Grand & Toy jumps up reputation rankings, rebrands to the Max

The results of the annual Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey are in the just-released May 20 issue of Marketing. The Top 100 list, plus more brand success stories can be found on newsstands now. And if you’re a Marketing subscriber, you can always check out the latest issue on your iPad. Grand & Toy has spent […]

The results of the annual Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey are in the just-released May 20 issue of Marketing. The Top 100 list, plus more brand success stories can be found on newsstands now. And if you’re a Marketing subscriber, you can always check out the latest issue on your iPad.

Grand & Toy has spent the last five years repositioning itself from an office supplies company to an end-to-end provider of business solutions, serving small- to medium-sized companies. This year, those efforts appear to have paid off as evidenced by the company’s leap up the Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey rankings from No. 120 to No. 63 – the largest jump of any brand on the list.

But now the 130-year old Grand and Toy brand is undergoing a major overhaul. The parent company is embracing a bigger-is-better positioning and rebranding as OfficeMax Grand & Toy. Kevin Edwards, vice-president, marketing OfficeMax U.S. and Canada and Jeff Hayward, GM, marketing for OfficeMax Grand & Toy, told Marketing about the company’s rise in the survey, the steps it’s taking to meet consumer needs in-store and why promoting the North American reach of the brand is a good thing for Canadian customers.

Grand & Toy did well on this year’s list, jumping 57 spots, but, at 63 on the list, you can argue there’s still a lot of work to be done. How will you maintain this momentum?

Edwards: We’re just going to continue to do what we think is the right thing and that is to understand our customers needs and the evolution of procurement within small, medium and large organizations and build our business around their needs.

Jeff Hayward

Hayward: We are solely focused on making sure that the North American proposition is reflected in the experiences our customers get. That’s why we rebranded as OfficeMax Grand & Toy. We’re looking at our supply chain, we’re looking at our dot-com processes, we’re looking at the customer experience in the multiple channels to make sure that we deliver a better experience. The ways you do that is giving a nod to the customer that they’re dealing with a large global organization that can deliver value to them.

OfficeMax has been the parent company of Grand & Toy for more than 16 years. Why wait so long to rebrand?

Edwards: It’s really about our customers and how are customers have evolved. As North American consolidation has occurred they’ve been looking for North American partners and presenting ourselves as a Canadian brand and a U.S. brand doesn’t [send] the message to our customers as a unified solution for them.

Hayward: When you look at the landscape in Canadian business 20-25 years ago when big U.S. brands came into our marketplace, both consumers and businesses had perhaps a degree of discomfort or weren’t sure what that meant. Fast forward to 2013 and it’s become a global marketplace. Nobody sees a global or North American unified brand as a bad thing. And so for a lot of our customers, what they expect, what they want to get out of the relationship and benefits from dealing with us is the fact they’re getting a cost effective solution, they’re getting innovation and they’re getting efficiencies in the supply chain and the way we deliver the product to them.

Will you be changing storefronts?

Edwards: Not in the short term. One thing you will see is the incorporation of OfficeMax private label products in the stores. We’ve always referenced OfficeMax, it didn’t just arrive as part of our logo, it’s been there for a long time and that’s how we’re going to approach the retail environment for now.

Hayward: We’ve used green for many years, in fact I think the green goes back to 1882, the beginning of the founding of the company by Grand and Toy and so what we are doing at a corporate level in Canada is retiring the green and the G&T ball so that globally we have one consistent orange and black colour scheme. What that has meant in the last month or so with the brand changeover in Canada is that we’ve re-skinned our website, which is We’ve also updated business cards, email signatures—all the brand collateral and the basic brand elements. The OfficeMax private label will be introduced this spring, but our retail offering will continue to be the well-known green, but over time you will see us introduce the OfficeMax orange and black into the stores.

Won’t consumers find this confusing?

Kevin Edwards

Edwards: No I don’t think so. I think the fact that corporately it’s OfficeMax Grand & Toy and we’re intentionally not making Grand & Toy go away because of its legacy, I think within the retail environment introducing OfficeMax is a net gain. At least for the foreseeable future we don’t see that being a problem for us.

What consumer-facing campaigns have you launched in the last year?

Hayward: We recently launched a very comprehensive customer loyalty program for small businesses but also for walk-in traffic and consumers who are account holders at Grand & Toy and want to take advantage of it. It’s called Max Perks, which gives 5% back on purchases and encourages our customers to continue encourage repeat shopping, but also it’s a way of giving back to them for their loyalty.

How has OfficeMax Grand & Toy adapted to meet the needs of business forced to cutback in a soft economy?

Edwards: Our value proposition is streamline and really what that represents is cost savings, efficiency and controlling. That is the perfect match for the economic times and that is what senior procurement professionals, it’s what CFOs, it’s what large enterprise organizations are looking for. They want to control costs, they want to ensure that by dealing with one single provider it will allow for efficiency in their own supply chain and also having a provider or having a organization deliver unique ways to manage the officer product spend within their organization.

Check out our full report on the Marketing/Leger Corporate Reputation Survey in the May 20 issue of Marketing, on newsstands now and available on the iPad newsstand to subscribers.

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