Raleigh PR firms thrive by helping small businesses through pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Throughout 2020, we told you about many businesses that managed to find success during the pandemic in our ongoing series Carolina Comeback.

Some of those businesses turned to marketing and public relations firms, which also helped those firms make a Carolina Comeback.

Window World of Raleigh is a small business that turned to a local marketing firm for advice on how to handle the pandemic; advice that paid off.

"We have done phenomenally with everyone being home and people not going on vacations and eating out as much and spending as much, they are wanting to redo their homes," said Rachel Castillo a Window World of Raleigh manager.

She said that during the pandemic, many of those lucky enough to keep a paycheck saved money from not doing all those things they would have normally done in 2020.

On top of that, they got stimulus checks.

So it's easy to see why the home improvement industry flourished during the pandemic.

But Castillo recalls that at the start of the pandemic no one in the home improvement industry knew what was going to happen.

"I remember being in the office thinking like every other person in North Carolina, am I going to lose my job," she recalled wondering, "But my boss actually said, 'Hey we've got to figure out how to market better and we have to figure out how to reach more customers."

To do that Window World turned to their public relations firm, 919 Marketing.

The Wake County firm, like similar companies, also saw business boom this year because so many companies needed help reaching customers during the pandemic.

"Suddenly, our customers had to not only talk to their employees, but they had to talk to their customers, and to the whole public to say, 'Hey, you can still use our business, we're safe, we're healthy, here's the safety protocol we're using," said Sue Yannello, the public relations manager with 919 Marketing.

Yannello also said her firm immediately realized that with everyone being stuck at home, that would mean a lot more screen time.

"We've got kids doing homeschooling, we got everybody working from home, everybody's on that laptop, right," Yannello said, "So we're telling our customers they've got to use social media, they've got to use PR and traditional news media."

Window World of Raleigh wanted potential customers to not only know their installers would wear masks, social distance, and sanitize but that customers could also shop from home after they quickly pivoted and set up virtual demonstrations of their products on video chats with clients.

"We wanted people to know that we were still here, that we were open, that we were taking precautions and following the CDC guidelines for COVID," Castillo said adding, "And also the virtual sales appointments that was really big. Within two weeks we changed our conference room into a virtual salesroom."

And once 919 Marketing helped them get the word out, business took off.
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