Transport Services

thunder::tech helped a transportation sales and service company reinvent its brand in a relationship spanning more than a decade

A TRANSPORTATION COMPANY BUILDS ITS BRAND OVER THE LONG HAUL

Transport Services is a national logistics and transportation equipment provider focused on the sales, leasing and service of vans, reefer trailers, flatbeds, storage and other specialized trailers. They also service and sell parts for a wide range of similar equipment from its 30-acre main campus in Northeast Ohio and several satellite locations across the nation.

The relationship with thunder::tech extends back more than 15 years to our first project together—a single-sided sell sheet. Since that inauspicious beginning, we’ve worked together to keep the brand fresh and relevant, evolved the website and digital marketing efforts to raise awareness and drive leads and provided incremental value across the entire enterprise to create efficiencies and continually propel the brand forward.

Going online for the first time

Transport Services was an early adopter of the internet, seeing the value in putting its inventory online well before many of its B2B peers. Rudimentary by today’s standards, its first generation website nevertheless allowed customers to browse available inventory and streamlined the sales/rental process.

Since the launch of that first website, thunder::tech has undertaken relaunches of the site four times, most recently in 2014 as part of a major brand refresh (see below). In addition to conveying the new visual design, the contemporary site consolidated several tools from the company’s marketing stack—including a new content management system (CMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) inventory system, customer relationship management (CRM) system and email platform—into one seamless digital hub.

The site was developed with responsive design in mind to provide an excellent user experience whether on desktop, tablet or mobile. thunder::tech espouses an iterative digital design philosophy in which major build up/tear down cycles are avoided in favor of scheduled modest improvements. By adopting this approach, Transport Services has been successful in keeping its website fresh and impactful, adding additional functionality and visual impact without undergoing another drastic and resource-heavy redesign.

The newest site was optimized for search engine (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) lead generation services, both of which were included in the site redesign plans from the beginning.

New era, new look

In early 2010, Transport Services was contemplating a comprehensive brand refresh. While it continued to innovate in its industry, the dated visual brand didn’t reflect its commitment to creative problem solving.

Transport Services again turned to thunder::tech to shepherd its brand into the future. The project would eventually touch every aspect of the brand from truck signage to the website to the design of the lobby.

The first step was rethinking the logo. Transport Services had styled itself “TSI” for decades but wanted to leverage the full name moving forward. Additionally, the brand mark badly needed updating so it would visually convey the “keeping you moving” nature of the business.

thunder::tech’s solution was an entirely new logo that put the full name front and center in large, attention-grabbing typography coupled with a bold chevron that gave the entire lock-up a sense of forward movement and energy.

iPads and inventories

Transport Services challenged thunder::tech to devise a system that allowed the sales force to check inventory in real time while out in the field. So, concurrent to the visual redesign, we began work on a new integrated inventory system for the company.

thunder::tech developed a proprietary iPad app that integrated with the company’s ERP and CRM systems in real time to allow sales to check on inventory availability, check trailers in and out of inventory, manage customer information and other mission-critical tasks. The app provided more flexibility than ever before, freed salespeople from tedious and repetitive tasks and accelerated the sales process.

thunder::tech continued to add features and improve functionality for years after the initial launch.

Aligning the brand

With the new visual brand established, thunder::tech went to work creating various marketing tools. The immediate collateral needs included:

  • Business cards

  • Letterhead

  • Sell sheets

  • Folders

  • Apparel

A major undertaking was rebranding the company’s entire fleet of vans, trucks and trailers. The new visual brand was applied to all of the company’s vehicles, giving them a sleek, modern look that conveyed the brand’s responsive and forward-facing approach to serving clients.

As thunder::tech and Transport Services started work in earnest on the new website, it was quickly determined the company didn’t have a sufficient library of images—both in quantity and quality—to meet the newly raised bar of its visual brand. thunder::tech jumped in and conducted several photography shoots to capture environmental shots of the facility, ranging from mechanics under the chassis to office workers going about their day-to-day work. We returned several times to capture general interior shots of the headquarters, executive headshots and staged products that were later composited with stock photography.

The new designs were applied to wayfinding signage in and around the campus to help direct customers, drivers and other visitors. thunder::tech approaches the signage process strategically, evaluating how customers and drivers interacted with the space to identify points of confusion and bottlenecks. The new signage allowed for smoother traffic flow into and around the campus and within buildings.

Implemented as a later phase, but integrated with the wayfinding signage, was a comprehensive redesign of the Transport Service lobby and waiting areas. thunder::tech looked at every aspect of the space, including wall designs, lighting, flooring and even seating and product displays.

Wall-size vinyl graphics as well as off-set acrylic panels highlighting services and photography were used to customize the space. A large custom-lighted logo was installed above the reception desk, and new tile and other small touches were added to make it a welcoming, comfortable space for customers.

Also located in the lobby were large touch screens that allowed users to view the company video and conduct real-time searches of inventory—the same experience as on the Transport Services website.

Making an impact with video

With the new brand firmly established and all the major touch points transformed, Transport Services’ management wanted to raise awareness with an impactful video. However, they didn’t want “the same boring old sales video” as everyone else in the industry. Instead of just promoting the company’s products and services, the desire was for a video that could convey the deep connection and common history Transport Services shares with Northeast Ohio. 

thunder::tech got to work arranging all of the pre- and post-production details. First, an emotionally engaging script was written, focusing on how Transport Services had been located in the Northeast Ohio area for more than 40 years and had seen firsthand the ups and downs of living in a Rust Belt city.

Voiceover talent was then auditioned and recorded, with care taken to assure that the voice actor had the perfect delivery to convey the full range of emotions for the city—from Boomtown to recession to recovery.
 
The thunder::tech video crew spent a full day at the Transport Services headquarters capturing the sights and sounds of the facility, with special emphasis placed on showing actual employees in order to help drive the emotional narrative. Additional coverage in and around Northeast Ohio was also shot, including a 5 a.m. session to shoot a truck driving into the sunrise and exclusive footage of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory parade. thunder::tech finished the video by editing the footage, adding a moving music track and creating the final cut.

The video was used on the homepage of Transport Services’ new website, on its social channels and in other ways to help introduce the company to new prospects.

After more than 15 years of working together, thunder::tech and Transport Services  enjoy a healthy relationship that continues to grow and a brand that continues to make an impact in its industry.

Want to learn more? thunder::tech can help you with brand identity, campaign creation, strategy, social media, website design, interior design, signage and wayfinding, video and more. Contact us today!

Sign up for our monthly marketing trends e-newsletter.