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Caterpillar wanted to introduce a new line of portable generators to consumers. They had a prototype of the generator. And a lot of unanswered questions. That’s when they turned to Hart for answers.

caterpillar generator

For industry pros, we knew the Caterpillar name was synonymous with toughness and reliability. But to successfully launch a new Cat Home & Outdoor Power product to the consumer audience, we needed to learn what consumers knew or, more importantly, what they thought about the Caterpillar brand. We went to work on a step-by-step fact-finding assignment that would inform every step of a consumer launch from product development and sales distribution to establishing a new consumer-facing service organization.

Execution and Results

Following a planning framework, we used both primary and secondary research to define the target audience, understand what drives the consumer decision process and what messages best resonated with consumers during different stages of the buying process.

With initial findings from our discovery phase in hand, we then developed user personas for the portable generator buyer. The personas were both thorough and thoughtful. They included demographic and lifestyle information, shopping preferences, media habits and how the brand and product fit into the consumer’s life.

With the customer clearly defined, our attention turned to defining the customer decision journey. We outlined the steps that must take place for a purchase to occur, and what the customer is thinking and doing during each of those steps. This comprehensive process provided us with the information we needed to develop an effective brand message map.

Introducing a compelling experience across all channels

The consumer experience is made up of the following attributes: the product itself, the presentation of the product and the experience at each touchpoint.

To optimize the customer experience, Hart took the lead and fielded user-testing research to understand how consumers perceived the functionality and use of the Cat RP Series of portable generators. Our research indicated that some of the product features on the prototype were not perceived as worthy of the Cat brand. Those features were refined or enhanced in the final product.

With the product refined to its maximum potential, we then maximized how the product was presented in the retail environment. Hart developed and designed packaging, in-store collateral, displays and even a store-within-a-store concept.

Given the complexity of the consumer decision journey, Hart developed a messaging plan for paid, earned, shared and owned media. The messaging plan identified the target persona, the stage in the decision journey, the appropriate message and the timing and duration of that message.


Stores As a result of our research, planning and execution, the test market of Cat RP Series Portable Generators rolled out in 300 Lowe’s stores nationwide.


Days We reached the established year-long qualified lead goal in 180 days.


Higher Digital ads achieved click-through rates that were 42% higher than goal.

The Cat RP Series Portable Generators launch is a textbook example of a comprehensive communications effort, in which insights at every phase of campaign development informed decision making and direction. This effort demonstrates how a wide range of agency capabilities come together to achieve a single, focused goal.