Infusing meaning and value into an important sub-brand

Wabash National is a U.S.-based industrial manufacturing company and is North America’s largest producer of semi-trailers and liquid transportation systems. The company has enjoyed great success in trucking and trailer with its DuraPlate brand, a revolutionary composite technology with exceptional durability and damage resistance. DuraPlate is essentially a panel technology that is defined by a core substrate sandwiched in between two (historically metal) skins. Wabash National has aspirations to grow the DuraPlate brand—along with its overall composites business—through significant expansion within and beyond trucking.

FullSurge was hired to lead a project with two interrelated objectives. First, we needed to define the optimal brand architecture and naming convention for DuraPlate. Specifically, it was looking for us to simplify the convention through prioritizing and sequencing key “entity” components of the offer (e.g., corporate brand, business unit, market/vertical) and “offer” components (e.g., product category, core formulation, physical properties). Second, Wabash National wanted us to refresh the DuraPlate brand’s logo and visual identity to make it more contemporary, and to be more relevant for a broader range of offerings.

Identifying a brand architecture and naming convention to facilitate adoption

The FullSurge team began by conducting a comprehensive audit of the current DuraPlate brand architecture and product offering. This gave us insight into how the brand was inconsistently communicating its offer and causing significant confusion in the marketplace. We supplemented this audit with an assessment of how key competitors in the marketplace were addressing the same issue set. Finally, we reviewed the above through the lens of best practices in brand architecture to determine the optimal path forward.

Collectively, this led us to a set of strategic recommendations for the business. First, we recommended leveraging the DuraPlate brand to the fullest extent, given its levels of awareness and mostly positive and relevant associations. Second, we recommended a significantly streamlined brand architecture and naming convention that included only three components (brand name, core formulation, and one physical property). Finally, we suggested that the company begin to offset some of the “heavy” connotations and associations of the DuraPlate brand through a softened visual identity system and marketing communications that make its appeal more universal.

We recommended a significantly streamlined brand architecture and naming convention that included only three components (brand name, core formulation, and one physical property).
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Launching with a new identity

The client embraced each of the strategic recommendations. Additionally, it approved the recommended new visual identity. Within months of implementation, Wabash National began receiving favorable feedback from key strategic customers regarding the simplified naming convention, and its ability to more clearly signal the nature of the offering.

The FullSurge team embodies the necessary combination of left- and right-brain thinking that's required in brand-building today. In working with us, their strategic thinking skills were apparent in helping us address complex and critical brand architecture issues. However, we also found them to be equally skilled at the creative side of branding, in helping us explore new visual identify directions.

– Tom Rodak
Vice President, Corporate Marketing

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