For most B2B industrial organizations, a master branded strategy offers the best approach for growth. Our analytics work with APM Terminals, however, proved that their optimal branding strategy is an exception to their parent’s master branded strategy. For APM Terminals, the right strategy is a stand-alone identity and a distinctive brand promise.
Part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, APM Terminals operates a global network of ports and inland services. Established within Maersk Sealand in 2001, APM Terminals had grown to be the world’s second largest container terminal operator by volume by 2011. The company has interests in 64 countries and more than 22,000 employees.
Serving the world’s major shipping lines with the industry’s most geographically diverse network of ports, APM Terminals generates a large portion of its revenues from sister company Maersk Line. The business challenge — and therefore the branding challenge — was to grow the company’s non-Maersk revenue.
As parent Maersk implemented a new master branded strategy, our work helped determine the optimum branding strategy for APM Terminals. Unless we had bullet-proof logic, the parent wanted APM Terminals to follow the Maersk master branded strategy.
After extensive global research across a wide range of audiences, the branding solution was to develop a distinctive, compelling brand promise that would differentiate the company and unite the organization. As part of this transition, we removed the ‘Maersk’ star and energized the corporate identity.
We repositioned the brand around an inspirational idea: Helping companies to grow and countries to achieve their ambitions. The core benefit behind the idea was the brand’s ability to bring international trade to local shores.
We captured the brand idea in a globally-relevant tagline: Lifting global trade. Simple, bold and universal, the tagline provides a rallying cry for the entire organization. From blue-collar workers to white-collar employees, the entire APM Terminals team literally lifts boxes, commerce and ultimately economies.
The final step was to link the tagline aggressively to the APM Terminals identity. From stationery to marketing materials to gantry cranes, the tagline appears wherever the identity appears to communicate the organization’s value proposition.
The simple answer would have been to fit APM Terminals into the Maersk master branded system. The right answer was to create an independent brand — even for an industrial B2B organization.