Many small businesses dream of ‘going viral’.
They’d love nothing more than to become a household name, with photos of their premises splashed online and people flocking to find out more about them.
Every now and then, this happens to a business organically [pun intended]. And so it happened for the Four Seasons Total Landscaping when it became the unwitting venue for a Trump team press conference.
.@Chrislhayes on the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference: “At one level all this stuff is hilarious, but at another there’s a reason the president’s casinos went bankrupt and he’s overseen one of the worst coronavirus responses,” https://t.co/XL6xAQrvxE— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 10, 2020
Recently, PR practitioners on Twitter were asked: “If you were handling PR for Four Seasons Total Landscaping, what would your next move be?”
This elicited a variety of responses, with some PR pros recommending pitching to the White House for new (lawn) business, sending a note of explanation to their customers, or even changing their name!
From what I’ve seen, Four Seasons Total Landscaping has already done a good PR job itself. I’m not sure if they hired fresh PR counsel when they hit the spotlight, but I think the following tactics have worked well for them:
- They shared an explanation on social media. They stated that they’re a family company, honoured to have hosted a press conference, who would be happy to host the same for any presidential candidate (thereby trying to remove the politics from the situation). You can see their statement on their Instagram account (and below) (It doesn’t look like they’ve had the resources to respond to the 149 comments, but that’s not unexpected).
- They joined Twitter so they could be part of the conversation. Their Twitter URL isn’t grand, but it’s the same as their website URL.
- They started selling merchandise: caps and T-shirts, so people could keep spreading their name. When you hop onto their website, a pop-up directs you to purchase.
- When they became overwhelmingly busy (hopefully selling merchandise and making some money out of the situation), they apologised – and initiated a pun and new hashtag, #lawnandorder
- They reshared the media coverage they gained, including tweeting this report from the BBC News UK:
- They showed manners – they thanked people!
Does Four Seasons Total Landscaping wish they were better prepared for this? Do they wish they already had a Twitter account? Do they wish their website was more professional? Do they wish their logo was more distinctive and attractive?
But they’re in the grounds maintenance business. They offer snow services. Leaf removal. Fertilisation. Weed control.
And when you’re head down, doing that kind of work for loyal customers, the communications and branding stuff is often (sadly) left behind.
And by the way (to use a favourite linking-phrase of President Elect Joe Biden), did you notice Biden give a nod to the business in his speech? He said:
“The Bible tells us, to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow and a time to heal…”