Q & A with Gemma Brotherton of Komatsu UK

Industry Insights

Q & A with Gemma Brotherton of Komatsu UK

25th May 2022

The Komatsu UK plant based in Birtley, Chester-le-Street, was established in 1985 and manufactures medium-size and large crawler excavators (17 to 70 tonnes).

Gemma Brotherton, PR Specialist at Komatsu UK, talks to Horizon Works about the launch of the revolutionary K100 product in 2021…

Tell us about Komatsu UK. What’s the Birtley plant’s key focus?

Komatsu UK Ltd. manufactures medium-size and large crawler excavators (17 to 70 tonnes) and specialist working gear excavators.  The factory in Birtley was established in 1985 and officially opened in 1987.  Our purpose is to create value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together.  In short, creating value together.

You launched a new product last year – the K100 – tell us a about it, why is it so unique?

The K100 is a revolutionary enhancement of the flagship PC490HRD-11 high reach demolition machine which is exclusively designed, tested and manufactured by Komatsu UK.  The PC490HRD-11 offers six different working arrangements so the demolition operator can precisely select materials for recycling.

The K100 system allows the operator to change the machine’s configuration on site without leaving the cab and with no need for outside help, greatly increasing the machine’s potential.  The K100 system is controlled through a sophisticated touch screen Human Machine Interface (HMI) and all mechanical, hydraulic and electrical connections are made in just a few minutes..

Demolition contractors across Europe are realising the benefits of the K100 system, making full use of the machine’s versatility and cutting down on the number of machines on site.

What was your marketing approach and why was this different?

As a leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) our business is familiar with launching new products at trade fairs.  However, because of the restrictions in place due to Covid, we decided that an on-line event would be more appropriate and reach a wider audience.  For this event, we combined several assets to enhance the customer online experience.  It was important for us to generate interest from the target audience and reinforce our brand as the most innovative OEM.  I should say that the innovative “K100” system is key to create such a promotion plan.

We used social media teasing to build the momentum and published content one month in advance, from the factory to the customer.  The event was advertised on Facebook and LinkedIn (prior to the event).  Online Bannering was created for major demolition magazines and contact was made with Social Media Influencers to create a buzz around the event.  We also sent invitations for the on-line event to a targeted audience.

After the event a recording was published and made available on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

Did the campaign generate results?

Yes, absolutely.  Hundreds of people attended the live event, the YouTube video received 15,000 views and the Facebook video received 257,000 views.  Feedback from attendees has been very positive and enquiries received from around the world have demonstrated that we engaged with the right audience.

What are the plant’s future plans?

As we continue to grow as a business and develop new products, we will push ahead with our ongoing recruitment drive.