When Honey Brook, Pa.-based Spring Creek Design starts a renovation or construction project, they not only look out for their clients, but the surrounding neighbors as well. In a goodwill effort that promotes the company and the work they do, the owners assemble and hand out up to 10 goody baskets to neighbors surrounding the work area during the first week of the project.
According to Peter Cooper, principal of the residential design/build remodeling and construction firm, the goody baskets fulfill two purposes: They serve as a marketing tool in the neighborhood the company is working in and as a client relationship tool.
“When it comes to making decisions on something this important, people tend to crave a personal connection,” Cooper says. “So this is how we do it: One house at a time, one conversation at a time. The results that we’ve seen from this kind of marketing approach have been extremely positive, and it’s for fun for us as business owners. It connects us to people that we work with and helps us create a community that we’re a part of as well.”
The company started distributing the goody baskets in 2012 as part of a larger marketing program that Spring Creek Design developed. In addition to the goody baskets during a remodeling project, the company places signage, uses vehicles with the company name on the side and mails four postcards to neighbors during the duration of a job.
“I overhauled our marketing plan a couple of years ago and took a hard look at what can we do that was sort of relatively low dollar and hopefully very high impact, that would help build our reputation at a micro level within the neighborhoods that we work in,” Cooper says. “We were looking for a very targeted way to do the most we could within these relatively small pockets of people.”
Cooper got the idea to deliver goody baskets through a remodeling and peer group consulting organization with which the company is affiliated. The company hands out goody baskets for almost all projects during the first week of construction. The exception is if they take a job not in their normal service radius.
“The cost equivalent of the baskets to us is the cost of the single postcard, and when we added this to our marketing effort, we looked at it that way,” Cooper says. “It’s not cheap, but we believe that it’s well worth it to ditch one postcard and add this basket.”
The goody baskets contain a note from Spring Creek Design, which introduces the company, provides contact information if a neighbor has any concerns or questions with the job site and essentially says thank you for putting up with the disruption during construction.
In addition to the note, the basket contains up to $50 worth of items from Amish country in southeastern Pennsylvania. This includes Shoofly pies, Amish-made cheeses, jams, jellies and other items.
The goody baskets are delivered by hand by Cooper and his wife Sandy. “We don’t want it to be a personally overwhelming or something we avoid doing. We want it to be manageable and fun for us—the staff that has to carry it out,” he says.
The reaction to receiving a goody basket has been positive, according to Cooper. People have called and asked for a basket for a friend, posted pictures on Facebook with the baskets and mentioned the company to friends in their social circles.
“They love it. … It’s a great opportunity to engage people in a friendly conversation. They are very appreciative of the baskets, and they are very happy to have contact information for our site supervisor—that makes a big difference to them,” Cooper says.
Though Spring Creek Design has never received business as a result of the goody baskets, he believes it’s a great component to their marketing efforts because it helps set them apart from others.
“In my mind as the business owner, it is well worth it. This is definitely a standout thing and the word gets around the neighborhood,” Cooper says. “The feedback that we have gotten back from people that have hired us is that they got our postcard, they saw our truck, heard about the [gift baskets] and invariably people are surprised to get them. … We want to be different and better in the minds of our clients and I think the word does get around that we’ve achieved that, doing something that nobody else does.”—Amalia Deligiannis