When Initial Tropical Plants, a provider of plants and services for the workplace, decided to switch to a new global brand name, it knew the transition would take time. Having already rolled out its new name, Ambius, in 12 countries across three continents, the company saw an opportunity to use what it learned in each previous launch to reach the US in the most effective manner.
“We wanted to rebrand to a single name to unify... our businesses across the globe – one that... reflected our brand's position,” says Trudy Brusenbach, North American marketing specialist for Ambius.
Instead of just notifying the public of the change, PR firm Vorticom wanted the brand to speak for itself, seeking to present the name Ambius to customers with a clear and focused message. The team commissioned a survey to determine how a work environment affects mood and productivity in US office workers, the data from which could be used as a basis for press releases and stories.
The firm also worked with company horticulturist Ken Brewer to develop an article that tied plants to the five senses, which was a main part of Ambius' new brand mission. “It was about enhancing the work environment,” says Nancy Tamosaitis, president of Vorticom.
The firm played up the salient points from the survey to pitch to national and regional media outlets, including an exclusive offering to Reuters, Tamosaitis says. Brewer's bylined article about plants and the five senses allowed Ambius to identify specific plants with terms such as “sound masters,” which provided accessible visuals for broadcast pieces.
The firm also placed Ambius regional managers in feature interviews so they could discuss the merits of sensory plants and further tie in the message, she adds.
Articles using information and experts supplied by Ambius appeared in publications like the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post. Regional horticulturists used references from Brewer's article to demonstrate and discuss the different types of plants, appearing on a wide variety of radio and TV shows.
Though sales figures are unavailable, Tamosaitis says there was a definite increase in traffic to the company's new Web site, and that the effort resulted in more than 20 million media impressions.
Ambius will continue to move forward and work to keep its new name in the marketplace, and the company is looking to expand with brand extensions (such as fruits and scents) that will enhance the interior business environment.
“It's all about... stimulating the senses in the workplace,” Brusenbach says. “Our goal is to move beyond being just the premiere provider of plants.”
Rebranding a company in itself is rarely a special event, and Vorticom did the right thing by keeping Ambius' transition behind the scenes.
By finding a hook that was newsworthy, the team was able to get the company's name out in an organic and relevant manner, choosing to focus on the positive aspects of the new name, rather than dwell on the old one.
PR team: Ambius (Buffalo Grove, IL) and Vorticom (New York)
Campaign: The Birth of a New Brand Name – From Initial Tropical Plants to Ambius
Duration: January-July 2008
Budget: about $50,000