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Transition before transaction: A case study

No matter how much it’s wanted or needed, change is never an easy thing. But change is as much a part of business as it is of life. And over the past several years, virtually all of the major works we’ve completed have been for clients who want to get their house in order and prepare themselves for some sort of significant transition.

These transitions are usually the sale of their business or the purchase of another. Either way, it’s a significant shake up to every day life.

The thing about the mergers and acquisitions process is that it’s not always a quick one – it can take years to complete. It’s a long continuum and there are numerous points along the road where’s specialities can add value to smooth the transition and make the process more comfortable and simpler for everyone.

Still trying to wrap your head around how? Here’s a look at a past project:

Waddington’s Auction House has been a Canadian fixture since 1850. It had a well-established brand in furniture and rugs but since the 1980s, its focus had increasingly shifted to fine art and its brand didn’t reflect this new direction.

By directing the creative transformation from a strategic standpoint, was able to completely rebrand and re-conceptualize this 165-year-old company.

To reinforce the move to real-time online auctions, Waddington’s Auction House became, with a bold new colour palette and a sleek, modern wordmark design with a strong sans serif font.

And, to strengthen’s position as an art expert, distinctive visual identities for each department were created and incorporated into the new website. Each department was personalized to appeal to the younger demographic and department heads (mostly of a younger generation) became the faces of Contemporary, Canadian, Inuit and Asian Art.

Coinciding with this visual facelift, the company moved from their old warehouse-style building to a brand new multi-use high-rise in Toronto’s design district. Working closely with an interior designer, ensured that the overall look and feel of the new location aligned with the rebranded is now Canada’s leader in online art auctions. And more importantly, when its owner decides it’s time to sell and move on, the company is ready, having already put its best foot forward.

Over the next five to 10 years, more than 500,000 Canadian businesses will be involved in a transition. And more than 50 percent of those companies will have revenues of less than $100 million (our sweet spot). Throughout the process, websites will need to be assessed, brands will need a face-lift, communication collateral will need to be produced and will be there before, during and after.

June 28, 2016 by: Klaus Uhlig
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