Company: Siemens Corp.
Years in current job: 7
Quote: "We try using existing media partnerships to create thought-leader events to further extend the brand, relying on the credibility and third-party aspects of the media."
When Siemens Corp. restructured into three segments in 2007—health care, automation and infrastructure, and energy—the move coincided with the launch of an estimated $145 million global ad campaign with the tagline "Siemens answers."
The campaign, designed to show how the manufacturing giant provides answers to business problems across several industries, has included full-page ads in publications such as Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, as well as ads on their companion Web sites.
But Siemens CMO Tom Haas wanted to extend the campaign with a different kind of marketing vehicle. Enter Siemens Smart Chopper, the first all-electric motorcycle. Built by Siemens and custom motorcycle manufacturer Orange County Choppers, it was recently featured on "American Chopper," which runs on cable network TLC (The Learning Channel).
The segment, which premiered Oct. 22, included a tour of a Siemens' wind-turbine facility in Madison, Iowa, and footage of the crew assembling the electric motorcycle using Siemens equipment. It also talked about how the company's products work toward a sustainable future.
"It seems a bit incongruous, but nonetheless I was convinced there was a connection between the show and the technical and engineering community, which is a sweet spot for us," said Haas, who is responsible for corporate marketing and brand advertising for the $22.4 billion U.S. operation of Siemens.
The sponsorship of "American Chopper" is part of a multipronged approach Haas has deployed in the last year to build on the "Siemens Answers" campaign. For example, this month Siemens sponsored thought-leader events hosted by Fortune at the annual meetings of the American Public Transportation Association and American Water Works Association. In the summer, Siemens sponsored a breakfast meeting hosted by Roll Call that focused on aging and health care issues.
"These are very high-level and very effective," Hass said. "They're part of the customer-engagement phase [in which] you can meet with key people to further discussions."
Siemens recently started to sponsor National Journal Group's 3121 Blog, an online network catering to people who work on Capitol Hill. The affiliation with 3121 is part of a larger effort to raise the level of awareness in Washington, D.C., about Siemens' products and services.
In September Siemens rolled out a new series of ads related to the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus package, which is funding investments in renewable energy, infrastructure and the digitizing of medical records.
"We need to make those buyers aware of our capabilities and remind people we have solutions that the [stimulus] is intended to address," Haas said. "There's a lot of opportunity there that we feel will help balance the downturn in general business."
Haas, who has been with Siemens since 1994, was named CMO in 2002. Before that, he was manager of marketing and communications.