Case Study: Breitfeld & Schliekert, GmbH; U.S. Brand Launch

How do you take a leading European optical manufacturer unknown in the U.S. market and create an impressive brand launch that gets and keeps the industry talking?

IndustryOpticalClientBrietfeld & SchliekertEngagementBrand Strategy, Advertising, Brand Identity, Business System Design, Catalog Design, Direct Mail, Trade Show Design

Background

Our relationship with B&S spans 15 years and counting. Founded in 1927, Breitfeld & Schliekert is Europe’s #1 manufacturer and retailer of tools, machinery and repair parts for opticians. Our challenge was to launch the brand to the U.S. market in a distinctive and memorable way. 

Focus groups and market research indicated that opticians were lukewarm to the idea of a new brand and supplier for optical tools and parts. Up until Brietfeld & Schliekert’s entry into the market, tools, machinery and parts were utilitarian — they functioned, but were far from well-designed. From these sessions, we observed that once opticians were able to experience the unique tools first hand, their attitudes, and interest piqued considerably.

Approach

With this critical insight in mind, we set about crafting the tone, voice and personality and distinct visual style of the brand across various customer touchpoints. Breitfeld & Schliekert was an unfamiliar name in the US, and industry advertising was uninspiring, so we developed a narrative tone that was warm, conversational and friendly and a visual approach featuring a wide variety of products in a fun and engaging manner.

To introduce the brand to the press, we designed a press kit to reflect the look and feel of Breitfeld & Schliekert’s signature dimpled tool handles. We supplemented playful, full-page trade advertisements with two, four-page inserts that expanded on the company’s history, values and design philosophy. As part of the fulfillment process, we also developed a US version of the 168-page product catalog featuring over 1,200 SKUs.

A critical component of our launch strategy was to secure meetings with large chain buyers at Vision Expo. To pique their interest, we designed, produced, hand-assembled and couriered 200 personalized boxed invitations featuring actual samples of two signature Breitfeld & Schliekert products.

In conjunction with this effort, we conceived, designed and oversaw the construction of a 900 square foot tradeshow booth incorporating visual cues from signature products across product displays and private meeting space. Tradeshow advertising and event promotions ensured a steady flow of traffic to the booth.

When I first met Paul in 2000, I was drawn to his distinctive design aesthetic and strategic approach. At the time he was the creative director at the agency I hired to help launch our brand in the U.S. I’ve continued to work with Paul over the years on a numerous branding and design projects, and he continues to deliver impressive work. His clean, no frills approach in both his work ethics and results is what always impresses me. He makes an investment in his process, which makes his work a worthy investment for our brands. —

Dominik Finkeldei, CEO  |  Breitfeld & Schliekert, GmbH

Outcome

We launched the brand with much visibility and success, giving Breitfeld & Schliekert a strong foothold in the U.S. market. phD continued to support ongoing sales and promotion efforts in print and online several years after the launch, and we continue to consult with Breitfeld & Schliekert on brand and identity initiatives.

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