(Trinidad Express) Ninety years after Henry Neal and Charles Massy came together to create one of the region’s most expansive and trusted conglomerates, the company and its 41 subsidiaries have gotten a makeover.
As of Monday, the former Neal and Massy Group unveiled its new look and name, the Massy Group, as a way to enhance the brand’s individual brand identities under one uniform and ubiquitous umbrella: the Massy Group.
Chances are, as a consumer, you’ve in some way interacted with a Massy Company, whether it was shopping for groceries at Hi-Lo (now Massy Stores), servicing your car at MasterServ, or buying power tools at Tracmac—but you probably didn’t realise it was a member of that umbrella corporation.
Creating that brand awareness and recapturing that brand loyalty is the reason behind the rebrand.
“We chose Massy because people already abbreviated the name of the company that way; but we retained the “N” from Neal in our logo, an interlocking N&M based on an infinity sign,” company chief executive and president Gervase Warner told guests at a special launch ceremony for the new group look Monday night at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.
The whole idea to rebrand started in 2011, when the company did a strategic planning exercise and realised the opportunities available to deliver more value to customers, he said.
The work on the branding really started in August 2013, when they company started doing work around picking a name and determining what the logo will look like and what it stood for and developing the messages.
Warner did note the process was expensive, since changing the brand name for 60 subsidiaries across five or six major territories would probably run the company in the “tens of millions of TT dollars”.
“The truth is we don’t have a final calculation of how much it costs, we are going to put that in our June accounts, so when it is published people will see how much it costs,” he said.
Some of Neal and Massy’s brands have been around for generations—Hi-Lo has been a brand name for over 50 years—and are iconic to people; changing something so familiar, so comforting, has not been without some sort of backlash—especially from the customers, Warner said.
But while Warner said the change had been met positively by the company’s 10,000 employees, some customers were miffed about the changes, or at least found them strange.
“Everyone knows their neighbourhood supermarket and is attached to the name. The logic for it is not that we wanted to change Hi-Lo (now Massy Stores); the logic is when you have a common name like Massy Stores supermarket, Massy Stores Pharmacy, it is very easy for a consumer to see a connection between all of these businesses and they have the Massy card where they can get points and redeem and each of these different places. It becomes something the consumers can feel comfortable—the system is the same group of people, treated the same way. It’s very hard to do that (with all these different brands). We wanted to move towards a group of companies that provides value to consumers and we had to pick a name,” he said.
Warner was proud to note that so many people were connected to the company that customers had that sense of propriety.
“They feel they have a stake in it and that’s great and we love that, so when you think of the passion people have around why we did this, we want to convert that passion too,” he said.