Mykrolis, a semiconductor company, picked a difficult time for its IPO.
It spun off from tech bioscience company Millipore Corporation in late 2001, just as the industry was entering an extraordinarily negative period.
Seeking to establish itself as a brand separate from Millipore and position itself as a player in key Asian and American markets, the company teamed with RF Binder in January 2003 to leverage a relatively limited budget into a major entry into a competitive industry. But last year, RF Binder and Mykrolis decided to implement a more aggressive push toward boosting the company's name recognition and prestige in its market.
"We wanted to brand the company, get the word out, make sure the image was consistent," says Craig Lazinsky, Mykrolis' marketing communications manager, "but also make a focused effort to enhance our publicity and image as a thought leader."
RF Binder opted to use Mykrolis' internal expertise to aid in promotion. It drew up a media relations plan that leaned heavily on the use of bylined articles from the company's engineers and other personnel, combined with strategic placement in industry titles that penetrated the market's upper reaches.
"From the ongoing research at Mykrolis to the presentations at industry conferences like Semicon West, we found that we could adapt a lot of that research and a lot of those conference papers to actual technical articles," says Eva Pereira, a director at RF Binder.
Though the campaign coincided with the industry downturn, it was not a significant impediment in the quest to get the message across.
"The semiconductor industry is very cyclical," says Pereira, "and there's always talk of when the next downturn will be - or will end."
Mykrolis, which is constantly conducting new research, handled the assigning and writing of the articles in-house. It then passed them off to RF Binder, which "repurposed" the articles to target them to particular titles. The process was especially efficient because a Mykrolis executive's speech at an Asian trade conference about the company's breaking research was set to achieve a great exposure boost in America by being reworked into a trade-magazine article.
The firm also prepared press releases and arranged speaking opportunities. Additionally, it helped tout Mykrolis executives as experts to business reporters writing articles about tech company spin-offs.
Lazinsky concedes that "execution has been spotty" because of Mykrolis' limited internal resources, which means it simply can't grab every opportunity the firm identifies for it. But he says that RF Binder's repurposing work has magnified the effect of the articles and speeches that Mykrolis has produced.
After placing four bylined articles by Mykrolis employees in prominent semiconductor publications in 2003, RF Binder's aggressive push helped to triple that number, with 12 in 2004. So far this year, the company has been able to secure eight. The agency calculates that equivalent ad space would have cost more than $200,000, making the program's ROI a net positive.
Even more impressive is the company's name recognition within its industry, which rose from 51% two years ago to 95% today, according to a company survey. The company's prestige also doubled, with 53% of respondents ranking Mykrolis as a "leading supplier to the semiconductor industry."
RF Binder continues to help Mykrolis with trade-show appearances, bylined articles, and media relations to raise its global profile. Lazinsky says the firm's experience in the semiconductor industry, strong connections in Asia, and access to the worldwide Ruder Finn network make it a perfect fit.
PR team: RF Binder and Mykrolis Corp. (both Boston)
Campaign: Enhancing Mykrolis' Brand Awareness
Time frame: January to December 2004