NEIGHBORHOOD MICRO NEWSPAPER by PR-Operatørene for Veidekke

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NEIGHBORHOOD MICRO NEWSPAPER

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Industry Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Norway
Agency PR-Operatørene
Creative Director Aina L.l. Kristensen
Copywriter Frode Aga
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Financial Services, incl. Investor Relations and Corporate Finance
Advertiser: VEIDEKKE
Product/Service: ONLINE MICRO-PAPER
Senior Consultant/Partner: Øystein Bonvik (PR-operatørene)
Creative Director: Aina L.L. Kristensen (PR-operatørene)
Consultant: Cecilie Wærholm (PR-operatørene)
Copywriter: Frode Aga (PR-operatørene)
Project Manager: Hanne Kjærnes (PR-operatørene)
Media placement: Micro Newspaper - Blog - www.rodenytt.no - 1 June 2010
Media placement: Media Cooperation - www.dittoslo.no - June 2010
Media placement: Online Quiz - www.dittoslo.no - June 2010
Media placement: Exclusive Pitch - VG (National Daily, Online) - August 2010
Media placement: Press Release - Business - Trade Media - September 2010
Media placement: Press Release - Local - Local Newspapers - October 2010
Media placement: Direct Mail - Via The Brokers' Mailing List - October 2010
Media placement: Handouts/posters - Local - October 2010
Media placement: Facebook-Group - Facebook - June 2010
Media placement: Guided Tour - On Rodeløkka - October 2010

Summary of the Campaign
Veidekke Eiendom is the property division of one of Scandinavia's major construction companies, Veidekke. In the summer of 2007, they acquired real estate previously occupied by Norway's largest chocolate producer Freia (later merged with Kraft) at Rodeløkka, Oslo. The old factory buildings will make way for new apartments. Spring 2010 saw the first apartments in the first building phase put on the market. It was decided that the project would not go ahead before 50 percent of the apartments were sold. This presented a challenge as the area was largely unknown both outside of and within Oslo, and Veidekke Eiendom had nothing but planning drawings to present. Veidekke knew that the absence of physical properties to showcase meant using the existing neighbourhood for what it was worth, despite the lack of knowledge about the area. Veidekke decided to think outside of the box and not spend a lot of money on traditional channels, but rather go with a unique blogging project, and with that give birth to Norway's smallest local newspaper. The results have been formidable. By the end of August the property sales hit 30 percent above targets, and construction began in January 2011.

The Situation
Veidekke bought an old factory at Rodelokka to build a new apartment project. The first of three stages was due to be completed by 2012 but only if 50 percent of apartments were sold by October 2010 (40 expensive apartments in three months).
Four main challenges arose: was there enough movement in the property market post-crisis? Does Rodelokka have the right profile to attract buyers? How to visualise the project with nothing but planning drawings, sales prospects and an old factory plot? How to reach potential buyers in a market where many of the traditional channels are losing their power?

The Goal
It was simple to define the main goal, but not so simple to achieve it. Nearly half of all apartments in the first stage had to be sold (by October) to ensure the execution of the project. This was a pure business target, and reputation development was of no interest if completion of the project could not be secured. All communication had to focus on this fact. Everything had to be targeted at recruiting interested parties, not least those who were actually in a position to buy apartments.

The Strategy
As Oslo's property market improved more projects fought for attention in the traditional communication channels. This project's unique profile and urgent target made it necessary to find alternatives to the classic communication package used by most property developers. The prospect contained planning drawings and conceptual art, the plot consisted only of buildings about to be demolished, there were no show homes. The area itself therefore became central to the sales pitch. Rodelokka has a somewhat fuzzy profile - a peaceful and picturesque area, yet some worry about its proximity to old industry. There was a need to re-introduce the area and maintain continued profiling. The target group of young buyers are less likely to be motivated by traditional marketing channels, so the Chocolate Factory needed to avoid going down this route. Veidekke chose to reduce spending on traditional advertising and put more money into pursuing the alternative strategy.

Execution
Veidekke established the online micro-paper Rodenytt (www.rodenytt.no) - a communication channel which is both more immediate to the target group and which would exist far longer than traditional media stories. Rodenytt also became the main link between the commercial project (www.konfektfabrikken.no) and activities on social media like Facebook and traditional media stories. It covers daily life in Rodelokka and provides historical information about the area. Our PR agency runs its editorial output with the help of local talent. Rodenytt on Facebook has channelled more traffic to both Rodenytt and the Chocolate Factory project. Both Rodenytt and the Facebook page have not only increased the profile of Rodelokka but also generated traffic to the prospect. In its turn, the prospect has held up Rodenytt as the most important source of information about the local area. The estate agents working with the prospect actively referred interested buyers to Rodenytt.

Documented Results
The project has generated great interest and sales have been rapid.
40 apartments were sold by October 2010 (48 percent of all apartments in the first building-stage) and the construction was given the go-ahead.
By mid-September more than 800 people had signed a list of interested buyers. By March, 72 of 84 apartments in the first stage were sold. Rodenytt continues as a small local paper providing important information during the building process, which affects the neighbourhood from 2011-2014. Then, the residents of the Chocolate Factory will take over the publication. Rodenytt is not only an interesting business case; it also represents a development where commercial players to a larger extent will develop and use their own editorial channels. Traditional media coverage becomes less important for certain building projects, while more efforts are put into reaching an audience directly by providing them with interesting reading, not only intrusive sales communication.