Steuben refreshes brand to chase younger consumers

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Planned postal rate hike hits marketers, but many remain loyal to mail medium
Planned postal rate hike hits marketers, but many remain loyal to mail medium

Client: Steuben Glass

Agency: Marketsmith

Objective: Revive brand image and redesign multichannel marketing elements to attract a younger demographic.

Steuben Glass, the 98-year-old maker of crystal barware, stemware, tabletop accessories and collectables, wanted to refresh its brand image to attract a younger demographic. As the company and its customer base had grown older, Steuben felt the time was right to freshen up its designs and its marketing.

STRATEGY: In September, with the help of Marketsmith, Inc., a marketing strategies firm, Steuben Glass became simply Steuben, as the company introduced a new logo and redesigned its catalog. Using lists and target groups, Steuben aimed to reach new segments of consumers. It redesigned its e-commerce site and invested in social media.

“We focused on the rebranding from many different dimensions,” says Steuben president Mark Samitt. “We redid the images, the lifestyle shots, the packaging, the messaging, as well as our products and collections. We drove the message across multiple marketing programs from direct mail catalogs to magalogs that talk about history to print ads to online advertising.” 

RESULTS: In the eight months since the repositioning, Steuben has seen a major boost in its online relationships. In the month of May, mentions of the brand on blogs and other online forums increased 311% year-over-year. Also in May, the number of times a Steuben tweet was retweeted rose 264% compared with the previous month. Twitter-driven traffic to Steuben's site jumped 530% during the six months beginning October 1, 2010, compared with the same period the year prior.

Many of those chatting up the brand online were new enthusiasts of Steuben. All told, 64% of Twitter-referred visits to the company's site were new customers. The company's indexes on Google, Yahoo and Bing also rose by more than 400% between January and May of this year, compared with the previous five months.

Steuben also boasts eight times more domain links and seven times more page links than before launch. Editorial mentions between January and May rose 247% versus the same period last year (including January coverage of the rebrand in the Direct Marketing News Direct Line Blog and a discussion of Steuben's April catalog in the March issue of Direct Marketing News).

The rebranding didn't just increase chatter. Unit sales from January to April 2011 are up 32% compared with last year. Despite those successes, Samitt doesn't believe the work is done.

“The rebrand is a great reflection of the foundation, heritage and history of our brand,” he says. “We're focusing on taking it to the next level. We'll continue to have high bars to meet.”

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