Marketing Challenge: Uniting Weak Brands for Increased Competitiveness
The Case of a Two-Headed Company
e2v, a UK-based amalgamation of advanced technologies had separate operating divisions focused on supplying military and aerospace electronic system manufacturers requiring sustained availability of semiconductors lasting decades.
One part of the company was well established in Grenoble, France with deep ties to European aviation and space design programs. The other, QP Semiconductor, Santa Clara, CA, acquired in 2008, was a 20+ year-old brand focused on the US mil/aero electronics supply sector. They both faced well-established competitors. The group in France wasn’t well known in the US nor was QP established in Europe. Both suffered from long-term under-investment in strategic marketing and promotion with an over-reliance on direct and distribution sales efforts. Neither had clearly-directed marketing plans. Competing under separate brands prevented delivering the entire value story to their market.
Following management team discussions with both groups, pubic relations advised brand re-positioning that integrated the two divisions into a single, more substantial brand that would be far more compelling to customers and allow a far more sharply differentiated company story. The combined range of products and services under a new name, e2v Aerospace & Defense, was far more extensive than either was separately or than any competitors.
To clearly set the re-positioned business apart, a thought leadership publicity campaign was developed that would give the new brand a distinct voice in the market. The positioning claim was grounded on e2v’s overwhelming range of strengths in the mil/aero electronics market and what competitors were not supplying and could not deliver. The thought leadership strategy, coined Semiconductor Life Cycle Management, focused on what was wrong with the outmoded, short-sighted supplier practices in the mil/aero electronics sector. It laid out a clear, fresh road map to more strategic ways forward that only e2v was in fact capable of delivering on long-term. Senior executives were briefed and participated as spokespersons and authors. The agency provided extensive editorial and ghost-writing support for marketing content creation.
Initial campaign tactics included life cycle management workshops at important mil/aero electronics trade shows, contributed executive viewpoint articles in Military & Aerospace Electronics and Defense Electronics and a series of market perspective columns running in electronics purchasing and business media. All key media were engaged with e2v’s lifecycle management thought leadership perspective.
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Striking a positive chord of editorial interest with e2v’s target media, the high-level industry perspective on long-term supply problems and strategic, new approaches, offered long-term differentiation potential. More importantly it gave the company a strong platform for demonstrating its developing range of increasingly integrated semiconductor supply capabilities that were unmatched by competitors. From a marketing and public relations perspective, it “put a face on the company” where none had existed previously and made e2v A&D stand out from its several me-too competitors. Awareness increased with continued tactics delivering a range of perspectives on mil/aero supply innovations valuable to the customer base as well as commercial semiconductor manufacturers with whom e2v desired to create long-term supply partnerships. The program was further tailored to US and European audience interests by emphasizing key topics important to decision-makers in each geography. It also allowed cooperative PR campaign participation by key semiconductor manufacturing partners benefiting from the strategic supplier approach being advocated. This leant further credibility to the overall thought leadership strategy and significantly extended the effective reach of e2v’s differentiating story for the aerospace and defense electronics industry. Executed for over time, the campaign included ongoing additions of major, minor but always well-aligned services and products (walking the talk and investing in ever-increasing brand value). This program, over time, drove the fresh, unified and well-focused e2v position into the mind of the market.