VANCOUVER/CALGARY—A year and a half ago, Rocky Mountain Equipment (RME) came to TAXI West for some professional help. The dealership had recently formed through the merger of three separate smaller dealerships; it now had a string of retail locations mainly in Alberta, but also in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which leased and maintained new and used construction and farm equipment. It was growing, but had no coherent branding plan moving forward. TAXI West, both the Vancouver and Calgary offices, embarked on a multi-year ground-up rebrand, the first phase of which is the launch of house-branded motor oil and fluids that will be sold at its 38 locations.
"The company came to TAXI so that we could help them evaluate the company, research its customers and deal with an employee engagement problem. They were having trouble retaining employees," said Chris Zawada, design lead for TAXI West. TAXI interviewed a great many customers and employees. "And what resonated with customers is RME’s reliability. For a farmer or a construction site foreman, time is money when a machine is down. And we heard stories of RME mechanics sleeping in their trucks at the farmer’s field so they could be there to fix the equipment first thing in the morning." This lead to RME’s new tagline: "Dependable is what we do," and to the name of its new house brand, Dependable.
RME locations were already selling house-brand oil and fluids, but in a low-key way. "They were sold in white buckets with no-name inkjet labels. And not much was being sold." TAXI saw the redevelopment of the house brand as a branding and money making opporltunity for RME. To differientiate the products from competing brands, and to hide oily drips, TAXI opted for black plastic buckets and jugs and silk-screened printed directly onto the plastic. "To give it a clean look," explained Zawada.
The graphic design solution is mostly typographical, using Helvetica Neue and simple colour coding to denote heavy (dark red), medium (orange) and light (orange-yellow) grades of oil. "The customers are a no-bullshit group. They’re not going to respond to anything that’s too clever or over-designed," said Zawada.
The packaging design and advertising campaign for the Dependable house brand is the first of the rebranding projects TAXI West is handling for RME. Other phases, which will be rolled out in the coming months, include an internal employee engagement and communications campaign, and the complete redesign of its 38 retail locations, including signage, wayfinding, uniforms and interiors (the interior design will be sub-contracted out).