NSK Case Study

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A case study we did for a client where we had a response rate of 140% from a direct mailer

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NSK Case Study

  1. 1. 905.275.2220 5thbusiness.comNSK CorporationEstablished in 1916 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, NSK is a world-class manufacturer of motion and control products, leading the industry withsuperior quality, engineering research and technical innovation. The Global 100Sustainable Company produces and distributes a wide range of rolling elementbearings, linear motion and automotive component products for a variety ofapplications.Production is housed in 60 global manufacturing facilities supported by over 127sales offices and 12 technology centres. NSK operates within a multiple businessunit structure and sells its products to OEMs and aftermarket customers directlyand via extensive third-party distribution.5th business® supports NSK in the Americas by providing marketing strategycounsel and related go-to-market activities to drive business growth in priorityverticals.their challengeTo gain market share and brand recognition for a commodity product in ashrinking and cluttered North American market dominated by well-establishedand technically capable competitors with well-entrenched reputations and clientrelationships.case study NSK Corporation 1
  2. 2. our strategy“The `Think NSK.’ tagline In a mature and well-serviced market, especially one that is slowly shrinking, obtaining market share held by competitors is one method of growing theand campaign will help business. As such, our major strategy was the development and implementation ofus achieve our goals of a comprehensive marketing program to facilitate a brand switch to NSK from itsinforming the market of the competitors and better position the brand vs. lower cost/lower quality foreignmyriad benefits of choosing alternatives.NSK by capitalizing on our Working with a marketing leadership team with representatives from all of NSK’sincreasing brand profile.” key business units and segment managers who are expert in each key business vertical, we developed a positioning strategy that places NSK firmly in the business of providing customer solutions, rather than simply ‘products for order’.Tom RousePresident, NSK Corporation The driving force behind the strategy was to build NSK’s reputation as an expert in its field with a focus on helping customers maximize their business efficiency, enhance their manufacturing uptime and realize the benefits of innovative, engineering-led product development that exceeds the performance and overall quality of competitors. Comprehensive market research with both the end-user and distributor channels, stakeholder engagement and competitive analysis activities led to the development of a brand strategy built around a core grouping of key attributes of brand differentiation. The ‘Think NSK’ tagline was developed to anchor the key brand attributes (quality, reliability, innovation, experience, and performance) and provide a foundation for an organized, unified brand vision that would allow NSK to increase brand awareness and comprehension within its specifically identified targeted markets and for the corporation in general. It was imperative that the strategy link to the global brand strategy and be reflective of the needs of both the aftermarket and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) businesses. A more complex requirement was to ensure the brand strategy reflected the needs of both the bearing and linear product lines, which are very different in terms of customer requirements and sales process. case study NSK Corporation 2
  3. 3. our workThe strategic ‘Think NSK’ campaign was launched internally, then externally,with a comprehensive brand re-introduction featuring cohesive communicationsmaterials with a unified design, consistent language and key messages thatworked to evolve NSK’s brand image within its key markets across North America.The ‘Think NSK’ message was applied to leverage the most effective messagingand visuals across key verticals. A set of brand standards were developed toguide visual and textual representations of the brand, and a thorough review andrefinement process was conducted to ensure that all communications materialsadhered to the newly instituted brand standard.Our continuing mandate with the ‘Think NSK’ campaign is to offer NSK a fullyintegrated approach to engage its customers, prospects, employees, end-users,distributors and other stakeholders. The selected vehicles had to maximizebudget availability and our strategy has been to balance brand awarenessobjectives with specific objectives connected to solution sharing, productknowledge, lead generation and industry leadership. Our integratedcommunication vehicles have included, but are not limited to: online (website,e-newsletters, industry-specific mini-sites, interactive games/contests, SEM,banner advertising, trade magazine page sponsorships, direct email), printadvertising (trade magazines targeting key verticals via on-page, cover wraps,poly bags, etc.), media (coordinated media relations campaign including pressreleases, editorial coverage), and direct customer contact (direct marketing,tradeshow presence). Our activities, as practical, aim to leverage NSK productavailability and link to sales force mandates.case study NSK Corporation 3
  4. 4. case study NSK Corporation 4
  5. 5. resultsA direct mail promotion • Increased brand recognition within key industry verticals. As an example, NSK was identified as the second-most recognized manufacturer in any productfocusing on bearings category according to trade magazine survey within pulp and paper vertical.available within a specified Prior to ‘Think NSK’, NSK ranked 4th in top-of-mind preference in the bearings category alone.geographic region achieveda 140% response rate as • Generated significant increases in orders within the US aftermarket business unit via third-party distribution, with the current fiscal tracking well ahead ofusers requested ongoing target despite a challenging US economy. Extensive communication on variousproduct knowledge solutions and products ongoing has increased mind-share at distribution (product recommender to end-user 70% of the time) capped off by a recent 6-flightinformation. targeted direct marketing campaign focused on depth of bearing options via NSK. • Generated significant increases in Canadian business unit across food, mining and other verticals, with the current fiscal tracking well ahead of target. Ongoing brand building with both end-user and distribution channels has occurred, with select trade media and extensive direct marketing supported by growing an e-list of subscribers to NSK technical information and updates. A recent direct mail campaign drove recipients to the new NSK Canada website at an almost 40% response rate to sign up for technical e-bulletins. • Increased visibility and engagement with third-party distribution partners to encourage product/solution recommendation to end-users. For example, a direct mail promotion focusing on bearings available within a specified geographic region achieved a 140% response rate (yes,140%) as users requested ongoing product knowledge information. The promotion also won an international direct marketing award competing against major consumer brands. case study NSK Corporation 5

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