Case Study by Jean Pierre Lacroix RGD, President at Shikatani Lacroix Design (SLD).
To improve visibility in the competitive telecommunications market, Maplewave (formerly known as Master Merchant Systems) retained SLD to help create a compelling position and brand identity.
Master Merchant Systems (MMS) was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Now operating in over 40 countries, the company specializes in software and retail optimization services for the telecommunications industry. As the industry continues to shift and become more competitive, MMS was looking to gain recognition and awareness.
Maplewave is a well-established company that pioneered the link between inventory management and sales optimization. To build on their history of steady growth, the management team realized that their focus needed to be on key global retail sectors.
While a lot of the company’s business had previously come through partners and networks, their goal was to grow their customer base organically and create an alignment between the customer journey and sales process. By highlighting their reputation and expertise, the company also hoped to attract top talent and streamline their internal structure. To support their reinvention, SLD led a process with Maplewave’s leadership group to help develop a new name, logo, website and cohesive brand experience across all collateral material.
The first step was to identify a strong brand DNA and corporate direction through a strategic positioning exercise. We conducted a benchmark industry study and looked at rebranding programs that had been done by leading software start-up firms. The overall goal of this was to clearly understand the competitive set the new brand would have to compete within in order to succeed.
From the insights derived from this process, we then initiated a two day positioning workshop where we formalized the company’s direction. The brand direction was supported by three key strategic imperatives that would help guide the organization towards a unified and focused value proposition. We ensured that management was aligned with the key criteria before we started the design process by asking them to complete a rating sheet after our initial presentation. This brought some discipline to the process and overcame many personal biases that can come with deciding on a new identity.
The new position and visual identity provided a fresh and focused approach to the organization while allowing it to focus on key retail growth sectors that it could effectively compete in and win.
Building on the brand direction, we explored a wide range of names that would help reinforce their position while also providing strong differentiation. Although the company was well established as 'Master Merchant Systems (MMS)', the client was willing to make a significant change as the current equity often got confused with other companies and did not have any memorable characteristics.
The real challenge was arriving at a name that everyone was comfortable with, knowing there were many different points of view from the management team. We conducted a naming brainstorming session (the process can be found in Desire by Design) where a broad range of options were identified and reviewed.
We ultimately ended up with Maplewave as the preferred name, leveraging strong Canadian roots (which was seen as a positive on a global level), while “wave” reflected both the geographic maritime location of the company as well as their future-focused mentality.
The lowercase sans serif word mark included in the logo is a modern and progressive alternative when compared to competitor logos, while the stylized “M” and “W” waves provide a recognizable symbol for the company. The waves can also be used to create patterns or graphic details and can be coloured to differentiate product or service offerings.
The colours were chosen to embody the two key offerings of Maplewave’s consulting and support products. With the yellow and orange gradient, the colours represent a collaborative, approachable team of professionals. The blue to teal gradient represents the products that Maplewave offer and the technology behind them.
Maplewave’s new tagline, “Amplify your retail performance,” highlights the services and benefits that customers can expect from the company. It has the ability to be incorporated into the new logo and stand alone as a slogan for the company.
The new mobile-friendly website has a clean and modern design that showcases Maplewave’s story, products and services in an engaging manner. Designed to be intuitive and professional, the website is built upon a flexible CMS (content management system) with a marketing platform that allows the Maplewave team to easily make content changes and updates.
A complete social media strategy and template was also created to help connect Maplewave with existing and prospective customers along their entire digital path to purchase.
On February 22, 2018, Maplewave revealed their new name, logo and website to the public. At the time, Will Gibson, Vice President of Marketing and Amplifier at Maplewave, said “We are delighted with our new look and feel…this has been a long journey, one which has been expertly guided by the team at Shikatani Lacroix Design.”
- Establish key criteria before the design process begins. Identifying the brand essence, value proposition, personality and equities help frame the development of the visual identity and serve as a guide for the entire design process. Always ensure criteria are established well before the design process begins, as this will also facilitate the right decision process and hold the client accountable for viewing the entire process as a business solutions project.
- Alignment between client and design team is key. Creativity is very subjective, especially when you are doing a rebranding project for a company that has not changed their image for decades. Ultimately we were successful because we brought the client along the entire journey and the final selection was a reflection of who they wanted to be as a company.
Published January 2019