Rebranding: reasons, process and impact

Rebranding has been on the increase in the downstream industry in recent months, with many businesses finding themselves in the position of having recently rebranded or actively preparing for a rebrand.

Boilerjuice rebrand

Claudia Weeks, Community Content Lead for Fuel Oil News, spoke to those in the industry that have already taken this step, to find out more about the process, their reasons for rebranding and the impact it has had on the business.

The reasons for a rebrand

Chris Isaac, Head of Marketing at BoilerJuice, gave his thoughts on the reasons for the recent rebrand at the company: “We knew the BoilerJuice brand identity needed to change to better reflect the values and ambition of the business. For a long time now BoilerJuice has invested in our teams and in our tech, but also in our marketing and internal communications.

“We have changed a lot as a business in the last few years and we wanted the brand to reflect that. We’ve become more customer- focused and more forward-looking, and our rebrand emphasises both of those elements. We live it, so our customers needed to see it. We needed to reflect it in our identity.”

Danielle Rocha, Digital Marketing Executive at Compass, also shared the reasons for a rebrand that will be completed later this year: “Our specific goals include enhancing our brand’s resonance with environmentally conscious businesses, fostering trust and confidence in our guidance for fuel needs, and differentiating ourselves in a competitive market through a refreshing, purpose-driven identity.”

IFC Inflow is another industry company that has gone through the rebranding process recently. Emmy Krishna, Marketing Coordinator, reflected on the reasons for this: “We have come a long way during the last 36 years, and our business has evolved. We felt it was time to sit down and spell out our brand values that represent the company as we are today. The rebrand was a natural progression from this.”

Another business reflecting on their desire for a rebrand is the Suttons Group whose Marketing Manager, Jessica Russell, said: “Suttons took the decision to evolve its strapline as they are committed to driving positive change by promoting sustainable practices and minimising its environmental impact in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The new strapline demonstrates our commitment to being a truly sustainable business.”

Why rebrand in 2024?

Increasingly popular across the sector, 2024 is a year that has already seen many businesses taking steps towards a rebrand.

Jessica shared the reasons behind the timing: “Suttons has made progress with its journey to becoming as sustainable as possible in recent months. The Tankers division has its own ESG policy based on the ROAR strategy— Reduce, Optimise, Alternate, Replace— designed to transform and reduce its carbon footprint.

“The International division is delighted to have received a silver sustainability rating from ESG experts EcoVadis which recognises its commitment to being a truly sustainable transport provider to its customers.

“Suttons is leading the way with alternative fuels in the bulk haulage industry and is also using 100% renewable electricity at all its owned sites, significantly reducing its Scope 2 emissions.

“Its UK Tanker division has adopted a combination of fleet investment and improvement in driving style and reduced fleet CO2 emissions by 13,900 Mt – as a result – equivalent to removing over 3000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for a year. With all these steps towards sustainability, we felt that the rebrand simply had to be in 2024.”

Compass is planning to complete its rebrand this year, as Danielle explained: “The timing of the rebrand in 2024 was strategic for several reasons. Firstly, it coincides with our relocation to new premises and the expansion of our infrastructure to offer HVO fuel, providing a perfect opportunity to introduce a new identity aligned with these advancements.

“Additionally, market trends and consumer expectations are increasingly favouring sustainable alternatives, making it an opportune moment to showcase our commitment to environmental responsibility.”

Chris at BoilerJuice added: “This has been a three-year project for BoilerJuice. In fact, our fantastic network of suppliers had the new logo and brand revealed to them two years ago. So, we had already made the change and had committed to our new brand identity a while ago.

“We had anticipated launching to our customer base earlier, but we had to do it at the right time and in a way where we could commit the resources required for a successful launch.

“2024 was also the 20th anniversary of BoilerJuice. This then became part of our launch plan as we celebrate what we have achieved for off-grid households and what more we will be doing for them in the future. April then became the right time for several reasons, and we managed the launch smoothly as a result.

“There were some concerns. Would our oldest, most loyal customers take to the change? Would the new interface impact our sales? Would the launch require technical down-time? Those were the kind of questions we faced but we were able to mitigate those concerns through research, testing, phasing some changes, extensive quality assurance reviews, and detailed launch planning.”

Consulting employees

Chris explained why employee opinion on the rebrand was important: “We have a strong employee engagement culture at BoilerJuice and a transparent feedback process. We are always gathering opinion on our products and services.

“Our employee opinions fed into the rebranding brief as did qualitative and quantitative research among our customers. Teams that had more direct input were marketing, product, senior management and business intelligence.”

The process

IFC shared how they began the process of rebranding: “We used external consultants who guided us through the process of defining our own brand. They showed us a few exercises where a group of us got together and talked and really got to the bottom of who we are as a company and what we wanted to communicate about IFC Inflow.

“We then worked with the agency to put together a visual representation of the brand that we had defined.”

Danielle explained how the process for Compass was similar: “The rebranding process was a collaborative effort involving both internal and external resources. We engaged external consultants with expertise in branding and marketing strategy to provide fresh perspectives and guide us through the process.”

BoilerJuice also had a similar experience: “We hired external consultants and an agency to help us through the process. We wanted specialists to guide us from the outset. We had a lot of ideas internally and needed an external perspective to help shape them.

“There were also two main areas the external team helped with. Firstly, we worked with them to rewrite our brand guidelines and our mission statement as well as to capture our values and our unique proposition and represent them in the final assets. Secondly, we worked with them on our launch plan.”

Suttons Group also engaged external consultants (Studio Up North) to support them with their rebrand and were delighted with the result.

The importance of brand heritage

With the rebranding process clearly an exciting time and an opportunity to focus on the future pathway for a business, Claudia asked whether reflecting on the past and the importance of brand heritage was also of consideration.

Danielle at Compass reflected: “Our brand heritage played a significant role in shaping our identity and guiding the rebranding process. While we sought to modernise our brand to reflect our forward-thinking approach and sustainability focus, we also wanted to honour our history and the relationships we have built with customers over the years.

“Striking a balance between innovation and continuity was key to ensuring that the rebrand resonated with both existing and prospective customers while maintaining a sense of trust and familiarity.

“Our strapline “Navigating the Nation’s Fuel Supply” encapsulates our role as trusted advisors, guiding customers confidently in the right direction for all their fuel needs. Every aspect of the rebrand, from the visual identity to the messaging, reflects our dedication to excellence and our vision for a more sustainable future.”

Chris at BoilerJuice agreed that keeping the values of the business is important: “BoilerJuice has a reputation among our customers in two key areas: providing hassle- free convenience and good value. That’s the real heritage and brand equity we didn’t want to lose.

“In fact, the old brand actually didn’t reflect those important aspects enough so the rebrand really enhances the best of the old and gives comfort that we’ll continue to be great at those, but we’ll go even further – with even better value and, most importantly, even more convenience – the mission is total peace of mind to off-grid homes, today, but also tomorrow in their journey to a more sustainable future.”

Agreeing that rebranding has enabled IFC to reflect the core values of the business, Emmy said: “Our values of safety, expertise and people all went into the consideration of the new brand. For example, we incorporated safety yellow into our logo and our branding, so safety is now always at the very heart of everything we do.”

The target audience

A key reason for a rebrand can be a change in the target audience of the business. Claudia asked whether this was a consideration:

Emmy reflected: “At IFC Inflow, our target audience has grown. Our range of fall prevention products means we have opened ourselves up hugely in what we offer and who we cater to, so we now speak to entirely new groups of people on top of the loyal customers we have been working with for the last 36 years. It feels like the natural time for a rebrand to encompass our existing and new customers.”

However, a change in the target audience for BoilerJuice wasn’t the main concern for a rebrand as Chris explains: “Our target audience hasn’t changed. We are always developing our products and services to adapt to the demands of our customers, but essentially our off-grid audience want to warm their homes without anxiety.

“They don’t want to run out of oil, they don’t want complexity when getting a quote and ordering, they don’t want to spend ages researching prices. They also want to know where to come to stay informed. The audience hasn’t changed, but they are, rightly, becoming more demanding – and this brand emphasises our commitment to investing to meet those demands.”

Delivering the outcome

Chris shared the stages of the rebrand for BoilerJuice: “A series of phased changes to our website and email designs had been ongoing for a while leading up to “the big day”. This included the testing and research I mentioned earlier and put less pressure on the launch day, but also eased customers in.

“Our website, where we bring customers and suppliers together, is key for us as a platform business. We cannot afford for that to have down time, customers are quoting and ordering with us 24/7. We launched our website first at 10am on 17th April and then, within 45mins, everything had switched to the new logo and colour scheme (amongst many other elements).

“Email is a key marketing channel for us and changing our email estate was also a big task requiring a lot of skill to change in line with the website.”

Emmy shared the launch process for IFC Inflow: “We announced the rebrand internally in a company meeting in December 2023, but we wanted to launch the brand externally alongside our new website. As a result, we announced the new website along with the new branding in April across all our social platforms (and in an advert with Fuel Oil News of course!).

“This also coincided with exhibition season, so we were able to feature our new branding at the UKIFDA show just a week after we launched.”

The response

Asked how the rebrand has been received, Chris replied: “Internally it’s been fantastic! The team at BoilerJuice are delighted to have launched the rebrand -it better represents what we do. It’s also great that now, after a gap, both our customers and our supplier network are all seeing the same brand.

“As I write this, we’re only two days in to launching our rebrand so it’s very early to gauge the customer response, but we’re very optimistic and watching it closely.”

Jess added: “At Suttons Group, our customers have been very receptive to the change and acknowledge that the new strapline is in line with our current ESG initiatives.”

Promoting the business after a rebrand

Marketing the business once a rebrand is completed is of utmost importance for the new branding to become recognisable and respected.

Compass is yet to officially launch its rebrand, but Danielle shared the plans for promoting the business once they have: “Following the initial rebranding launch, our focus will be on sustaining momentum and building upon the foundation established by Compass. This includes ongoing marketing and communication efforts to reinforce our brand messaging, engaging with our customers, and attracting new business.”

Delighted with the rebrand at IFC Inflow, Emmy added: “We are really proud of the brand and the materials that we have produced so we are really excited to show them off! Our customers can expect to hear plenty from us over the next few months and see some examples of the new literature we have produced and more.

“Of course, we also had the UKIFDA show which was a great opportunity to share the rebrand within the industry, and we’ve got a few more shows coming up that we’re looking forward to!”

Chris at BoilerJuice added: “It’s going to define everything we do. We’ll be evolving it over time. In the medium term we have a clear promotion plan for the first two months and ideas beyond.

“We also have a design and product roadmap for numerous business quarters which expands on what we’ve done so far. We want to support this brand launch with product and service launches too – but I can’t tell you much more than that right now, it’s top secret!”

The future

Claudia asked how long the businesses would expect a rebrand to be in place. Is the aim to have a long-lasting brand that builds recognition or is rebranding to be expected more often nowadays as businesses keep pace with changes and developments?

Danielle shared: “Our goal with the Compass rebrand is to establish a long-lasting brand that will continue to gain recognition and resonate with customers for the next 10- 15 years at least.”

With refreshing honesty, Emmy said: “I can’t say we’ve given much thought to the next rebrand for IFC! But I like to think that we have built this new brand on values that will continue to hold and be relevant through whatever changes we might see in the industry or in the company for at least the next 10 years.”

Chris concluded: “I couldn’t predict too far ahead, BoilerJuice is an agile business and will always evolve based on the needs of our customers. But I see this as a rebrand to take us through the next 5-10 years for sure.

“We are positioned both to deliver on our promises today and to help our customers towards a sustainable tomorrow, whatever that might look like.

“There is a lot choice for customers as they try to reduce their carbon footprint, while also wanting reliability and good value in this high cost-of-living and tense geo-political environment. It can be stressful and a hassle.

“This rebrand allows us, more than ever, to give our customers confidence and to trust us with their off-grid energy needs for the future.”

Thanks to BoilerJuice, Compass, IFC Inflow and Suttons Group for sharing their thoughts on the rebranding process.

In an ever-changing sector, rebranding will continue to be a key strategy for businesses planning for the future.

If you have plans to rebrand that you would like to share with the Fuel Oil News community then please contact:

Image credit: Boilerjuice