thunder::tech helped a dominant brand inform and educate its audience during a particularly tricky identity change


thyssenkrupp is a diversified global manufacturer of industrial products headquartered in Essen, Germany. The company can trace its beginnings back to 1811, and now encompasses 670 subsidiaries and more than 150,000 employees across seven continents. The brand services a wide variety of industries, including automotive, construction, chemical, food & beverage, shipbuilding, mining, oil & gas, energy generation and aerospace.
One of those global subsidiaries was Rotek Incorporated, the North American-based manufacturer of industrial rings and slewing bearings.
Rotek was the dominant leader in the manufacturing and distribution of industrial rings and slewing bearings, with an 85 percent market share. In early 2017, the company underwent a dramatic structure reorganization, which resulted in all subsidiary brands being brought under a singular corporate brand: thyssenkrupp. As part of this radical change, Rotek product names were also to change to align with the global brand: rothe erde.

The name’s the thing

This is when thunder::tech was engaged to tackle a steep marketing challenge: explain to the market why the brand name they had known and trusted for decades was changing—and not changing slightly, but changing to a name that most had never heard of and fewer could pronounce correctly.
thunder::tech began by developing a strategy that would guide the messaging campaign. The Rotek brand name held considerable equity in the market and was considered “the Kleenex of slewing bearings” in North America, making the change all the more crucial to communicate correctly.
Education was key, as none of the Rotek products, services or personnel were changing—literally the only change was in the way things were named. Even so, it was critical to reassure customers that the change was positive and would have no detrimental impact on their business.

Determining the campaign theme

The first step was a compelling theme. It needed to be short, to the point and support the existing positioning of both Rotek and thyssenkrupp to minimize potential customer confusion.
The chosen theme was “Rings. Bearings. Global Solutions.” This theme outlined the company’s main product offerings and focused on the key benefit the name change brought to the table: a renewed focus on ensuring Rotek customers were well positioned to succeed in a global marketplace.

Launching the campaign

To kick off the theme a variety of marketing vehicles were utilized.
First, thunder::tech designed a series of trade print ads that spoke directly to customers and prospects. The ads leveraged dramatic imagery that would feel familiar to the target audience and featured machinery that utilized thyssenkrupp rings and/or bearings.
A video was scripted and developed from a combination of existing thyssenkrupp videos and stock footage. The video explained how the change impacted customers (short answer: it didn’t) as well as demonstrated how to pronounce both thyssenkrupp (“tissen-KRupt”) and rothe erde (“rota AIR-da”), since the proper pronunciation wasn’t intuitive from the spelling.
Finally, thunder::tech designed and developed a landing page to serve as the digital hub of the entire campaign. It featured the campaign video, additional information and insights into the name change, reasons the change benefited end users, an FAQ section and a form to make it quick and easy for customers to contact their existing rep with questions or concerns.

Taking the campaign worldwide

The campaign was a success, with both existing and potential customers interacting with the print ad, video and landing page. In fact, the campaign was so well-received that thyssenkrupp decided to make it the template for similar name change initiatives. Prior to the official launch, thunder::tech was contacted to translate the video in a variety of different languages for use in other countries and markets.
Want to learn more? thunder::tech can help you with brand identity, campaign creation, strategy, website design and more. Contact us today!

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