A robot building a house isn’t something you see every day. One doing it from traditional bricks, blocks and mortar is even rarer. In fact, there’s only one in the world, the Automatic Brick Laying Robot (ABLR), created by Yorkshire business Construction Automation.
After four years of innovation and development, Construction Automation set their robot the task of building its first real life house. A home to be lived in, not a prototype to be taken down once the build was completed.
This monumental moment in construction history needed marking and that is why Construction Automation turned to us. As specialists in construction PR and marketing, we were hired to tell the story of this clever innovation and how it can increase productivity, improve health and safety and bring consistent quality to the construction industry.
The angle of the press release was obvious – work was underway on the UK’s (probably the world’s but we aired on the side of caution) first ever robot-build house. We knew this would capture attention.
We also knew this was as much a visual story as it was a written one. After all, seeing is believing, and no matter how well we described the ABLR in our press release, that wouldn’t compare to watching it work. So, we created a short video of the robot in action, complete with drone footage to highlight the footprint of the house.
We bundled this up with the press release, stills photography, and a backgrounder about the company and sent the content package out to the media. Although we knew the story would be big, even we weren’t prepared for the response.
Calls from the world’s media flooded in. The obvious titles – the regional business media, local news media and construction publications – soon picked it up but that was just the start.
The phone rang hot with everyone from the national media to international film crews as the ABLR became an instant online hit with prominent coverage on major news websites including The Sun, Daily Mail and Metro.
As expected, these spawned the best headlines with Bot the Builder still our favourite.
We even got a call from the producer of Have I Got News For You eager for permission to use our video during the recording of the show. Sadly, it never made the final cut, but it was nice to be asked!
Two weeks later, when we analysed the impact of our efforts, the numbers told a great story. Print and online coverage alone reached more than 6,000,000 people worldwide, with broadcast figures adding to that figure by several hundred thousand.
The value of the coverage attained from a single press release, images and a video, was more than £500,000 and this value grows as the story continues to be shared.
Of course, it doesn’t end there. A robot building a house might not be something you see every day at the moment, but as Construction Automation surge forward, it won’t be long before they’re commonplace.
Throw some clever PR into the mix and they’re certainly building the foundations of great success.