • The community also wanted to install a fence manufactured with eco-friendly material and that which was sourced from a company that takes its responsibility to the environment seriously. 

  • Finally, the finished fence was specified for installation at a height of 12 feet; and, of utmost importance, it needed to be strong enough to withstand the winds and weather conditions that Virginia experiences throughout the year. 
“We worked closely with both the fence installer, Northern Virginia Fence Company, and the HOA representatives to provide detailed information about our Highwood material and how it would address all of the project’s needs, giving rise to a solid solution for the project,” says Craig Smith, director of sales & marketing for Highwood USA.

According to Smith, Highwood USA beat out a number of alternative materials produced by competitors. “I do believe this was because we took the time to listen closely to the customer’s needs, to answer all of their questions, and to deliver a quality design solution that fulfilled the technical specifications and requirements,” he says.

The 12-foot commercial HOA fence project is a larger and more heavyweight version of the company’s “new for 2013” 6-ft tall privacy fence that offers all of the same benefits as above. The 6-ft tall privacy fence is designed for easy installation, requires little maintenance and is readily available for fence installers to sell for residential or commercial applications. For more information, visit

Members of the media, if you are interested in learning more about this case-study for an upcoming feature article, please contact the ECPR team at

The fence installer created a frame to start the project. Highwood® material was then installed onto the frame to create privacy and block the sounds of the highway.

Highwood USA's privacy fences, like this one in Virginia, can be used in both commercial and residential settings.

Highwood USA’s privacy fences are constructed from eco-friendly material and made in the USA. Contact Highwood USA through email at

NOTE: To enlarge the images, select each photo individually.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Windows and Doors Galore!

Builders, architects and designers, if you’re looking for the latest window and door products, Andersen Windows and Doors is high up on our list of manufacturers. The company’s 400 Series of windows provides a classic blend of engineering and craftsmanship, ensuring they are weather-tight, high quality and easy to install.

The 400 Series features a wide range of styles, from bow / bay and gliding to casement and double-hung, this collection has it all. And, no matter if you are designing a contemporary or traditional home, the 400 Series is available in five different exterior color options and two interior colors. In addition, Andersen’s 400 Series is energy efficient, a characteristic that has become increasingly more important to homeowners.

To learn more about Andersen Windows and Doors’ 400 Series, watch the video below.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The New Normal

Builders and developers have faced many challenges since 2008 when the housing industry was hit hard due to the recession. Many homeowners were forced to foreclose, which created widespread homeownership losses. As the economy is slowly but surely continuing to recover, builders and developers will be faced with new yet exciting challenges. One of these challenges being the drastic change in consumer housing preferences.

From sustainability and green building to smaller design plans, project objectives are shifting and becoming more segmented, a sign of resurgence for more project permits and diversified project portfolios. 

These changes can be welcomed in many ways, as they present opportunities for new forms of revenue and industry expansion.

The Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing shares a new paper, featuring a clear perception on how developers are meeting the market’s demands by creating better and more sustainable houses and other living places. 

The editors at ECOHOME Magazine recently interviewed Lynn Ross, director at the Terwilliger Center, about the company’s report and what it means for those in the building industry. 

Ross explains that the most interesting finding or idea based on the report is that developers believe there will be a promising future for master-planned communities. She shares a list of the “Ins and Outs of 2013” based on discussions by industry professionals about the homebuilding marketplace. Here is a sampling of trends to look for in the upcoming year:

What’s In 
  • Walkability 
  • Access to mass transit 
  • Energy efficiency 
  • Sense of Community 
  • Shorter commutes 
  • Multigenerational housing 
  • Lower operating costs 
  • Suburban infill developments 
  • Affordable, sustainable touches 
  • Well-designed smaller floor plans
What’s Out
  • Long commutes 
  • Outer-ring suburbs 
  • Golf-course communities 
  • Vague “greenwash fluff’ marketing language 
  • Masterful floor plans and square footage 
  • Home designs from the early 2000s 
  • High maintenance costs 

View the full Q&A with the editors of ECOHOME and Lynn Ross here. Builders and developers, what are you planning to do to keep abreast of the “new normal” in consumer housing preferences?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Freshening Up School Vending Machines

The concern for childhood obesity has increased tenfold over the last few years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents during the past 30 years. And, the risks of childhood obesity can result in long-term cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. In addition, an overweight or obese child can feel the effects from a social standpoint, opening them up to ridicule and bullying from classmates.

In an effort the help prevent childhood obesity from continually growing, the USDA is seeking to rid school vending machines of junk food such as chips and candy bars in exchange for more healthy options like fruits and vegetables. The proposed rule, Smart Snacks, requires schools to uphold nutritional standards consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If passed, the law would go into effect at least a full school year after final approval, allowing schools to acclimate to the new changes.

Under the proposed rule, food sold in schools must:
  • Either be a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, protein food, a whole-grain product or a combination food that contains at least one quarter cup of fruit or vegetable; or 
  • Contain 10% of the daily value of a nutrient cited as a public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: calcium, potassium, vitamin D or fiber; and 
  • Must meet a range of calorie and nutrient requirements. 
Not only will this new program aid in reducing childhood obesity, produce and other Agribusiness companies will have the opportunity to increase sales to schools. This allows them to expand their business relationships to a whole new group of customers. As a result, they will have the ability to develop new food products specifically designed for school vending machines across the nation. For more information about Smart Snacks, read the full article on The Packer’s website.