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VOL. 119 | NO. 60 | Monday, April 4, 2005

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By Andy Meek

More Industries Expand Marketing Through Branding

ANDY MEEK

The Daily News

When the bosses at Fullen Dock and Warehouse decided to spread the word that theyre a major player in the aggregate business something potential customers might not know they tried a novel approach: They hired inferno, a Memphis advertising agency, to build a rock-solid campaign.

Reaching more people. Fullen office manager Marvin Frick knew it was a tall order, but inferno designed postcard ads and a snack bag of rock samples that he said perfectly fit the bill.

Theres only so much you can do with a rock, Frick laughed. We wanted to brand that part of the business so people would know us. Other guys on the construction side of it, they know Fullen Dock handles aggregate I guess what we were shooting for are architects and engineers, people who dont normally know whos in the aggregate business in a particular area.

Fullen Dock and Warehouse is an intermodal river terminal situated at Mile 740 of the Lower Mississippi River. Its aggregate supply side, Fullen Stone, is one of the largest in Metro Memphis. Fullen supplied the construction aggregate for the 2-mile long International Runway at Memphis International Airport. It also delivered 200,000 tons of aggregate to build the Union Pacific Intermodal Yard in Marion, Ark.

Becoming more common. Frick said a foray into the advertising world is unusual in the rock and stone business, which relies heavily on trade publications and word-of-mouth. But Brad Carmony, a public relations account manager with inferno, said the companys decision reflects a growing trend.

An ad firms prowess comes in handy in targeting a message to a highly specific audience, Carmony said. Other inferno clients that have benefited from the approach include Eclectic Eye Eyewear Boutique and Smith & Nephews Memphis-based orthopedics division.

The challenge we have with Fullen Stone is geographic targeting, Carmony said. Any campaign is designed to hit a specific audience and many times multiple audiences. Aggregate publications would have reached way too many people, and our goal was to hit a very specific range.

Spending up. More companies are apparently replacing word-of-mouth advertising with branding strategies. Mary Hilton, director of public affairs for the American Advertising Federation, said ad spending is on the rise nationally.

Increases especially can be seen in television and Internet advertising. A report by Borrell Associates Inc., a national research firm, found that local online advertising is expected to hit close to $4 billion this year, up almost 50 percent. From 2004 to 2008, television ad spending is expected to climb from $64.2 billion to $82.9 billion.

Certainly, if a business is going to make a name for itself, advertising is the best way to do so, Hilton said. Nationally, ad spending is going up. And as the economy continues to improve and people feel confident about their business success their financial stability the more apt theyll be to advertise.

A public entrance. In early March, Fullen unveiled the campaign to promote its stone division, which supplies construction businesses with products such as roadbase and limestone.

The launch of Fullen Stone was timed with a direct-mail campaign targeting the regional construction trade.

Theyve been in existence since about 1979, Carmony said. And the signage says Fullen Dock and Warehouse, so upon seeing that, if you didnt know that they were back here, you wouldnt know so much of their business is based on the aggregate side. So it was really branding that part of the company.

Amina Dilawari, an account executive for inferno, said Fullens campaign began with a mass mailing of a small bag of roadbase. Featuring information about the companys aggregate product, it served as a teaser for the entire effort.

After the mail-out, inferno began sending follow-up cards.

Were sending these out in a two-week cycle to reinforce the message, Dilawari said. This is about a two-and-a-half month campaign where its really, really aggressive.

Seeing success. Frick said the branding effort is already beginning to pay off.

We deliver a lot of material to local customers, but our customers on the other parts of it are around the world, Frick said. Were fortunate to have these folks that put this together, and its just not something thats normally done in the aggregate business the creative part of it.

 

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