Ralph E. Grabowski - marketingVP - fact-gathering, analytical Marketing to steer the enterprise



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Process, methods, and tools

To reposition Brooks for dynamic growth, my first step was a new brochure and image piece, and a new literature set:

  • A feeling of high dynamics by the use of "swoopy" photography.
  • An impression of a company that had their act together; through clear articulation of the selling message, and with Icons to convey benefits delivered - keyed to the data sheets.
  • An image for the new millennium utilizing graphical Icons, pizzazz, and metallic colors.

My vision of the solution hinged upon graphically communicating with the customer.  I developed a series of Icons representing Brooks' products and, more importantly, the benefits that Brooks delivered.  To illustrate Brooks' story, I will employ a few of the Icons in a dual role;

  1. communicating benefits that Brooks delivered, and
  2. as a metaphor for the marketing process in my solution.
Wafer Positioning Repositioning

The first Icon is Wafer Positioning.  Used to describe a Brooks' product, it communicates the benefit of accurate, consistent, wafer positioning; as a Brooks' robot would position a semiconductor wafer into a semiconductor process module.  

Here, I will use this Icon to also represent positioning in the marketing sense, in the image of the company developed in the customer's mind.

Two new corporate "colors for the new millennium" were identified: 

  1. "Environmentally friendly green," for the Brooks logo.

  2. "Metallic plum," for the Icons and for the brochure's background color.  Metallic colors echo the stainless steel in Brooks' vacuum products.

Rotational Alignment Aligning the message to the customer

The next Icon is Rotational Alignment.  Used to describe Brooks' Vacuum Wafer Aligner, it communicates the benefit of aligning (rotating) the flat edge of each semiconductor wafer to a known position for consistent processing. 

Here, I will use this Icon to also represent alignment in the marketing sense, in the alignment of Brooks' message to the customer needs.

A "five-column analysis" extracted a ranked list of customer needs, aligned each product's features (specs) against those needs, and articulated the benefits delivered.

Graphical Icons were conceived in the visual language of the customer; in the vernacular of the semiconductor fab.  Creation of each Icon was guided by the "five-column analysis" to address each customer need. 

Next, each Brooks' product was identified with a unique ensemble of Icons, grouped in the rank order of the customer needs addressed by that product.  Text describing each product was written in the same order of customer needs.  The customer needs, the graphical Icons, and the text were brought into alignment.  For example, see the Icons for Brooks' Vacu-Tran™ Robot.

With the ensemble of Icons, data sheets were then created to convey the ensemble of benefits delivered; keyed to the product features and detailed specifications that supported delivery of those benefits.

Product photography was the final step.

Brooks products presented several unusual photographic challenges.  First of all, Brooks units were unfinished stainless steel; absolutely required for clean semiconductor processing in high vacuum.  Paints would flake particles while other finishes would emit contaminating vapors.  Shiny, unfinished stainless steel reflects light from everywhere and is nearly impossible to photograph well.

Another complication was that Brooks' products looked like ungainly, utilitarian, business-like machines.  The combination posed a unique challenge to creating exciting photography.

My solution to these challenges meant:

  1. Using the Icons to communicate with the photographer, so he could visualize our goals.  I wanted the product photography too, to communicate benefits delivered.

  2. Taking total control of the lighting, and of reflections.  We took product pictures inside an old airplane hanger that was painted matte black on the inside walls, floor, and ceiling.  The photographers dressed completely in black and wore black ski masks.  The cameras and equipment were draped in black.  With the absence of extraneous light, we could now compose with light in a controlled and useful fashion.  We introduced light creatively to give Brooks' products life, dynamics, and excitement.

  3. Moving the product for creative blur.  Brooks products are robots that move.  What better effect than to have the robot in motion during the picture.  This is part of what I mean by "swoopy" photography.

  4. Putting the customer product in the photograph.  It sounds simple, but Brooks' prior photography only showed Brooks' products by themselves.  My solution was to gather semiconductor wafers from Brooks customers and to put them into the pictures.
Wafer Presentation For Implant Presentation to the customer

Wafer Presentation is the Icon used to describe Brooks' Ion Implanter End Station; communicating the benefit of presenting a semiconductor wafer at the proper angle for Ion Implantation.

Here, I will use this Icon to also represent the communication materials being presented to the customer.

I created a method to keep data sheets fresh, accurate, and up-to-date even though the technical specifications were constantly changing, with a combination of traditional printing and simple desk-top publishing that I call "graphical shells:"

Data sheets were partially printed on the familiar printing press.  Two color printing and quality photography projected an impression that complete data sheets came from the printers.  These formed "graphical shells."  Portions expected to remain constant were printed in one large press run, achieving economies of both money and time.

"Graphical shells" were completed with a word processor and laser printer, enabling ten-minute updates to current specs with the latest marketing intent.  Portions expected to change rapidly such as the selling message and product specs were published in small batches in-house.  Each "batch" was normally one piece of literature, and was rarely more than one week's supply.

Brooks' selling messages, communications, and specifications became as dynamic and up-to-date as the company.  They were able to revamp data sheets regularly, in a few minutes. 

Brooks had a quality presentation system and useable literature for the first time in four years; and they used it.  I installed a sales automation system for literature fulfillment and lead tracking.

"Graphical shells" were further employed creating press releases, new product announcements, and application notes.


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