2020 Golden ARC Award Winner: Media Relations: Print Media Relations – Non-Agricultural (Consumer) Audiences
Posted by: Kellie Lasack on May 25, 2021
Posted in: Uncategorized
United Soybean Board: The House That Soy Built
What do you do when you don’t have a product to sell, but instead, you have the last piece of the puzzle other companies need? U.S. soybean oil has emerged as an unexpected one-size-fits-all solution to the “green pressure” chemical product companies are facing. “The House That Soy Built: Soy-Based Products Are on the Leading Edge of Sustainable Housing” press release was one tactic in an overall campaign to position soybean oil as the solution to the difficult situation facing many industrial manufacturers: the need to replace harmful chemicals in their products to meet the demands of today’s consumers. To reach sustainability managers at large manufacturing companies, the press release was distributed on a business wire and pitched to leading publications in this sector, which resulted in a big splash in a small niche arena.
Utilizing petroleum or formaldehyde in rubber, coatings and plywood products in the 1980s was seen as a resourceful cost-cutting measure. However, research has shown these resources not only deplete fossil fuels but also are confirmed carcinogens. Soybean oil can be used as a replacement for formaldehyde and petroleum oils used in many home improvement products, including plywood, insulation, roofing products and wood stains. Soybeans are sustainably produced and environmentally friendly. If industrial users of oil switch to soy, that would create new and steady domestic and international markets for U.S. soybeans.
With decades of investments in key research in partnership with some of the best academic institutions in the country and brands such as Goodyear, Skechers and Rust-Oleum, the United Soybean Board (USB) is positioned to take its proven successes to other industrial manufacturers that U.S. soy is just what they need. What could be better to illustrate this than tell the story of the “House That Soy Built” through successful uses in home products?
The target audience for this tactic was sustainability managers at industrial companies looking to improve their sustainability, many of which were actively receiving internal and external pressure to “find a solution.” We planned distribution for early fall to reach this audience as they were developing annual company sustainability reports and planning for future sustainability initiatives and new solutions.
To successfully reach the right prospects, at the right time, with the right message, we mined third party and our own original research in this space to narrow in on key elements. Place the message in publications our target audience reads (data set of 500,000 prospects gathered), fall timing (sustainability report is top of mind) and stand out as an interesting piece with testimonials to back up the research. The release was distributed in September 2019 to 500,000 prospects, our industry media list and posted to a specialized wire. Successful pitches to top-tier industrial media included Coatings World and Paints & Coatings International.
The news was picked up and published in 158 publications, including a top priority publication, Coatings World, where the news received more than 5,000 views. Overall, the news earned more than 14 million impressions based on available data from placements. In addition, the news was republished in farmer-facing outlets to highlight this investment to soybean farmers. Top placements included Associated Press, Bloomberg and Coatings World.
The overall campaign to connect these industrial user prospects with soybean oil sellers was successful, with several reports of seeing the release from prospects. It also began the conversation for a multi-page feature in BOSS magazine.
United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for the soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality, and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information, please visit unitedsoybean.org.