Process engineering PR
Global Heat Transfer: Sustainability in practice
STOP PRESS: This case study has been nominated for an award by the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations)
Stone Junction's brief from Global Heat Transfer Ltd was to put together a robust online and print PR campaign, to promote the heat transfer engineering specialist to various stakeholders, including prospective and existing customers, staff and partners. Customer groups targeted included quality, production and maintenance engineers, health and safety staff, systems integrators and management teams in the food processing, pharmaceutical, printing, petrochemical, marine and packaging sectors.
Global Heat Transfer provides thermal oils that allow heat to be moved from one point to another in an industrial process, so that it can be applied efficiently. The chief competing technology is steam based heat transfer.
The industry perception of thermal oil is that its suppliers sell just that; barrels of oil. However, Global Heat Transfer's offering has much more depth. As a result, the core goal of the campaign was to make the market aware of the company's expertise, product availability, fast response times and testing capacity as well as consultancy.
The main objectives of the campaign were:
- To help Global Heat Transfer differentiate its services and technologies from its competitors, including major global players
- To communicate the chosen cornerstone messages (see below), while at the same time communicating the key messages of each story
- To create local engagement for recruitment purposes
Strategy and tactics
Stone Junction operates each PR campaign using a cornerstone message. This resonates through every piece of PR material issued. The message chosen for Global Heat Transfer's campaign was 'sustainability'; not just in the environmental sense, but from a business perspective. This meant:
Sustainable efficiency: The application of process heat, from heaters and boilers, is absolutely crucial to the application. A process can't be viewed as sustainable from an engineering perspective if it gets gradually less efficient over time.
Sustainable safety: Thermal oil management is a crucial part of health and safety in a process environment. The compliance procedure can't be sustainable without considering the specialist needs of the application.
Sustainable economics: Heat transfer systems become gradually less economically efficient without proper maintenance. With energy prices rising consistently and carbon emissions from larger businesses directly taxed, the process can't be truly sustainable if it becomes slowly more expensive over time.
Quality of content
The core reason for the success of Global Heat Transfer's campaign is the quality and diversity of content. For this reason, the campaign contains a mixture of press releases, technical articles, case studies, rapid response, features contributions and factory tours.
In order to make the most of the content generated we also created a virtual press office, housing pre-approved quotes, feature articles, press releases, high resolution team portraits, campaign photography and spokesmen profiles.
The Global Heat Transfer campaign was implemented between June 2012 and June 2013. The audience was divided into two main categories, the horizontal and vertical media, in order to create tailored messages:
- General engineering press: The Engineer, Engineering, EngineerLive
- Plant management and quality magazines: IP&E, Plant & Works Engineering, Factory Equipment, Quality Manufacturing Today, Quality World
- General process media: Process & Control, The Process Engineer, Process&Control.com
- Food processing press: Food Processing, Meat & Poultry News, Food Manufacture
- Pharma magazines: PMPS, CHP Packer, EPM – European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
- Printing media: Print Week, The Print Business
- Petrochemical press: GasWorld, Touch Oil and Gas, Worldwide Independent Power
- Health and safety and compliance media: Hazardex, Industrial Compliance, Health and Safety Matters
- Marine engineering magazines: Marine Engineer's Review, Drydock, The Motor Ship
- The systems integration press: MachineBuilding.net, Industrial Technology
Outcomes and outputs
- 25 print clippings in trade, local and regional media outlets
- 45 online clippings
- Two key members of staff recruited as a direct result of PR
- One of Global Heat Transfer's client contacts was nominated for Appetite for Engineering's Engineer of the Year award as a direct result of content in Food Processing magazine
- Speaker opportunity at Appetite for Engineering secured as an outcome of media relations activity
- 12,796 unique visitors to the website during the course of the year, an estimated 50% increase on the previous year
- Sales leads estimated at over £100,000 attributed directly to PR, other growth attributed via ROMI but not distinguishable from general marketing activity
Sustainability in print
As an example of the use of news piggybacking in the campaign, the safety message was reinforced during the horse meat scandal. Stone Junction issued an open letter and a white paper calling for food safety laws to be tightened.
This positioned Global Heat Transfer as an expert and generated significant coverage in publications as diverse as The Independent and The Grocer as well as the company's local media, The Staffordshire Newsletter and The Express & Star (see appendix one for further details of coverage).
The media value tool we applied was the ROMI model (Return on Marketing Investment). Business turnover has grown by in excess of 60%, and part of the growth is attributable to marketing efforts, including PR and media relations. Other activities included strategic planning consultancy and AdWords management.
A qualitative perspective
"We started working with Stone Junction in March 2012. They have since significantly raised our profile in a number of key areas against our objectives.
"Another key objective was to understand that PR could deliver sales opportunities and we did receive direct sales enquiries thanks to coverage in key trade publications.
"We received coverage in national newspapers as a result of their rapid response work and Stone Junction has helped us develop relationships with key trade media in our industry," explained Clive Jones, managing director and CEO of the Global Group of Companies, of which Global Heat Transfer is a subsidiary.
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Meet the team
Stone Junction is managed by Richard Stone, whose previous experience includes PR campaigns for Arup, AIT Plc, CIENA, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SIG, SKF, Roche and WorldCom. Well over a decade in technical and technology PR has taught him that he is only just starting out. He is a very slightly geeky father of two who lives in Stafford with his long suffering wife, aforementioned children and dog.
Junction has been going from strength to strength, building up its
client base and championing the achievements of technical and
engineering firms, some of which are in Staffordshire."
Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council