Noel Leeming Group has rebranded, with new logos and signage, refreshed and repainted stores and new staff uniforms, as the 41-year-old company moves forward in ‘building a 100 year business’.
Tim Edwards, Noel Leeming Group chief executive officer, says the rebrand, which is a ‘major re-investment’ is ‘the rebirth of Noel Leeming’, reflecting the company’s future alongside its heritage.
“There were three things we were trying to achieve,” Edwards says. “We wanted a contemporary feel, while retaining the heritage of the brand which is most signified by the colour palette.
“But also, in the past we have been a house of brands, all with their own identity.”
Edwards says that, in part, was due to the company being owned by private equity and, as such, the need for flexibility to enable any one of the brands to be sold off without impacting the overall brand.
“Now, rather than being a house of brands, we’re becoming a branded house.
""It’s one of the biggest steps the company has taken since its first store opened in Christchurch in 1973 and I'm confident it will further build on the solid gains the business has been making since it became part of The Warehouse Group in 2012."
More than $5 million has been invested into the store refresh and rebrand with stores modernised and repainted, along with being reconfigured to allow the company’s ‘passionate experts’ to help customers utilise services such as Tech Solutions and Open Learning Centres, within the stores.
Under the new branding, all of the company’s offerings – from Tech Solutions and Open Learning Centre to Noel Leeming Commercial, Lifestyle Appliances and Maclean Computing – are more cohesively branded.
“We've been on a bit of a journey over the past five or six years... and we needed to send a symbol of that change to the market,” Edwards says.
The rebrand is also accompanied by a national advertising campaign which Edwards says is a break from traditional campaigns which have been heavily focused on product pricing.
“In general advertising has been very busy and noisy. There’s been a lot of shouting at the customer and we have been as guilty as others. Now, we’re slowing right down.
One series of ads will be focusing on ‘passionate experts’ talking about the benefits of certain products – without any mention of pricing. Even in the product price ads, Edwards says the company will be taking a ‘softer tone’.
“There will be less product crammed in.”
Taking the noise out of advertising is also extending to the company’s buildings, which Edwards says will no longer feature ‘posters for Africa’.
“Sometimes there was too much and we didn't have a singular message. Now we’re stripping that back.”
A two-week roadshow from one end of the country to the other, ensured all Noel Leeming staff were ‘totally engaged’ with why the changes were happening.
“And it was very, very well received,” Edwards adds. He says trials of the new uniforms in two stores saw a sales uplift in those stores.
“Obviously, it’s not as simple as just changing shirts and signage, though.
“If you look at our most recent history, we were owned by private equity [until being purchased by TW (The Warehouse) Group in December 2012, with Noel Leeming and sister brand Bond & Bond merging in 2013] and had not been able to invest as much as we would like in our people, stores, and so on.”
While the unveiling of the new branding prompted plenty of negative comment on the company’s Facebook page, Edwards is unfazed.
“Change takes time to get used to. But the reaction internally has been extremely positive and we had 1100 likes on Facebook.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve done in the stores and with our advertising.”