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Category Archives: Bernard and Company News

Do’s and Don’ts at Shows

I’ve previously written about the top ten do’s and don’ts at shows.  The basics remain: 

Bring people, including your reps, dealers and distributors.  Some large machine dealers are exhibiting again, showing all their lines on a co-op cost basis.  Bring your good tech people, as attendees want answers on the spot and they will appreciate the learning experience.  Don’t say “I’ll check the guys at the factory and get back to you.”  YOU are the guy from the factory the attendees came to see.  

Bring your product, whatever it may be.  THAT’S what people attend shows to see, in addition to those experts noted above.  An obvious exception would be our client who builds machines the size of a basketball court.  Show ‘n tell has as much value today as it did when the nuns had us do it in grammar school.  

Be open about pricing.  I know that’s difficult but even a ballpark number will lend clarity to the conversation.  

Engage the media.  At large shows with 1000+ exhibitors, use your agency (or us) to corral the media for meetings, a presser or other event.  It’s simply putting your head above the crowd.  (Tim has an Irish town crier in his family tree!)

Look sharp.  I was a rarity in a suit and tie, but that’s a personal choice.  My father went to work every day of his life in a suit, as my son does.  Restaurant and hotel moguls.  

And, lastly, bring candy…even when it’s not Halloween!  Our friends in other countries make shows much more of a social event than we do in America, but that’s a personal choice, too.  

Take time, talk to your agency or us to learn from our experience at many shows in many industries, each year.  You’ll be better prepped to max up the value of the events for your company.  

Make sense?  

Tim Daro 

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Just returned from my 12th trade show since Labor Day.  So good to be back in touch with clients, media and industry associates.  The kids at the agency tell me we’re in constant contact (sic) with our clients and the industry.  That’s true, if you consider blasts, zooms, roundtables, lunch ‘n learns, webbies, social media and the other electronic forms of communications sufficient.  Those tactics got us through the depths of Covid, to be sure, but as that landmark SME study proved loudly, the top sources industrials still use today to gather information to do their jobs are trade magazines (yes, Virginia, they’re still alive and well) and trade shows.  

Some call me Pollyannish for this view.  Anybody who knows me knows that simply ain’t so.  (copywriter privilege for grammar)

We have identified seven ways you need to communicate and shows are high on the list.  Why?  In the case of our machine tool clients with average prices over a million bucks, it should be obvious.  For consumable seller clients, the supply chain has been changing rapidly and shows maintain contact with the ultimate buyers.  For custom crafted live tools and tool grinders, for example, not only are our clients a pair of wizards in engineering, but they also solve problems on the spot for people at shows.  I’ve stood at their booths and watched them work their magic.  When the customer or soon-to-be customer’s eyes light up at the suggested solution or unique feature on a machine that will significantly enhance their production, the battle is practically won.  

Branding, of course, is enhanced by shows and by print advertising in ways no digital tactic can match, save perhaps the powerful video, which is now an integral part of our agency’s communication strategy in both advertising and PR.  

Best of all…and this may seem sappy…there’s the clear benefit of personal contact.  Here again, the youngsters who live in their digital worlds tell me such encounters are overrated.  They’re wrong.  The value of listening to a smart person IN PERSON who can help your business thrive and prosper, plus establish that esoteric but very real credibility only an industry expert can sustain, is never out of fashion.  

On the numbers, some shows were roaring, others were dead, due largely to poor planning on the part of the organizers.  I’d peg 65% as an average turnout at the shows I’ve attended, compared to pre-Covid days.  

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Make New Friends, But Keep The Old…

…for one is silver but the other is gold.  That was a song they sang in my mother’s Girl Scout Days.  She rose up the ranks in Chicago to District Chairman, when I was a kid.  Pioneered Operation Co-Ed, the first joint effort of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, here in Chicago.  I can recall her out in a boat with a megaphone at night, chastizing the two camps who’d sneaked off to the island in the middle of the lake, where the sexes were housed on opposite shores.  Pretty radical for the late 50’s.  And my sister was one of the ring leaders of the secret meet-up!  The event caused controversy but it worked.  A life lesson I learned in my single-digit years.

Change is integral to life, and in our case, to the progress of manufacturing technology and its marketing messages and methods.

In this issue, you’ll read a column from our new social media director, Amie, who lives in Flint, MI and is the first employee I hired sight unseen.  That took some adjustment, but not much, as she’s proving her worth every day.  Social media has gone from a couple hours a week to full-time jobs at our agency.  Another of the seven ways engineers get info to do their jobs and engage their colleagues and the supply chain.

Likewise, you’ll see Stiefelmayer lasers, with their line of machines dedicated solely to the production of motor laminations for the electric vehicle (EV) market, which is changing the landscape of an entire industry rapidly.  We’ve handled several laser manufacturers in the past as clients, so we were a perfect fit for this company, who’s being represented by our “old” friends at GMTA in Ann Arbor.  Get the picture?

New business is the lifeblood of any ad or PR agency (we’re both for most clients) and that’s a given.  In this day of Covid, that’s also a tougher challenge than ever.  One new client reached out to the media covering their world for agency recommendations and our name came up on all the lists.  Kinda proud of that fact and it witnesses our expertise and 46 years as a strictly industrial agency.  

We speak your language, that’s a fact.  

From all of us at Bernard & Company, thanks to our old friends.  Be a new one?

The bottom line, as we said back in the day…what we do works and we can prove it.  That’s also a fact.  

Keep the rally going, 

p.s.  Thanks, mom, for showing me that you can change the way two things get done and make them both better.  Later on, I learned the word synergy, something our clients and we have, to the benefit of both!  

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In these trying times, marketers must get even more creative. Creative? Hmmm. Whom do you know who does that for a living? And knows your company? And your market? 

That’s right, your ad/PR agency, who daily brings its clients’ messages to markets, far and wide…or, in the case of some of you, who sell to a limited audience, very narrowly. That’s the upside of our method. We’re not one-size-fits-all, even for our many machine tool clients who might appear to be marketing in the same direction. They’re not and we don’t, for them. 

Our agency, precisely because we’re strictly industrial and bring creative solutions to your specific marketing challenges, is your perfect partner in these Covid times, as we will be when we can once again get in your face, literally. 

We’re designing and implementing a lot of new and innovative tactics for our clients…and they’re working. 

Last piece of advice…don’t be Chicken Little and cut your budget because the sky is falling. It ain’t. The clients we serve who actually INCREASED spending in Covid times have done quite well. It’s the textbook “smaller pie, bigger slice” theory. Stopping your ad and PR efforts in down times only makes it worse. This is a long-proven fact in business marketing. I know it’s all about budget, but every marketing dollar you invest will bring a positive ROI. 

Give us a call…we’re doctors of marcom…and we’re ALWAYS on call. 

Stay safe, 

Tim Daro 

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Marketing in a Time of Crisis

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to watch our clients react to the virus and adjust their businesses accordingly. As all our clients are manufacturing enterprises, they’ve needed to adjust their production scenario. Several innovative clients have gone from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 shifts to achieve proper social distancing with no decline in the output. Most clients have returned to work in the office, as of this writing. Three clients have radically increased their ad spending, with one quoting me my own line, “Smaller pie, bigger slice.” He remembered 2009, all too well. The big difference here, of course, is that the current slowdown has absolutely NOTHING to do with economics.


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Social Media — A Valuable Marketing Tool During COVID-19

By Maureen Lepke

All industries are feeling the effects of Coronavirus. Manufacturing and industrial companies are not an exception. So what can you do in a time where trade shows are cancelled, everyone is working from home and trying to find new ways to get their company’s message out? The answer is social media. Social media is a low-cost, yet valuable marketing tool that allows your company to talk to your customers every day throughout the month.

What’s the benefit of having an agency do your social media for you? We have a full-time social media director here at the agency and we are strictly industrial so we understand your world. We are consistently posting 5 days a week. Social media is usually the first thing that slows down when a company gets busy. It becomes an afterthought when social media should be a critical part of your marketing strategy.


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Getting More Out of Trade Shows with Geotargeting

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By Ioana Benea

Trade shows are a great time for industrial companies to find new business prospects. However, many visitors to the show are busy and have limited time. Therefore, it is important to get as much exposure as possible. At Bernard & Company, we make sure our clients get traffic at trade shows. Geotargeting is one of the newest marketing tools in this digital age.


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Are You “Following” the Social Media Movement?

by Maureen Lepke

Over the past few years, social media has become increasingly mainstream in our daily lives. As of September 2017, Facebook has approximately 2.07 billion monthly users according to Facebook Stats. Twitter, on the other hand, had an average of 328 million monthly users as of the first quarter of 2017 as seen in a Forbes article. Lastly, an article from Fortune claims that LinkedIn has 500 million users as of April 2017.

While social media initially rose to popularity with teenagers as the main users, older generations have since adapted to these changing times and have incorporated social media into not only their personal lives but also into their professional lives.

More recently, businesses have realized the immense potential of having a social media presence. No longer is social media solely for interacting with friends and playing games; today, it’s opened the doors to vast possibilities for brand recognition among businesses and consumers.

In the manufacturing and industrial markets, social media can be extremely beneficial as companies in these industries rely on monthly trade publications for advertising and sharing product news with their specific audience in the hopes of generating leads. While this continues to be important to create brand awareness, social media can lend a helping hand. By using social media, a company can easily promote their brand the other 30 days out of the month.

Social media is the perfect outlet to not only promote your brand and share exciting company news but to also share breaking news and relevant topics that pertain to your company’s industry. This allows your business to become a wealthy source of information and lends a great deal of credibility to your company within the industry.

Among those benefits is the added bonus of being able to connect with a very specific, pinpointed target market that is already interested in your industry and therefore will be a possible lead. Communication is key when it comes to any business and marketing strategy. Social media is a medium of communication that lets a business interact with consumers in ways that companies have never been able to before.

The future of social media for businesses looks bright as there are plenty of ways to reach your audience and stay relevant in the minds of the consumers. It’s important to stay up-to-date as social media and technology are constantly changing and improving.

Are you “following” the social media movement? It’s about time! See what social media can do for your company. Reach out to us today for more information or with questions on how social media can have a beneficial impact on your company. We’re here to help increase your brand awareness.




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Tim’s Take on the Industry


That’s how one of my favorite high school teachers started out many a lecture. Father Cochran taught me logic at the all-boys Catholic prep school I attended. From him, I learned Aristotle and Aquinas in Greek and Latin, plus all the modern thinking of the day. His opening set the tone, namely, encouraging us to keep all things in perspective and never forget the lessons of our youth, no matter what changed along the way.

My point? In today’s ad agency, we have technologies galore that didn’t exist just 43 years ago, when I was a…fledgling copy boy at my first ad agency, writing display classified ads on a “modern” electric typewriter for the agency that handled the American Grease Stick Company, maker of products such as SqueakEase, DoorEase and LockEase. Thrilling, I can hear you say.

Today, we offer clients social media, website development with full back-end tracking, augmented reality to enhance trade show and online experiences, Google ad word programs that capture people seeking their products and equipment, then put an ad in view online through retargeting with back-end tracking protocols, highly complex interactive blasts and conferencing options for training and press events, plus the very cool (is that still a multi-meaning adjective?) technology of mobile attraction, whereby we put a message from our client on every phone in a zip code or x-mile radius of a trade show venue. People come up to the booth and say “show me,” whereupon I smile knowingly at the client and say, “Told ya it would work!” And it does. Call me and I’ll tell you how. (Actually, one of the young guns here will do that.)


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A Not-So New Face Adds Value

My name is Ioana and I’ve been a part of the Bernard & Company team for almost three years. My activities as a marketing information specialist help our clients increase their profits and become better-known within their industries.

One of my primary duties is to read magazines for our clients’ PR. Once identified, the appearances are scanned and archived online. When one of our clients meets with us to talk about the results of their PR campaign, they are presented with magazine clippings and online access to PR that appeared both online and in print. This benefits our clients in two ways. First, clients like Grieve and Suhner, who sell their products in many markets, see which magazines are most responsive to their PR. Secondly, it is very helpful for them to see their ROI. Some clients consistently realize ROI in the 15-20:1 range, depending on the quantity of releases, the occasion of success stories, and the breadth of their master media list.  We have clients who sell to very limited markets such as forge, foundry, tire and rubber molding, while others sell power tools, electric motors and industrial heat processing equipment to almost every industry.


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