Proto Labs

Challenge

Proto Labs believes that product designers and manufacturers should be able to quickly and easily develop prototypes and low-volume production runs using digital manufacturing in order to reduce risk and cost from the product development process. But with its niche design and engineering audience, Proto Labs needed to amplify its visibility among existing and potential customers. The company also wanted to ramp up share of voice in national media and manufacturing trades to position itself as a leader in the quickly evolving segment of digital manufacturing.

Insight

A combination of insights from Proto Labs' leaders, primary research with current customers, and secondary market research helped us define new messaging around "the digital thread." We used these insights to identify opportunities to insert Proto Labs and rock star CEO Vicki Holt into conversations around digital manufacturing, how rapid prototyping impacts speed-to-market, innovations in product development, and the changing face of manufacturing and skilled employees.

Idea

To carry these messages out to Proto Labs stakeholders and market influencers, Padilla developed an integrated media relations plan. The plan would elevate Vicki's profile in the industry and among her peers, as well as boost visibility for the Proto Labs brand. This combination could also boost the company’s status as a leader in the emerging digital manufacturing segment.

Solution

A combination of high-profile speaking engagements, industry awards and accolades, original contributed content – and an increased cadence of engagement with design and engineering trade media and national outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, IndustryWeek and Forbes – helped Proto Labs gain the visibility it needed.

Results

Proto Labs continues to earn coverage in local, trade and national business media and has a dominant share of voice on digital manufacturing topics. Vicki is a sought-after speaker within the manufacturing, business development and women’s leadership segments. Media continue to cover the Proto Labs story as the company expands, rolls out new services and promotes its Cool Idea! Award program.

Once squarely perceived as a brand within the category of "rapid prototyping" companies, Padilla's work has shifted the perception of Proto Labs to a leading digital manufacturing powerhouse that enables companies to accelerate innovation and move products to market faster.