The background: The birth of the Quadbeam sensor

New Zealand may be a small country but it is a big player in the dairy industry. Our little country accounts for 28% of world dairy exports.

Quadbeam sensors were developed in New Zealand in the 1990s in response to demand from New Zealand’s hyper-efficient dairy factories. Whereas overseas operators have traditionally been quite relaxed on wastage, New Zealand has always had a strong focus on overall ‘process efficiency’ (maximising yields and minimising wastage to get the most value). This Kiwi laser-focus created demand for a repeatable turbidity and suspended solids sensor that did not drift as a consequence of contamination, had no lenses to leak through, was robust enough to withstand high pressures and water hammer, and provided meaningful data to operators. From these client demands emerged the Quadbeam sensor. Its underlying multi-beam technology uses ratio-metric maths to self-compensate for contamination and ageing, ensuring long term accuracy. The sensors are also manufactured from a polymer block, eliminating vulnerable glass and the chance of leakage. Moreover, simple multi-point calibration means sensors can be calibrated on-site against meaningful site standards and site lab equipment.

Over the past 20 plus years, Quadbeam’s sensors have been put to use in a wide range of applications, from dairy, to food and beverage, to mining, and more (like pulp and paper, sugar, starch, paint, chemical processes, rendering, stormwater, and wastewater).

The challenge: Achieve the same penetration globally as Quadbeam had in the NZ industry

While the Quadbeam sensor had taken the New Zealand dairy market by storm and been a global success, the sensor had never achieved the same penetration rates in the North American and European dairy industries as it had in New Zealand’s hyper-efficient mega factories. Geoff Letcher, the owner of Quadbeam, saw this as an opportunity. Geoff asked the Resonance team to re-imagine Quadbeam’s branding and marketing communication to achieve better communications cut-through.

Geoff had attempted this exercise before with normal creative agencies but with little to no success. He knew he couldn’t do the same thing again. He chose to engage Resonance, whose completely different approach he had appreciated earlier in his career on research and strategic projects (when working with Scott Pilkington) and more recently with a strategic and creative project related to his Phathom water sensors.

“I knew there was no point doing the same thing again and expecting different results”

Geoff Letcher, Owner and Managing Director

How Resonance helped strategically: Focussing on efficiency

After value proposition sessions with Geoff and the team, Resonance identified that the crucial message that these global dairy players needed to understand was the ‘efficiency’ advantages that Quadbeam sensors would bring to their operations, and the difference this would make for their businesses. For instance, that improved process control plus long-term reliability equals less down-time and reduced costs.

This high-level efficiency message was supported by a number of important sub-messages:

• Reduce losses: Continuous accuracy means loss reduction is constant, saving wasted raw materials.
• Fewer operator check-ins:
Reliable multi-beam technology means less operator intervention and the associated cost savings.
• Sustainability:
Efficiency and sustainability are inextricably linked. Reducing wastage and maximising value doesn’t just help the bottom line, it also reduces the environmental impact. For example, imagine a dairy factory running at 5% product losses. That’s the equivalent of pouring 1 tanker in every 20 down the drain, or stocking pasture with 5% more cows. Using Quadbeam sensors to help reduce those losses would drastically reduce the factory’s environmental footprint.

Resonance’s other big insight was that every Quadbeam competitor in the marketplace marketed themselves in the same way, with a heavy emphasis on ‘product’ rather than ‘benefit and outcome’ marketing.

How Resonance helped creatively: Cut-through conceptual graphics

Having identified that the Quadbeam sensor’s unique differentiator was that its ‘engineering’ increased the efficiency of the factories and plants that adopted the technology, the next challenge was how to convey this message creatively. Given that all of Quadbeam’s competitors had a heavy emphasis on product, the answer was conceptual, creative cut-through. We developed a series of creative advertisements like the ‘stretched milk bottle’ which shows that improved efficiency adds to the bottom line and is the equivalent of having more product to sell. We also produced a series of other attention-grabbing visuals.

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The result: A completely different way of communicating

The net result of the new value proposition, branding and marketing communications work was that:

• Quadbeam got a striking new look. Cluttered communications were replaced with a crisp and clean look and feel.
• Striking cut-through advertising and graphics were created.
• A new story-telling website was produced.

As Geoff comments “The new brand look has taken us to a new level of professionalism, we have been getting great customer feedback and are clearly perceived differently by them. With Resonance we are able to get top end strategic and creative talent, that would normally only be available to major corporates, at very affordable prices”

“With Resonance we are able to get top end strategic and creative talent, that would normally only be available to major corporates at very affordable prices”

Geoff Letcher, Owner and Managing Director