How do you get distributors x-cited about steel?

Work with Australia’s leading manufacturer to unleash an X-Factor public relations campaign!

In the face of challenging economic conditions, BlueScope Steel asked the Howorth business-to-business/corporate public relations practice to help build distributor awareness of its Australian manufactured XLERPLATE® steel plate products, converting them from passive referrers to passionate champions of the range.

Steel producers and on-sellers had an extraordinarily tough year in 2009, with sales and revenues falling as global demand for steel weakened and import competition increased. While the public relations campaign needed to communicate the core brand values of XLERPLATE® (quality, flexibility, diversity), we needed to deliver these messages to a sales-savvy audience without them being rejected as marketing ‘clutter.’

Howorth’s insight was to package up new product information within a wider marketing campaign, challenging distributors to take part in ‘Operation XFACTOR’.

We took updated sales collateral, developed e-communications and a striking X-Factor website to cover off all channels, ensuring that distributors could not help but be exposed to XLERPLATE® steel.  Once the buzz had been created around the product, a three stage online competition created strong incentives for participants to review and retain key product information, with Red Balloon vouchers rewarding those who successfully completed a ‘Quest for Quality’ around the plate’s key features and benefits.

Howorth worked with Random Studio and Alpha Salmon to deliver the PR campaign, including the development and design of marketing collateral and website. Participation rates have been strong and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

“I wish our marketing department thought of this a long time ago”

“Really clever concept…”

“Appreciate all of the new info. Thanks so much”

“Quality information”

The first phase of the PR program will continue through to May 2010 – Howorth is also in discussions with BlueScope Steel about subsequent phases of the campaign.