The Association of Equipment Manufacturers launched a new campaign this week to highlight the contributions of the industry and the communities that support it.
A new advertising campaign started by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) highlights the stories behind the men and women whose livelihoods are supported by the industry.
Using social media and other channels to promote its message, “Behind Every Product” launched this week with an advertising spot that details the makeup of the industry and celebrates its economic contributions. It is part of AEM’s larger advocacy initiative, which focuses on mobilizing grassroots supporters around the group’s policy priorities.
“Looking at this campaign, I think we decided early on that we have a very good story to tell,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM’s vice president of public affairs and advocacy. “So, we’ve got to tell it in as many ways as possible and through as many channels as possible.”
The roots of this campaign trace back to late 2016, when AEM commissioned IHS Markit, an independent research firm, to help map the industry’s economic footprint. The results of that analysis, published in a report released earlier this year [PDF], showed the industry supports 1.3 million jobs nationwide and contributed $159 billion to the U.S. GDP last year.
However, as compelling as those numbers are, they don’t quite convey the human element. “A report like this can never fully capture the pride that the men and women of the industry feel toward their work,” Eideberg said.
But, with Behind Every Product, AEM is looking to showcase that pride. Instead of focusing only on the products of the industry, the campaign casts a spotlight on the member companies and employees who support it. “Having that broader story and then being able to layer in different executions makes it different from previous efforts, which have been more laser-focused on one particular issue,” said Eideberg. “It is meant to highlight the human story.”
Eideberg said the increased focus in Washington on industry-related issues, including infrastructure investment and tax reform, made now the right time to communicate this message. The timing of the launch, he said, also dovetails nicely with the White House’s “Made in America week.”
According to Eideberg, the multidimensional nature of this campaign is a reflection of modern advocacy. Traditional advertising, social media, and leveraging member involvement through grassroots efforts all amplify Behind Every Product’s message. “Historically, advocacy in Washington, DC—and this is going back decades now—was very much the relationship-based, shoe-leather lobbying that you see sometimes in movies or read about in books,” he said. “You’ve got to use all those tools in the toolbox to be effective in Washington today.”
Eideberg said the long-term goal of this campaign is to put the equipment manufacturing industry in context for representatives at the state and national level. “We feel like the best way to do that is to tell stories,” he said. “This [campaign] is really an exercise in storytelling.”