PRO-TEC Case Study

Steeling an opportunity

The commissioning of a new line for producing the next generation of advanced, high-strength steel deserved national attention for PRO-TEC, a joint venture of U.S. Steel. They turned to RP to renovate PRO-TEC’s brand, garner major media attention and promote a VIP commissioning event – in less than five months.

The Challenge/Opportunity

U.S. Steel and Kobe Steel, Ltd. of Japan wanted to make a splash with the commissioning of a new $400 million production line for the next generation of advanced, high-strength steel from their joint venture, PRO-TEC Coating Company. The continuous annealing production line in Leipsic, Ohio would be only the second of its kind in the world (the other is in Japan). This technology could open a new market segment and play an integral role in helping vehicle manufacturers meet 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards.

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As part of this launch, U.S. Steel, Kobe Steel and PRO-TEC officials asked RP to rebrand PRO-TEC to properly reflect the high-tech, forward-thinking, innovative spirit of the company. Plus, they hired us to manage the VIP and media commissioning event and engage national, regional and trade media in covering the introduction of their newest product offering – all in less than five months.

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Uncovering Real Perspectives

To gain a firmer grasp of what PRO-TEC’s next generation of cold-rolled steel would mean to their automotive manufacturing customers, RP talked with a variety of audiences. We interviewed executives of U.S. Steel and Kobe Steel, Ltd. We worked side-by-side with employees, visited facilities and studied the industry as a whole. We also had discussions with the automotive trade association to understand the auto industry’s point-of-view, resulting in a focused, captivating message.

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Through these discoveries, RP learned that the new product manipulates steel’s physical properties to enhance strength and formability at a lower weight. Anticipating the demands of the 2025 CAFE Standards – requiring average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon – PRO-TEC realized automakers would need to purchase materials that reduce vehicle mass while improving safety.

Driven by Raw Passion

To convey the company’s true spirit, RP revamped PRO-TEC’s brand image, including a contemporary new logo. We applied the updated brand standards to overhaul the company’s website, produce a video showcasing the new production line, and develop new marketing collateral and plant signage.

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The next-generation message served as the basis for all marketing content in both copy and imagery. RP also created a comprehensive public relations campaign and press event for the commissioning ceremony. This next-generation story was featured to attract the media to the commissioning event.

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 Results

Producing Rare Performance

The commissioning event was covered by the primary media we targeted – The Wall Street Journal (earning a front-page article of the Marketplace section), Bloomberg BusinessWeek and major regional newspapers. In total, 36 outlets, including 19 trade publications/websites, covered the event, resulting in 87 articles. The event was attended by more than 400 guests, including industry and government VIPs and dignitaries Production demand from the new line has been such that PRO-TEC is already planning to add yet another continuous annealing line to manufacture more next-generation steel.

Services

  • Audience analysis
  • Audience-specific messaging
  • Creative development
  • Content strategy and creation
  • Media relations and earned media

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