linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Also of interest
 

Mark's


  Mark’s
New Name, Same Value to Canadians
by Renée Alexander
November 5, 2010

After getting to know Canadians for the nearly three-and-a-half decades, Mark’s Work Wearhouse thinks it’s time to stop being so formal.

The national clothing retailer, best known for its overalls, steel-toed boots and other work wear, rebranded itself in September to the familiar-sounding “Mark’s in a trio of markets.

 
 

A total of 27 locations in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa have received the overhaul - dubbed a “Mark’s Over” – which includes new signage, merchandise and slogan. The revamped stores have the customer experience in mind, with fewer fixtures and wider aisles. There’s also something completely different that might surprise long-time patrons – fashionable women’s wear that’s designed for the office, not construction sites.

Phil Swinn, a Winnipeg-based district manager for Mark’s, says the fairer sex was a big driver behind the rebranding.

“A large part of our business has been work apparel, now a large part of the store is fashion. Part of Mark’s Work Wearhouse is it’s a warehouse. If you look in our ladies wear, it’s more fashionable than it’s been before. We have casual, business casual, dresses and jeans. Having ‘Work Wearhouse’ (in the name) had a tendency to stop some of the ladies from shopping here. Now it’s more shoppable. It’s more inviting and more comfortable,” he says.

The store’s tagline has changed to reflect the change, too. It’s phasing out “Clothes That Work,” for “Smart Clothes” (although “Clothes That Work” is still on its otherwise rebranded homepage). The new single-named Mark’s moniker has been on company flyers and in-store marketing materials for several months. Assuming the customer reaction continues to be positive, the program will be rolled out across the rest of its more than 370 outlets nationwide.

Robert Warren, a marketing professor at the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, says the rebranding is a “great” move given that the company has been steadily moving into the casual and women’s market over the past couple of years.

“The name change is a natural evolution that reflects the products offered. The women's and casual markets are also larger and more lucrative than the work wear market,” he says.

But it’s not going to be all days of wine and roses for Mark’s either. Warren says the work wear market has attracted new competitors with a more extensive product offering in recent years but with a smaller store format.

“Mark's with its larger stores needs more products to generate the necessary revenues and financial returns,” he says.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse started out with a single location in Calgary back in 1977. Today, it’s owned by the Canadian Tire Company, best known for the iconic Canadian Tire retail brand, which sells automotive supplies and general merchandise across an extensive national network.

The rebranding comes as Mark’s has reconfirmed its commitment to innovation, too. It has installed a winter simulator chamber, dubbed "Below Zero" in the middle of its flagship store in all three rebranded cities. About the size of a change room, its two high-speed fans can recreate bone-chilling temperatures of -50 C, the kind only seen during a handful of days each winter, enabling customers to “test drive” Mark’s winter wear without having to go outside or while the weather is still good.

Swinn says Below Zero was introduced with its “T-max” brand in mind. Its jackets, boots, gloves and mitts are made with its own thermal insulation, which is specially designed to retain heat. It enables Mark’s to produce far thinner garments than one would expect for winter and the hope is that by trying them out in the chamber first, customers will be far more likely to believe they’ll be warm enough in the real world.

“Everybody wants to test things out before you buy them. If you’re buying a new car, you take it for a test drive. This is the same concept. You’re able to try it on and find out it’s going to keep you warm enough. You don’t have to buy a big, heavy down coat (anymore),” he says.

The simulators will soon be adapted to include ice-like conditions on the floors so customers can try out Mark’s winter boots, too.

Despite the rebranding and focus on the female market, Mark’s has made it clear it isn’t going to turn its back on its traditional customers. That’s a good thing, too, because they still represent the store’s biggest growth area. Sales of Mark’s industrial wear grew by 11.4 per cent during the second quarter of 2010. Women’s wear, by comparison, inched up by just 1.1 per cent.

Its reskinned website, meanwhile, plays up values it clearly feels are part of its DNA — innovation and ethical sourcing and customer recognition— that clothe the spirit as much as the body.

 
     
  

Renée Alexander is a freelance business and lifestyle writer based in Winnipeg, Canada.

  
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 8 )  email

Mark’s - New Name, Same Value to Canadians
 
 In my opinion Mark's re-branding endeavor is another typical case of a brand loosing focus by going for the "bigger pie". Why would you trade a leadership position in a niche segment (work wear) for a "me-too" position in a category dominated by strong competition? Why change a perfect slogan (Clothes that Work) for a meaningless one (Smart Clothes)?I wrote about this on my blog:http://branduniq.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/the-importance-of-keeping-your-brand-focused/ 
Michael B., Marketing Strategist, BrandUniq - November 9, 2010
 
  brandchannel profile archive   2011  | 2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 17, 2010 JanSport - Back in Style -- Barry Silverstein
  Going beyond the outdoor enthusiast market.
   
 
Dec 10, 2010 Cadbury’s Caramilk - Chocolate Tempation -- Renée Alexander
  Sinfully sweet treat draws flack from concerned parents
   
 
Dec 3, 2010 Howard Johnson - On the Road Again -- Barry Silverstein
  Symbolic of a bygone era, Howard Johnson’s restaurants dotted America’s highways through the middle of the 20th Century. How are they adapting?
   
 
Nov 19, 2010 V8 - Almost 80 and Still Making a Splash -- Barry Silverstein
  A grand old brand concocts new ways to reinvent itself.
   
 
Nov 11, 2010 Crystal Head - One Spooky, Outlaw Spirit -- Renée Alexander
  Comedian Dan Aykroyd pitches Crystal Head’s skull-shaped vodka bottle
   
 
Oct 29, 2010 Biltmore - From Landmark to Brandmark -- Barry Silverstein
  If America had royalty, the Vanderbilts would qualify — and Biltmore is their legacy.
   
 
Oct 22, 2010 RedMoon - Pet Food Done Right -- Barry Silverstein
  Canada’s RedMoon creates custom pet food with a twist.
   
 
Oct 15, 2010 Clorox Green Works - Walking the Talk -- Sheila Shayon
  The #1 green cleaning brand in the U.S. aims to walk its talk.
   
 
Oct 8, 2010 Cuba - Still Sways to Che -- Renee Alexander
  The halo effect of Che Guevara on Cuba’s brand is still strong.
   
 
Oct 1, 2010 North Dakota - RU Legendary? -- Renee Alexander
  One of the smallest states in the U.S., North Dakota can't boast famous landmarks, but makes a big splash via smart branding and social media savvy.
   
 
Sep 24, 2010 Corning - Clearly an innovator -- Barry Silverstein
  How Corning brand became recognized for its leadership and innovation.
   
 
Sep 17, 2010 Kenmore - A classic appliance brand gets a makeover -- Barry Silverstein
  Kenmore, the classic American appliance brand, is getting a makeover.
   
 
Sep 10, 2010 Pinkberry - Seize the Whirl -- Sheila Shayon
  Brandchannel interviews Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves about how the brand is ramping up across America and internationally.
   
 
Aug 27, 2010 Sleeman - Notoriously Brewed -- Renee Alexander
  Sleeman Breweries may be owned by Japan's Sapporo, but it's proud of its "notorious" Canadian heritage.
   
 
Aug 20, 2010 Social Twist - Bring Your Friends -- Sheila Shayon
  Social Twist aims to turn social media into social marketing through the lens of trust and referrals.
   
 
Aug 13, 2010 Kit Kat - Extending Sweetness -- Barry Silverstein
  Kit Kat has mastered the art of line extension – the practice of producing many variations of the same brand in the same category – perhaps to the point of absurdity.
   
 
Aug 6, 2010 Sezmi - Personalized TV, at Your Service -- Sheila Shayon
  In a rapidly evolving era when U.S. cable and satellite operators are competing fiercely to deliver personalized, portable TV, Sezmi offers a fresh alternative at a fraction of the cost.
   
 
Jul 30, 2010 Stella Artois - Premium Chic -- Yew Fei Chan
  With a stylish branding campaign and a new label, Stella Artois Black, Stella Artois is upping the stakes in its bid to make the brand the sophisticates' bewitching cold brew of choice.
   
 
Jul 23, 2010 Alibaba - Online Riches -- Barry Silverstein
  Alibaba.com, the Chinese business-to-business global trade platform that went public in November 2007 with a record-breaking IPO, continues to break down barriers.
   
 
Jul 16, 2010 ngmoco:) - Playing Games -- Barry Silverstein
  From the name of the company to the mobile games it makes for the iPhone and other smartphones, ngmoco:) seems to be functioning in an alternate universe.
   
 
Jul 8, 2010 Chantecaille - Nature's Beauty -- Chan Yew Fei
  The Chantecaille brand, and family, bring their passion for nature and the environment to their global beauty business.
   
 
Jul 1, 2010 TMZ - Hollywood Insider -- Robyn Schechter
  Celebrity scandal and gossip is a thriving industry -- here's why the TMZ brand is enjoying a reputation for being the industry leader.
   
 
Jun 25, 2010 Honest Tea - Leaves You Feeling Refreshed -- Barry Silverstein
  Honest Tea came from humble roots to become President Obama's favorite tea, and become part of the Coca-Cola stable of beverage brands
   
 
Jun 18, 2010 Canon - Picturing a Future Beyond Cameras -- Barry Silverstein
  While many consumers still know Canon for its legacy cameras, perhaps even more recognize the name from the company’s other products, which include calculators, scanners, office copying machines, computer printers, LCD projectors, and medical equipment.
   
 
Jun 11, 2010 IV-7 - The Next Generation of Germ Defense -- Sheila Shayon
  As the BP oil spill and Gulf Coast disaster continues to grip the headlines, public debate about our increasingly toxic environment and the efficacy and safety of disinfectant products continues to rage. Enter IV-7, a new non-toxic disinfectant.
   
 
Jun 4, 2010 BYD - Driving China Electric -- Barry Silverstein
  As Chinese brands continue to grow on a global scale, brand names previously known only within China’s borders are now generating worldwide awareness. BYD is one such company, having risen from relative obscurity to a brand that has caused quite a stir because of its new electric car, the e6.
   
 
May 28, 2010 Acupuncture Records - China’s Piercing Electronic Music Brand -- Laura Fitch
  Acupuncture Records promotes China’s alternative music to the world
   
 
May 21, 2010 Crocs - Back in Style -- Shirley Brady
  Crocs are back in style
   
 
May 14, 2010 Red Mango - Finally, Frozen Yogurt Done Right -- Dale Buss
  Red Mango, frozen yogurt done right
   
 
May 7, 2010 Habbo - virtual mall -- Shirley Brady
  Habbo, which bills itself as the largest virtual world for teenagers, boasts more than 16.5 million unique visitors and a selling proposition for brands.
   
 
Apr 30, 2010 HTC - on call -- Barry Silverstein
  HTC has become renowned as a high-tech brand and innovative company of firsts.
   
 
Apr 23, 2010 AirAsia - high flyer -- Barry Silverstein
  Malaysia's discount airline is also Asia’s fastest growing airline.
   
 
Apr 15, 2010 PBS - broadcasting with purpose -- Barry Silverstein
  The public’s trust in PBS may help save journalism.
   
 
Apr 7, 2010 Eno - eno-ough? -- Laura Fitch
  Eno builds grass roots franchises in China.
   
 
Mar 31, 2010 Dos Equis - most interesting? -- Renée Alexander
  Dos Equis sheds Mexican stereotypes for “interesting.”
   
 
Mar 25, 2010 Barilla - pastability -- Barry Silverstein
  Barilla cooks up old school pasta with modern marketing.
   
 
Mar 17, 2010 Madécasse - rich -- Barry Silverstein
  How Madécasse is putting Madagascar on the branding map.
   
 
Mar 10, 2010 Bacon Salt - kosher -- Barry Silverstein
  Bacon Salt adds flavor to a new brand category.
   
 
Mar 4, 2010 E*TRADE - oh baby -- Barry Silverstein
  E*TRADE doesn’t kid with your money.
   
 
Feb 24, 2010 Bruegger’s - dough boys -- Barry Silverstein
  Bruegger’s brand rises to the challenge.
   
 
Feb 17, 2010 Windborne Music - progressive rock -- Robyn Schechter
  Windborne Music’s unique brand of rock symphony.
   
 
Feb 10, 2010 Barnes & Noble - booking it -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Barnes & Noble is an epic branding story.
   
 
Feb 3, 2010 Kashi - on a mission -- Barry Silverstein
  How Kashi helps itself by saving the world.
   
 
Jan 27, 2010 ASICS - runner up -- Barry Silverstein
  How ASICS keeps pace with bigger shoe brands.
   
 
Jan 20, 2010 Hudson’s Bay Company - medals? -- Renée Alexander
  How the Hudson’s Bay Company will compete at the Olympics.
   
 
Jan 13, 2010 5-Hour Energy - powered up -- Barry Silverstein
  5-Hour Energy overpowers the competition.
   
 
Jan 6, 2010 Cesar Millan - fetching? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Cesar Millan is leader of the pack.