Interview with Vesper Hu, Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager APAC, Heilind Electronics Inc.
- Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Heilind Electronics and DAC Group Company?
Heilind Electronics, the first DAC Group Company was founded by Bob Clapp in 1974,with the focus on interconnect and electromechanical products. In 1982 he started D.B. Roberts Company with an emphasis on specialty fastener products. The same year the DAC group was established.
From its founding in 1974, Heilind has grown to become the industry’s pre-eminent interconnect distributor, with the largest inventory of connector products in North America. The company was built on the ideals of deep inventory, flexible policies, responsive systems, knowledgeable technical support and unsurpassed customer service and today supports original equipment and contract manufacturers in all market segments of the electronics industry.
DB Roberts is a recognized leader in fastener distribution. Since inception, it has been focused on providing solutions for fastener applications in Sheet Metal Fabrication, Metalworking, and Industrial Electronics.
Heilind has over 40 facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China.As part of Heilind global expansion, Heilind Asia Pacific was officially launched on Dec 12th, 2012. Covering primarily Heilind product categories, Heilind Asia Pacific mainly focuses on connectors, relays, switches, thermal management & circuit protection products, terminal blocks, wire & cable, wiring accessories and insulation & identification products and sensor products distribution business.
Heilind Asia Pacific now has 21 locations throughout Asia.By replication of Heilind successful North American business model of a strong commitment to inventory to deliver the highest levels of service possible in the Asian market place, it insists on the belief of “Distribution As It Should Be”.
2. Heilind has been very successful in the field of electronic component distribution. For a growing enterprise, in addition to the company’s technical strength, branding is also increasingly important. What’s your understanding of brand building? How does Heilind build the brand in APAC? And what’s your plan to build brands for hardware and fasteners that Heilind plans to introduce in APAC?
Generally speaking, brand is the definition customer made from overall perception of our business, and brand building is a long process getting our target audience to know who we are and what they could expect from us. Through storytelling, we build our reputation and make our brand recognized & loved.
Brand building is quite influential for developing business. According to Nielsen’s Global New Product Innovation Survey, nearly six-in-ten global consumers (59%) prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them, and 21% say they purchased a new product because it was from a brand they like. Areputable brand could be one of the most valuable wealth a company owns.
The first step we start for Heilind brand building in APAC is to determine the target audience and our uniqueness which differentiate us from other competitors, delivering the right content to the right group on right platforms—as the interconnect specialist, with the mission to insist the core value of distribution, we carry connector inventory in breadth and depth supporting original equipment and contract manufacturers in all market segments of the electronics industry.
Then we outline the competitive advantages and key benefits to provide—franchised for 100+ world leading manufacturers, No MOQ/MLV, professionals of interconnect and electromechanical products, completed set of value added services, design in support, multicurrency, local support in 21 locations all around Asia…
Under the clear brand image with plan externalized, we integrate Heilind brand into as many aspects as possible of our business, such as the print, signage, website, advertising, searching engine optimization, online& offline events, content marketing, press release, social media, souvenirs and customer service.
Brand building is not a one-step project and it doesn’t happen in a few days or even in a few months, which is a long term relationship management with stakeholders and the public. It has to be consistent in image, communication and experience, thus, it would be always on-going and transitional which moves forward in everyday operation details.
We will follow the same successful branding process for the hardware and fastener brands. Penn Engineering is the first dedicated hardware/fastener supplier we are adding into our Marcom program. At the same time we will include Heyco, Panduit and RAF into this marketing initiative. We will continue to add complementary lines regularly to enhance our presence in this product category.
As we mentioned earlier, all our hardware/fastener brands are grouped under DB Roberts, a recognized leader in this field. We plan to use our existing Heilind infrastructure to support the branding, marketing and sales of these product lines in Asia.
- What do you think is the most effective marketing activity you or your company undertakes?
It depends on different phases we experience. In Asia we have 3 main marketing phases for Heilind:-
I Transition Phase-at the very beginning, our target was to enhance Heilind market presence in Asia and transit the brand image & business model from North America; in this phase we built Asia website, made corporate video, conducted lots of interviews and attended many large-scale tradeshows of electronics industry.
II Consolidation Phase-Brand image delivery was the key goal. We had our local language website and unified Chinese brand name for Greater China, we created Heilind mascot, completed social media platforms and developed many interesting promotions such as online game program, 3D video display set etc.; accordingly, we continued to attend large-scale tradeshows and also held press conferences.
III Growth/Segment Focus Phase-When stepping into the growth phase, with the e-commerce becoming a trend, we started to focus on vertical &internet marketing. In this phase our promotions were more specific on products & applications. With new VR promotion method, we attended lots of small-scale professional tradeshows, forums & seminars and held many customer workshops. At the same time, more resources were allocated on searching engine marketing and 3rd party inventory listing.
4.In NA, DB Roberts is a recognized leader in fastener distribution, Heilind Electronics is one of the world’s leading distributors for interconnect, electromechanical, and sensor products; will it be the same branding in Asia?
In North America, as an AS9120 and ISO 9001:2015 registered company, DB Roberts is a recognized leader in fastener distribution focusing on providing solutions for fastener applications in Sheet Metal Fabrication, Metalworking, and Industrial Electronics.And the manufacturers DB Roberts represents are the best in the respective industries. Its “Superior Customer Service” and “Commitment to Excellence” has proven to be a winning formula fueling innovation and rapid growth year after year. This is much similar to Heilind ideals of deep inventory, flexible policies, responsive systems, knowledgeable technical support and unsurpassed customer service.
As mentioned in the previous point, due to the fact that target audience is relatively similar, both Heilind and DB Roberts product ranges will be marketed and sold under one Heilind Asia’s product portfolio.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in Marketing and Communications, how did you overcome it?
From my perspective there are 2 main challenges:-
Although we are the largest interconnect distributor in North America for more than four decades history, and had been awarded the Best Distributor for 6 consecutive years by Bishop and Associates, when we first launched Heilind Asia in 2012 we were practically unknown to the market which was already crowded with competitors.
The other main challenge is Asia Pacific covers many countries/regions, in which the market situation & culture is quite different and hard to figure out the most suitable promotion ways/platforms in a limited time.For example, some countries have strict restricts on media and customs policy, or smaller consumer group, in such cases the promotion plans could be varied from one region to another.
However,with a lot market research, we integrated Heilind branding into as many aspects as possible of our business year by year, flied to varied regions visiting and carried out tradeshows, seminars&workshops, actively tried rising promotion methods andtripled the news amount in just two years… Over time, our perseverance pays off and we are today recognized as a creditable channel partner in Asia market, with a well-defined business model and the capacity to take calculated risks to improve our business offering. Having received more than 20 awards from media, suppliers and customers all over Asia, we will continue to work on enhancing these good relationships.
About Heilind Electronics:
Founded in 1974, Heilind Electronics, Inc. (http://www.heilind.com) is one of the world’s leading distributors of connectors, relays, switches, thermal management & circuit protection products, terminal blocks, wire & cable, wiring accessories, insulation & identification, fastener/hardware and sensor products. Heilind has over 40 facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
Heilind Asia Pacific (http://www.heilindasia.com) commenced operations in Dec 2012, and now has 21 locations throughout Asia. Its industry leading service offering to customers in Asia Pacific is the result of a commitment to the belief of “Distribution As It Should Be”.