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Firestone brand campaign targets small firms

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Bridgestone Commercial Solutions has launched a new Firestone truck tire brand campaign—”Those With Drive, Drive a Firestone”—that is designed to speak to the values of small business owners and captures the essence of tires that help move business forward.

“Firestone has been around for over 100 years. It's an iconic American brand and we this year have recommitted ourselves to the Firestone brand,” said Chris Ripani, director of marketing, strategic brands and channels for Bridgestone Commercial Solutions, a unit of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.

Interviewed at the tire maker's booth during the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Mr. Ripani said this recommitment involves investing back in the product strategy and solution strategy around Firestone.

“So you will see here the Bandag retreading and how Firestone matched with Bandag can lower a fleet's operating costs,” he said.

In developing the new campaign, Mr. Ripani said the company recognized, through research, that while Firestone-brand customers include fleets of all sizes, there are a lot of Firestone customers who aren't in trucking, meaning they are in another business that requires a fleet of trucks.

They might build rocking chairs for a living or have a bakery, he said.

They might have eight to 10 trucks that are used by the business. This contrasts with trucking customers that haul freight for a living.

While the target of the new campaign is aimed at individual customers, the fleet owner, Mr. Ripani emphasized the strength of the Firestone brand is built on the back of the company's distribution network. “We think our distribution network, our dealers and truck stops, are critically important,” he said, emphasizing that they are the ones who service these customers.

If someone is a non-trucking person who owns trucks, what they want is to have the problem fixed so the business can keep operating, he said. They don't call Firestone, they call the local dealer and say “keep this going for me.”

“Becoming a trusted adviser to and exceeding the needs of small business owners is at the center of our campaign and its featured products,” said Matthew Stevenson, the newly hired vice president of marketing, Bridgestone Commercial Solutions.

Bridgestone said the Firestone “F-shield” serves as the cornerstone for the campaign, promoting iconic reflection on the past while looking forward to new Firestone innovation available today.

The new campaign coincides with the launch of several tires featuring technological advancements that address the needs of drivers and small fleet owners looking for fuel savings, long wear and casing durability.

 The new tires—FS591 steer, FD691 drive and FT491 all-position radial—meet Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay and California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for fuel efficiency without sacrificing removal miles, Bridgestone said. The Firestone FS820, an all-position tire designed for the rigors of on/off-highway service, features strong traction, long wear life and responsive handling, according to the Nashville-based tire maker.

“Thanks to customer feedback, our new products specifically cater to the needs of these owners—a lower cost-per-mile through long wear, fuel savings with our Firestone eco-products and excellent retreadability, which extends the life of the casing.”

Among the new tires' “customer-focused” attributes that promote a lower cost-per-mile are longer-wearing compounds, fuel-saving sidewall designs and fuel-efficient tread patterns.
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