Bringing forth the emotional connection.
ALIGNING BUSINESS AND CULTURE WITH A SHARED VISION
AER Industries, Inc. had been a leader in the automotive remanufacturing industry for over four decades. Working with some of the most esteemed names in automobile manufacture—including OEM’s, dealerships, and dealer networks across the US—the company had made a name for itself by extending the life and maintaining the performance of key automotive electronics components and systems—radios and navigation units, dashboard gauges, and the like.
A FORK IN THE ROAD
Much of the company’s greatest successes were built more or less on the basis of contingent events—a series of major component recalls—than on an intentional business strategy. When the contingencies stopped coming and business ebbed, a new serendipitous phenomenon began. A small, but remarkable diversity of non-auto-related businesses, impressed by the prestige of AER’s automotive portfolio (the Fords, Chryslers, and Nissans) and by its perceived engineering prowess, wanted to work with it on a number of quite different kinds of projects, involving circuit board technology. In contrast to AERs automotive contracts, these engagements were comparatively small in real dollars, shorter-lived, but with impressive margins—and they landed unsought.
So, AER faced a dilemma: either double-down on its automotive core, where contracts were large, but business had slowed, or make a hard pivot and go after non-automotive opportunities with their bigger margins. Either way, AER had to architect an intentional strategy, rather than depend on the winds of serendipity.
As one final consideration, the internal culture had begun to suffer as the lack of a clear strategic vision left them questioning leadership and the path forward for the organization.
“BACK TO THE FUTURE”
To help them solve their dilemma, AER engaged with BrandingBusiness to conduct research and make an informed decision about precisely which strategy to pursue. Our key finding was that there was still enormous potential opportunity on the table in automotive that had gone untapped. It was decided that AER should remake itself by doubling down on its core, leverage its prestigious book of business, its long category history, and its upgraded engineering capabilities to win greater market share.
With a brand strategy that could serve as a catalyst to this business strategy, BrandingBusiness proceeded to verbally and graphically reinvigorate the AER brand—we coined a new brand line that reflected the company’s vigorous service ethic—“Consider it done.” We created a new brand narrative that articulated the company’s purpose, vision, and mission anew, and became a creedal anthem to guide both leadership and rank-and-file employees. Into that verbal mix was a new, louder message about the complementarity of economic value and a sustainability play of renewal over replacement. Finally, the AER logo was updated from a stodgy, generic emblem to a racy wordmark that gave rise to a comprehensive look-and-feel visual system, across all major applications, including the website, wearables, site signage, environmental banners, and much more.
Finally the people of AER had a shared vision, an exciting new brand that carried with it the stature that had gone missing in recent years, and a “Consider it done” attitude that would inject new life into the organization overall.