Four years ago, the marketing team at Lincoln Electric, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of welding equipment, recognized the warning sign. Industry trends saw companies losing more than 50,000 welders every year to retirement and attrition, says Craig Coffey, director of marketing communications for the company, adding, "We realized we can either compete for a diminishing customer base or we can try and create some new customers."
The company made a bold decision to launch a new print and online magazine called ARC(as in arc welding) that would share inspiring stories about how people use welding in the real world. A recent issue featured a story about Motorcycle Missions, an Austin, Texas-based organization that helps veterans suffering from PTSD by having them build motorcycles. Lincoln sponsored a recent build during which its products were used.
"ARC helped us say, 'We've been telling you for 100 years that welding is dark, dangerous, and dirty, but it shouldn't be that intimidating, so here are some fun stories about people who are successful at it and use it in their daily lives,'" Coffey says. "Those stories register for our customers at an emotional level. A lot of their buying decisions are made not just because of what a company makes but because of what a company stands for."