gets Tuned-up with PR program

December 17, 2013  |  Rebecca Harris  |  Comments

Tuned PR just wrapped up a six-month pilot program for private-sale company and it wasn’t an easy one. The Toronto PR firm was tasked with developing a brand-building PR campaign in collaboration with’s head office and 15 franchise owners in the Greater Toronto Area.

“It was a little more complex than your normal project because we had multiple internal stakeholders,” said Gavin Davidson, principal and founder at Tuned PR. “They all had different goals and none of them had been on the same page in terms of what they wanted to do, or even in terms of the value of PR versus advertising.”

With a focus on maintaining high levels of buy-in from the franchisees, Tuned PR created PR and advertising campaigns in the GTA and conducted ongoing media relations. Though the company has been in the marketplace for 10 years, it had very low brand recognition, said Davidson.

Key to the strategy was developing a corporate social responsibility strategy, which included a partnership with Habitat for Humanity. In September, executives from’s head office in Moncton, N.B. and GTA franchise owners participated in Habitat for Humanity builds in Oshawa and Hamilton.

“One of the big things we wanted to do with the campaign aside from build brand awareness was close that trust deficit [private-sale companies have] compared with real estate agents,” said Davidson. “Real estate agents have been in the communities for decades; they’ve been sponsoring soft ball teams, shaking hands and kissing babies. Everyone knows a real estate agent or has one in their family. We had to put a face on the franchise.”

The campaign also included a contest with Boom 97.3, which awarded one winner a summer barbecue with a Boom 97.3 radio host and street team, as well as a real estate pro package from The partnership included commercials, promo announcements, social media, digital display advertising and live mentions from the barbecue.

Tuned PR’s six-month program culminated in a “Skate with the Pros” free skating event at a Toronto ice rink on Dec. 14. In partnership with Toronto-based charities Skate for Kids and, hosted former NHL stars Dave McLlwain (Toronto Maple Leafs), Cam Stewart (Boston Bruins) and Dennis Maruk (Washington Capitals).

“With the ex-NHL players and the charitable angle, it was a much better pitch for media,” said Davidson. “We were able to generate print, broadcast and online coverage for the event, which is very out of the ordinary for a simple brand activation.”

Throughout the pilot, was featured in a number of media outlets including Huffington Post, Financial Post and Chinese daily Ming Pao.

Davidson said the pilot program will form the basis of a national PR campaign to roll out in 2014.

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