Tag Archives: Victoria

Rebranding Fort Street Cycle

20 Jul Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 7.32.49 PM
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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!

 

 

 

How Social Media woke up sleepy little Victoria

2 Sep

Start with a beautiful time-warped seaside town (19th century England for the model), with a large and growing retirement community. Add in an old boy’s network that for decades has had its liver-spotted hands wrapped around the throat of the City, so that things like city planning, social networks and business communities are dominated by the same established voices.

Sprinkle in a prodigal son/daughter phenomenon, that sees disgruntled children heading off to more vibrant and forward thinking communities in their callow youth, only to return with their own families more or less espousing their parents conservative view of the way things should stay the same here, thereby extending the cycle.

Bake.

And there’s old Victoria for you.

Now, spread a layer of emerging social media networks over the top and you end up with a remarkably different flavour.

As Janis La Couvée commented on our blog yesterday, Victoria has an active culture of people who have used Twitter to meet face to face. This has created the counter-culture business community that the old boys’ network has no part in: they don’t even get it, let alone like it.

All of a sudden, it’s a new game:

  • Tweetups are regular and well-attended.
  • Paul Holmes led a push – and succeeded – to have June 30th declared Social Media day by Mayor Dean Fortin.
  • Social Media Camp on October 3rd is going to be huge.
  • Our Twestivals out-pull Vancouver’s.

The result is a dynamic new vibe led by people who embrace growth, challenge, change and collective spirit…and they don’t even have proper names: b_west, RussLoL, cpudan, lacouvee, footbutterguy, YukariP, tpholmes, Rod_Phillips…these are some of the new voices of influence in our town.

Victoria is leading the way for communities across the country. Not a bad place to be as the digital worm turns!

Amy C. Amy Do.

Amy fall down.

Son of the Morning Light

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