The combined business spent a lot of time and effort to make everyone—from distributors to end users—aware that the Goodyear Engineered Products brand was being changed to Continental ContiTech, Hill said. The first ad campaign in February and March was called “More is Here” and targeted primarily at the distributor network.
The latest ad campaign, “More Ability,” focuses more on getting the new brand out to the end users.
“I think the change has been pretty good for most of the products that we have in the marketplace,” he said. “The most challenging ones we've had are markets where ContiTech had business here prior to the Veyance acquisition: conveyor belting and the automotive aftermarket, where the Continental ContiTech brand was known by the end users quite well.”
It's been easier in power transmission and industrial hose lines, where it was a basic switch to the ContiTech name, and that seems to be well-accepted.
The big challenge in the automotive aftermarket business has been that Goodyear Gatorback was a well known brand, but it was owned by Goodyear. So ContiTech had to go with Continental Elite and try to build awareness for that name.
That has led to some dropoff in business, though that wasn't unexpected.
“As we tried to convert in the marketplace, we had to go out to all of our (warehouse distributors), all of our installers, and take the Goodyear Gatorback out and replace it with Continental Elite,” Hill said. “That was a monumental task that took us several months through late spring and summer to get that to happen. So while our resources were focused on trying to change over or convert the brand in the marketplace, the efforts to then go out and sell and grow the business were limited.”
What has made the transition more difficult in the automotive aftermarket is that there are several tiers between ContiTech and the ultimate consumer. On the industrial side, though, most times the firm is selling direct to an OE customer, a mining company or a distributor, so there are fewer layers to have to communicate through.