From Manufacturer to Market Leader
Innovation spans more than six decades of product R&D at Pennsylvania-based manufacturer IMI. As the company developed the next evolution of their wheel-end balancing compound, IMI called on Merit to build a brand position that would propel sales of its compound. However, though competitive research and customer insights, we saw an opening in the market to take the company beyond a manufacturer of iconic products to a position of total ownership of tire and wheel performance industry.
Prior to the engagement, manufacturers of fleet tire and wheel accessories competed for shares of the market one product at a time. For IMI, those products included wheel-end balancing, wheel refinishing, loose lug-nut indication, and tire sealant. We challenged this model by challenging the great divide in the industry between product equity and brand equity.
Our partnership provided insights from research and strategy to unify messaging, creative and digital campaigns around one name, one company, one purpose, and one personality. By understanding the competitive landscape and its silos, we turned market insights into opportunities to differentiate IMI.
We crafted a new narrative and visual presence to unify IMI’s product offering under one brand with the intent of creating more meaningful dialogue between the brand and its customers: fleet operators, fleet owners, commercial tire dealers, distributors, and industry tradespeople.
Research & Strategy
Engaging an Intricate Ecosystem
We collaborated with IMI to lend insights for the brand through competitive analysis, stakeholder focus groups, brand workshops, and contextual and remote customer interviews, to name a few.
Unifying an Iconic System of Products
We crafted a story that evoked the essence of IMI’s brand and built expressions of the identity to reach customers on the channels that mattered most: digital, advertising, and social.
Creating a Platform to Spread the Word
We architected strategic communications to extend the brand into IMI’s product marketing, media relations, sales support, and industry trade presence.
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What is Market Invention?
It's the new era of marketing.
Market Invention is the process of creating and maintaining market dominance by leveraging insight, purpose, position, and experience to establish, grow, and maintain customer and company value.
The Process Behind Disruption
Disruption might be the biggest business bandwagon of all time. But ask most people what their idea of disruption is, and they’ll stare at you with a blank look or start rattling off a set of disjointed ideas.
How to Not Become an Expert
Experts are impressive, but there are some trade-offs. First, there’s the obvious opportunity cost to hyper-specialization: all the other things you won’t be able to do. But there’s another, more subtle cost: you risk losing the beginner’s mind. As you restrict your inquisitive nature, your sense of wonder fades. You become uncomfortable with ambiguity. You forget how to learn in new ways about new things. You might begin to start liking the idea that you’re an expert and slowly, unconsciously start closing your mind to the opinions of non-experts. Then, to the experts who don’t agree with you. The process continues, and eventually you find yourself totally isolated, lost in your own ideas.
Why Turnaround Specialists Need Market Invention
Turnaround specialists can be called in at all stages of failure, from decreasing working capital to impending bankruptcy. While the work of a turnaround specialist in these situations is irreplaceable, it can be effectively supplemented by incorporating Merit’s Market Invention strategy. This unique partnership turns a rather dire situation into a net positive by implementing change and inventing a new opportunity for a business to not only survive, but to thrive.
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“We need public relations!” We hear this command frequently from big and small organizations across the country. However, we promptly question what exactly they’re seeking. Every organization needs a smart PR strategy, but most don’t know exactly how.
Video and Market Invention
You’ve probably heard of Market Invention, the strategic process of creating new markets through a shift in audience, category, channel, or branding. It’s the discipline behind disruption, and it rests on good communication. That’s where video comes in.
Web Design and Market Invention
Web designers are the architects that create the visual elements of the site, the stuff the user sees. Web developers create the functionality that works in the background. When working together, the two disciplines deliver a seamless, clean experience that ignites a buyer’s interest.