Sustainability - in 3.45 seconds

Linde Material Handling set the stage for an e motional campaign on Sustainability. The campaign was synchronized across several areas and levels, and sustainability communication was experienced as inspiring and activating by everyone involved. A complete success, awarded a world record.

Putting Sustainability dynamically in the limelight

By Detlef Sieverdingbeck
Linde Material Handling (Linde MH) is one of the world's leading manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment. With about four million electric motors in 40 years and highly efficient forklift trucks in many respects, the Aschaffenburg-based company is a champion of sustainable logistics. But: The general public is not aware of this, just as they aren ́t aware of the fight for skilled engineers and skilled workers. The attention for electric mobility is absorbed by the major automotive companies, but the competences in the electrical drive and control technology are not exclusive to the automotive industry. Therefore, a strategy for Linde MH had to be created to counteract this, and at the same time pay tribute to two things: the strengthening of the brand image in the field of intralogistics. On the other hand, the communication of innovation and sustainability. On the way there was targeted a detour, which seemed a little daring for a manufacturer of rather strolling forklifts: a detour over the race track.

Power, acceleration, environmental friendliness, versatility, precision: these factors, which are important for a forklift, are also part of other applications. Electric drives: They are one of the key technologies for low-emission, climate-friendly and sustainable mobility. With electric motors, converters and sensors from our own manufacturers and production, Linde MH is a specialist in electromobility, and it was only logical to set up a new department for new fields of application for proven drive technology: Electronic Systems & Drives (ES&D). This was the case in 2010, and the results are technically excellent – But neither the electrically powered two-way vehicles of the company Zwiehoff, which can operate on rails or on the road, nor the converted Fiat 500 of the Hamburg small-scale manufacturer Karbag pay into the brand Linde MH. Something personal was needed - and this explains what Linde had lost on the race track.

Employees from corporate communications, marketing and the new ES&D department are quick to come up with the goal of creating a new, surprising perspective on the proven electrical stacking technology. And in a way that a broad public is experiencing the competencies, the core target groups in sales (fork-lift customers) and in employer branding (specialists, engineers) are approached and the brand perception in general and in the area of sustainability in particular is positively influenced.

The Linde MH E 1 Elektrokart was born. Not just any kart, but a supercar that sets a world record. For superlatives, one is quick to agree on this, and pay attention. All participants are convinced by the idea, and yet gthere are uncertainties: a new territory is entered. The targeted world record is not really secure. But: All parties involved in the project are committed to it, including the management. The strength of the idea, the desire for success, the acknowledgment of a need for communication and the emotionalization of sustainability together ensure the necessary synchronization of departments, management, marketing and communication – the basis for the success story Linde MH E 1 Elektrokart.

In April 2011 it ́s time: As part of the ADAC GT Masters at the Motorsport Arena in Oschersleben, the E 1 accelerates from zero to 100 in 3.45 seconds in front of 12,900 spectators. The entry into the Guinness book of world records is assured. However, the E-Kart is not only successful on the race track - it also has the desired communicative effect. Daily and specialist press report, videos make their rounds on the web and are used by sales, Dimensional animations show how the electronic drive components were transferred from the truck to the E-Kart.

At the beginning of 2012, a sustainability and sustainability magazine, which is both visually and in terms of content, will be introduced.

Linde Material Handling
Linde Material Handling can look back on 110 years of experience in the construction of engines. In 1904, Carl von Linde and Hugo Güldner founded the Güldner Motorenwerke in Aschaffenburg. Later the production of field tractors commenced. The first forklift trucks with a highly efficient hydrostatic transmission were built by Linde in 1958. Today, Linde Material Handling GmbH (Linde MH), part of the Kion Group since 2006, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment Linde MH, headquartered in Aschaffenburg, has production and assembly plants in all important regions around the world, as well as a global sales and service network with representatives in more than 100 countries. In fiscal 2013, the company generated 13,776 employees worldwide with sales of 2.88 billion euro.
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What do an electric forklift and the E 1 electrocart have in common? No less than motor, battery, display, control and software. The transfer of technology is the basis for a campaign under the motto "Power becomes profitability", which holds more than one world record.

The emotional syncronization of messages

The E-Kart also finds a place in "think effective - sustainability in focus". The magazine is especially popular with the sales department, and meets the the growing interest in the topic of sustainability elegantly and efficiently. E-kart has the role of smoothing the hard facts and to emotionalize technology transfer and electromobility.

Emotionalization and synchronization are the key words: The E-Kart is a successful example of how a PR idea becomes a genuine business, how sustainability communication itself becomes a sustainable measure and generates added value, how emotionalization creates conviction and brings together communication objectives. The e-kart is also a successful example of the importance of the emotional synchronization of the message: On the one hand, needs-oriented communication across all means of communication and market contacts, and on the other hand, across all persons involved in the company. The fact that solely targeted PR work creates a demand, and that the new ES&D department can be upgraded to the New Business & Products division is the result of a combination of several factors: In addition to the general editorial PR work, the trade fairs are particularly successful. They gain particular credibility by the fact that the representatives of several levels and areas are local, from the fork lift business through ES&D's staff and management to the chairman of the board of Linde MH, Theodor Maurer.

As a result, demand increases, both for business and communication. Trade fair organizers, companies and associations see Linde MH as a competent contact and a pioneer and make inquiries. The decision is made to equip the project with its own communication package. The motto "eMotion" and the reference "powered by Linde Material Handling" get to the heart of the performane and also provide for internal approval and emotionalization.

The employees are proud of the extraordinary highlight of their company. The Microsite is developed into a sales platform, sales documents are created, flyers and product information are updated - all measures for more targeted sales.

Sustainability as a chance

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in machine and plant engineering. This is confirmed by the study "Thinking strategically, acting sustainably and successes" of the company consulting PWC, for which about 100 executives from the German machine and plant engineering were surveyed. For 54% of the interviewees, ecological, social and economic sustainability are already a part to the company tradition, 16% plan to supplement their strategic orientation with sustainability aspects, and only 13% consider the topic to be only partly relevant.

A further important result of the study is that most companies want to identify potential savings primarily in terms of sustainability. According to the study, the most important sustainability target for half of the companies is the reduction of energy consumption, followed by optimized resource use and employee retention targets. According to PWC, however, the companies ignore other opportunities, such as improvements in the supply chain,regional characteristics in the target markets and services. Customer expectations, especially with regard to sustainability reporting, are often ignored. As a result, companies are missing valuable market opportunities.

So the following applies and especially in the area of sustainability: do good and talk about it. Sustainability measures should be integrated into a concept that takes sustainability communication into account. A sustainability report is not the means of choice in all cases; a gradual communication with a sustainability magazine at the beginning can convey the message emotionally.

More information:

“think effective” Is the sustainability magazine with which Linde Material Handling has entered the communications campaign. On 56 pages, the focus is on more performance and efficiency, innovative technology and services, greater safety and comfort as well as the sustainable use of the environment and resources. Both the people working with the products of Linde MH as well as the people working for Linde MH are published in the magazine. The sustainability magazine is a popular sales and image material.

Detlef Sieverdingbeck

switched to corporate communications after working as a journalist for BILD and FOCUS. At FAG Kugelfischer AG, he experienced the takeover by the Schaeffler Group, for which he subsequently built up the communication of the industrial division with the brands INA and FAG. Afterwards, he joined Müller Weingarten AG as Head of Corporate Communications and returned to the Schaeffler Group, where he was responsible for communication during the takeover of Continental AG after the merger with Schuler AG as Head of Corporate Communications. Most recently, he was Head of Corporate Communications at Linde MH. Since April 2014, the 46-year-old has been advising customers in machine construction and automotive.