According to MEC’s chief marketing officer, Anne Donohoe, 70% of the retailer’s 3.5 million members now live in urban centres, and the brand’s redesign is meant to reflect that shift. “They may do back-country on the weekends, but they also run, cycle and do yoga during the week,” she said. “It’s important that we respond to their needs.”
The new logo marks the first time MEC has revamped its brand image since being founded in 1971. Instead of including the brand’s full name, the new logo now features the MEC acronym. The previous logo’s mountain graphic has been removed in order to make the brand seem less exclusive to the west coast (MEC was founded in Vancouver and has its headquarters there).
Donohoe, who has been with the company for five months, said a changed retail environment, one partially influenced by the entrance of American retailers, inspired MEC to focus on making the brand relevant to its members’ lives. “It’s important that the brand represents the experience,” said Donohoe. She also noted that MEC broadened its product offering to accommodate more urban shoppers, many of whom were requesting yoga gear and city-focused attire. The retailer started shifting its focus towards the urban consumer when it opened a boutique concept store in Montreal last year.
The new logo will appear on MEC products and signage starting in July and will officially launch in September. Before settling on the new design, MEC conducted qualitative research that monitored 6 million online conversations containing MEC-related keywords. “It’s important to understand how people are talking about your brand in a real environment, rather than in a formal research study,” said Donohoe. RoundPeg Marketing conducted the research.
The redesign was executed by Toronto-based Concrete Design Communications, with whom MEC has been working since spring 2012.