Shifting perceptions of a sector to position a leading trades directory brand as the consumer champion

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Midnight PR's campaign has played a significant role in driving consumers to our website and, ultimately, business growth. Their PR campaign proved inventive, effective and achieved impressive results for us.

Kevin ByrneFormer Owner,

The challenge

How Midnight helped raise the profile of and drive business growth through an impactful PR campaign.

If you’ve ever needed to hire a tradesperson, chances are you have come across to find the right person for your job. The brand was well-known in the South as a platform for connecting local, independent tradespeople with consumers looking for help to find the right individual, check their profile and look at reviews customers had left.

After years of growth, the brand now faced several challenges. had watched as dozens of copycat competitors sprung up in its wake to capture a slice of the market with varying degrees of success. There was a need to re-establish the profile and brand values of in the minds of consumers and trades in view of a more crowded market. But there was also a negative impact on the perception of tradespeople and trade directories – the rise of rogue traders and cowboy builders.

There was a feeling there had been a shift in public sentiment towards trade directories and tradespeople as a result of businesses moving into the market with lower quality control procedures. With TV shows cropping up dedicated to exposing rogue traders, the team felt this negative sentiment was both a challenge for the sector and an opportunity for the brand to showcase its thorough vetting and quality controls to support reputable and professional trades. The leadership team had its sights set on national expansion and clear market leadership. This is where we got to work our magic.

How Midnight met the challenge

We love a challenge and our starting point was understanding public sentiment on cowboy builders and tradespeople. To gauge public opinion, we conducted national consumer surveys to extract accurate observations and insight on what the issues were from the perspective of consumers. The resulting body of research on cowboy builders not only helped inform our campaign activities, we used the findings to secure a significant amount of national coverage. This included feature pieces, columns and press releases in the target press to position Checkatrade at the forefront of understanding consumer needs – and the fight against cowboy builders and rogue traders.

Being seen as on the consumer’s side was an important part of the activity to position as the preferred choice against the imitation competitors.

With women, the main decision maker in the choice of tradespeople, we spotted an opportunity to raise awareness of and support diversity in the sector. As part of a special focus on female tradespeople in our campaign activity, a survey on the ‘DIY Battle of The Sexes’ helped secure even more coverage as well as female trader profiles in the national press.

Another key element of our PR strategy was raising the profile of CEO, Kevin Byrne, with features, columns and profile pieces drafted on behalf of the client. We secured interviews for Kevin on BBC Radio 4’s The Bottom Line and The Big Questions with Nicky Campbell, as well as speaker opportunities.

Turning PR into valuable clicks – and revenue growth

Our strategy hit the mark and delivered exactly what the client wanted in positioning the brand as genuinely caring about its customers and its commitment to only working with reputable firms.

One highlight from the campaign was securing an opportunity for Kevin to speak on the same stage as Bill Clinton – a transformational moment in positioning the image of Kevin and the brand.

During the campaign period, our team secured nearly 200 editorial placements with a potential audience reach of 257 million, resulting in a dramatic increase in website visits to more than 10 million.

The effect of driving this many consumers to the website was an increase in the number of new members, which grew by an average of 440 each month.

It’s no surprise the market and investors had closely monitored’s growth during this period, and with a south-coast brand gaining national attention, we’d like to think our support contributed to the strong business growth over this period.

Driving business growth to increase company value

Our partnership with was a perfect example of how to use PR to deliver tangible value through increased metrics and positioning the business and its founder to strategically build investor value.

The results we achieved through our PR campaign helped re-position the brand in the minds of consumers and the wider market, drive an increase in memberships and allow the business to continue on its rapid growth path.

With a constant drip feed, and some big splashes, with the same key issues and messaging reaching the media, Checkatrade became synonymous with putting power in the hands of the consumer to fight back against cowboy builders and rogue traders.

The company was acquired by Homeserve in 2017 for a reported £1 billion.

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