Case Study: Rising Tide Car Wash Social Enterprise


The Challenge

acw-19-LIn March 2013, Durée & Company was presented with an opportunity to work with the new groundbreaking social enterprise, Rising Tide Car Wash. This one-of-a-kind car wash in Parkland, Florida, founded and managed by the local D’Eri family as a business where their beloved family member and other young adults with autism could contribute and thrive, was scheduled to open on April 6, 2013. With less than one month to initiate, Durée & Company began devising a plan for Rising Tide’s media relations and public relations support.

Strategies & Tactics

The goals and objectives of Durée & Company’s media relations/public relations campaign were three-fold:

  1. Introduce Rising Tide to regional business media with its unique altruistic model: Capitalizing off the groundbreaking employment concept and rising awareness of autism, Durée & Company sought to share business-side benefits of working with individuals with autism.
  2. Personalize Rising Tide business owners: The client’s story was personal, so Durée & Company trained the owners for media appearances and interviews, nominated them for area/regional business awards and recognitions, and made them the “face” of Rising Tide.
  3. Take the story national: Once Rising Tide was open, established and successfully fulfilling its model, Durée & Company saw an opportunity for a bigger audience. Autism is globally-recognized, so the business model of Rising Tide had great franchise possibilities. Durée & Company planned to reposition the local story into a national one, to help the client meet its future business goals.acw-39-LThe 2013 campaign for Rising Tide Car Wash was implemented in stages, reflecting the origination and maturation of the business and its owners, drawing first upon local relationships with The Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and numerous South Florida TV stations. Various angles were pitched and pursued, targeting business, autism-related, parenting, community, and/or lifestyle media outlets.In addition to traditional media relations, Duree & Company supported the continual stream of brand-building messages with nominations to local business award programs and a strong social media campaign of blog posts, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter announcements of Rising Tide Car Wash news.

The Results

  • In the first month of the relationship, April 2013, Durée & Company generated the equivalent of almost $98,000 in publicity value. The coverage was primarily TV segments of the grand opening and business introduction to the area, including feature stories on CNN En Española and full-page features in the English and Spanish version of The Sun-Sentinel. TV segments went viral, and broadcasts were shared nationally on market affiliates from Texas to Guam, Virginia to Hawaii.
  • Durée & Company garnered approximately 1,900 online views of the Rising Tide Car Wash announcement release via PRNewswire and more than $12,000 in publicity value via a WTVJ-NBC feature story that aired in May 2013.

In the following months, the campaign ebbed and flowed with short- and long-range pitching yielding a variety of coverage and stories.

The Results at the One-Year Mark:

  • January 2014: Durée & Company accepted the Bernays Award for Branding/Image Campaign from the Gold Coast PR Council for its work with Rising Tide. Founders John and Thomas D’Eri were selected by Autism Speaks to share their knowledge at the first-of-its-kind national Extraordinary Ventures Conference.
  • February 2014: John and Thomas D’Eri were invited to speak at the TEDx Coconut Grove. Rising Tide wins TEDx Coconut Grove’s annual Hope Prize of $5,000.
  • photo 4March 2014: Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief and the Broward County Commissioners honored Rising Tide as the Broward County Business of the Week/ deemed March 18 Rising Tide Car Wash Day in Broward County. Rising Tide was announced the winner of CareerSource Broward’s Connections 2014 Small Business of the Year Award.
  • April 6, 2014: Rising Tide was awarded with the 2014 Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks’ first-ever Autism Awareness Award.
  • April 21, 2014: Rising Tide was featured on the national evening television news program, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
  • June 2014: Durée & Company won the Bronze American Business Award (also known as the Stevie® Award), the nation’s premier business awards program, for its work with Rising Tide in the category of Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Reputation/Brand Management.
  • June 3, 2014: Rising Tide was featured on Fox Business’ “Making Money”.
  • June 15, 2014: Rising Tide was featured on MSNBC’s “Your Business this Sunday”.