Tire Group Rolls Out New Name, Communications Strategy
To better reflect who its members are and amplify its advocacy voice, the Rubber Manufacturers Association has relaunched as the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.
As the national trade association for the companies that produce tires in the United States, the Rubber Manufacturers Association has changed its name to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. The new name “more clearly states who we are and what we do,” said Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA’s president and CEO.
As part of the rebranding, the association launched a new website, www.USTires.org, and released new data about the industry’s economic impact, and it aims to raise USTMA’s profile with policymakers, consumers, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders, Luke said.
In gauging public perceptions, the association found that the industry has a good reputation overall, but that “people didn’t know the industry very well,” Luke said. So it has built a strategic communication platform to define USTMA as a trusted voice and thought leader and to convey the tire industry’s commitment to safety, innovation, economic value, and environmental stewardship, she said.
Technological advancements—including advanced tread technology that improves performance in wet conditions and “run flat” tires that can be driven as far as 50 miles after a puncture—have made tires safer, Luke said. “A tire is not just round and black”—it’s made up of components that are highly engineered to work together, she noted, adding that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that tire-related crash fatalities declined by 50 percent between 2007 and 2010 (the latest NHTSA data available).
USTMA also wants to communicate the industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy. “With the new administration, there’s a lot of discussion about job creation and economic value” from manufacturers, Luke said. The association’s recently completed economic impact study found that the industry supports more than 737,000 jobs across the country and contributes $148.4 billion to the economy.
The industry has also reduced its impact on the environment. It has reduced energy use in the manufacturing process, designed tires so that they improve vehicles’ fuel efficiency, and found markets for tires at the end of their life cycle, Luke said.
USTMA member manufacturers “are at the center of a lot of public policy discussion,” she said. Telling these companies’ stories “makes us a more influential advocate for our members.” She added that, as some government agency positions lie vacant, “it’s more important for industry trade associations to be a credible source of information.”
The relaunch will help reinforce the industry’s commitment and dedication to making safe tires, Luke said. To help tell this story, USTMA released a video that includes the voices of people who work in the industry.
Tire Safety Week is May 28-June 3. The association has released a fact sheet and press release that contain safety information and reminders for motorists about maintaining tires to optimize safety and performance.