As part of its internationalization strategy, the voestalpine Group is focusing on the promising North American market. This is also reflected in its communications strategy which succeeded in generating a huge media response in 2014.
The April 2014 opening of an automotive components plant in Cartersville, Georgia, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, were two of the highlights on the corporate program. Not only did these events bring major challenges, particularly for the voestalpine Group’s external communications, but the activities in the US were also a great opportunity to raise media relations work to a completely new, international level.
First voestalpine media presence in the USA—location debate in Europe
Activities in the US provided the opportunity to focus on the voestalpine Group’s growing internationalization, as well as giving voestalpine the opportunity to make a first impression on the US media landscape. Parallel to this, the Group successfully initiated a location debate in Europe about the framework conditions for industry, and here, voestalpine clearly took the leading role. With the aid of a broad communications campaign, the Group was able to mobilize important target media groups in the USA, Germany, and Austria. A key element in the communications strategy involved positioning CEO Dr. Wolfgang Eder as the industry’s opinion leader.
Targeted communication measures generated tremendous media presence
The North American focus was supported by numerous external communication measures including:
- Guest articles by Dr. Eder and top stories in leading German media (Handelsblatt, FAZ, Süddeutsche Zeitung etc.)
- Events with chief editors and correspondents
- Our own Corporate Story USA, as well as
- A wide range of media activities including a press trip, press conferences, and releases to the international press about the plant opening and groundbreaking ceremony in the USA.
With the aid of online and social media activities, including a North American microsite, infographics, accompanying blog articles, and the dissemination of information via all social media channels, the external media campaign generated a tremendous response: between January and June 2014, 544 articles were published (national, international, print, TV/radio, online), related articles on Facebook generated almost 30,000 visitors and around 600 “Likes”, the North America reports on the corporate blog were read by 2,500 visitors, and the USA microsite has been called up 3,000 times to date.
Prize-worthy communications work
voestalpine’s international media work in the USA not only generated comprehensive media coverage, it was also awarded the European Change Communications Award, as well as being nominated for the Austrian State Prize for Public Relations (Corporate PR category), and the Communications Excellence Award. All in all, the Corporate Communications team implemented a successful communications concept in a relatively short space of time and under challenging framework conditions (time differences, unfamiliar US media mentality, etc.). This will provide the basis for future internationalization efforts.
More informations about the focus topic “voestalpine in North America”: www.voestalpine.com/usa