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Rebranding Fort Street Cycle

20 Jul
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Even their Google Street View was unlucky

It has been a rough first year for the new owners of Fort Street Cycle.

Bad energy left over from an unpopular ownership transition was sucking the life – and at one point, nearly every staff member – out of the shop. The new owners, from Beijing, were in crisis management from the get-go and wondering how they could survive. They decided they needed to start fresh. Well, fresher.

Brand Intervention.pngThis is where the Brand Intervention happens. (This is the icon that says that’s happening.)

I started with some online surveys to existing customers and non-customers to determine attitudes towards the store, and its perceived strengths and weaknesses. This was the key starting point for the rebrand because it told us that there was indeed some bad juju out there about the store – but no respondents had a clear sense why they felt that way.

It also told us that the brand really wasn’t on anyone’s radar and was considered past its day.

So there was no damage here.  But there was a lack of clarity about the store. The lack of clarity came from a lack of a vision, and a lack of  noise in the market. But we could fix those.

ROLLING UP SLEEVES, FINDING A VISION

An analysis of the business, it’s core service and product offerings, and the opportunities in the market, indicated that we could chase the negative spirit away with a big, positive step forward. The store itself was in excellent shape: a good service reputation, a well-known location on Fort, and fantastic bikes: Cannondale, Cervelo and Giant, all high-end machines.

It just needed a focused brand strategy, and a look to pull it off.

The shop’s focus on placing service and proper fitting before bike sales pointed in the right direction, but we needed something bigger.

As luck would have it, the main competitive stores (Oak Bay Bicycles, Russ Hay’s, Trek and Broad Street Cycles) all referred to themselves as “bike shops” in their positioning lines. This created the opportunity.

WHERE CYCLING LIVES

Fort Street Cycle would no longer be just a bike shop. It would be about cycling: where the rider and the bike come together to create the magic. The store would be all about that. A place for cyclists to gather, to read cycle mags and drink coffee, to be professionally fitted, to watch live races on the TV, to post messages about stolen bikes, to find the latest gear to wear, to test ride new models, to talk cycling. Not a hardware store for machines, but  a place for people, something their “service-first” way of working already beautifully supported.

Hence the new tagline: Where Cycling Lives.

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As the brand strategy and visual look were being created, the store went on a serious hiring spree. Using both online ads and networking, there were soon ten passionate cyclists on the store’s staff roster. A mix of road and mountain cyclists, elite competitors and everyday grinders, they embraced the new brand direction and shouldered the tasks involved in bringing it to life.

DON’T KILL THE OLD LOGO. JUST REMAKE IT.

Even though the store’s reputation had suffered in recent years, it was still an established brand with a history. We wanted to respect that by evolving the business, both the name and the logo. Enter long-time collaborator Michael Tension, who delivered a modern and impactful updating of the previous logo, along with an inspired palette of supporting colours to carry it. The name was shortened to Fort St Cycle, because it felt friendlier, and doing so created the space that allowed the name to be on one line in the logo, rather than stacked.

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The old….and the new. Urban Sign behind the new one.

The store had been quiet in Victoria for years and was poorly connected to both the cycling community and the businesses along Fort St.

To help improve that, we gave the staff tools to build new relationships, from branded work gear to highly personalized business cards (the photo is of the staff member, and they chose their own quote and colour) – neither of which the store had ever provided. Then we crafted marketing and social media strategies to slowly build back their audience.

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Service Manager, Russ Parks in his new gear

BUSINESS CARDS

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Michael Tension cards: folded and white on the inside for notes

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Once all the branded pieces were ready, Derek Ford did his usual exceptional job capturing the team spirit in photos. And then it was on to a welcoming Open House to let the market know Fort St Cycle was alive and kicking!

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Megan Munro poster

To promote the event and get rid of some pesky old branded water bottles, the staff rolled up invitations into the old bottles and left them in bikes with empty water bottle holders all over downtown.

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Message in a bottle campaign

The Open House saw a good crowd, and the positive buzz energized everyone and helped to exorcise the ghosts of the old brand.

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Open House July 12

A new website from Leap is on the way, jerseys are being printed and a store renovation is planned for late fall. The store also has plans to lead a cycling tour to the Great Wall in China this year. More details on that coming up soon!  Until then, drop by the store and talk cycling: these guys know their stuff.

And ask for one of those cool new business cards!

 

 

 

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Abeego battles for $100,000 prize

4 Jun BDC Toni Desroisiers

BDC Toni Desroisiers

Toni Desrosiers, founder of innovative Victoria BC-based Abeego,  is a finalist in the BDC’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Abeego (also a Brand Intervention client) is the maker of the original beeswax food wrap.

One finalist was selected from each province. The winner of a public vote, which is on now until June 12, will be awarded $100,000 towards the business!

Check out the finalists and cast your vote for Toni here.

That kind of money would seriously influence her goal to wean humans off plastic cling. You can vote once a day until June 12th and follow her progress on Facebook.

Good luck Toni! And thanks for helping her.

 

Duracell warms up ice cold Canadians

10 Mar

It’s not really hard to get people to like your advertising and, by extension, your brand.

You just have to be useful.

Duracell figured this one out in spades during our Winter of Discontent.

Problem? Freezing cold, grumbling Canadians.

Solution? Check this beauty out:

 

It’s only a major drag if you’re at the stop by yourself!

 

 

 

Christmas card wars: Bell versus Dominos

12 Dec

corporate Christmas cards

Last Christmas Bell sent me an e-card to say Seasons Greetings. This year they put one in the post instead. (That’s a strange reversal of environmental culture from an industry that pushes hard for electronic billing, but that’s another story.)

The Bell card arrived the same time as a card from Dominos Pizza.

Guess which one I liked better?

Christmas card from BellDominos Pizza Christmas card and couponMy average monthly business to Dominos is about $25, so $300 a year. It’s easy to be disloyal and use another pizza delivery service, so the $5 gift card is smart. It will ensure my next order anyway.

I use Bell to the tune of about $150 a month. I have contracts so I don’t have much discretionary choice. If I want to switch to another telecom, it will cost me a bundle.

Bell knows this and didn’t reward my $1,800 a year business with anything beyond a “Thanks”.

Now in your mind, “Thanks” might be enough. But an unsigned card isn’t doing anything to earn my gratitude or keep my business. It’s just a corporate card, a cost to the company that goes straight into recycling. It has no value-add, nor even a rewarding idea. It wasted resources, and my time to open it and recycle it.

Don’t say it. Show it.

The Dominos card, while not going on my mantle, delivered something in the way of a message. “We are eager to keep your business”. They didn’t say it – they showed it with the coupon, which will hang around, an ongoing branding reminder, long after the recycled card has made its way back into paper mulch.

Of course you can argue there is a significantly greater cost to Dominos for the gesture for considerably less business potential. But my guess is it will pay off.

You must get corporate Christmas cards. Do you think they have value?

Abeego is out to change the way you keep food fresh

27 Nov

Abeego flats

Toni Desrosiers is a woman with a global mission. She wants you to stop using plastic cling to preserve your food and switch to Abeego.

Abeego is a fabric of hemp and organic cotton infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. These natural ingredients have each been used for centuries for their preservative qualities. The result is a slightly tacky, moldable fabric that warms up in your hands and easily wraps around the food you want to store. In the fridge, Abeego becomes stiffer, adhering to the shape.

Unlike plastic cling, which leads to condensation build-up and therefore quicker decomposition, Abeego lets your food breath while preserving it.

Abeego flats keeping food freshAbeego keeps blueberries fresh

Abeego preserves cheese

I have been using Abeego for 6 months now and I hardly ever throw rotting vegetables out anymore. They stay fresh in Abeego much longer. It’s phenomenal for preserving cheese, breads, fruits, veggies…there’s an endless list. These shiitake mushroom spent 7 days wrapped in Abeego and emerged as fresh as when I bought them.

how to keep shiitake mushrooms fresh

I love it so much I bought the company.

Well no I didn’t, but I did the rebranding and helped with their new website, which is live as of today. Click on the image and check it out!

Abeego beeswax food wrap

The site was designed and built by Neil Tran and his team at Leap Web Solutions using Shopify, which Neil reports is THE BOMB.

Abeego is already being sold in several hundred retails stores around the world.  A few imitators have popped up, boldly stealing the Abeego language and imagery. But this is the original, folks, made right here in Victoria, BC.

Abeego Toni Desrosiers

The brains and the muscle behind Abeego. Toni Desrosiers and Colin Johnston.

Toni is a nutritionist by training. She knows fresher food is healthier food. The idea for Abeego emerged from this thinking and she and her husband Colin have spent the past 5 years turning her idea into a business bent on changing the world.  Interest in their creation is taking off, with orders coming in from Australia, the UK, Asia and of course Canada and the US.

SPOILER ALERT: I just figured out that Abeego would make a great gift to give at Christmas!

Toot Sweets squeaks out the win

30 Oct

Shannon Melnyk of Vancouver eeked out a win in the Rename the Shreddies contest by a solitary vote. Here are the final results in today’s ballot.

Shannon Melnyk's Toot Sweets winsIn addition to the glory and exaltation that comes with the win, Shannon also picks up a free pair of Toot Sweets (well, they’re still called Shreddies) – the flatulence filtering underwear.

Nice job by Peter Chen (Unawear) and Maureen Blaseckie (Sneakers) for their clever names.  Thanks for the laughs!

 

It’s a dead heat

30 Oct

We have a 3-way tie for first place in the Rename the Shreddies contest, which is rather inconvenient.  Shreddies are the UK underwear that absorb noxious wind.

Here are your 3 favourites. Each garnered exactly 20% of the vote.

  • Sneakers
  • Unawear
  • Toot Sweets

But there can only be one winner.  So I must call upon your help once more.

Red and gold crown

Which name will be crowned??

Amy C. Amy Do.

Amy fall down.

Son of the Morning Light

Just another guy with a camera

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