Positioned One of the Country’s Oldest Manufacturers as a World Class, Global Player
One of the country’s oldest and most revered companies asked the Marston team in early 2006 to help it generate positive media coverage that would explain the company’s multi-faceted businesses and its strategic focus. The company believed in making great products and serving customers well, but for many decades, company executives did not think it appropriate to talk about the company or its accomplishments in the media. However, by remaining silent for as long as it did, few investors and business reporters understood that the company was no longer a nostalgic Midwest tractor company, but, instead, a truly global manufacturer with plants in 16 countries that uses leading-edge technology, such as GPS, robotics, RFID tracking, NASA-style imagery and data analysis to enhance the productivity of its customers.
Marston had two tasks: 1. Understand the decentralized company in all of its facets and produce a briefing document that would portray the essence of the company and its activities persuasively to the media. 2. Introduce the CEO selectively to major media, so he could tell the company’s story effectively.
To achieve the first task, Marston examined hundreds of company documents and interviewed senior executives of the company to learn the management team’s strategic plan of growing the company’s business profitably. Because each of the company’s four divisions are decentralized and focus on different markets – i.e., agriculture, construction and forestry, lawn and garden, and equipment financing – developing and explaining the strategic mission of the company was challenging. Marston produced a 30-page journalistic briefing document built around the theme of productivity and the company’s core values. The document, approved by the company’s management team, was used quite effectively by Marston to interest targeted media to write favorably about the company.
To achieve the second task, Marston arranged a series of editorial board meetings and interviews with key reporters at BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron’s, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Financial Times, The Economist, Fortune and others. As a result of this effort, the company is finally seen as the world-class, sophisticated manufacturer and global player that it is.