WASHINGTON—Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire has launched a marketing plan aimed at reinforcing separate brand images of its Bridgestone and Firestone truck and bus tire lines.
The effort includes separate ad campaigns in trucking and tire industry trade magazines and new Web sites for each brand.
BFS said it is responding in part to concerns from dealers and targeting the Bridgestone brand at national fleet accounts and the Firestone brand at independent truckers and regional fleets. The company announced the plan at a recent dealer conference.
The decision to make more distinction between the brands came after management realized the "lines of buyer perception between the Bridgestone brand and the Firestone brand have begun to blur" in an environment of increasing brand names, according to Kurt Danielson, executive director of commercial tire marketing.
The Bridgestone campaign—"What´s inside a Bridgestone tire?"—focuses on the technology of the Bridgestone brand, while the Firestone campaign—"Born to Truck"—plays to the independent trucker under the wing of an "authentic American original."
BFS executives presented the company´s message under the meeting´s tagline of "Declaration of Brand Independence."
Considering the "tidal wave" of off-shore commercial tires rolling into North America, "it´s never been more important than right now to...demonstrate the differences of our two major brands," said Art Campagnoni, executive director of North American commercial sales.
"A name becomes a brand only when the buyer associates it with a set of tangible or intangible benefits they obtain from buying it," Campagnoni said. "As this association grows, the buyer´s loyalty and willingness to pay a more premium price for the brand increases."
Campagnoni used the example of Timex vs. Rolex—"one stands for a low-cost, practical, even disposable purchase; the other for self-esteem and social acceptance"—to introduce the concept of "brand connectivity." He defined that as "connecting a brand difference to customer segments that are ready, willing and anxiously able to buy what (you´re) selling."
Danielson said, "Your brand must stand for one thing, one feeling, one promise."
Emphasizing Firestone´s American heritage, he said BFS hopes the customer will equate it to other American iconic imagery, such as burgers and fries, denim, diesel, and Bob Seger.
The company will emphasize the difference between the brands, Danielson said. "Where Firestone technology is ´now,´ Bridgestone technology is ´future.´ "