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7 Questions and a Selfie: Amber Fennell and John Bower, PGC

Amber Fennell (Marketing Communications Manager) and John Bower (VP, Marketing and Sales) have been deep in the trenches of the relaunch of the PGC brand, playing an instrumental role in its success. They’ve learned a lot in the process, and they’re here to share!

What’s your advice to a company considering a relaunch?

Amber: Be patient and open minded. The process of relaunching your brand and showing the world who you are doesn’t happen overnight. It is a journey that you have to be prepared to take, especially if your company has been doing the same thing and giving the same message to its customers for years. That goes for internal as well as external customers.

John: Seek first to understand the process. Be a student. Ask a lot of questions.

Amber: Also, have faith. The Introworks team members are masters of their craft and will walk you through each step, making sure you understand what and why things are happening.

John: I would recommend building a team of internal change agents to participate in the process. Don’t make decisions in a vacuum.

 

What’s been the most challenging part of the process?

John: Staying patient and allowing the process to unfold without taking shortcuts or constantly wanting to change things. Realizing the process works and being true to your commitment is hard, but worth it.

Amber: For me, the most challenging thing has been sharing the message internally. Many of the employees at PGC were comfortable with where we were and what we were doing. Business was fine. Many of them don’t like change and didn’t understand why the relaunch was necessary. So sharing the new message platform and getting them on board with the new look and direction of PGC has been by far the most difficult part of the process. However, it has also been one of the most rewarding parts. When you see someone making the connection between what our customers told us through groundtesting, and then seeing how we are taking that message into the market to grow PGC, it is incredibly exciting. It reignites their passion for what they do, and makes them excited to shout our story from the rooftops.

 

What about the most gratifying part?

John: Reflecting back from the beginning of the process and realizing that the end result, the relaunch content and messaging, was beyond all expectations. It captured who we are to ourselves and to our customers, and it was part of everyone. This is something you have to experience to understand. It has a positive impact on all the lives we touch every day.

Amber: I started this project with BrandFAQs the first week that I began working at PGC. So for me, the most gratifying part is to be able to see it come full circle. When we started, we didn’t know who we were, what our niche was, what our customers thought, or even what path or position PGC was going to take in the future. We were truly at a crossroads. And to see the company through the whole journey has been an amazing opportunity. I have been able to see how passionate the employees are about what they do, and the parts that PGC produces. At the same time, watching the owners see what they have done in the past and get excited about the future, and the journey that will continue even after this launch is complete is something I am so proud to be a part of. We are a new version of PGC, with the same work ethic and values that we’ve always had, but with more direction and a better sense of self.

 

Is making such a big change scary?

John: Yes. It’s horrifying!  One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced, but the biggest reward we’ve earned!

Amber: It is incredibly scary. You question yourself at every turn. Are you making the right decision, is the change going to make a difference in the market, and will the internal team embrace the change, because without them, your message can’t go anywhere. It is a big investment, but it is just that, an investment in the future of your company, and you have to remember that as you work through each process.

 

At what point did you notice things really making a shift from old to new?

John: Right away, once the feedback from our VOC/VOM (voice of customer and voice of market) was shared with our internal staff, operations team and executive team. We used BrandFAQs, a brand perception tool offered by Introworks, to get a relative number or score to build upon from the beginning. It was excellent.

Amber: I would say it started with BrandFAQs. Seeing the standards that our customers hold us to and their expectations for a partner in this industry was eye-opening. Yet, we were ahead of the competition in every category. When the employees saw that, the wheels started to turn. There wasn’t a lot of actual change at that point, but it gave everyone a boost of confidence and made them interested in the next stage of our journey.

 

What have you learned along the way?

John: This journey from brand perception to shaping a message platform is the actual proof of concept transforming into a reality. So many people can visualize what they want, but they don’t know how to get there or execute on their vision. It’s too hard from the inside out.

Amber: Since the beginning, one of the messages we received is that the employees wanted their voices heard. One of the best parts of this process is that you create a team that will share their story and what part they play at PGC. Having people from all departments, some with years of experience in the manufacturing industry and others with a new perspective allowed our story, the PGC story, to really be told the right way.

 

Amber, what do people say at parties when you tell them you’re in the gasket business?

Amber: Generally I get the glazed-over “Oh, that’s interesting.” But then I start telling them about some of the things we do or the projects we have worked on, and it doesn’t take long to realize I’m in a very cool industry.

 

BONUS QUESTION

John, if you were stuck on a desert island with just one IPA, what would it be?

John: Without question, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. I’d probably eat the wrapper once the beer was gone.

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