Building excitement around the new Staples business strategy and master brand

Staples: , ,

Staples is a 30-year-old iconic American brand with a significant B2B business that was undergoing a major reinvention impacting the entire organization. Coming off a recent company acquisition by a private equity firm, and transitioning from a publicly held company to a private one, Staples was set to launch a new master brand. This would be a key milestone in launching the new company and its integrated strategy.

For the big reveal, Jack Morton was tasked with designing an event that felt big, was impactful and entirely transformative – getting the Staples sales force inspired and making them aware, engaged and excited about the company’s new direction.

Staples is competing in a highly competitive market with little or no product or service differentiation. For the big event, we needed to drive awareness and build excitement around the new Staples business strategy and master brand, as well as the five new independent product brands that would be revealed at the show. We also needed the audience to:

  • Think: that Staples has a strong plan for the future and will return to being a growth company
  • Feel: excited about what’s to come and proud to work at Staples
  • Do: be prepared to go out into their markets to sell based on creating solutions for customers

Staples “Work it. Live it.” theme provided the story arc over the day-and-a-half and 8 hours of general session, but the enormity of the transformation could only be absorbed and experienced through total brand & product immersion versus brand & product reveals.

Our experience began well before the live event with an integrated communication plan and audience engagement strategy. Central to that was the unveiling of the “Wi-Li” Challenge – an interactive, region-based gamification experience executed within the Spot-Me event app.

When attendees arrived at the Orlando Convention Center, they instantly realized that their customers would be central to the experience. Throughout the conference space, in addition to eye-catching event branding, we had large-format printed customer stories that included a QR code which attendees would scan to drive them to the Wi-Li Challenge and gather more in-depth knowledge of the customer. Based on these customer stories, attendees would acquire points for their respective teams by answering questions.

As guests were welcomed into the general session space they were instantly blown away by an immersive 250’ panoramic LED screen environment. The event began with a high-impact opening experience where our guest performer, “PeteBox”, celebrated the passion and dedication of the sales team through a dynamic vocal looping and beat-box inspired performance that would rival any high-end concert performance.

Day 1 of the live event was all about getting attendees to “Work it” – to understand the overall brand strategy and vision for the future of the company. At the end the day, we dramatically revealed Staples five new product brands and their new master brand. The brand reveal was a music-driven visual experience that utilized every inch of our panoramic surface. The audience watched as the animation transitioned the old Staples logo into the new, modern brand. As part of the climax to this experience, two newly branded 20’ Staples delivery trucks drove into the space followed by 40 brand ambassadors.

Day 2 was focused on “Living it” – launching the new products, tools, strategies and stories the salesforce would need to bring the new brand to the marketplace. It was all about content and keeping the audience engaged with great storytelling, panel discussions, stunning media and special guest appearances by Daniel Pink, a business visionary who shared ways of living the new sales strategy in ways that win, and Chris Gardner, author of the Pursuit of Happiness.

The event drove an enormous amount of confidence about the brand and the new strategy:

  • 95% are confident in their knowledge of the strategy
  • 97% the new master brand
  • 97% company values
  • 95% on the new mission

Confidence also ran high post-meeting on the five new brands, ranging from 97% for TRU RED and Perk, to 95% for NXT Technologies, and 94% for Union& Scale and Coastwide.

As for the meeting itself, 97% found the mainstage presentations and the product showcase valuable – with 81% finding the product brand showcase extremely valuable.