Social media and strategic partnerships help Norweld perform in the wild

AMGC member Norweld manufactures heavy duty aluminium trays, canopies and accessories for utes and 4WD vehicles. Established in North Queensland in 1971, Norweld has enjoyed exponential growth over the last 10 years.

According to Isaac Edmiston, Co-Owner and Sales and Marketing Director of Norweld, “Even five years ago, there is no way that I could have predicted we’d have four offices in three states across Australia, and be exporting our products to every continent except Antarctica. Norweld is the only Australian manufacturer with trays and canopies on six continents,” said Edmiston.

And it is little wonder: designed to withstand even Australia’s harshest conditions, all of Norweld’s products come complete with their unconditional guarantee for life against faulty workmanship.

Through years of research and development at their head office in Cairns, Norweld has created the ultimate tray and canopy packages, designed, and manufactured by Australians, using the highest-grade materials with cutting edge manufacturing techniques.

In 2009, we saw a gap in the market for a high-quality tray, so we started developing the product. We definitely took risks. There were already fully customisable products in the market, but we decided not to go down that route. Instead, we opted for a product that we could scale, that would allow us to standardise production, and deliver economies of scale. Our wide range of products is based on a mass customisation concept,” said Edmiston.

Social Media for Strategic Expansion

Norweld has garnered itself a strong social media following, boasting upwards of 45,000 followers on both Facebook and Instagram. With fans all over the world, a quick glance of their Instagram account delivers photos of their heavy duty products being enjoyed in some of the world’s most amazing locations, from the beaches of Stradbroke Island, to the streets of Riyadh, and even next to an elephant in the wilds of Africa.

Social media was a long-term strategy for us. We spent a lot of time making sure our content is relevant and appeals to our customer. Our content is focused on the product and where it can take you—rather than on the company itself. It tugs at the heartstrings and focuses on quality time spent with the family in the bush, on the dream of travelling around Australia for an extended period of time.

Instagram was one of the most successful marketing tools for us, particularly internationally – it allows so many people to connect with our brand. It is via Instagram that we secured both our American and Saudi Arabian distributors. They first saw our products on Instagram.

Digital marketing activities, like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) have been key to Norweld’s success. “We don’t spend much on Google Ads. Instead, what made the biggest difference for us was SEO. You have to make sure that, if people are searching for your products online, your website content is relevant and that it is being pushed through at the right time.

Mobile devices are the main source and tool for search now—something like 70% of our website visitors are using mobile devices. So, we are in the process of building a new website that correlates to that usage. You have to be nimble, able to pivot and adapt,” said Edmiston.

Partnerships for supply chain stability

When it comes to partnerships and collaboration, a focus on their supply chain has been critical to Norweld’s success.

Our suppliers have been a key factor in our success. Having the right supply chain is crucial for Norweld. We use 35 tonnes of aluminium per month, so we have to ensure that we have a strong, steady supply of high-quality material. The only way to ensure this type of supply is to work closely with your supply chain,” said Edmiston.

It’s also important to collaborate with your suppliers, so that they can help your business pivot as your products change. For example, we spend a lot of money on auto electrical parts now—five years ago, we barely spent anything. Having the right supply chain partners in place made this much easier.

Joining Forces to Build a Brand

Norweld takes pride in teaming up with other Australian brands. It gives Norweld the opportunity to show off their company and products, and to show customers just how well their trays and canopies perform in the wild. At the moment, Norweld has joined forces with brands like All 4 Adventure, Pro Touring Concepts, and Trip in a Van. While these partners travel around Australia, Norweld has access to some spectacular photos of travels—perfect for sharing on their social media accounts.

Norweld also partners with leading manufacturers and vehicle modification companies, such as Marks 4WD Adapters, Multidrive, JMACX and Creative Conversions, to ensure a seamless integration into their clients’ vehicle builds. According to Norweld, it is through these types of partnerships that customers have come to realise the vehicle’s full potential.

Collaboration to Increase Product Quality

Clearly, Norweld believes that collaboration is important to the future of Australian manufacturing.

You need a network and resource pool behind you. We have networks locally and Australia-wide. Your network might even include your direct competitors, but it is still important to have a relationship with them, so that you can compare notes. That way, the quality of the product increases for the end user.

As people’s expectations of quality and service change and increase, having suppliers and industry professionals in your network, that you can bounce questions and ideas off, is very helpful,” said Edmiston.