Rebrand Project for Heavy Equipment Parts and Repair Company

To Rebrand or Not…


The team at US Transmissions first hired River Dog Digital to build a new WordPress WooCommerce website. With a fast build and launch of the site, the group moved on to their next concern: a rebrand.

The company leaders didn’t believe the name reflected the company’s mission or its vision for the future. The long-term strategy for the business was expanding beyond commercial heavy-duty transmission repair. The first step in a potential rebrand project is to understand the equity value of the brand.

Brand Research and Discovery

River Dog Digital needed to make sure the 35-year-old company had a clear understanding of the value of the name US Transmissions. The first step in the process was to conduct a brand equity study.

After interviewing customers, employees, and channel partners, River Dog Digital met with the leadership team to reveal the equity of the brand.

Spoiler alert, the connections people had from all intersections were incredibly positive. This confirmed that the company had a rock-solid reputation, but it also confirmed that people outside the company weren’t generally aware of the mission or vision. It was “a heavy-duty transmission shop.” On average most customers would only purchase parts or have transmissions repaired while the company offered an array of truck shop and off-highway services.

Competitor Landscape and Positioning

River Dog Digital ran a competitor and industry study to understand the positioning competitors claimed. Pricing, promotions, and audiences were also explored to clarify who the true competitors were and how they were operating in the marketplace. This step prevents a rebrand from becoming an “also” brand. Insights from this study enabled the team to stay focused on their differentiator and to see the connection between the equity study and competitor positioning.

Brand Archetypes

After conducting a study of brand archetypes, an unexpected character set quickly and uniformly bubbled to the top.

By not taking this added step in the process, and performing the correct, non-bias qualitative research with all audiences, many brand companies reveal themselves to be designers rather than true brand strategists. Making assumptions at this stage can lead to a wrong turn, or worse, a U-turn in brand development.

Data Review and Mission-Vision Statements

At this stage, the leadership team met with River Dog Digital where the brand data chart was shared and discussed.

River Dog Digital worked closely with the US Transmissions team to construct mission and vision statements and to crystalize the brand promise. Current and additionally desired audiences were researched and folded into the process.

This was particularly important because a key motivator for the company was to grow its business capabilities beyond industrial transmissions.

Brand Identity: Voice, Imagery, Name

The last stage in the process was to create the following:

  • Naming (Creative sessions and tradename research to be sure this could be trademarked and registered)
  • Voice (Descriptions and examples of the company’s voice and protocols for interactions)
  • Color Palette (Extensible for different applications: primary and secondary color sets)
  • Imagery (Style and tonality for images)
  • Iconography (Logo, logo bug, typography, supporting graphics)
  • Brand Guide (Descriptions and instructions for tone in messaging and application of the logo, color usage, and images)
  • Brand Sets (Templates for email signatures, business cards, collateral, letterhead, merchandise applications, vehicle wraps, and more)

This was the process that transformed US Transmissions into Catalyst Powertrain.

There was a launch process to give valued community members and the industry time to acclimate to the new name and build excitement and connection to the new mission and vision. The rebrand project took about 6 weeks.

See examples of the new brand in action.



About The Author

Jeanie Walker
Jeanie Walker is a marketing advisor who has worked with Fortune 10, startups, and small businesses for 25+ years. Her mission is to take small businesses to the next stage of growth thereby strengthening communities, competition, and freedom of choice. From lead generation to operational structure, Jeanie drives revenue opportunities for growing businesses.