Steuben’s rebranding: shattering old methods and notions

The direct marketing game is a capricious beast. Think about the past 10 years: just as soon as you’d mastered that new e-mail thingy, social networks popped up. Once you’d established a healthy collection of Facebook fans and Twitter followers (and wisely decided to stop pumping budget into Myspace and Friendster), you realized you had to optimize all these interactions for smart phones and tablets.

But you don’t have to tell that to Robert Nachman, VP of design and marketing at Steuben, a crystal barware, stemware, tabletop accessories and collectables manufacturer. Nachman noticed his clientele getting older and older as the years progressed and he knew the company’s marketing tactics needed to change to attract the 30-40-year-old demographic. For Nachman, speed, agility and a freshly polished crystal ball (or Tortoise Full Cut Decanter) made all the difference.

“Our customer loyalty and engagement comes from the long-standing heritage of the brand,” Nachman said. “We’ve been around more than 100 years. What we needed to do was keep the product fresh, keep the look and feel fresh. You need to shake it up a bit but be careful to do enough that it’s new and fresh but not entirely different.”

Hence Steuben’s September rebranding. With the help of Marketsmith, a marketing strategies and tactical execution firm, Steuben instituted a new color scheme, a font and structure to its catalog. The company began prospecting in areas it’d never looked at before, including lists and target groups, among other places. The manufacturer completely redid its website, allowing the look and feel to reflect the rebranding, while also including tons of information about the brand’s history and tradition. The site is also more easily navigable: consumers can now use four different paths to find products (based on price, collection, category and occasional sections) versus the sole category path prior to the rebrand.

Steuben has also invested in social media. The company now has a Facebook page that is updated at least three times per week. The latest Steuben Facebook promotion offers sweepstakes participants the chance to win a limited edition Internal Flame engraved with a customized Valentine’s Day message. Steuben reps tweet and monitor what fans are saying about the company.

“We wanted to make the brand exciting to somebody in their 30s and 40s,” Steuben said. “So we added vibrancy. People view crystal as stuffy and precious and they don’t think it fits their lifestyles. But we want people to embrace it everyday. Our crystal is like putting on a cashmere sweater as opposed to wool. It’s a personal indulgence.”

Check out the slide show of before and after images at the top of the page.

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