Cree: Lighting the LED Revolution

The Challenge

Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED lighting, brought Shelton Group on board in 2009 to help accomplish a bold mission for the day: to make incandescent and fluorescent lighting obsolete. As a competitor of industry titans like GE, Sylvania and Philips, Cree wanted to build a brand based on performance and leadership – and then raise its brand awareness among business decision makers.

The Insight

Shelton tested perceptions of both Cree and LED technology in general among commercial purchasers. These audiences still thought of energy-efficient lighting as synonymous with CFLs – many of them didn’t believe LEDs were ready for large-scale professional applications. And Cree’s brand wasn’t on their radar. We realized Cree would have to give architects, engineers, contractors and facility managers a chance to see the bulbs in action before they’d risk specifying a different type of product.

The Solution

The new brand and supporting campaign, “Lighting the LED Revolution,” heralded Cree’s LED technology as a game-changer: For the first time, superior performance, energy efficiency and beautiful light could coexist. With an alternative to fluorescent lighting now available, Cree called for specifiers to rise up against the norm of wasteful, unattractive lighting. The campaign proved that Cree lighting was ready for primetime by visually contrasting LEDs against the prison-like dimness of standard office lighting.

The campaign’s reveal at LightFair, a premier trade event, secured Cree 25% more qualified leads than the previous year, as well as a prominent article in The New York Times’ green section. Recall of campaign advertising was high: 63% of readers surveyed recalled seeing our trade journal ad; of those who buy or specify LEDs, 68% recalled seeing the ad, and 45% recalled reading it.

The best part? The campaign lined up with Cree’s release of several new products, and together, these efforts helped Cree grow its revenue from LED products 51% over the prior year – compared to growth of just 19% the year before.


more leads at Lightfair


ad recall in target audience


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Tradeshow Booth


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