Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

July 1, 2013 Q&A

Stanley rebranding signals broader reach

Q&A talks about the rebranding of Stanley Black & Decker with Steve Lawrence and Marc Hohmann of Boston brand strategy firm Lippincott, which redesigned the Stanley logo.

Q: Stanley Black & Decker debuted its new brand identity for its Stanley branded businesses and products. What was behind the rebranding at this time? Was the former logo perceived as no longer effective for what Stanley was trying to achieve?

A: The Stanley brand has grown dramatically over the past 10 years, from its roots in hand tools to a diversified global brand also strongly participating in commercial security, industrial and automotive repair and health care. Our research showed that most people have very positive impressions about Stanley, but know it primarily for hand tools. Lippincott’s assignment was to develop a total brand strategy — from positioning and brand attributes, to messaging and visual system including logo — to support better the true nature and scope of the Stanley brand today and tomorrow. There was no data that said the Stanley brand was ineffective; rather, the question was ‘What should we do now, recognizing the strengths in the brand, to prepare it for growth in the future?’ 

Q: As Stanley pointed out in 170 years it has basically had three logos. How long of a process was this? Do logo changes like this get test marketed before being unveiled?

A: We worked closely with the core team at Stanley Black & Decker for one-and-a-half years on this project. That included the new positioning and tagline, the new logo and visual system as well as packaging and various web and print layouts. Yes, the logo was thoroughly tested before we received the green light to move forward. 

Q: According to an announcement, the new brand identity is designed to reflect the company’s “rich 170-year heritage of innovation, quality, and performance while signaling its transformation into the diverse and modern brand it is today.” What elements of the design achieve that? How does the new logo combine the historical and the modern?

A: The objective for the logo was always an evolution rather than a revolution. The idea was to build on Stanley’s heritage of quality, reliability and innovation by adding attributes such as ‘thoughtful, agile and bold.’ The end result is a balance of dynamics and stature, human elements and machine precision that we were aiming for. This meant, for example, keeping the yellow and black signature and finding a confident yet approachable upper case sans-serif font. The triangle element in the logo speaks to a very thoughtful, precise gesture that falls symmetrically into the center of the name. This replaced the more traditional rectangular holding shape with a directional icon that moves energetically forward and up.

Q: How extensive is the rebranding effort? Will everything Stanley does going forward have this new brand identity?

A: A rebranding program such as this is very extensive because it touches on so many applications. Function and purpose need to be considered in every aspect: will the logo work on a banner in a stadium, security equipment, a retail package, etc. It is a big effort for all involved and requires two-to-three years typically to fully implement.

Q: What goes into measuring if a rebranding will be successful? Is there a quantitative measure that determines effectiveness?

A: We conducted extensive research before launching the new logo to assure Stanley that our recommendations were strong and beneficial. In addition to that research, Stanley will track brand performance annually to measure progress against our original objectives of broadening perceptions of the brand around the world.

Q: Scott Bannell, Stanley vice president of corporate brand management, said, “With Lippincott as our strategic and creative partner, I believe that this new logo has the strength and power to carry us through the next 170 years.” What is the effective life of a logo? How many years ahead can a logo be designed for?

A: Technically a logo can last forever. The more thoughtful and the more universal its execution the longer it will last. Too much character is most often a problem. Some characteristics appeal to us today but will not tomorrow. Time changes around it and it is up to the company to decide if it wants to position itself relative to what the logo represents. We as brand specialists have to be able to know what will most likely stay relevant and what won’t.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF