As industry responds positively to Straightpoint’s (SP) elevated profile, Mr. Loadlink reflects on the rebrand
“That’s it,” I said, the first time I saw the design for Straightpoint’s (SP) logo. The continuous yellow path from the bottom left-hand corner of the S to the point of the P. It became iconic on the blue background, as did the full logo, complete with tagline ‘making the lifting industry a safer place’. Furthermore, it was a hallmark of quality, state-of-the-art technology, engineering magnificence, and marketing prowess.
People wanted an SP to measure their load. And they still do.
As has been widely reported, a new chapter for the brand was recently opened, under the ownership of lifting and rigging hardware giant, The Crosby Group. Now, in the smaller form of the logo, ’Crosby’ sits neatly above the ‘SP’. In the full SP version, the mantra has progressed more broadly to ‘know the load’ (more on that below). In other references, the two logos sit side-by-side, separated only by a thin, vertical line, blue in colour. What a pair they make!
I still pinch myself when I see it. Since I took ownership of SP on April 15 2002, I’ve looked up in admiration at the Crosby machine. Its bright, red logo was symbolic of scale and presence in the marketplace. It was something to aspire to be more like, yet impossible to replicate. So when I think of SP now under its ownership and look at the two logos so neatly woven together in partnership, it still prompts a sharp intake of breath. Perhaps that’ll wear off. I hope it doesn’t, actually. There’s no better legacy for me as former owner and CEO to have secured than to put the brand on such a platform.
I’m pleased with the outcome of the rebrand, as I’ve seen plenty of companies in the lifting sector and elsewhere get such an exercise wrong. There was some pontification along the way but the Crosby-SP marketing teams always had a clear vision to create an identity that showcased the best of the existing businesses and, moreover, the new offering. As Robert Desel, chief commercial officer at Crosby, said, SP already represented a force in the marketplace and now the products and expertise can be positioned closer to the point of use than ever before and the pace of innovation increased.
We started work on the rebrand before the deal was announced. There, in deepest winter, we set about creating a concept that would lead the next 50 years of force measurement evolution. We had brilliant brainstorming partners in Crosby, a company with a codified brand standard. I knew the connotations of the brand as a stakeholder in the marketplace, but it was fascinating to go behind the curtain and learn about the principles that hold it up. I guess that kind of high-level brand management is reserved for larger businesses, but there’s a lesson even for the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker in understanding what a brand name means.
What does your brand say about your sausages, bread, or scented flambeau?
SP’s marketeers brought a lot to the table too. We started with about 12 different logo concepts and we set about shortlisting and then committing to the frontrunner.
This is a more complicated exercise than it sounds; it’s not necessarily a case of selecting one that looks the best. We constantly had to be mindful of the mission the brand would represent. Practically, we also had to consider how the logo would look on a catalogue, on a product, in print, in digital, on an app, on a smart device, on the chest of a ripped global business development director for load monitoring solutions (what?), and so on.
If one is entering a similar process, it’s important to think about the different places a logo will appear in the modern world. Background colours, shapes, sizes, etc. are all crucial.
A tagline or mantra can help define a brand. ‘Making the lifting industry a safer place’ was a meaningful ‘Why’ for the previous SP business; we didn’t want to be a load cell or component manufacturer, we wanted to make the lifting industry a safer place for people to work. However, while we had successfully diversified on our own, Crosby will catapult the range into a big wide world of dragging, jacking, towing, pulling, pushing, rotating, uprighting, weighing, and more. Sure, we’ll still be making the lifting industry a safer place, but plenty of others too.
Our new brand better have broad shoulders; the scope is vast. Think about the myriad of applications that currently use load cells and then consider the volume that don’t. Even to isolate our traditional market—lifting, where most of our distributors reside—only, say, 5% of lifts currently use a load cell. What about the other 95%?
Our long-term goal is that every lift is monitored, every time—and we’re going to pioneer that evolution. That was on the whiteboard from the first marketing meeting about the company’s new dawn and it eventually became our tagline: ‘know the load’.
Our newest innovation, Bluelink, was conceptualised out of the same school of thought. The product, a 6.5t (14,300 lb.) capacity load cell, introduces Bluetooth technology to existing and prospective customers still utilising outdated mechanical force measurement products. Bluelink is thusly targeted at end users that remain loyal to traditional equipment but who might be receptive to enhanced technology and the inherent advantages of reading data on an iOS or Android smartphone installed with SP’s free HHP app.
The launch won’t place a yardstick by which to measure the ongoing technological progression of our range, but more reflects our ability to continue to provide tools for the many different types of user looking to understand the forces being applied.
Life’s a beach
I’d like to think that, one-day, the majority of Crosby shackles will be supplied with a load cell in them. I’ll be on a beach (or in a wooden jacket!) by the time such technology is ubiquitous but the ball is rolling. And it’ll gather speed. If I know Crosby and SP as well as I think I do, it’ll probably happen sooner than many think. Do you remember when people said that they didn’t want cameras in their mobile or cell phones? Or that they preferred looking at printed photographs? What about the folks who said remote-controlled television sets were inconvenient because the remote is easy to lose behind the sofa?
The new era has started with a bang, as U.S.-based Wayne Wille and Aaron Orsak; and UK-stationed David Mullard and I, have hit the campaign trail. David and I have already covered Azerbaijan, Egypt, Dubai, and other locations between us, while our colleagues stateside have been on a whistle-stop tour of their own. Through Crosby, we’ve gained access to hundreds of new purchasing decision makers and thought leaders, all of whom want to learn more about the SP range and have sat in awe as we’ve delivered product demonstration after load cell showcase after presentation.
And then joined one or two of them for dinner to evangelise some more.
Remember when I said in my last blog that I sat down with my new employers to discuss my role moving forward, and the plan was based on playing to my strengths? It’s been hugely rewarding to feel that plan coming to fruition. There, among the Emiratis, I sat in my hotel room—I was amid the organised chaos of opened suit- and flight-cases, one sweat-stained, newly branded polo shirt screwed up on the floor, another, pristine, hanging up ready for the next day—and beamed privately. I feel blessed to have been given a new lease of life. It’s been a long time since something close to me felt embryonic, and I’ve missed it.