Results: The following are some of the results we have achieved for our clients providing proof once again that words lead to sales.
Educating an Industry While Elevating a Consultant’s Stature
While he is now known as a leading consultant in the professional cleaning industry, with considerable stature and admiration for his contribution to the industry, that was not
necessarily the case 10 years ago. The goal of this consultant was to help turn the professional cleaning industry green. A decade or more ago, few cleaning professionals believed green was the future of the industry. What’s more, few end-customers were calling for green cleaning products. Their main concern was for the use of products that helped make their facilities look as pleasing as possible with little concern to cleaning’s impact on the environment.
Our strategy with this consultant is to take over what he has already begun. We begin preparing a constant stream of articles in all types of major industry publications, from school and university publications to healthcare and scores of other industries. The goal of these articles was multifold:
• First, discuss the potential negative impacts of the cleaning chemicals and products that cleaning professionals had been using for decades.
• Discuss the fact that there are product alternatives that are effective, cost effective, and have a reduced impact on the environment.
• Bring in the fact that when facilities transfer to green cleaning products, it is often an opportunity to train cleaning workers on the latest state-of-the-art cleaning systems and techniques.
• Present the many benefits of green cleaning chemicals and how green cleaning is more than just products—it is a system, a way of cleaning that is healthier for the worker, building users, and the environment.
• Discuss the green cleaning journey, how it is embracing sustainability issues of greater concern today than 10 years ago.
• Bring in case studies where green cleaning has helped improve student performance; that the combination of green cleaning and sustainability has helped facilities reduce operating costs; and how industry after industry is finding there are significant benefits, both tangible and intangible, by employing a green cleaning strategy.
This campaign was a process, a reeducation of the professional cleaning industry as well as end- customers, many of whom were skeptical about the performance of green cleaning products as well as their costs. It took time, patience, but persistence. As to the results, this consultant and his organization are now recognized as the leaders in green cleaning, not only in North America, but in most of the western world. It is a very good example of the power of words.
How We Helped A Green Chemical Manufacturer
A small manufacturer of Green cleaning chemicals found they were having difficulty in developing brand awareness, as well as struggling to find distributors in North America willing to market their line. While advertising might be able to help, the company decided that approach was far too expensive for them at that time; moreover, they were not convinced that advertising would effectively communicate who they are and how their products are different—with more features and benefits than their competitors’—to end-users and distributors.
To address this challenge, the company hired AlturaSolutions Communications in 2005 to promote the company and its products using PR/communications.AlturaSolutions was able to secure article placement in a variety of B2B publications in areas ranging from cleaning and maintenance to health care, education, restaurant/hospitality, and, in one case, publications for private and public bus companies (since the company manufactured Green cleaning products that could be used to clean busses).
Five years later, the company went from just one U.S. distributor to more than 20. In addition, in 2011, while the U.S. was still mired in the economic downturn, they were reporting sales increases double the industry average. In fact, the company later reported that the economic downturn had little or no negative growth impact on their sales.
AlturaSolutions played an important and vital role in helping them grow and expand.
Introducing Cylindrical Brush Technology to America
One of the leading manufacturers of floor care equipment in North America was looking for a way to differentiate their company from the competition. Most floor care machines manufactured and/or sold in the U.S. are rotary machines. This equipment uses a disk that turns a pad that in turn cleans or polishes a floor.
This company, working with a German manufacture, wanted to introduce cylindrical brush machines into the North American market as a viable and effective alternative floor care technology. Cylindrical brush machines use brushes instead of pads. The key benefit of these systems is that brushes can dig further into the pores of floors and grout, removing soils. These machines are also surprisingly easy to use, whereas rotary machines require some training and stamina on the part of workers. Also, because cylindrical machines are square, they can lineup against walls and reach into corners, cleaning floor areas that workers generally have to clean by hand.
In 2003, this company hired AlturaSolutions Communications specifically to promote cylindrical brush technology. While these products were common in Europe, they were not widely known or used in North America. The first objective was to describe the product to end-users. To do this, AlturaSolutions placed more than 50 articles over a three year period in cleaning and maintenance publications serving a variety of market segments, describing how cylindrical brush machines work and their benefits. Soon, the market segment expanded to school and health care publications (as floor care is a major cleaning consideration in these settings).
Today, cylindrical brush machines are some of the best-selling products this company manufactures. Starting with just one model, they now market several different systems that address a variety of floor care needs. In fact, in what is probably the most significant indication of how well this PR/communications program worked, several of the company’s competitors now also offer cylindrical brush floor machines. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.
Cleaning Without Touching
In the late 1990s, a jansan distributor designed a machine that cleans restrooms and other surfaces without the cleaning professional having to touch them. This system essentially pressure washes surfaces and fixtures; after cleaning is complete, a built-in vacuum system removes all moisture and soils.
The initial goal of the distributor who invented this system was to improve the morale and professionalism of cleaning workers. The distributor believed that some cleaning workers have a low opinion of themselves because they work on their hands and knees cleaning toilets, floors, partitions, etc. This indoor pressure-washing system eliminates that aspect of cleaning work and helps make custodians look, feel, and act more professional.
However, this distributor was struggling to get the message out to cleaning workers about the advantages of his system.
His company hired AlturaSolutions Communications to take on this task in 2002. Our first step was to publish a series of articles discussing ways to perform restroom cleaning more professionally. However, as studies began to find that this system actually cleans restrooms faster and more thoroughly than conventional restroom cleaning methods, this theme became the new focus of our work. Over the years, we have placed more than 100 articles for this client in a wide variety of publications dealing with cleaning issues.
Starting with just one machine, this company has now expanded its product lines to include several models and a range of related products. The product is now sold internationally and the company has recently introduced an entirely new product line. We are repeating the methods we used for the first system to discuss the features and benefits of the new line…globally.
In addition, some of the leading manufacturers in the professional cleaning industry have recognized the system’s form of cleaning as credible, reliable, and even necessary in many situations. Many now make systems similar to this original machine…proving once again the old adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
From Fad to Norm
In 2003, many in the professional cleaning industry viewed Green cleaning as—at best—of limited interest to the industry or as simply a fad. In fact, at that time, many leaders in the industry predicted that Green cleaning’s impact would follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of facilities would be cleaned using conventional cleaning products with only 20 percent cleaned using Green products.
Ten years later, we know the opposite is true. In most cases, a Green cleaning product is selected first with a conventional product chosen only if an enviromentally preferable one is not available or is for some reason not cost or performance effective.
AlturaSolutions played a role in this transformation. In 2003, the leading Green cleaning advocate in the industry hired AlturaSolutions for two reasons:
- Promote the benefits of Green cleaning
- Promote the consultant and his organization
As with other clients, these objectives were attained by supplying publications of all types—cleaning, healthcare, education, retail, hospitality, etc.—with credible, well-thought-out content about the values of Green cleaning. With each article, the consultant or a member of his organization was quoted or listed in the byline as an expert and leader on Green cleaning issues.
Today, along with playing a key role in advancing the acceptance and merits of Green cleaning, the consultant is well known as “the father of Green cleaning.” Most manufacturers, facility management organizations, school administrators, and other groups looking to Green their operations now turn to this individual and his company for Green cleaning guidance.
The days of Green cleaning being a fad are well over; the value of this consultant and his organization for several industries is now well established.