Schifino Lee Redefines Steelmaking Process with Sustainability-focused Brand Campaign for Steel Manufacturers Association

Schifino Lee has rebranded the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), the largest steel association in the U.S., which represents the electric arc furnace (EAF) steel industry. EAF-made steel accounts for over 70% of steel made in the U.S., and it’s significantly more sustainable than traditional blast-furnace steelmaking.

The new brand campaign, titled “The strength of America’s sustainable steel,” integrates an array of new creative content and multimedia elements to redefine American-made EAF steel in terms of its environmental sustainability as well as the positive change it has brought to one of the oldest and most storied industries in the U.S.

New SMA logo. 

The B2B campaign is targeted to Capitol Hill legislators in Washington, D.C., as well as to national business leaders and steel buyers. The goal is to position the SMA as the recognized voice of the EAF American steel industry and communicate the value of EAF steel. To do this, Schifino Lee undertook a month-long research and discovery process to interview scores of CEOs and executives, synthesizing its findings and analyses into an integrated brand strategy and plan, launching a national digital and social advertising campaign, and unveiling a range of content and multimedia elements, including a new logo, website, video series, and social media program.

“Sustainability has become one of the most important issues in business today, but the steelmaking industry has long faced the challenge of being incorrectly perceived as one that relies on antiquated, inefficient and highly polluting processes,” said Philip Bell, president, Steel Manufacturers Association. “With the advent of electric arc furnace, or EAF, steelmaking, however, this perception could not be further from the truth. EAF steelmaking produces 75% less carbon emissions than traditional steelmaking and uses over 95% scrap-based raw materials that recycle old steel into new steel. It was imperative to change this perception and educate political and business leaders that EAF steel offers the greenest, safest, and most energy-efficient method of steelmaking, and that the SMA is the established authority in representing EAF steelmakers.”

This was done with a top-to-bottom redefinition of the SMA brand. It started with new brand purpose, brand positioning, brand promise, and value proposition statements, centering on “compelling national leaders, businesses, and citizens to value and support the EAF steel industry for the positive impact it has on the country.” From this, Schifino Lee created a new logo, with the letters “SMA” in a rectangular, linear design to reflect the strength and versatility of EAF steel, and with a green line below it to emphasize the sustainability quality of EAF steel. The agency also developed a new tagline to go with this, “The strength of America’s sustainable steel,” to simply but powerfully describe EAF steel’s differentiation.

New SMA logo and tagline. 

“Although, at first glance, the steel industry may not seem like one with an environmental narrative, the innovation of EAF steel offers a rich and remarkable story of sustainability,” said Ben Lee, co-founder and principal, Schifino Lee. “Going through our research, discovery, and creative concepting phases, we were able to uncover the whole story behind EAF steelmaking and translate it into a compelling narrative to tell the SMA’s role in representing this industry. The final result was an integrated campaign that redefines the steelmaking industry by telling the story of the many environmental, energy-efficiency and positive community impacts of EAF steelmaking.”

The brand relaunch culminated in the redesign and launch of a new website,, featuring a clean, easy-to-navigate layout with large areas of eye-pleasing white space and a green color theme in the fonts and page blocks to convey a theme of sustainability and eco-friendliness.

In addition, a highlight of the brand relaunch included a video series featuring 15-second to 1-minute videos describing how EAF steel is taking a lead role in the U.S. in transforming infrastructure, revitalizing communities and reigniting the economy.

New SMA video.

A final element of the campaign was a digital advertising campaign and a social media program of paid and organic content that used the SMA’s new brand messaging framework to position the organization as the recognized voice of EAF American steel.


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