Newark element14, the North American brand of Premier Farnell, is a supplier of technology solutions for engineers, offering more than 500,000 electronic components, development kits and services across 42 countries. Home to the world’s largest online engineering community – element14.com – Newark element14 also offers purchasers, engineers and other technology enthusiasts the opportunity to connect with more than 750,000 registered peers and experts who provide a range of independent technical information, advice and helpful tools.
Widely considered the original catalog distributor, Newark element14 claims a more than 80-year history in the electronics distribution business and continues to invoke a sense of nostalgia among today’s engineering veterans. Over the course of that history, Newark element14 joined the Premier Farnell family as the North American brand of the business, and the industry expanded to include new players, giving Newark element14 a run for its money as far as customer loyalty, innovation and product offerings were concerned.
As a valuable source of not only technology products, but also information and experts, Newark element14 engaged Walker Sands to help establish and maintain the top share of voice among target media relative to its competitors, regain and grow its reputation as a leader in the industry, and develop a unique brand identity in the U.S. while complementing the global one of its parent company.
Walker Sands developed a comprehensive PR program that focused on showcasing Newark element14’s expertise, position at the forefront of the latest tools and solutions, and commitment to supporting engineers throughout the entire product lifecycle, from design and prototyping to product development and maintenance. The program featured a number of core elements, including:
- Product announcements: Walker Sands ramped up new product initiatives to increase visibility for new technologies as well as Newark element14’s diverse product lines and exclusive partnerships. Product launch tactics included media and blogger outreach, influencer engagement, review coordination, unboxing videos, content development and social media promotion. Launches included everything from daily new product initiatives (connectors, peripherals) to award-winning campaigns (Raspberry Pi) on both the design and manufacturing sides.
- #ImAnEngineer: Newark element14 wanted to celebrate its customers – the everyday unsung heroes of engineering – with a branded content platform and campaign focused on the ingenuity and impact of engineers. Through an award-winning website featuring stories, research reports, videos and written interviews of Newark element14 customers, partners and supporters, Newark element14 helped shed light on the visionaries who are designing, prototyping, building, repairing and upgrading our world. The site was launched at EDS – the industry’s premier event – and new content was created and published weekly on top of being shared via Newark element14’s social media channels using #ImAnEngineer as well as through email newsletter.
- Thought leadership: Walker Sands developed a roster of 12 thought leaders across sectors, backgrounds and roles to reinforce Newark element14’s position as an expert on everything from emerging technology trends like wearable technology and the IoT, to tried and true industry issues like energy harvesting and industrial automation. Tactics included media outreach, content development, speaking engagements and top industry event attendance.
- Community engagement: To increase community engagement and brand recognition, Walker Sands worked with Newark element14 to develop a series of media campaigns spotlighting community design challenges, product “Road Tests” and webinars with industry experts. Through this initiative, Walker Sands successfully garnered multiple contributed articles, multimedia coverage in trade and consumer media, social engagement with community members and coordination of data studies and surveys for new material that resulted in top-tier media coverage.
Walker Sands also leveraged Newark element14’s existing sponsorship of element14’s The Ben Heck Show to reach their growing customer segment of DIYers and self-taught engineers. Walker Sands rebranded the relationship, promoting it and the show’s episodes more widely through media outreach, social promotion, speaking engagements such as TEDx and coordinating more direct engagement via Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) series.
- Events and awards: Walker Sands submitted for and secured speaking applications and awards on behalf of Newark.com and element14.com to garner third-party credibility for its expertise and products while also reinforcing marketing, PR and e-commerce tactics being employed on other channels. This included speaking engagements at TEDx, Engadget Expand and Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition, and recognition for Distributor Innovation at the ECN Impact Awards.
- SEO: In an effort to improve online visibility of and drive traffic to Newark.com, Walker Sands developed and implemented an SEO program focused primarily on link acquisition as well as domain authority. Newark element14 received monthly updates regarding its Moz Page Authority and average URL rank, and PR content was also optimized for SEO to ensure all media coverage secured included links to relevant landing pages.
In addition to the core program elements, Walker Sands also created customized share-of-voice reporting and metrics for Newark element14 to gauge holistic campaign success, including media coverage, sponsored content and advertising results.
As a result of Walker Sands’ diversified PR program, thought leadership interviews and contributed articles from Newark element14’s top wearable technology and IoT experts appeared in several major publications, including TIME, Forbes, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post. This was complemented by an average of more than one placement each day, which helped generate 5.7 million impressions, 21k Twitter shares, 85k Facebook shares and 10k LinkedIn shares.
Newark element14’s new site generated 155 original pieces of content and an average of 13,500 unique visitors per month over the course of six months, helping to shed light on the impact of engineering all over the world. This was accompanied by social media activity that produced more than 35,000 likes and shares on Facebook, more than 600 content mentions and 700 uses of #ImAnEngineer.
Through consistent media outreach and social promotion, Walker Sands was able to increase exposure to the community and element14’s The Ben Heck Show, raising total community membership by more than 430 percent while helping the show reach nearly 500,000 subscribers on YouTube along with more than 34 million video views. Product launches also proved to be an unquestionable success, as Newark element14 earned 84 placements in the month surrounding the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, resulting in a 67 percent increase in sales.
In terms of awards, Newark element14 enjoyed widespread recognition for its products and expertise. The company received a Distributor Innovation award at the ECN Impact Awards and was named Best Community Development at the Digital Impact Awards. Walker Sands also secured speaking engagements for Ben Heck at Engadget Expand and TEDxNavesink, in addition to Maker Faire and Pacific Design & Manufacturing.
Last but not least, Walker Sands’ SEO program was responsible for a significant improvement in Newark element14’s online visibility. The average Moz Page Authority increased by 2.6 points while Newark element14’s average URL rank rose by 1.31 points, making it easier for engineers and other technology enthusiasts to find Newark.com when searching online.
Overall, the partnership between Walker Sands and Newark element14 not only established the company as a leader in its industry, but it also contributed toward Newark element14’s successful acquisition by a large, well-known brand.