This campaign generated internatio​nal coverage, including an A​ssociated Press national story that appeared in ​US News and World Report.

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Situation

Alliance Rubber, the world’s largest rubber band manufacturer, has made innovation its cornerstone. The Hot Springs, Ark.-based brand started on innovation when in 1923 its founder cut rubber from tires to sell for newspapers to place around their products. It has since been the first rubber band manufacturer to design specialized bands for the lobster industry, employ four-color printing directly on rubber bands, and make pencil erasers out of wrist bands.

As the company increasingly lost market share to foreign manufacturers, it began to seek out yet another way to innovate. Alliance had learned through media reports about researchers in the United Kingdom studying the applications of graphene. Graphene is a compound invisible to the naked eye, but when infused in other materials could make those items stronger than steel. Researchers at the University of Sussex partnered with Alliance to find ways to successfully infuse graphene into mass-market rubber bands. These bands, when developed, would be nearly indestructible. Graphene’s conductive properties open the door for a variety of uses as well.

Great

Results

1.

International coverage from Business Insider, Digital Trends, PC Magazine and more

2.

An Associated Press national story ran in US News and World Report the following year

3.

In total, the articles have reached an audience of 82,298,000+ people worldwide​

Survey + Study

By surveying key Alliance officials and studying the myriad uses for Alliance rubber bands, we determined that these new bands could possibly be used to:

  • Measure biometrics, providing an inexpensive way to track pulse and heart rate compared to current health monitoring tools on the market.
  • Assist with RFID technology on banded items in grocery or retail stores.
  • Reflect time and temperature changes so that bands around broccoli, for example, turn another color if the vegetable is expired or a certain temperature threshold is breached.

With this information, we crafted pitches to regional, national and international media.

Strategy

  • Raise Alliance’s profile in a time where international rubber band manufacturers are entering the market.
  • Demonstrate the company is an innovator and leader in its field.
  • Prepare easy-to-explain media pitches to business and technology publications that would recognize the importance of graphene research.
  • Brief and prepare both Alliance and University of Sussex researchers for interviews that would be effective for mass-market audiences.
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Results

  • The effort exceeded​ expectations, w​ith internatio​nal coverage from B​usiness Insider, ​Digital Trends, ​PC Magazine and dozens of other outlets​, including some in the Allia​nce competitor region of Southeast Asia.
  • Trade publications ​Produce News and RFID Journal conducted interviews and published articles​ after the first international story was published.
  • The following year, another wave of outreach led to an A​ssociated Press national story that appeared in ​US News and World Report, a Seattle newspaper and newspapers across Arkansas​.
  • Because of Alliance’s graphene work, the BBC also released a profile of Alliance and its innovative thinking.
  • In total, the articles have reached an audience of at least 82,298,006 people worldwide​ thus far in the campaign.