Warehouse Stationery has embarked on its biggest brand transformation in 22 years, and it's all about the new, with a new logo, new colours, new instore environments and a new brand campaign from its new agency .99.
Warehouse Stationery opened its first store in Glenfield in October 1991. When it first started it was branded as ‘The Warehouse Stationery’ and featured Warehouse red. But the name was changed to Warehouse Stationery in 1996 and it settled on its trademark blue. Blue is still the colour of choice, but its 61 stores, the logo (which was designed by .99) and the new uniforms for its 1,000 staff, is now a more contemporary shade. Store upgrades and re-design will then flow through the chain over the next two years. Head of marketing Cathy Atkins says the investment is commercially sensitive, but says it's a multi-million dollar rebrand.
These changes flow from extensive customer research and consultation and it is the latest stage in a four year journey that aimed to transform the business from a traditional stationery and office supplies retailer into a place to go for, as the slogan now says, ‘everything you need to work, study, create, connect’, whether it be mobile phones, technology (it is an authorised Apple reseller), furniture, and arts and crafts.
Atkins says it has been adding these products over the years to better meet its customers' needs, but, with research showing many customers weren't aware of its increased range and a desire for more revenue growth, "it was time to pull it all together" and "future proof the brand".
Warehouse Stationery has enjoyed 16 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and has over $200 million in revenue (financial results for the Warehouse Group are out in three or four weeks). It's also "achieved industry leading levels of team engagement" and is moving into the services business, being New Zealand’s only national print and copy chain offering the ‘BizRewards’ account programme and providing full online capability, with a ‘click and collect’ offering soon to come.
"In addition to providing the hard goods to our consumers, the research showed we're seen as a friendly and helpful retailer. They trust us for our advice." And, as it moves into the tech space, that means it needs to upskill on product knowledge.
"We always strive to put our customers first and the changes are founded on what customers have told us they want from us in the future. It provides a platform for continuing the growth of the business," says Warehouse Stationery chief executive Pejman Okhovat in a release.
Okhovat says the company’s investment in its team members, including extensive training and the recently announced career retailer wage, meant customers could rely upon quality, independent advice.
“Our team members are not paid commission to sell a particular product or a brand and this means that they can focus entirely on what the customer wants and needs, without the temptation to put personal commission and incentives first ... All this adds up to an exciting improvement for customers.”
From an advertising point of view, stationery isn't the sexiest of subjects. But Atkins says the colourful, energetic new ads, which were shot by .99's in-house film production unit and feature a fair swag of stop-motion, are much more contemporary and do a good job of showcasing the range of products on offer in an interesting way.
“It was an incredible opportunity to work with Warehouse Stationery on an entirely new campaign from the logo to the stores to the advertising, and we’re really proud of the result," says executive creative director Craig Whitehead. "It’s a fantastic demonstration of what .99 can do for retailers, and shows the power of our market-leading in-house services. We can’t wait to see the tills ringing even louder for Warehouse Stationery.“
Warehouse Stationery spent over $20 million on advertising last year according to Nielsen AIS figures (which are based on ratecard spend). The recent pitch didn't involve media, which is held by Starcom, or below-the-line, which is held by Federation.