Storm System Rebranding and Packaging

A Case in Repositioning, Rebranding, Re-everythinging

In August 22, 2014
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California Products, a client which recently came to us for our experience in rebranding, has been selling best-in-class consumer and contractor-grade coatings for nearly 80 years in New England. Initially focused exclusively on the independent retail channel, their customers were loyal to the California brands because they knew they’d get the best quality but not have to pay the “national retail brand” surcharge. Among California’s most loved brands was their line of hard-working, long-lasting exterior stains and finishes, called Storm Stain.

Tested in the challenging conditions only weather in New England can throw at you, Storm Stain was regarded by retailers, contractors and consumer alike as their secret weapon to keep decks, fencing and siding looking fresh and colorful. However, when the business decision was made to expand the marketing footprint for Storm Stain, it was clear that this little unknown brand was in serious need of repositioning, repackaging, rebranding, re-everythinging!

Old Stom Stain Packaging

For starters, the current packaging was very dated. But an even bigger issue was answering the question “Why?” Why would a customer be drawn to a brand of exterior stain they’ve never heard of? There are a lot of familiar brands staring at consumers standing in the stain aisle. Grabbing attention and drawing consumers in was going to be a challenge.

We used that “wall of stains” and the confusion it tends to bring about as our silver bullet in this rebranding. Success lied in providing clarity—to make the shopping decision easier. So instead of just relabeling Storm Stain, we renamed the offering the Storm System and borrowed lots of the built-in equity of that term. A category system (known by annual, well-televised hurricanes) and telegraphic color designations (made famous by local weather radar maps) were both familiar bits of communication we could leverage as Storm System. Like with most big ideas, once that key differentiating nugget was developed, the rest of the rebranding effort pretty much just fell into place.

Storm System Packaging Rebranding

With nothing much changing in the can from their already top-quality formulations, the new Storm System was not as much a new brand of products as it was a new way to merchandise and shop the exterior stains and finishes category. Organized by these already-established categories for weather events (aligned by level of opacity and longevity), this intuitive system was core to the rebranding and allowed shoppers to easily and quickly choose what product they needed based on the look they wanted to achieve. With Category 1 for clear finishes up through Category 4 for solid colors (and Category 5 for when more extreme measures—primers–were needed), the Storm System was viewed by retailers not only as something fresh and new, but easier to sell, easier to shop and easier to use.

Launched just in 2012, the Storm System has quickly become the fastest growing of California Products current brand portfolio and has seen distribution grow across the US. Previously sold only in New England, you can now purchase Storm System products at better retailers as far west as California, Oregon and Washington—and as far north as Minnesota. Moreover, it’s provided inroads to new dealers and retailers with whom they’ve had no previous relationship. So while rebranding might be the marketing term for what we did, reigniting is what it did for their business.

To learn more about the industry’s most innovative exterior wood line, just click here to check out the website we created.

Rick Riley

Mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to blog, don’t blog anything at all.” Okay, that’s not true. In fact, mom never read a single blog, nice or otherwise. But it’s still good advice. So look to me for nice … or at least interesting, relevant or funny. Well, maybe smartass or irreverent or sarcastic, too. But that’s it. If it doesn’t fall into one of those categories, you didn’t hear it from me.