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Brandonomics from Savage - Donna Smith

Donna Smith

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Multiple brands within the same company presents its own challenges. Robin Tooms interviews Donna Smith, director, marketing and communications for Forum Energy Technologies.

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Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I'm Robin Tooms, vice president of strategy at Savage Brands, and my guest today is Donna Smith, director of marketing and communications at Forum Energy Technologies. So, Donna, welcome to Brandonomics.

Donna: Thank you, Robin. It's good to be here.

Robin: Donna, it's lovely that you're here 'cause we get to talk about Forum. You've actually been with the company almost from the very start, just about two months after it formed from a merger of five different companies. And I realize that takes a lot of guts, for one, but it also brings a lot of brand challenges in place. So from that very start, what were some really big brand challenges on your plate?

Donna: Well, the biggest challenge was that we were trying to build a new brand from—totally from scratch, and at the same time we had a number of portfolio companies that we needed to keep some kind of brand equity with those companies. So we had to decide which ones were worth trying to keep out in the forefront and which ones needed to go away immediately, but at the same time we had to really promote who Forum was 'cause no one in the marketplace knew who Forum was.

Robin: And I think that's a great first step. So how does that translate to some of the branding challenges you're addressing today?

Donna: We are still acquiring companies, so—and of these companies some have more brand equity than others. So it's a real challenge to assess which ones we need to keep the brand out there, which ones haven't been in the marketplace long enough and it's okay to go ahead and merge them right into a Forum brand and brand their products as Forum as opposed to their old name.

Robin: Right.

Donna: So we have to look at the customers. Often we do a customer survey to assess where we are in the branding stages.

Robin: So that discipline of assessing the brands that you had at the beginning continues today.

Donna: It's a constant evolution, always ongoing.

Robin: So I'm glad you shared that. Thank you so much. This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

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