>> WITH AN AGING customer base and two separate, product lines in the automotive aftermarket space, Jeff Ventura — vice president of digital strategy for Holly-based Bar’s Leaks and Rislone — had his hands full.
“We’ve been around since 1921, but it became obvious in recent years that we weren’t reaching a younger audience,” Ventura says. “We needed to reach high school and college students who were driving around a beater and couldn’t afford a new radiator.”
The challenge was twofold. Bar’s Leaks, which offers a full line of stop-leak products for radiators and other components, and Rislone, which provides penetrating lubrication to improve engine performance, were paired on the same website. The combined marketing platform tended to confuse customers.
In a strategy to add excitement to the two brands and make them more distinct, Ventura hired Alchemy, a brand strategy and market engagement firm in Troy. “We started at the very basic level,” says Brent Eastman, Alchemy’s chief brand alchemist. “We asked, ‘Who are their customers?’ Once we found that out, (we wanted to know), ‘How do we best reach them?’ ”
Interviewing multiple focus groups, Alchemy generated 500 pages of data. “There was so much data, you could cut it nine ways to Sunday,” Ventura says.
The result: In the coming months, the two brands will each be given their own voice via new advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns. “In the near future, customers can use their phones, so when they’re in a store, we can engage with them and they can pull up a voice guide,” Eastman says. “We thought in-store assistance is good overall, but it can be hit or miss.”
— R.J. King