Success StoryMaking it Real
Declaration’s content creation support and communications service helps HORIBA UK enter a new market.
“Declaration has been working as part of our technical marketing and sales team since early 2017 and has supported us on a number of major campaigns. Their professionalism, proactivity and ability to deliver high quality content within very tight timeframes have been of great value to us.”
Ifigenia Balkoura, Senior Creative Content
What’s the story?
Our relationship with HORIBA UK started with the provision of a trade press communications service but soon evolved into something far greater; working at the heart of some of the company’s campaigns. For instance, in 2020 - and as the whole world was rapidly adjusting to a ‘new normal’ - we were honoured to be invited to support HORIBA UK’s 2020 RWE campaign.
Let’s start by setting the scene. What is RWE? It stands for real world emissions, the gases and particles emitted by vehicle combustion engines when operated under real-life conditions.
RWE has applied to light duty vehicles (LDVs, such as cars and small vans) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs, such as lorries and buses), for certification purposes, for several years.
A new legislation came into force in 2019 requiring that non-road mobile machinery (NRMMs) be subjected to in-service monitoring (ISM). NRMMS seldom if ever use roadways. Examples included diggers, quarry vehicles, canal barges and snowmobiles.
ISM requires the use of a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) because a) you can’t get something like a digger into a test laboratory and b) the monitoring must be performed under normal operating conditions.
HORIBA is the leading supplier of automotive tests systems, and its PEMS is a product called the OBS-ONE. Knowing that NRMM emissions monitoring would entail taking the OBS-ONE off-road, and into environments in which high vibration levels, shocks and bumps, dust, moisture and temperature extremes are all too common, the company developed the OBS-ONE-RE (where RE stands for rugged enclosure) to protect its highly accurate and sensitive equipment.
We were asked to support HORIBA UK’s 2020 RWE campaign with the provision of content for their website (including video scripts) and a press release to announce the OBS-ONE-RE. We were given a top-level brief regarding the overall objective of the web content – in terms of target audience and which HORIBA products and capabilities should be highlighted – and were introduced to product specialists and the company’s regulations expert.
|From the outset, we knew this was going to be a story-telling exercise and that we had to quickly get up to speed with RWE regulations and the monitoring equipment needed to monitor emissions. But that was a good thing. We were in the same boat as the NRMM OEMs, and it’s never a bad think to see things from the potential customers’ perspective.|
We were fully onboard as a team member and included on all planning and progress-reporting calls throughout the entire process; from voicing early thoughts/ideas to the website (with videos) going live. Some calls had personnel joining from three different HORIBA sites (two in the UK and one in Germany). Between these calls we were interviewing individuals and doing lots of background reading.
For the web copy and the video scripts we made sure we were answering the kind of questions OEMs must be asking themselves. What are the regulations? How do they differ for LDVs, HDVs and NRMMs? How do they differ in different regions? What do they require I do? How do I do it?
This thinking took as down the route of presenting Challenges and Solutions (implemented as tabs on the site).
From initial brief to website launch (with videos) this part of the project took less than six weeks.
With the site in place, we then set about the outbound marketing – namely the press release for the OBS-ONE – to start drawing traffic.
Sent to the editors of carefully selected trade press publications, the press release spearheaded HORIBA UK’s move into the NRMM PEMS market and the news was picked up by publications focussed on environmental issues as well as publications focussed on heavy equipment for quarries etc. The OBS-ONE was also recognised for its innovativeness by a publication focussed on design solutions.
Most recently we have made two industry award applications on behalf of HORIBA UK – one in relation to the OBS-ONE-RE as a product, the other nominating the person most responsible for the product’s design.
The results (so far) of this great collaboration can be found here.
Phil Burnside, Head of Marketing & New Business Development
“I first worked with Declaration in 2012, when I was the Business Development Executive of the semiconductor business unit of a well-known US Defence company. I recognised back then that Declaration provides a unique service. They take challenges in their stride, are flexible, trustworthy and have high integrity. When I subsequently joined HORIBA, I was quick to bring Declaration onboard to support me again.”
After something similar?
HORIBA UK benefits greatly from outsourcing to Declaration. You could too so, if you have some major campaigns coming up, connect with us to discuss (in complete confidence) how we can improve the odds of all the content being in place, and communications lined up, on time and in budget.
The script for this video was written by Declaration. We started with a blank sheet but knew the story we wanted to tell – following many interviews and extensive background research – so part of the Declaration deliverable was the inclusion of storyboard-type notes (e.g. ‘show digger working’, ‘cut to lab test’ etc.) within early drafts of the script. In short, this is far more than just a copywriting task. Though we did not do the video production ourselves, it is the embodiment of many of our ideas.
“I frequently take the lead on Marketing campaigns within our company. I know I can call on Declaration at short notice and throw them in at the deep end. They then work with not only our technical specialists but also our experts on industry regulations and help us create all the benefits-led content we need for web pages, video scripts and press releases. Highly skilled, responsive, creative and great to work with.”
From our perspective
“We enjoy providing HORIBA UK with ongoing support and we particularly like it when they ask us to be involved in major campaigns.
With reference to the above 2020 RWE campaign, copywriting (including lots of research, background reading and interviews), dry-run video script voice-overs and involvement in team meetings [weekly catch-ups plus impromptu ones] probably occupied 100 hours of our time over that intense six-week period. This on top of the work we were doing for our other clients.
The project required working few evenings and weekends, but I am NOT complaining. I would never have become an engineer if I didn’t get a buzz from learning new techy things and I would never have never moved into technical journalism if I didn’t like working to tight, inflexible deadlines.
On a general note, it’s great to be interviewing and working with HORIBA’s many technical experts and everyone involved in marketing (incl. video production). Together, we’re communicating how well-engineered, innovative solutions are being found to new challenges; be they driven by environmental issues, new regulations, commercial pressures or anything else.
There’s no way I could even begin to develop the same in-depth level of understanding as HORIBA’s experts. But I’m OK with that. I’m technical enough to appreciate the fundamentals of what they’re working on – and to not take up too much of their valuable time on interviews – in order to craft those all-important benefits-led marketing messages.
Indeed, where I think Declaration adds most value to HORIBA UK, and companies like them, is in being a ‘technical features to end-user benefits’ translator. We go out of our way to really understand HORIBA’s markets and products as, only by doing so, can we communicate the company’s value proposition.”
Richard Warrilow – Director, Declaration
All product photos, illustrations and videos are reproduced here with the kind permission of HORIBA UK.