When ITT Corporation, a $12 billion conglomerate, was split into three companies in October of 2011, our client’s new company was branded Xylem. Over night, Xylem became a $3.5 billion water management technology organization that manufactures commercial and residential heating and cooling systems.
A host of ad and PR agencies around the world were tasked with launching the three new brands through a three-month, multi-million dollar campaign to the financial community and the individual customer marketplaces. This multifaceted MarCom campaign consisted of running a variety of print and digital ads and multi-page inserts in the leading trade and business publications, direct mail and email blasts to the customer databases, and meetings with financial analysts and customers worldwide. These efforts created widespread awareness for the new company brand.
H+A International's task was to introduce the new Xylem corporate brand at the first major trade show of 2012 for the HVACR (heating and air conditioning) industry at the end of January in Chicago. Our objective was to “Own The Show” and make sure the 58,000 engineers and contractors attending the event, as well as the overall HVACR industry, were well aware that the company and leading products and brands they knew and trusted for nearly 100 years now had a new name.
AHR Expo was the ideal opportunity to communicate our critical positioning messages as it attracts the leading consulting and specifying firms from around the world, tens of thousands of contractors from North America, the entire sales and distribution channel, and the 35 ITT Representative Organizations that sell the products to the end users. Equally important, the Show attracts nearly 200 international trade media with a readership of well over 1 million HVACR professionals.
However, this assignment presented a special challenge for H+A International as although the ITT brand had tremendous brand recognition among the millions of HVACR professional worldwide, these key target audiences were more invested with the individual product brand name - Bell & Gossett. That meant we needed to promote Xylem as the new parent company of Bell & Gossett. We knew there would be a variety of concerns relating to what this new company is and how it would change the relationships they had forged with the products and people over the years.
Another challenge we faced was that the entire ad budget had been spent on introducing the brand to the financial/business community so there was nothing left to advertise in the trade magazines. In fact, the total budget for all the sponsorships, customer party and marketing activities was under $300K.
We determined our key objectives would include:
Making all target audiences aware that although ITT was now Xylem, the products and people they had come to trust would remain the same and continue to grow and improve.
Strengthen the Xylem Rep Organization’s belief that the name change was good for them and their customers.
Creating special messaging for the four key target audiences – Xylem Reps, engineers, contractors, and the media.
Creating an “Own The Show” campaign so no matter what Show-related activities they experienced they would come away knowing that ITT was now Xylem.
Going beyond just the “Show Activities” at McCormick Place to insure that during the three days the attendees were in town, they would be inundated with Xylem messaging at every major industry-related event.
We accomplished our objectives by creating a multi-faceted MarCom Campaign consisting of the following strategies and tactics:
Created an email inviting the Rep Organization principals to a sales meeting the Sunday before the Show and to a gala Xylem party at Navy Pier on Monday Evening. We also created special email invitations for them to invite their best customers to the Xylem booth and the Party. The invitations included a link to Xylem’s virtual trade show booth where they could see product descriptions and company information.
We created some unique sponsorships to gain maximum exposure among our key target audience. We partnered with ASHRAE, the leading industry association that holds its Winter meeting just prior to the Show, to be the major sponsor for their entire meeting of 2,000 consulting engineers.
As the Platinum Sponsor, we received extensive coverage in all the promotional material for three months leading up to the event and extensive signage and recognition at their onsite meetings - including the Gala Opening Reception at the Art Institute, the three days of meetings at the Palmer House and the opportunity to address the opening session. The promo materials had QR codes linked to the virtual trade show booth and a special Xylem video.
A Xylem Representative Sales Meeting was held the Sunday before the Show for the 35 Rep principals to answer all their questions and to motivate them to excite their customers about the new name. A private Reception was held after the sales meeting to initiate one-on-one meetings with the key Xylem executives.
Working closely with AHR Expo Show Management, we created a special “Water Oasis” at the two main entrances to the Show where people could get cups of water branded with the Xylem and product brand logos. We also sponsored the Product Locator and the Cyber Café that are used by several thousand attendees during the Show. The 38 computer terminals featured a huge Xylem screen saver and directed users to an online Xylem Water Game they could play on Xylem’s new website. QR codes also linked them to the virtual trade show booth and video.
We created a gala “Xylem Celebration” party at the Navy Pier Ballroom for nearly 1,000 top customers featuring delicious food, a Blues Band, Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull, and other unique entertainment.
We sponsored an educational seminar on the second day of the Show with two of the leading trade publications that featured the most well-known industry experts. The seminar was extensively promoted by the magazines via ads, articles, email blasts and direct mail starting several months before the Show.
To generate significant editorial coverage in the key trade publications, we hosted a Press Conference on the 2nd day of the Show that attracted 25 editors representing 31 publications. We also arranged for 14 one-on-one interviews with key executives in the Xylem booth, as well as an NBC TV interview.
We implemented a very aggressive digital and social media program on Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube and created a virtual tradeshow webpage to track the traffic.
A stunning Xylem booth was created for the Show. Booth staff used iPads to walk visitors through the booth and capture their information.
The “Own The Show” campaign was a smashing success. Wherever attendees turned during the three-day event, they experienced the Xylem brand. From the ASHRAE meeting and events prior to the Show, to the Rep Organization Sales Meeting, the Trade Show sponsorship activities and the gala party at Navy Pier on Monday night, Xylem customers and the overall HVACR industry came away very knowledgeable of the new brand.
In addition, extensive publicity coverage including more than 100 news and feature articles have appeared and will continue to appear over the next several weeks in the trade media.
Here are the detailed results:
The 35 Rep Organizations that sell and service all Xylem customers came away very impressed with the new brand and business plan. They said their customers went into the Show wondering what Xylem was all about and what changes might occur. They felt their customers came away with greatly enhanced confidence and brand awareness.
The 2,000 plus consulting engineers that attended the ASHRAE Winter Conference came away much more knowledgeable of Xylem. These are the people who design and specify all the large commercial building projects worldwide.
The nearly 1,000 customers that attended the Xylem Celebration Party at Navy Pier were very familiar and very impressed with the new brand. Several have, or soon will, place orders for hundreds of thousands of dollars of new equipment.
Virtually all 58,000 attendees saw the Xylem Water Oases every time they entered or left the Show. More than 12,000 stopped to get a drink of water and many of them scanned in the QR code.
An estimated 20,000 attendees used the Xylem Product Locators and/or visited the Xylem Cyber Café where they linked with the Xylem website and/or played the Xylem Water Game.
Several hundred people visited the Xylem booth and the company captured nearly 400 leads. The company was very pleased with the number of leads for such expensive equipment.
We implemented a very aggressive digital and social media program on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and virtual tradeshow webpage that increased followers to our social media channels by 12% and daily impressions by five-fold.
The 36 editors we met with representing over 50 publications are now very familiar with Xylem. More than 150 print and digital news items, product releases and feature article have already appeared in over 75 media outlets and many more articles will appear over the next several weeks. The published articles have generated millions of impressions with an ad equivalency of approximately $375,000
Xylem felt the “Own The Show” campaign was very successful in transitioning the brand from ITT to Xylem among a very important industry segment.
Innovative MarCom Program Sets Japan Pavilion Apart at Housewares Show
Attracting hundreds of buyers and key media to a tradeshow pavilion is always a challenge, especially when it is just one of several international pavilions among 2,000 exhibitors. However, using a combination of innovative MarCom techniques and a unique news angle, H+A International generated extensive media coverage worth over $50,000 from such major outlets as ABC news, CBS radio and Good Morning America. We also attracted hundreds of buyers to the pavilion to see the products and attend a special Sake Tasting.
This past March, JETRO, Japan’s governmental arm for external trade, hosted its first Japan Pavilion at the International Home + Housewares Show. It featured ten manufacturers from the three prefectures in Northeastern Japan hardest hit by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The companies displayed one-of-a-kind products that featured the uniqueness of Japanese design in such natural materials as wood, glass, paper, lacquer and iron.
With less than three months until the show, JETRO contacted us to create and implement an aggressive PR/MarCom program that would generate extensive media coverage and attract hundreds of buyers to the Japan Pavilion.
H+A International immediately embarked on an intensive media and buyer outreach program that consisted of the following strategies and techniques:
Outreach to key trade media contacts gained from our years of experience in the field, resulting in major feature articles prior to the Show and in the Show Daily.
Creation of three news releases and press kits highlighting the featured exhibitors’ triumph over adversity after the tsunami, as well as products being featured in the Pavilion.
Outreach to key consumer and housewares media to arrange for pre-show and onsite interviews
Multiple e-blasts to several thousand buyers and media featuring information on the Pavilion, exhibitors, products and Sake Reception
Personal direct mail invitations to the pavilion Sake Reception to 1700 segmented buyers
Outreach to over 70 industry bloggers to discuss pre-show and onsite coverage
Creation of a special Sake reception where media and buyers could meet with exhibitors
Social media outreach via Twitter and Facebook to industry professionals
The MarCom program was a tremendous success and generated excellent ROI
New York Times article
Two 30-second primetime broadcasts on ABC news
Good Morning America coverage
30-second CBS radio broadcast
Major articles in pre-show publications, on-site show dailies and post show publications including two full page spreads
Full page feature article in the Daily Herald talking about the unique products
50 print, digital and broadcast media outlets with an ad equivalency exceeding $50,000.
Click links to view full stories on the Japan Pavilion
AHR Expo: Maximizing Strategic Alliances to Reach New Markets and Drive Show Attendance
The leading trade show serving the $40 billion heating and air conditioning industry wanted to attract several new segments of the expanding HVACR marketplace by working closely with associations and organizations that serve its niche segments. At the same time, the Show had a 75-year relationship with the original association-sponsor, which they did not want to jeopardize.
Working closely with show management, we created a strategic alliance program for endorsing associations in various market segments. In the initial four-year period, the team formed partnerships with 31 leading associations in a variety of key marketplace segments that provide a variety of valuable benefits to the Show and the associations at little or no cost to Show Management including:
Gaining year-around promotion of the Show via the associations' promotions on their websites, in their magazines and newsletters and through e-mail blasts and direct mail
Gaining a third-person endorsement of the Show to thousands of prospective new attendees and exhibitors from the most credible source - their own associations
Promoting the associations to several thousands of industry professionals worldwide by including their logos on direct mail, advertising in trade magazines and through electronic marketing
Having the support and presence of the industry's leading associations on the show floor represents thousands of additional square footage that the show did not previously have
Providing valuable new educational sessions sponsored by the associations
Demonstrating that the show works with and supports the entire industry
Staying at the cutting edge of industry trends and technologies
The Show is now being promoted year-round in a variety of highly effective ways by 36 industry leading partners to thousands of their members worldwide. If we had to pay for all the free promotion we now receive, it would cost thousands of dollars. Most importantly, the Show continues to grow and set new records for attendees and exhibitors.
gia - The Global Innovator Award
The International Housewares Association (IHA) was faced with the challenge of finding a unique way to acknowledge and honor excellence in housewares retailing on a global level at its International Home + Housewares Show. At the same time, IHA wanted to solidify its image as the world's 'Home Authority' through the stature of its Show, which is the largest housewares-exclusive Show in the world.
H+A worked closely with IHA to develop gia, a national and international awards program honoring innovative business practices and excellence in visual merchandising at the global housewares retail level. To accomplish this, H+A created partnerships between the world's leading housewares trade publications and the IHA. After much research and strategic planning, the inaugural 13 trade publications celebrated the first gia gala at the 2000 International Home + Housewares Show. Today gia is carried out in more than 25 countries around the world and has evolved into a year-round program that generates more than 50 articles and over 20 free ads due to the extensive promotions by the global media partners. There is ongoing publicity about ‘the best in housewares retailing,’ enabling retailers around the world to learn about best practices and innovations that may also work in their countries.
gia has evolved into the most recognized and prestigious global housewares retail award program. Global participation continues to grow, and the gia events play an important role at the annual International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, where the program culminates each year.
Details: There are more than 25 publication sponsors in as many countries today - Annual publicity generates more than $300,000 in ad equivalency. The IHHS’ global brand value has increased significantly due to retailer-buyer awareness of gia and the Show.
ITT: E-SV Virtual Press Conference
ITT, The world's leading pump manufacturer, introduced a new line of e-SV pumps to key North American editors. Designed by the ITT Residential Commercial Water (RCW) global teams, the new line of pumps is more energy-efficient, facilitates maintenance, helps reduce lifecycle costs and has universal standardized parts – a truly global product. The challenge for H+A International was to make a huge impact with the launch of the new e-SV pumps as effectively and cost-efficiently as possible.
Created a virtual press conference
Sent a series of animated email invitations to key editors
Invited editors to join us for a 45-minute virtual press conference and snack break
Couriered Italian/American snack packs to 36 editors who confirmed
Conducted comprehensive press conference on e-SV Launch Day
The launch was a complete success. ITT was very impressed by the responses from the editors. H+A generated an extensive amount of coverage for the new product launch and made maximum impact with editors very cost efficiently.
ITTH2OPros Social Media Network
ITT Residential Commercial Water (RCW) launched a new social media community called ITT H2O Pros where HVACR consulting specifying engineers, installers, wholesalers and other industry professionals can engage with each other. This new social media community serves as a virtual platform where members of the industry come together and converse on topics ranging from careers to new applications advice via various social media platforms and forums. The challenge for H+A International was to aid in building up the audience, providing content, and creating ‘buzz’ for the ITT H2O Pros website.
Introduced the www.itth2opros.com social media network to audiences as ‘a leading voice’ in the industry
Used social media channels to cross-promote content and enhance brand- and thought leadership
Engaged key target audience marketplace made up of over 100k LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube users
Created excitement, renewed interest and reinforced credibility with key audiences (customers, reps, media and consumers)
What took 3 months to organically grow doubled in just three weeks from January to February (largest growth increase) and is still consistently growing on a monthly basis
Facebook impressions and Twitter ‘re-tweets’ (mentions) increased by three to four times the daily average at trade shows
Active guest bloggers (media and industry thought-leaders) increased traffic on ITT H2O Pros Blog by nearly 20%
Zevro: Putting the Spin on a New Product
A housewares manufacturer from Israel launched their housewares product, the Indispensable Dispenser, into the U.S. market for the first time. As the company was setting up its internal infrastructure including a new sales operation, they retained H+A to help maximize their exposure at industry trade shows in the US and Europe, and to promote the product through a multi-faceted integrated MarCom campaign.
We positioned the product as a nutrition-enhancing product that helps to control portion size, thus appealing to a health-conscious consumer market in the U.S. News releases were distributed to relevant consumer and trade media underscoring the brand messaging. We also recommended the company support a nationwide children's charity and donate products as well as monetary donations to show their commitment to fighting childhood obesity. Samples of the product were sent to key consumer publications and we tied the product in with highly visible events such as the Academy Awards after-parties. We were responsible for the production of television commercials, strategic media planning and buying, design of direct mail postcards, and print ads.
Consumer media responded very quickly to the healthy-living angle of the product. Articles appeared in Women's Health and Fitness, O the OprahMagazine, Shape Magazine, and Self Magazine to name a few. The product also appeared on the set of a popular show on the Food Network and NBC's The Today Show. Through their participation in industry trade shows, retailers came to know the product quickly. During the first year, the company reached 100,000 units sold and today holds a solid position in the marketplace.
Building ‘The Buzz’ For Trade Shows In Local Media
How can trade shows create that ‘buzz’ of excitement that will convince qualified professionals in the city where the event is being held to attend the show? Likewise, how can an event reinforce or build its reputation among attendees as the leading show for the industry?
The most effective way to create special awareness and excitement for a show once all the pre-show promotions are completed is to create an aggressive PR campaign targeted to local media. Articles in local newspapers, TV coverage on the show floor, radio interviews and stories in local business magazines can generate great ‘buzz‘ for the show. They key is identifying good news angles and then pitching them to the media in the most effective manner.
Here are just a few examples of news angles and/pr special events that have gained our clients hundreds of TV interviews and news articles:
Construction of the local CBS TV affiliate’s new office in Chicago provided us with an opportunity to generate excellent coverage for the Welding Show/FabTech event. We arranged for welders from the trade show to come to the studios and provide demonstrations at the construction site
Identifying the latest and most unique anti-aging and beauty tips at the Health & Beauty Expo in New York has generated extensive coverage on several local TV stations and radio stations, as well as generating articles in local newspapers and key consumer publications
Developing a story on the security threats of wireless computing generated significant TV coverage for the Satellite Show in Washington D.C.
Revealing all the newest equipment and technologies available to help First Responders fight terrorist threats generated major TV, radio and newspaper coverage in the Los Angeles area for the Emergency Response Show held in Long Beach
Extensive promotion of several new energy-saving trends and products has generated much TV, radio and newspaper coverage in Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Anaheim, Philadelphia and Atlantic City
Identifying little-known technology trends and products has generated tremendous consumer media coverage worldwide for the Mac World Shows held in New York and San Francisco
Arranging for Chicago's former Mayor Daley to speak about Green Buildings at the Building Design Show resulted in a major feature story on National Public Radio
Generated several million dollars worth of publicity coverage for hundreds of trade publications, not only locally but also nationally and around world.
Putting The ‘Special’ In Special Events
Bringing together your top customers or other target audiences for an expensive one-time event always sounds like a good time for all. However, the key question to ask before investing in these events is ‘Will you be sure to attract the quality and quantity of guests to justify the cost?’
We work with several of our clients to create and produce truly unique, ‘must attend’ events around the world. However, our first objective is to ensure that we are attracting enough of the right people to justify the expense of the event. Here are just a few of the unique events we have created:
A private party at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for some 500 customers and guests of a Fortune 50 company. We arranged for private tours, and guests were able to send special postcards from the UN post office.
Innovative New Product Launch party for 1,000 customers at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. The company's new pumps were displayed among other ‘great inventions’ and special tours were given of a working coal mine and a robotic factory that produced Gyroscopes with guests' names welded on them; unique entertainment and sumptuous food rounded out the event
A private party at the Front Page Bistro in Dusseldorf, Germany, where a tradeshow company announced the ‘Front Page News’ of their new show to 300 exhibitors from around the world. Entertainment was provided by a German singer who bills himself as Frank Sinatra On The Rhine and sang German and American favorites
A private party for 600 at Sea World in Orlando to make a ‘splash’ with the company's new product. The killer whale Shamu did a special show just for guests
A champagne Press Luncheon for 14 key trade magazine editors to introduce our client's new industrial pump at the world famous ‘Pump Room’ in Chicago. Each editor had his or her picture taken in the famous ‘Booth Number 1’ with the new pump
Created a series of sports celebrity parties for several hundred people in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago. Celebrities signed autographs and took pictures with the guests and our client's products
Boardwalk party in Atlantic City featuring Midway games and performances by Elvis, Tina Turner and Marilyn Monroe impersonators
Celebrity Chef cooking demonstrations for key customers in Frankfurt, Germany, and Chicago
Product give-aways at one of the Academy Awards post-show parties in Los Angeles
Due to careful planning and identifying specific objectives in advance, these special events always attract the key audiences we target. The guests come away from these events with a good feeling about the hosts, a better appreciation of their products, and a unique memento they keep in their offices as a reminder.