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Nucor: Brand Positioning

Shining a light on Nucor’s true nature

Situation

Nucor is one of the most progressive companies in America. But since it was part of the struggling American steel industry, its achievements weren’t being recognized by key audiences. Mower needed to generate more awareness with C-level executives at steel-consuming companies, potential investors, and opinion leaders in government, the environmental arena and the media.

Insight

Research uncovered a powerful insight, that Nucor’s strongest competitive asset is not its steel mills but its people… and its ideals. Nucor’s ideals — around innovation, the environment and lean management — truly resonated with its stakeholders.

Solution

Mower developed a brand positioning with audience-specific messages that presented Nucor as more than just a steel company. Through arresting visuals and compelling copy, ads described Nucor as a catalyst to making things better, simply because “It’s our nature.” To the trade, this meant specifying Nucor steel would result in better products and projects. To investors, it meant that investing in Nucor would result in a better portfolio. To opinion leaders, it meant that Nucor is making the world a better place through recycling and innovations in technology.

Results

Placed in The Wall Street Journal and other business publications, the ad campaign generated significant increases in awareness. According to a quantitative target tracking study, unaided brand awareness for Nucor increased 85%, and perceptions of Nucor in key qualities like “environmentally responsible” and “strong corporate culture” increased more than 20%.

The campaign was also honored by American Business Media’s Creative Excellence in Business Advertising Awards and the Business Marketing Association of New York City’s ACE Awards, and was twice featured as one of the best ads in the nation by US Ad Review. The campaign was recognized by BtoB Magazine in 2010 as one of its 10 Campaigns of the Decade.

The corporate campaign has made a real contribution to the growth of Nucor. With increased awareness and credibility, Nucor has been able to take more than their fair share of increasing demand for steel since 2002.  Net sales have grown by 33% and profitability soared — net sales per employee improved 42%.

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