Since our work with Shipley Energy, the company has been named one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in the region.
But it was not always so
Few stories start at the top, after all.
Shipley traces its origin back to 1929 when Thomas Shipley founded the Roosevelt Garage & Supply Company in York, PA. Just across Roosevelt Street, York Manufacturing Company employees found it a convenient place to service their automobiles and fill up their gasoline tanks. A 1957 merger with Humble-Mundis, Inc., resulted in then-new Shipley-Humble.
In the decades to follow, Shipley merged several times and acquired multiple companies in fuel, natural gas, propane, heating & air conditioning units, equipment servicing companies, and service stations. Aggressive expansion also led Shipley beyond core energy markets into sectors such as groceries, convenience stores, bottled drinking water, coffee, fast food, home security—to name a few.
Acquisitions outside of Shipley core energy business increasingly competed for share of mind. Brand experience in low price point sectors such as fast foods devalued perception of higher tier retail or wholesale core energy products.
Brand expansion into unrelated market sectors under a Shipley umbrella not only diluted brand share, but brand management also became cumbersome, inefficient and costly.
Incoherent brand architecture created a Pandora’s Box of complexity between diverse and opposing brand entities. Naming and nomenclature also incoherent, audiences became confused. Brand perception devalued.
Unbridled expansion led to a Pandora’s Box of Brands.
Aspiring to expand its energy offerings throughout the Mid Atlantic and beyond, we helped Shipley articulate new meaningful brand purpose that now drives its business decisions—company transformation, mergers and acquisitions, environment, plus how Shipley expresses a clear shared value with customers, employees, the global community.
Energy For Life
Conversations with Shipley leadership and stakeholders revealed all. Energy for Life—the new brand mantra—would encapsulate Shipley’s essence, be the company’s driving force, and describe brand purpose: Positive movement. A company with life. A company with energy. We’re not standing still. Lifelong partners in Energy. A part of people’s lives. The life-force (energy) in peoples lives. An energetic experience. An essential ingredient for life (literally, energy). An essential part of peoples’ lives. A commitment to people’s lives. A commitment to energy solutions. Continuity, reliability—we’ll be always there.
A newly articulated purpose would play out in a clear new story platform, overarching narrative, key messaging—as well as redesigned brand architecture, product nomenclature, naming, visual identity and even business reorganization in order to achieve a new position in the world of people and energy.
Newly Branded Fleet
A fitting image in the rolling Mid Atlantic countryside.
A story people celebrate and spread…
Daring Deep Dives
Shipley vis à vis a complex web of local, regional, national, and global energy sectors…
Astute brand strategy informs market and design decisions that enable business to thrive.
Effective design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s the fruition and fusion of intensive brand and business research, rediscovery, conversations and astute strategies.
“People recognized our trucks coming by the colors.”
Shipley’s existing three-color system had been in place and recognized throughout its important growth years. We performed an extensive color study that would respect existing brand equity, ultimately distilling to a stronger revitalized two-color scheme throughout Shipley’s vast brand application needs. The chosen color candidates—bright, energetic, trustworthy, strong and confident—reinforcing Shipley’s brand personality to all Shipley audiences.
We explored several Shipley thematic brand identity design directions based on diligent research, conversations, and analysis. Below is the final round of design direction explorations and refinements.
Bob Wolf and Russell Volckmann: Brand discovery, analysis, strategy, and creative
The new visual identity would be a vital turning point on which to pivot into the future—a framework to deliver Shipley branded content with accompanying stories and anecdotes—across a vast array of Shipley branded products and services. Emphasis on Shipley business goals, the environment, company heritage and brand personality were key. We explored color schemes and symbols that would not only stand out against the pack of others in this complex industry but also maintained a recognizable continuity from Shipley’s existing brand identity. A fitting evolution.
Dynamic, bright, bold and different, the new logo symbol sets Shipley Energy apart from its competitors. Its bright colors reflect the benefits of what Shipley offers—light, warmth, mobility and energy.
The new symbol communicates an approachable and nurturing presence. It reflects Shipley Energy’s unwavering commitment to deliver a continuous uninterrupted flow of energy and integrated services to meet the needs of its customers—a symbol of Shipley’s new brand mantra, Energy For Life.
The examples below taken from our study illustrate how choice of logo type style can impact perceptions of who you are. Bold title case— upper and lower type characters—communicated both confidence and stability, while still being approachable or welcoming.
The New Shipley
A new, complete, dynamic and proprietary visual style portrays an abstract image of a rural landscape—reflecting the region where Shipley Energy operates and calls home. It is designed to be flexible, accommodating a broad range of applications while maintaining consistent recognition.
Shipley’s expansion into multiple diverse market sectors caused brand and business confusion—while also draining Shipley time, energy and company resources…
1. Each Shipley market sector used a confusing combination of individual brands, sub-brands, co-brands, and third party brands to compete with a different array of competitors and customer type.
Propane, biofuel, solar, oil, gasoline, et al, used different brand identities, brand names, logos. Sometimes even different for consumer and business audiences. For example, Shipley competed with: Local and regional utility companies for home and business heating products and services; Propane products competed with regional and local propane-dedicated companies; Fuel, gasoline and service stations competed with national and global petroleum companies; And so on. Because no clear brand distance, connection or architecture existed, these brands also competed with Shipley’s own core brand. How do we create the right brand architecture—distance or closeness—that will streamline brand management, maintain brand equity in each product line, and make clear propositions to customers—in alignment with business goals?
2. Shipley’s own brands were not only scattered across many different energy-related market sectors, but also across an expansive array of non-energy product and service brands.
Convenience stores/ travel stops, fast food franchises, bottled water and even hot dogs. All competed for share of mind among audiences. Lower tier consumer brands also diluted and devalued core energy products and services.
What We Learned
Brands, companies, projects, business, nonprofits—all need stories interwoven like a screenplay into branded experiences and business plans. To instill that adventure into every single touchpoint. That’s what makes people do flips and twists to interact and take part in what you believe in. That’s the tack that helped Shipley become one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies following our rebrand.
1. How to turn even the most complex brand challenges into a simple, refined, easy-to-understand, and enjoyable proposition for companies, customers and brand champions.
2. Good design is good business. While Shipley stepped up to implement everyday organization and brand change efforts, we’re proud to have paved the way toward becoming among the Top Ten Fastest Growing Companies in the region.
3. Market position, brand position, story development, and design are inexorably linked. The stars align for companies and customers when aligned together.
4. New sub-brands must be meticulously and astutely planned. Otherwise, these brands can and will eventually erode core brand equity, and with it, business from your customers.
Bob Wolf, Russell Volckmann strategic planning
for Shipley Energy in York, PA