THE NOYTECH CASE: HOW TO KEEP BUSINESS IN RUSSIA
After the mass withdrawal of foreign companies from the Russian market that started in March 2022, many companies decided to stay in the country and were faced with the need to quickly change their name and appearance.
If the rebranding process normally takes several months to a year and a half, in the extreme situation many had to make a momentous decision and adapt in a matter of weeks. That would be fine, but it is clear that a series of plastic surgeries will have to follow to fix the brand.
It was nice to see that our client took the rebranding very seriously and, despite the tight deadlines, made the right and sensible decisions that will save them time and money in the future.
In June 2022, we were approached by the Russian team of Kuehne+Nagel, the world leader in logistics and provider of end-to-end supply chain solutions for large companies. The company was founded in 1890 in Germany. To this day, it regularly tops the annual rankings of global 3PL companies.
The brand has more than 30 years of experience in warehousing logistics, customs clearance, project logistics, 4PL and global transport in Russia and the CIS. The team has survived more than one crisis: it made it through the 90s, the economically challenging years of 2008 and 2014, which helped it become a truly strong and resilient company. In 2022, the companies in Russia and the CIS left the global Kuehne+Nagel network to become an independent brand. This meant a major transformation for the entire team and the brand itself.
Perry Neumann, President Cluster Russia + CIS, acquired the companies in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and led his team to new goals.
Essentially, everything had to be built from scratch:
- Resolve a number of legal issues
- Create a new brand: idea, name and corporate identity
- Implement a new IT infrastructure
- Identify the overall vision for supply chain and product changes
- Define the company's strategy in the new environment
We didn't have time for classical branding. That was exactly the case when the new environment required different solutions. We needed a name to start the legal process of registering the company and to announce to the media that we were staying in the country under a new brand.
The path to a new name was not an easy one: first we contacted an agency and their creative team suggested 10 names, but none of them suited us. They did not reflect the spirit of our company. The process dragged on and we were running out of time. We needed a different approach and we found it!
At AUTENTICA, we believe in a holistic approach to branding through strategy sessions and workshops with clients and our specialists; this symbiosis creates a coherent and authentic brand. We use creative techniques based on the principles of TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) and other analytical tools to solve any brand challenge, from product creation to media planning and creative advertising strategy.
But naming a logistics company was no easy task. In the classical approach, we start with an analysis of the market, the competitive environment and the brand platform. But here we could not even be sure of the competitive environment. A number of companies had either exited the market or changed their name, and some had sold all their assets. A vision and a backbone needed to be created.
There were 3 basic questions to define the vision in the session:
- What does the brand want to keep?
- What should be dropped?
- What should be added in the future?
It was decided to keep: the quality, the long-standing tradition, the know-how, the technology.
The plan is: to change the lack of flexibility and conservative thinking.
To be introduced: the image of a company with a human face, digitalisation and addressing new market segments.
At this stage, a vision is defined, but it was too early to start the naming process.
Values are the backbone of any brand
When the market changes overnight and it is difficult to talk about positioning, look for internal support.
The truest and most enduring thing about a brand is the people who are united by the same values. At the agency, we believe that values cannot be invented and presented to the client; the company already has them. They just need to be brought to life. They have to be real, without clichés or conventional standards. To manifest them, we do a special exercise in a session based on creative techniques using metaphors, and we always come up with a real definition of values.
During the strategy session, management identified and recorded its brand values. The company's most valuable asset has always been people: its employees, partners and customers. And this focus on people has remained until today. Another vector emerged: openness. It is important to get closer to the public, to understand them better.
Creating a name
Once we had a set of values and a common vision, we started to think about a name. The most important thing is to think outside the box, to go beyond, not to criticise and allow others to come up with nonsense ideas. It seems simple, but only in theory. We are all used to thinking rationally, optimising processes, using resources efficiently, etc., so there is little room for creativity in everyday life and it is difficult to change immediately.
The AUTENTICA methods are built in such a way that even the most uncreative person is sure to start creating.
The session was attended by 8 non-creative top managers who came up with more than 350 name variations in just 8 hours, from which we selected 10 superstar names for in-depth examination by patent attorneys, and 5 days later we had a clear decision to build on the company's values...
Perry Neumann has led the Kuehne+Nagel Russia + CIS cluster for more than 14 years. His courageous and responsible decision to continue operating in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan under the new brand was met with incredible support from the staff. A man built a great ship, gathered his family and animals, led them and saved them from a great disaster. More interestingly, the founder's surname, Neumann, literally means ‘new man’.
All participants in the session clearly agreed on a common vision of building a brand with a human face.
New company name: Noytech / Нойтэк
Descriptor: Supply Chain Solutions
The name Noytech is a combination of part of Perry Neumann's surname and the Tech suffix, which stands for technology, innovation and focus on e-commerce.
Technological and flexible design
A team of professionals worked on the company's rebrand. Several agencies helped bring the ideas to life. The company's design partners worked on the corporate identity. Usually the brand gets its visual identity after the strategy, but this was a very different case.
The corporate identity is fresh and clearly differentiated from other players in the market. At the same time, it emphasises both the technology and the agility/flexibility of the approach to achieving the client's objectives.
Noytech brand strategy development
With a rebrand of this magnitude and challenge, it is important to maintain continuity and manage the renewal as carefully as possible. The main challenge for the company was not only to work out the meanings, but also to rethink the products, supply chains and associated services during the logistical storm.
The public cares about the result and the level of service. A real company with a human face takes care of all the logistics and lets the customer do their own thing. The essence of the brand sounds like Opportunity Logistics.
AUTENTICA, the strategic branding agency, carried out a great deal of research to create the brand strategy and positioning. For two months, analysts, strategists, brand engineer and project manager studied market conditions, audience behaviour and needs, market players and the company's own products and services. As a result of the analysis, a strategic meeting was held in English for the company's management, where the brand strategy was finalised and the essence of the Noytech brand was formed.
This integrated approach has resulted in the company and its team having a name, a visual identity, a mission, positioning, brand tone of voice, values and so on.
Noytech has become faster and more mobile. We have helped to breathe new life into the brand. But it's not the end, it's just the beginning. This is how unconventional times give birth to new branding approaches. The world has shifted to 4th gear, where academic approaches, the ‘right rules’ and standards don't always work. We have always advocated a true brand identity, sometimes you don't have to spend a lot of time finding it, but rather look into the heart of the company – the leader and his team.
The Noytech team is now going through the process of implementing both the brand and business strategy at all levels, which is challenging and demanding, but also interesting and exciting: a real business transformation. Most importantly, all the top managers are working as a team and are ready to open up new opportunities in the logistics market and beyond with enthusiasm and drive.
It is a pleasure to be part of creating something new.