PCR talks to VIP sales director Dave Stevinson to find out what lies behind the firm?s new image?

A brand new identity

What made you decide it was time for VIP to get an image refresh?
We wanted to reposition the company in light of our aspirations for the future. In other words, to suit the evolving requirements of our current resellers and resellers of the future.

As well as the logo, part of the rebrand involves the change in mission statement from ‘Together we Deliver’ to ‘Delivering Value in Distribution’. What does this mean for your customers?
What we’ve noticed is that over time resellers’ requirements were becoming greater. In the past, we worked with them on a more transactional basis – and that has changed to become more relationship-orientated. Now we provide many more services for resellers, from helping them manage the channel, specific services such as supply chain assistance, extending their product range, managing their stock, drop shipping, product set up, to web content creation, and more.

Basically, we’ve increased the depth and breadth of service.

So this refresh of the VIP image reflects real change throughout the company itself?
Yes – we are adding more services and providing more solutions – fundamentally customer-specific solutions.

Overall, at VIP over the past year and in this year coming up, what we’ve done is invest heavily in our infrastructure.

We’ve also increased head count and have looked at improving some of the skills of the people we’re employing through investment in training and development.

What did you have to bear in mind when looking at the rebrand – were there elements of the VIP identity that you wanted to protect?
Yes, we wanted to protect the tick. It’s a very positive symbol and people tend to associate that with VIP.

Second, we wanted to retain the colours – the blue and yellow – they’re a part of our corporate heritage. We also wanted to darken the colours a little bit, to reflect the depth of services that we deliver.

How long was the rebrand in the pipework for?
Well, we needed to get people specially for it, so I spent a couple of months recruiting the right person with a proven track record – Jason D’Cruz (see below). He had expertise from rebranding several large companies.

We looked at a series of corporate identity system agencies and chose the one that worked best for us. Then we had to match the heritage of the existing logo and where we wanted to be. It’s an ongoing process.

What’s coming next for VIP?
As a company we’re working heavily on growth. Growth in terms of the quality of vendors, and in terms of number of customers we deal with.

In an interview in May, you said you wanted to broaden the firm’s remit, and since then you’ve been busy signing up new partners (such as display manufacturer AOC, for example). Has it been easy to find new firms to work with?
Yes, but we’re still looking for more vendors to work with, and obviously looking for more customers as well. We’ve grown the customer base significantly over the last six months and would like to grow it even more extensively.

We’re lucky to be coming from a position of strength in terms of resources. We put a lot of effort into the rebrand and invested to get the right message across.

Marketing manager Jason D’Cruz explains his role in the rebranding process…

Dave Stevinson mentioned that he specifically hired you for the redesign of VIP’s brand. Could you briefly outline your previous experience in this area?
I’ve been rebranding and repositioning businesses as part of my job for over 15 years. I’ve worked on IT companies such as Aria PC Technology, education specialist Promethean, construction leader GGR Group and audio branding consultant PHMG. They’re not brands you’d easily recognise, but they are all leaders in their own markets, which makes the job that bit more interesting.

How long did the rebrand take? What steps did you have to take?
I only recommend a rebrand or repositioning if there is a strong business case and if it delivers benefits to the customers. Depending on the complexity of the business, its products and services, a rebrand could take three to six months. The bigger the company, the longer the process. The VIP rebrand will have taken five months to complete when it goes live this month.

Rebranding is a process of research, understanding the customer, understanding the business, defining a mission and statement, then giving focus groups their chance to input into the development of the brand even before we start developing a look and feel. The fun part is developing the visual concepts and messaging; the frustrating part is bringing together everyone’s views to reach a consensus.

How are you launching VIP’s new image?
The new brand will be launched in front of vendors and resellers at the Synaxon Conference. It’s an ideal platform because our new slogan is ‘Delivering Value in Distribution’ and our target audience will be there. Like the subtle brand development, the launch will be equally subtle. My objective is for VIP to deliver the value to customers over the coming months.

Are you doing anything else to mark the rebrand?

There are no specific events to mark the launch of the brand, but what we’ll begin to deliver by way of added value over the coming months will reinforce the new brand. It isn’t just a new look, it’s about delivering value in distribution – so watch this space.

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