Staples gives customers a big ‘Winc’ with rebrand and digital transformation

Office and IT supplier's brand refresh comes after the organisation was acquired by Platinum Equity earlier this year

Office products supplier, Staples, has unveiled a new A/NZ brand, will significantly invest in digital and customer data capabilities and is hiring an executive level marketing chief following a private equity buyer earlier this year.

The A/NZ business is being rebranded ‘Winc’, derived from ‘work incorporated’, from September 2017 as a way of reflecting the shift from a traditional office and educational supplier to focus more on a solution-based offering.

However CEO, Darren Fullerton, was quick to point out the rebrand is just the tip of the iceberg for the group, which is also planning a major investment into its digital, supply chain and data-driven customer insights in a bid to become more relevant to modern customers.

Capabilities on the cards include automation, artificial intelligence and digital experience, all of which are designed to simplify the path to purchase for customers while providing smarter insights to both customers and the group itself, he said.

“This rebrand goes far deeper than our new name and identity. This will be the start of a complete change to the customer experience,” he said. “It is more than defending disruption from the likes of Amazon, it’s about developing our ability to see around corners and fully anticipate customer needs.”

Staples A/NZ was acquired by Platinum Equity in March this year for an undisclosed sum. The group services more than 26,000 customers with an emphasis on financial services, telecoms, healthcare and education sectors. In April, Platinum Equity also acquired Office Depot’s OfficeMax business in A/NZ, further growing its retail footprint nationally.

Fullerton said the new-look group was looking to “bring a breath of fresh air” to an industry that has historically been both traditional and predictable.

“It represents our shift from offering products to providing solutions and inspiring a better way for workers and learners to get things done,” he continued. “By its nature, it also gives us the ability to flex and add adjacent solutions and offerings to meet our customers’ needs both now and into the future.”

Fullerton told CMO said the new visual image reflects a transformed internal structure which sees marketing centralised under an executive-level chief marketing officer, while digital becomes united under a head of digital. The company is in the process of recruiting a CMO, which Fullerton hoped would be a “heavy hitter”.

“We want to bring on a world-class CMO to sit on the executive table to be at the heart of this shift and bring marketing from a little ‘m’ to big ‘m’,” he said. “This has been a big structural shift. We have historically been a traditional, sales-led organisation. This is a shift to move from pure sales to interacting with customers like we’ve never done before.”

In addition, Staples A/NZ has recruited three dedicate data scientists to help tap into the wealth of customer data already collected by the organisation in order to improve end-user engagement and introduce personalisation into interactions. It’s also working to bring on an ICT integrator and building out a new digital platform for its website that includes a new CMS and ecommerce functionality.

The appointments and tech investments come off the back of a 12-week consulting exercise with Deloitte Digital, which resulted in an end-to-end digital transformation roadmap.

“That showed us there was a huge opportunity to replatform, so we took that decision and are working hard to enact that now,” Fullerton said.

As part of its efforts to be more customer-oriented, Staples has launched a new customer insight report, called The Winc Review, providing data for end customers into their own supply chain, innovation, compliance, cost management and sustainability. More personalised delivery is another core priority, Fullerton said.

“Our drivers know our customers’ personally – in many cases they see them every day with a straight to desk and doorstep delivery experience. You don’t get this experience when you buy straight from an ecommerce site,” he claimed. “This is something our customers in Australia and New Zealand have told us time again that they value and we are making investments to make this experience even better.”

The company will begin doing business as Winc from 4 September 2017. The group engaged brand consultancy, FutureBrand, to help with the new look and feel and brand strategy.

The agency said the new brand is the result of extensive test-and-learn and customer research to create a new identity for the business. The key challenge was to get past traditional conventions of office brands treating work and learning as a necessity and in “corporate terms”, FutureBrand stated.

“In building the Winc brand, we have worked with Darren and the team at Platinum Equity to challenge the category conventions and create a brand that can stand out from the crowd of competitors,” said FutureBrand Asia-Pacific CEO, Richard Curtis. “By applying our sprint methodology, we have built the brand its identity and experience for launch in a matter of weeks.”

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