Even in an industry that reinvents itself as often as the electronics industry does, change can be hard. After 77 years in electronics distribution, catalogue distributor Newark is rebranding itself as element14 — a process that Newark's vice president for customer experience Dave Wenger calls “a journey.”
“This will be an evolutionary process and we are working closely with our customers and suppliers to keep them updated,” Wenger said. “In fact, we have created a special page, newark.com/together, to provide information on our journey.
Newark’s sister catalogue, Farnell, is also adopting the element14 moniker. In their respective geographies, both Newark and Britain’s Farnell have a long-established brand identity and a lot of history behind their names. Asia/Pacific — still a relatively new market for electronics distribution — is already using the element14 name.
As a global company, a single brand identity can be a powerful tool that is immediately associated with what a company stands for. And, let's face it, going to market as a global entity is a lot easier under one name than as a parent company with different identities in each of the geographic markets.
Newark will integrate with its element14 community and thereafter be known as element14 in North America. The company is adding tens of thousands of new products and will offer a range of new tools and services online to increase productivity and enhance the shopping experience, remaining committed to multi-channel model.
Within their back-end operations, Newark and Premier Farnell have largely acted as a single company by leveraging their combined economies of scale with suppliers and customers; adopting the best practices within each organization; and eliminating the redundancies that come with operating two separate but related businesses.
In terms of brand, Newark has been associated with the Americas and Premier Farnell with Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), creating two identities that may have diluted the recognition that Premier Farnell plc organization is a large, global products and services company with combined revenue of $1.5 billion.
In a presentation at the annual Electronics Distribution Show (EDS) now taking place in Las Vegas, Newark outlined some of the drivers behind the corporate rebranding move:
- The power and clarity of one global brand: A planned, long-term brand journey; Better search engine optimization and efficiencies of scale.
- Combination of community and commerce: Single point for more products, resources, services.
- Global branding: Asia/Pacific businesses already rebranded as element14; Europe/UK has started the journey.
- Web preference channel growth: Upsurge in numbers of engineers and buyers who buy/research over the Web; Success of element14 as an electronics community.
- Attract more customers in each part of product cycle: From research to design prototype to production to replacement.
Of the brands within the Premier Farnell organization, element14 is the newest. The reaction at EDS to the rebranding has ranged from surprise that the company was doing this to an acknowledgment the move makes sense in terms of the global electronics community.
Executives from Newark, in particular, are sensitive to the legacy that comes with the Newark name. For many suppliers and customers, adjusting to the change might be difficult. The key, as Wenger notes, will be a slow and steady journey that demonstrates the benefits of the combined organization at each step of the way. You can stay updated on that journey at newark.com/together.