Balsam Hill

“Jill has done a terrific job for Balsam Hill! It’s now our eighth year working together! It’s a pleasure to work with her – her can-do attitude, hard work, and enthusiasm make her a great business partner.”

Pablo Diaz Barriga, E-commerce Director, Balsam Hill

As featured in…

Background and Brief

US-based luxury brand Balsam Hill launched in the UK in 2013, bringing its true-to-life, uber-luxurious, artisan Christmas trees to British homes. VIP fans of the high-end, sophisticated artificial Christmas tree company include global TV stars Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, and trees retail at up to $20,000 each. Founder Thomas Harman was inspired to start Balsam Hill after a family member was allergic to live trees. When he struggled to find a true-to-life, premium quality, artificial Christmas tree, he decided to create his own.

With strong competition from the likes of John Lewis and other retailers, I was appointed to launch Balsam Hill in the UK, raise the brand’s profile, generate credibility and drive sales in the run-up to Christmas. My aim was to achieve coverage on TV as well as in the country’s best-selling home interiors magazines. I was brought back in 2014 and again in 2015 to build on our PR efforts.

Campaign and Results

After being appointed in the late summer of 2013, I had to work fast as many of the monthly glossies were already planning or even working on their Christmas editions.

So I offered to lend Balsam Hill Christmas trees and decorations to the magazines for their festive shoots, and I also provided high-quality imagery, both lifestyle and cut-outs, to encourage product placement. National newspapers and their weekend supplements were also targeted as part of the PR campaign. I focused on the brand’s USPs including how designers handcraft each artificial Christmas tree to look life-like and also visit forests and use fresh cuttings from live trees as inspiration.

As a result of the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, Balsam Hill has featured in every major interiors magazine, from Conde Nast’s House & Garden to Ideal Home. And I secured not one but three pieces of coverage in the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping, the UK’s most popular women’s magazine, with one of the trees taking centre stage in a celebrity shoot.

With TV coverage also being a target, I contacted art directors and production managers on some of Britain’s most watched TV programmes, and offered to lend them Balsam Hill trees for their seasonal sets in return for credits, use of the show’s logos, and photographs of the trees as featured on the shows – together with their celebrity hosts and guests. These images were then used on Balsam Hill’s website and in their marketing materials, such as TV ads, to strengthen credibility. I secured TV coverage on some of Britain’s biggest shows including ITV1 The X Factor, ITV1 The Jonathan Ross Show, and BBC1 Saturday Kitchen.

I also gained A-List celebrity endorsement in the shape of global singing superstar Leona Lewis who tweeted and blogged about Balsam Hill to her 1m followers after we arranged for the brand to donate a tree to her favourite animal charity.

Sales of Balsam Hill in the UK increased by 40% in 2014. PR Superstar is tasked with increasing sales by 50% in 2015.

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