Colored Confetti, Brand Equity and Determination

Walt Moore | October 19, 2010

If you’re a NASCAR fan—and a Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) fan in particular—you might have noticed the “colored confetti” Doosan Infracore logo on JGR’s cars, #11, #18 and #20, driven by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, respectively. (See the colored confetti logo close-up at under “Sponsors.”)

Doosan, a company formed more than 100 years ago and today one of Korea’s top 10 business conglomerates, has invested in NASCAR sponsorship as a means of promoting the Doosan name and the capabilities of its construction equipment, forklift and machine-tool businesses in North America. Part of Doosan’s sponsorship, in fact, involves the use of Doosan machine tools in JGR’s high-tech facility in Hunter, N.C., where the tools turn out precision components for engines, suspensions and other racecar systems.

As you might remember, Doosan Infracore, the Doosan business unit focused on infrastructure development, purchased Daewoo Machinery in 2005, gaining wheel loaders and excavators. In 2007, for $4.9 billion, Doosan Infracore also purchased certain segments of the Ingersoll Rand company, including the Bobcat and Portable Power businesses.

The latter business unit, now known as Doosan Infracore Portable Power, recently hosted members of the press at its expansive manufacturing facility (nearly 550,000 square feet) in Statesville, N.C., near Charlotte. The facility primary produces the heart of the Portable Power line—light towers, portable generators and portable air compressors—but also houses Doosan Infracore’s attachment businesses, including the Geith, Tramac and Montabert brands. (Portable Power also has a mobile security system and markets light compaction equipment, while Doosan Infracore’s Construction Equipment lineup further includes Moxy Trucks).

According to David Stahlman, Portable Power’s vice president of global marketing, Doosan Infracore’s goal is to be, within the next five years, among the world’s top three brands in the infrastructure support business.

In addition to Statesville, certain of Portable Power’s core products also are manufactured in the Czech Republic, China and India, allowing efficient supply logistics on a global basis.

Portable Power’s fundamental competency, says Stahlman, is “packaging engines with a power output.”

“Our vision is to be a global leader in these core-product segments,” says Stahlman. “We’re already first or second in all markets involved with portable compressors, and in the past 12 months, we’ve doubled our market share for portable generators, and tripled our share for light towers—primarily by signing on large, global rental companies. We’re continuing to expand our portfolio of products to target specific markets and customers.”

A tough nut to crack for Portable Power, however, is transitioning its product identification from Ingersoll Rand to Doosan (most current products carry both brands). Ingersoll Rand has great equity in its instant recognition and its association with premium equipment, says Stahlman, but the brand can be used only until 2012. The challenge, he says, is to transfer the equity of the Ingersoll Rand brand to the Doosan Infracore brand in the Americas, where Doosan has less recognition than elsewhere in the world.

“Ingersoll Rand has been a well-known brand globally and has a lot of respect in many markets,” says Stahlman, “but here in North America, Doosan is not well known. We have to leverage the equity in the Ingersoll Rand brand to build up the Doosan brand as a premium player in the construction business.”

Despite the hard work ahead, including fundamental changes in many equipment platforms to accommodate Tier-4 compliance, Doosan Infracore Portable Power is in the infrastructure-support business for the long term, says Stahlman.

“We’re willing to make the investment to become a global leader in our market segments,” he says, “and our goal is to create an organization that surrounds those aspirations.”