DENSO: Driving car parts demand





Providing the PR hub to help a key car parts brand achieve a market-leading reputation, Europe-wide

The challenge

World number one original car parts manufacturer and innovator, DENSO Corporation, had opened a Netherlands-based business unit in the 1970s to penetrate the European aftermarket with its original equipment-quality, replacement parts such as spark plugs, starters & alternators, air conditioning and engine management systems. Several national sub-offices then followed. However, by 2000, Europe’s independent garages, motor factors and distributors remained largely impervious to DENSO’s global status, staying loyal to other parts suppliers. The company needed an effective, credible and consistent way of creating stand-out visibility and reputation – that would also be acceptable to its Japanese parent company – to gain share in its target European markets.


Our approach

In 2004, DENSO selected us to launch its new, UK sales office and introductory products to the aftermarket trade. Over the following decade our approach shook up the previously stagnant supplier picture by introducing DENSO as an exciting, top quality ‘newcomer’, and then developing the company’s perceived leadership status and sales potential as ranges and reputation grew. Analysing DENSO’s USPs we harnessed aspects such as its exemplary Japanese manufacturing heritage, pioneering technical innovations, environmental change leadership and motorsports achievements – all now added to a local customer presence. Planning each year as a multi-campaign, multi-media PR programme, we placed specialist print and online trade media at the heart of our strategy, nurturing close editorial relationships that yielded a sustained, seasonally-timed pan-media presence including heavyweight interviews, commentary on industry issues, product and corporate news coverage, technical advice features and interactive promotions. We established and ran the company’s first steps into social media. Additional projects included a nationwide promotional tour to garage customers; and managing DENSO’s media materials, press conferences and launches at trade shows.


After our first year with DENSO in the UK, its Amsterdam headquarters also invited us to expand our remit across Europe. For the next 10 years we acted as DENSO Aftermarket’s ‘hub’ European PR agency; helping the company to establish a consistent, high quality PR presence in all its markets. This included providing strategic, external and internal communications consultancy; helping to align and optimise the company’s messaging across Europe; creating core news and feature content for multi-country use; liaising with partner PR agencies in various countries; publishing customer newsletters; writing senior level speeches, web content and marketing collateral; coordinating technical translations in a dozen languages; crisis handling support; coordinating press conferences; and supporting international events. Further, we also provided project support to the company’s Corporate Communications and Human Resource teams with a range of exhibition, media relations and copy-writing needs.


The results

  • Successfully launched and sustained b2b presence for DENSO’s UK Aftermarket Sales office
  • Typically achieved 130 UK trade media clippings per annum, representing an equivalent advertising value ROI of 1:5
  • Ran and promoted a 2-year, UK-wide tour taking new products to hundreds of garage customers
  • Spearheaded a coordinated, effective PR approach for DENSO Aftermarket across Europe
  • Liaison with 5 other, localised PR agencies to deliver campaigns in certain countries; whilst delivering campaigns directly ourselves to numerous other regions
  • Daily contributions to the company’s websites and pan-European online marketing hub
  • Published more than 50 issues of the company’s pan-European customer magazine
  • Generated media interest and provided support at more than 40 major exhibitions and events
  • Materials coordination in up to 12 languages