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Hotondo Homes is the largest building franchise network in Australia, and in October 2010 it won an FCA Merit Award for Excellence in Marketing for its Evolution 2010 campaign, the most successful campaign for the franchise chain to date.

"We conducted research before starting the Evolution 2010 campaign, which found that the word ‘local’ was losing its significance. Customers want professionalism, quality and strong communication with their builder," explains Jodie Flower, marketing manager for Hotondo Homes.

"After we discovered this, we decided that we needed to change our logo tagline in order to meet the needs of the consumer," continues Flower.

As a result, Hotondo Homes changed the logo tagline from 'Australia's National Network of Local Builders' to 'Australia's Leading Network of Professional Builders'.

The promotional tagline was also changed from 'We Don't Build Hopes, We Build Dreams' to 'A Great Find'.

"The promotional tagline was changed to be shorter, crisper and more memorable. It was also changed so it could be aimed at both consumers looking to buy a new home, and builders looking to join the network. Either way, Hotondo Homes is 'A Great Find'" says Flower.

One of the biggest ways that the building franchise chain helps support franchisees is by generating leads. There is a well-constructed new website and call centre for all leads, which are then passed onto the franchisee in that specific area.

Hotondo Homes also provides the training, collateral and support to franchisees, to give them the best opportunity to turn the leads into sales, which in turn results in business growth and profitability.

Building business

As part of the Evolution 2010 campaign, a cross-section of media was utilised to ensure good brand exposure and lead generation; print press, radio, television and television sponsorship of the Winter Olympics, bus advertising, billboard and the all-important online advertising.

In addition to advertising, franchisees were given collateral and services to use at a local level for their own local area marketing. All creative was done through the support office, and has the ability to be tailored to individual franchisees.

Apart from the tagline changes, the building business also created a fresh way of reaching the new home market. The inclusion of a German shorthaired pointer dog gave Hotondo Homes a point of difference in its marketing and created a wow factor.

The German shorthaired pointer was chosen because of the association with a hunt: it’s a traditional hunting dog and as the marketing material highlights, customers hunt for their dream home and their dream builder and when they find Hotondo Homes, not only is the 'hunt over' but Hotondo Homes is 'A great find'.

"Franchisee feedback about the introduction of the dogs and the new direction was fantastic, and there were lots of enquiries made about buying and researching the actual dog breed, so people were definitely seeing the ad and responding to it," Flower says.

Even though the new look advertising and new taglines were created by the marketing department, the sales department was also heavily involved.

"It was paramount to ensure that there were the tools, systems and support to give all franchisees and provide them with the greatest opportunity to embrace this campaign and convert the leads into sales," says Flower.

"As much as the campaign is about brand awareness and promoting our great product, we also have to focus on the franchisees and how we can assist them to grow their business," she adds.

Hotondo Homes has a national conference every year, which is where the business's new marketing direction is revealed.

"Launching the new marketing direction at the 2009 September Conference gave franchisees three months where they were able to speak with the support office staff to find out more information, and to ensure that they were familiar with the new products, and ready for customer enquiries once the campaign was launched in January 2010," says Flower.

The campaign was monitored through six different avenues, one of which included franchisee feedback. It is imperative for the franchisor to hear how the campaign is affecting franchisees, and how it can continue to help them grow their business.

After the campaign monitoring was completed, it was found that:

  • there was a 15.1 percent increase of leads in 2010 compared to 2009
  • key target markets were reached
  • there were 15,392 more visitors to the website compared to the same period in 2009
  • there was an increased average of daily visitors to the website
  • there were 49,079 downloads from the website

The packaging of this campaign alongside the collateral, materials and franchisee involvement made the Evolution 2010 campaign a true success, believes Flower.

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