Best Advertising Strategy: Birchwood

Client Overview

This client has earned their spot in our Best Advertising Strategy series for many reasons, which I'll touch on below.

Birchwood Standard LogoBirchwood Electric started out strictly as locally owned residential electricians. Due to the high demand, and an employee with background in the industry, they’ve since expanded into security and home technology systems. Plus, those were natural line extensions for a company already specializing in residential electrical work.

Birchwood's home office is based in Cold Spring, MN, but they service all of central Minnesota.

The Residential Specialists

Yes, Birchwood can do work for commercial and industrial properties – but they don’t. In fact, they’ve been known to turn away commercial projects because it took their eye off the prize. Their ads speak to it: they’re the residential specialists. That was their slogan when they just did electrical work. Since adding the new areas of focus, they’ve had to refine it into what it is today:

When your home demands the best, demand the Birchwood Standard. Birchwood Electric: your electric, security, and home technology specialists.

Each of their radio ads drives home (pun intended) that Birchwood focuses strictly on residential electric, security, and home technology systems.

Knock on Wood

One of their competitors has a very similar name, and is well known in the industry. Birchwood needed to make it clear in their ads that they were not the other company. So, how did they do that?

Simple. By knocking on wood. Birchwood to be exact:

Guess what? It worked. The other company even commented on it. They called up Birchwood and said they heard their ads and wanted to know if the knocking part was to distinguish between the two names. Each of their ads uses that line and that sound effect as a reticular activator to trigger echoic memory for the listeners. It makes listeners perk up and pay attention, and then associate the knocking sound with Birchwood’s brand.

It’s part of what makes radio such a powerful advertising medium: theater of the mind.

Demand the Birchwood Standard

As the residential specialists, Birchwood needed a way to dramatize that. So, they created The Birchwood Standard. It’s something each and every employee is dedicated to. It’s their own version of the 10 Commandments.

They offer a starting point for their single-idea ads. Like this one:

Each of their ads focuses on one of these standards, with a unique spin on how the Birchwood Standard sets them apart from their competition. Their ads use simple language to dramatize the difference. For example, in their ad about continuing education, they use a school bus analogy to dramatize just how long the latest electrical code books are if you lined up the pages end-to-end. It’s 26 school buses in case you were wondering. And every Birchwood employee knows that code book inside and out.

The Birchwood Team

Birchwood also uses uncommon words and phrases in their radio scripts to stand out from the crowd. You’ll hear words like kittywampus. Dilly-dallying. Ginormous. Lolly-gagging. Behemoth. Unsightly.

These odd words stand out from the tired language found in so many radio commercials these days, making Birchwood’s radio spots shine through.

Why the Advertising Strategy Works

There are a lot of reasons why Birchwood has gone from a dominate-a-day advertiser on one radio station, to a full branding schedule on three of our radio stations.

Birchwood also focuses on the benefits of their services; on what the customer gets from what they do. It’s not a newly wired sound system. It’s family movie night in style. It’s not a light switch dimmer. It’s a romantically lit date night. It’s not a home security system. It’s safety for your family. Those are the benefits Birchwood dramatizes in their ads, and they’re a big part of why their business has been continually growing since they started advertising with us many years ago.

Their strategy statement has evolved over the years to keep up with the changing business climate and rapid advancements in technology. Birchwood has weathered the change and adapted perfectly to it.

Now, whenever one of their messages comes over the airwaves, you’ll hear that knock, and know who the ad is for.

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