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As the agency of record for 8 years, Rockit Science develops and deploys new brand and marketing positions as well as fully integrated advertising campaigns across the United States for the $1.5 billion publicly traded heavy equipment company and their 90 branch locations that feature John Deere, Genie, Grove, Komatsu, Manitowoc, and Bobcat equipment. Additional services include public relations, internal communications, and digital, UI/UX, and website development and integration across internal system architecture.

The Challenge

H&E Equipment Services is a fully integrated heavy equipment company, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that has grown through acquisition in the last 55 years and has a national operating footprint. H&E had never worked with an advertising, marketing, or branding agency. However, that hadn't stopped their success. They are traded publicly under the trade symbol “HEES” on the NASDAQ, their service lines include rentals, sales, parts, and service. They are one of the largest Komatsu earthmoving equipment dealers and the largest dealer of Manitowoc and Grove Cranes in the world. H&E's competitors include such brands as United Companies. Rockit Science was engaged six years ago, and continues to work with this client as Agency of Record, to develop and deploy branding, advertising, public relations, and interactive services across their branch network that stretches across the United States with over 90 locations. Although the agency touches many aspects of advertising, brand, marketing, public relations, and website development this particular case study explores specifics related to the market brand reposition.

The Approach

The agency's initial scope of work was focused on the brand’s market reposition. The agency traveled around the United States to capture insights through qualitative research models, discovery, and immersion processes. These insights were the genesis for the agency's ideation process where new market brand repositions were developed to ensure alignment of internal and external communications with culture, operations, and their ongoing acquisition model. A new persuasive brand strategy was developed to provide an emotional trigger that appeals, confirms, and aligns a consumer’s purchase decision process and H&E’s value proposition. This brand affinity development has continued to assist in H&E's marketing efforts and clients acquisition.

An employee for H&E providing service to heavy equipment at one of the nationwide locations.

Creative Strategy

“It takes true grit to wake up every morning, dedicated to a higher standard. Where others stop, we continue.”

We want to appeal to H&E’s core demographic's internal persona views: “American,” “hardworking,” and “an honest days work, putting a meal on the table for their families.” The use of “higher standard” provides a strong position consideration, it’s a well-fortified statement that defines how H&E approaches a job. The use of “Where others stop, we continue” provides support for the brand’s integrated equipment approach; it communicates we are willing to provide the higher standard, to roll up our sleeves and dust off our hats to make it work for our customers. This is at the heart of “hard-working Americans” and this is how the brand’s team approaches their jobs on any given day.

H&E promotional materials box for external marketing.

Persuasive Brand Position

“H&E Equipment Services, an equipment company, run by equipment people, provides you reliability, fair prices, and the support of a first-class service team through a higher standard of equipment sales, rental, parts, and service.”

What does this mean to a consumer? When the brand refers to itself as “equipment people” it aligns with a customer’s values and mindset—it says “we get you,” and “we’re cut from the same cloth.” H&E answers the question of availability by shifting to a position word that provides brand confidence, “reliability.” The discussion of prices often arises, the pinnacle of decision-making. The H&E team values how they approach the job, and how they service their customers; however, to ensure they align with a consumer’s price consideration in the purchase decision, the brand introduces a “fair price” position. We do not believe “fair prices” means cheap, it means “fair.” Fair for H&E, and fair for their customers. It’s a hard-working American POV position, we’re in this together and we understand challenges facing customers and the heavy equipment and construction landscape. The rebrand and subsequent advertising campaigns were engaged in major metros and greenfield locations across the United States. The Agency continues to drive internal and external communication strategies and market positions across a broad range of Agency of Record services including but not limited to on-going brand development, advertising, public relations, digital, and interactive services.

Responsive mobile website for H&E Equipment Services.

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The Results

After the market brand reposition was accomplished, the Agency deployed a fully integrated traditional and digital advertising campaign across major metro markets. H&E saw rentals, sales, call volume, and digital inbound interest increase over the last six years of agency engagement. H&E continues to position as one of the strongest brands in the heavy equipment landscape. Their growth is fueled by refined processes and major acquisitions increasing their national footprint to over 90 branch locations.

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