Branding & Website Project
CSS FIRE VEHICLES
REBRANDING A WORLD-RENOWNED, 150-YEAR-OLD UK MANUFACTURER
CAPEX Marketing were approached to develop a stunning new website and a long term marketing and brand strategy.
In 1849 a family by the name of Carmichael started a coach building business. Over the next 150 years the company manufactured for the agricultural sector and supported the WW2 effort, before becoming a world leading manufacturer of fire fighting vehicles in the mid-20th century.
Due to a legal issue, in 2017 a third-party Chinese company successfully gained ownership over the Carmichael name only. This unusual situation meant that after building up 150 years of brand awareness, the original company with its fully staffed UK manufacturing facilities had to change its name, brand and website.
To ensure the outcome supports the business objectives, we spent time with the CSS team, understanding their short and long term goals. With this information, we created a project plan and timeline. This detailed plan tracked the micro and macro tasks required for timely execution of the project, whilst also being easy for all stakeholders to follow and comment on.
Developing the new brand
Given the worldwide recognition of the brand, a clear strategic approach to the rebrand project was essential for success. We started with market, competitor and customer research. This gave us a clear understanding of where CSS stood within the wider commercial market and why people chose to buy from CSS. We then held a brand workshop with key project stakeholders from within CSS, being sure to include long-serving staff that were customer facing with ground level experience as well as senior decision makers.
Armed with the research and information from the brand workshop, we created a new stand-out brand that had clear links to the historic company appearance, but was fresh an impactful. During this phase of the project, we also assisted with legal checks and domain searches to ensure the new brand was free to use.
Updating the website
CSS’s new branding was now taken online with the creation of their stunning new website. The old CSS website was bloated and unattractive. It was not mobile friendly and 56 pages, most of which were empty or technically redundant. The old site design and condition typically did not conform to best practice for SEO or user experience.
To ensure the site focused on key messages and useful content only, we slimmed the page count down from 56 to 13 pages! In doing so, we created a slick user journey that presented the right content at the right time. As with most of our clients, the CSS team didn’t have time to fill their own website with content to engage and convert visitors, which is why we do it for them. Once the design was complete, we populated the site with professionally written content and beautiful images.
The new site was formatted to look great on any device whether mobile or desktop and Google Analytics was installed to help CSS track the websites performance. Upon launch of the new site, we made sure CSS’s social media channels and online citations were also updated to ensure the old brand was replaced across the web.
Launching the new brand and website
The rebrand was used to flood the industry with a positive message about the onward development of the business. Methods used included PR, personalised letters to key clients, email campaigns, social media and a video production.
The core goal was achieved: the rebrand project delivered a clear brand transition that provided outward stability, with no customer loss or detriment to the viewed quality of CSS products and services.
The research yielded a brand and communications strategy that focuses on product quality and best-in-class post-sales service, with cost taking a back-seat as a less important USP to CSS’s core customer base.
The improved marketing assets and communications strategy that came with the rebrand have increased new business generation and raised the company’s profile within its target industries.
“For this challenging project, Joe at CAPEX brought us all together. His professionalism and guidance ensured that our rebrand and new website build was a success.”
– Raman Yahaya, Managing Director, CSS Fire Vehicles
“CAPEX have been great to work with and Joe is professional and very helpful. He provided a lot of useful ideas to help shape and deliver our rebranding project.”
– Simon Pitt, Business Development Manager, CSS Fire Vehicles