The heat is on…

To strengthen the relationship with its network of heating engineers and streamline all press communication, Vaillant’s Belgian branch was looking for a communication partner who could translate the ingenuity behind its state-of-the-art portfolio into clear, compelling and accurate messages. Out of several pitches, Living Stone’s stood out, presenting the agency as a skilled communications ally who is able to play at an international level.

Strengthen relationships

As a global market and technology leader in the fields of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning solutions, it is crucial for Vaillant to maintain close relationships with the people who make sure that end customers get acquainted with Vaillant’s portfolio and remain satisfied with the performance of their installations. In other words, heating engineers play a crucial role in Vaillant’s go-to-market strategy. However, the company’s Belgian branch felt that the communication with its installers’ network was open to improvement. In addition, the marketing division wanted to increase general awareness about the ingenuity behind its state-of-the-art portfolio through well-written and welltargeted press communications.

Well-targeted documents

“We were also looking for a partner that was able to think along when it came to our communications mix,” says Xavier Lallieu, communication manager at Vaillant Belgium. “We had a clear idea on the direction we wanted to take, broadening the scope from e-mailing to other kinds of messaging.” Upgrading Vaillant’s Belgian B2B and press communication wasn’t a brand new project, but it had been temporarily snowed under by other priorities and lack of manpower. “Even if you outsource the actual content production, briefing, revision and final approval remain time-consuming,” says Xavier Lallieu. “All the more reason to find a content provider that would be able to swiftly and correctly transform the given input into well-targeted documents.”

“We considered several candidates, and immediately felt that Living Stone was not simply making a sales pitch, but knew what they were talking about.”
Xavier Lalieu

Translating technical aspects correctly

“Our biggest challenge was to find a communications partner able to produce high-level technical content,” says Xavier Lallieu. “We had previous experiences with companies specializing in e-mailing and content production, but very often we noticed that their writers were not able to correctly describe the technical aspects of our products and industry.” Hoping to find the right match, Vaillant engaged the marketing matchmaker website sortlist. A meeting was scheduled with all five matches.

International scope

Living Stone did not have any previous experience in the heating industry either. “But nevertheless they stood out,” Xavier Lallieu continues. “From the first contact on, I felt that Living Stone was not simply making a sales pitch, but knew what they were talking about.” An impressive client base from the healthcare and telecom industry and corresponding B2B communications portfolio supported their claims. For Vaillant, a global company based in Germany, Living Stone’s broad international network of freelance collaborators was important as well.

Quality-driven approach

Living Stone came through on the content level for differently themed e-zines as well as press releases, and, according to Xavier Lallieu, managed to deliver on its promises. “There’s always a learning curve, of course, but the quality of the texts delivered stands out, especially on a technical level. In addition, feedback or adaptations are not sloppily handled, but correctly applied, which, in our experience, is not always the case with content suppliers. On a project management level, debriefing and follow-up are neatly handled as well. Living Stone’s approach is clearly quality-driven.” Xavier Lallieu was also very happy with the suggestion to add video to the B2B communication mix. “They have quite some experience in video marketing, and immediately saw opportunities to integrate this platform into the communication mix as an engagement booster. An excellent idea, as video is gaining in importance.”

On the right course

Asked if this new communications approach has already paid off, Xavier Lallieu confirms. “We already saw several nice clippings from B2C magazines, which is considerably more of a challenge than B2B media. Our e-zines are sent to installers, which is not the most impressionable public, so we’ll need some more time before collecting any measurable data. In any case, we are very happy to have found the course to follow, and are looking forward to continue on this path and maybe strengthen our relationship when it comes to inbound marketing in the future.”