A 100-year-old startup.


The Challenge 

A full century after its birth, The Timken Company’s largest shareholder pressured the corporation to split its bearings and steel businesses into two separate companies. The challenge to Marcus Thomas was to create a new identity for a new steel company with a 100-year-old history.

TimkenSteel Corp. had built a reputation over its many years as a company that sold the highest-quality steel for the most demanding applications. They were also known for the expertise they brought to each job and the knowledge they possessed. Our new brand would have to incorporate all of these attributes and also capture where the company was heading – which was toward more customization.


Our research showed that there was great equity in the Timken name and what it stood for (quality products and quality people). We also learned there were three key mediums that would reach the customers and prospects most important to TimkenSteel Corp. – the industry media, the business media and the company’s own website.

In terms of the story we wanted to create, we began with a single line that captured the essence of what the company had always stood for and what it would be doing more of in the future – namely working more collaboratively with clients on specialized steel for specific and demanding applications. What Timken wanted to let its customers know was, “Yes. It’s possible.”

Once we had our theme, it was time to tell the story – through evocative brand advertising spread across print and digital platforms, and on the company’s first stand-alone website.

The website was designed to embody the brand and immediately let visitors know what TimkenSteel could do for them. We built it with multilingual support and the ability to tie into CRM and eCommerce platforms. Responsive design allowed customers to experience the site’s full power regardless of the device they were using. There were intuitive call-to-action options throughout the site to encourage people to begin a dialogue with the company. We also designed the site so employees could oversee the content management system easily.

Our ad campaign began on June 1, 2014 and ran through the end of the year. We created full-page and spread print ads and media-rich content ads for digital (video and graphics) that featured TimkenSteel performing in critical situations around the world. Working through an ad network and with publications such as FORTUNE and The Wall Street Journal, we were able to target industry analysts and prospects. We even sponsored a perfectly suited series on manufacturing on NPR. 


Campaign results were overwhelmingly positive. The ads in our corporate campaign produced more than 30 million impressions, and the interaction rate with those ads was 65 percent higher than industry standard. Our targeted trade paid media campaign produced more than 3 million impressions in the steel industry alone, and our click-through rate was slightly more than double the industry standard. Beyond the numbers, TimkenSteel Corp. is thrilled with its brand and how it’s being articulated in the market and through its website.

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