Branding the machines – a case for B2B branding

A complete branding overhaul to help Strausak, a 100-year old Swiss machine manufacturer, unlock its global growth potential

100 years of history

Founded in 1919, Strausak is one of the oldest tool machine manufacturers in Switzerland. It specialises in grinding machines (machines that grind small pieces of metal to create cutting tools). In the context of its 100-year anniversary, Strausak initially asked Creative Supply to help clarify its brand positioning and update its brand strategy. Following a successful reception, both parties decided to embark on a complete overhaul of the brand identity, in order to boost the visibility and appeal of the brand.

Understanding the status quo

Too often, B2B branding is limited to communicating around product specifications. Yet, to stand out, a B2B business must tell a story that goes beyond fact sheets. We talked to Strausak teams, clients and competitors to understand what makes the company different. We visited industry trade shows to benchmark competitors’ communication styles. As a result, we provided Strausak management with insights into brand and marketing strategy, communication channels and overall look and feel.

Adaptive grinding solutions

Performance, quality or innovation are values claimed by everybody in the industry. They are no longer differentiators but simply key success factors. Rather than talking about product specifications, we focused instead on the role of Strausak in its industry. The idea of adaptive grinding solutions was born. This positioning statement resonates for three main reasons:

  • Tool producers and workshops are often limited because they lack flexible equipment to keep up with fast-changing requirements
  • Strausak machines are highly modular and give manufacturers a lot of flexibility
  • The notion of adaptive implies that Strausak machines are easy to use

We then clarified key brand messages, identified relevant brand themes and made recommendations on marketing channels and activities. We provided the Strausak team with a communication toolkit that could be shared with all their employees and distributors.

A complete visual overhaul

Following the positive reception of our brand audit and brand strategy, we were asked to take on a complete reworking of Strausak visual identity. Here too, the competitive landscape looked very homogenous, from machine design to visual style and even advertising. So we went back to our conversations with Strausak employees and customers. We isolated powerful semantic and symbolic elements, like the respect felt for the tools being produced, the beauty and choreography of how the machines operate, and the importance of human knowledge and know-how, even in an industry that is increasingly digitalised. We used these elements to elevate the design language from functional to aspirational, doing away with any unnecessary elements and pushing a bold visual style.

Our designer Aloïs Ancenay developed various decorative patterns to express the idea of “adaptive” and demonstrate the versatility of Strausak machines. The historical “S” of the Strausak logo was turned into a modular icon that reminds of the different “geometries” proposed by Strausak machines. Together with Sardi, a global industrial design company, we created monochrome renderings of machine parts – the minimalism esthetic expresses the machine’s simplicity of use. Finally, the opening of the brand new Strausak headquarters in Biel/Bienne offered us the chance to overhaul the entire office and stationery design.

From Biel/Bienne to the world

With the complete rebranding of the company, we helped lay the foundations for the international brand expansion of Strausak. We now continue to work hand-in-hand with the Strausak team to roll-out the new identity across all regions and touchpoints.