Weber Shandwick Worldwide developed and implemented a five-country launch of a new filter system – branded Remedia – that is revolutionizing the way industrial plants deal with harmful dioxins. W. L. Gore & Associates Inc., the Maryland-based manufacturer of industrial filtration products and perhaps better known for its development of GORE-TEX fabric, selected Weber Shandwick to prepare and execute a launch in Europe and Asia to respond to short-term market opportunities, while laying the groundwork for marketing the product in the U.S. in coming years.  The Remedia brand launch included business and trade media coverage, announcements at selected trade shows, a direct mail program, and a suite of graphic materials to support a sales team that was beginning to see hot demand for the new product.


Contaminated poultry in Belgium.  Tainted tea in Japan.  The dramatic rise in public concern around the world about dioxin emissions and dioxin-contaminated foods set the stage for the launch of the new industrial filter product that captures and eliminates harmful dioxins before they are released into the environment. The Remedia D/F Catalytic Filter System destroys harmful dioxins and furans through a catalytic conversion process that happens right in the filter.  In short, industrial plants operating combustion processes can remove dioxins safely by simply changing their filter bags.  Regulatory demands in Japan signaled a significant market potential there for the new product.  In addition, France, Belgium and Germany were identified as priority markets for the initial product introduction, based on tightening of regulatory emission standards in those countries.  Weber Shandwick and the marketing team at Gore were challenged to develop a brand launch that would build awareness and preference for the new product while addressing the different regulatory and decision-making processes of each country.


Weber Shandwick planned a program that would achieve the following objectives:

·        Generate sufficient leads to support sales in the first year (fall 1999 – fall 2000)
·        Generate favorable coverage for the new product in business and trade media, specifically in the launch countries


Primary -- plant managers in targeted vertical industries (municipal waste incineration, medical waste incineration, cement plants, metal producing facilities, etc.).  Influential audiences – architects and engineers who specify plant facilities equipment, as well as local government and regulatory agencies who were unaware of the product’s ability to meet local emissions regulations. 


The following research tactics were employed:

·        Market-by-Market Analysis of the regulatory demands, target market segments, and potential sales impact in each market.
·        Clipping Review of past and current coverage on the dioxin issue, key reporters and media outlets that showed interest in the issue, and the tone, content and messaging in coverage to date.
·        Competitive Analysis of dioxin-reducing products already on the market, as well as technology in development that could potentially compete with Remedia in the months and years following the launch.
·        Product Review of the capabilities, construction and benefits of the Remedia product.
·        Interviews with product engineers, developers and marketers to review Gore’s business strategy, sales process, sales objectives, and existing in-country resources to coordinate with Weber Shandwick’s local launch efforts.
·        Review of Test Data from industrial plants in Japan and Belgium that had the new product installed and demonstrated encouraging results based on preliminary testing. 
·        Research of Industry Trade Shows internationally to determine the best venues for introducing the new product.
·        Review of Gore Product Materials to learn the corporate “style” and “look” prior to producing new materials.
·        Identification of Market Opinion Leaders who had been published or referenced on the dioxin issue and could potentially be engaged as allies or endorsers of the new Gore technology in the targeted geographic markets.


The launch strategy was to create awareness of, and preference for, the new filtration product by showcasing its benefits against the backdrop of tightening regulatory requirements and growing public concern over dioxins – all while positioning Gore as a leader and authority in industrial filtration products.


Weber Shandwick’s Baltimore and Minneapolis offices headed the effort, teaming up with Weber Shandwick offices in Japan, France, Belgium and Germany to plan and implement the program. Initially, a late-November product launch announcement was planned to coincide with the global Wastec industry trade show in Japan, based on the significant market potential in Japan.  However, sales staff in other targeted countries were being pressured to respond to initial interest in the product, requiring that we put the announcement on a faster track to provide the needed materials and support.  The launch date was moved up to mid-September to coincide with Pollutec, a major industry trade show in France.  Launch activities would be coordinated in other countries around the same time, and the Wastec show in Japan would serve as a follow-up opportunity for gaining the attention of media, prospects and opinion leaders.  A presentation of test site results was planned for an early September academic conference in Italy to create an “industry buzz” about the product among influentials that would serve to lay the groundwork for the global product announcement at Pollutec later in the month. A budget of $320,000 was allocated for launch activities in the U.S., France, Japan, Germany and Belgium.  Weber Shandwick assigned staff in each office to oversee the local launch activities, while Weber Shandwick’s Baltimore office provided oversight of the campaign.  A process to evaluate progress was put in place, including tracking sales activity, media clipping and analysis by region, collecting feedback from sales staffs, industry leaders and media, and measuring trade show activity.


The launch program consisted of the following tactics:

·        Remedia logo development and graphic standards design for use in all materials
·        Product brochure design and development in English, Japanese, French and German
·        Direct mail package for prospects in English, Japanese, French and German
·        Comprehensive media kit containing market backgrounder, product announcement release, Q&A about dioxins, product description, company backgrounder, product photo, and illustration of dioxin destruction process.
·        Byline article placements in selected trade publications based on scientific papers
·        Translation and localization of all media materials in English, Japanese, German and French
·        Story pitch and follow-up to targeted business, trade and local media
·        Media interviews with Gore spokespeople and where appropriate, spokespeople for test facilities in Belgium and Japan
·        Product video providing an overview of the product and its benefits for use at trade shows, media events and sales meetings
·        Media training for Gore spokespeople in each region, including key message development and technique training
·        Pre-show mailing of a teaser card to prospects prior to Pollutec to generate visits to the Gore exhibit
·        Trade show exhibit graphics and utilization of trade show press rooms
·        Additional local market activities including public affairs, participation in industry events, and other regional tactics.

Six Weeks To Launch.  The timeline allowed just 6 weeks to prepare for the announcement at the Pollutec trade show in France.

Central Graphic Images and Messages.  Launching in several different languages required the establishment of central graphic images that could work across geographies.  The image selected was that of an exultant man standing on a grassy hill with blue sky, clean air and crisp clouds above, to symbolize the freedom of switching to the new filtration system, as well as the positive environmental effects of the product.  The tagline, “The Safest and Simplest Way to Destroy Dioxin” emphasized the ease of switching to the new filter system, as well as the benefit of reducing risk of fires and exposure of plant workers to hazardous carbon dust resulting from use of other filter systems that trap, rather than destroy, dioxins. 

Execution Required a Well-Oiled Network.  Media kit materials were provided electronically in English to Weber Shandwick staffs in other regions, to facilitate translation and production of media kits in various languages on short turnaround.  The product video required coordinating shooting of footage at the Belgium test facility for editing into the final production in the U.S.  Press kit visuals were provided to Weber Shandwick offices electronically and, where necessary, in adequate quantities for trade shows. Weber Shandwick handled brisk execution of direct mail in each region, utilizing local offices to obtain the necessary postal codes and regulations. Significant coordination was required for the simultaneous production of printed collateral material, trade show exhibit graphics and media materials to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Test Data To Demonstrate “It Works!” Test data from the installation sites in Belgium and Japan were critical to proving Remedia’s benefits – and it became available during the preparation process, for use in creating charts and graphics for the launch.  


Gore France had 87 total leads from the Pollutec show – 56 domestic and 31 from outside of France – and 12 leads from direct mail.  The trade show launch in France was an unqualified success; as one Gore representative reported, “Things are going great here… one good lead after another.  We never expected to get this much out of France!”  A pre-show mailer to drive traffic to the Pollutec booth had one Gore manager remarking, “people even walked up to the booth with the postcard in-hand – it was a marketing communications manager’s dream!” Gore France now has 3 potential projects.

Less than 60 days after the launch of Remedia, Gore Belgium had 17 leads and closed one order worth $1 million – more than 

3 times the cost of the entire international launch campaign.  Gore representatives told Weber Shandwick that “the publicity in

Belgium gave us much-needed credibility.”

Gore Japan had 100 leads from Wastec ’99, 29 leads from direct mail, one $600,000 order, and 2 orders pending.

Gore Germany got 8 leads from direct mail and 16 leads from a magazine article and reprint, leading to 8 RFPs in 6 months.

The “soft launch” in United States generated 152 leads, 72 from direct mail and 80 from publicity. 

Media coverage in the targeted markets has been substantial and positive, generating business, trade and consumer media impressions totaling more than 3 million in Japan, 2.5 million in Belgium and France, and almost 1 million in Germany and the U.S. 
The campaign was featured in PR Week and received honors in the PRSA “Best in Maryland” awards competition.