Urban Homes, lockdown, and Build-a-Fort social media competition

By Mitch Hyde, Oct 9 2020
Remember during lockdown when we spent all our time in front of our screens? So do we!

During that time Urban Homes went viral with their Build-a-Fort competition, so we asked Mitch to break down the perfect storm that saw them reach one-fifth of the population with their social media competition.

In late March 2020, New Zealand went into alert 4 lockdown, as the global pandemic reached our shores. This meant we had to stay home, stay safe, keep to our bubbles, and keep our distance from our neighbours.

Non-essential services and education facilities were also forced to close, and businesses and organisations were forced to enter remote work. Much like the rest of the world, New Zealand was forced to adapt to brand new working conditions.

Building homes during a lockdown

Like all industries, residential building ground to a halt. While our client Urban Homes couldn’t build outside, we worked with their sales and marketing team, welcoming people to join the company on a special indoor building project.

“Urban Homes was looking to do something creative during lockdown and think outside the box. While people were spending more time indoors and in front of their screens, it provided a great opportunity to get the Urban brand in front of thousands of potential customers,” says Mitch Hyde, Strategic Marketing Consultant at HGB.

“They build houses, so what better than to take what Urban Homes does well and encourage their digital audience to do the same and create engagement at the same time,” says Mitch.

Introducing Build-a-Fort

Urban Homes set about challenging families and bubbles across New Zealand to a build a fort while we were in lockdown.

The rationale? When you were a child (no matter how long ago), you probably had some experiences building an indoor fort. It was time to put those skills, and those of your household, to the test.

With prizes to be won, the competition was easy to enter, and it solved an issue facing thousands of kiwi households during lockdown breaking the boredom.

“Incorporating children was key. With schools closed, the idea of combining a staple children’s activity but adding a social connection and competition element were crucial to the success,” says Mitch.

Entry was open to anyone, but to ensure measurable engagement, images needed to be uploaded to the Urban Homes page on Facebook or Instagram, with @UrbanHomes tagged in the post along with the hashtag #UrbanFortBuild.

Contestants were also encouraged to tag a family member, friend, or colleague to challenge to build a fort. The benefits of this was two-fold helping people stay connected during lockdown despite the physical distancing and increasing the reach of the competition outside Urban’s already engaged audience.

An overwhelming viral success

“We really saw a snowball effect with the Build-a-Fort competition! In fact, it was probably more successful than anticipated,” says Mitch.

A digital strategy that combined paid content with organic engagement delivered a staggering result.

“It really showed the power of social media and the ability to reach people with a compelling but simple proposition,” says Mitch, “more than 1 million people saw our competition, one-fifth of the population!”

The team at Urban Homes loved seeing what their audience constructed, and it brought new followers on board, greatly enhanced their brand presence, and increased the potential to bring new work through the door, post-lockdown.

The Rooney Family were overall winners, with Urban Brand Ambassador Sam Cane following the entire Build-a-Fort journey and congratulating the winners on Facebook.

Build-a-Fort in numbers

Over the 46 days of the campaign, the total number of eyeballs on Urban Homes related content was 1,411,000 – this is an impressive number, when you consider the fact that all building was halted and show homes were unable to be visited in real life.

24,629 clicks on Build-a-Fort content generated 677 new likes on Facebook. Engagement was high with 494 comments and 131 shares – values that are powerful metrics for Facebook.

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