Tom Haas, CMO of Siemens Corp., has spent this year raising awareness of the Munich, Germany-based engineering company as a powerhouse in three core businesses: health care, industry, and energy and the environment. The effort began last fall with the debut of the company's $145 million global ad campaign, “Siemens Answers,” which includes print, online and out of home. But it involves much more than advertising, Haas said.
“Traditional advertising and awareness of Siemens are important,” he said, “but at the same time, we also want to begin engaging customers in a dialogue about what Siemens can do to meet their needs and challenges.”
Part of that effort has focused on communicating the branding as well as the strengths of Siemens' three divisions—which recently emerged from a companywide reorganization—to the company's more than 400,000 employees worldwide.
“We can't underestimate the power of the employees. They need to understand the branding, the values and the vision that the company and its management are putting forth,” Haas said. “They're the people on the front line, whether it's a receptionist, a salesperson or the person providing sales support on a help line.”
The company communicates its message internally through employee portals and webinars, enabling workers to chat online with management and ask questions. It is also exploring other strategies, such as desktop widgets to distribute important information, Haas said.
“We've gotten better at communicating internally and keeping all the groups informed and acting as one entity, as opposed to a series of disparate companies,” he said.
Online marketing has been particularly effective for the company, Haas said.
At the same time, the company still relies on traditional events and seminars as part of its integrated strategy. Its industrial automation group, for example, has a traveling trade show that will make stops in cities around the U.S. as well as other key locations around the world. “They've found that to be successful because it enables people to see the latest technology, ask questions, participate in technical seminars and get deeper into the product,” Haas said.
Online or off, the goal is the same, Haas said: “It all speaks to the idea of experiential marketing—being able to, either online or in person, give you an opportunity to understand the technology more.”
Siemens' various marketing initiatives are producing very positive results, Haas said. “They're resonating with people and doing a good job of raising awareness and understanding for the businesses we're in,” he said. “They're improving perceptions of us as a company that's strong on innovation, a company that has solutions that help society.”