It takes guts to tinker with a brand identity as iconic as that of Mack Trucks, but leaders at the 114-year-old company felt it was time to make a bold move to update the logo to reflect how Mack has evolved, especially in the past half-dozen years or so.
So at the 2014 ConExpo-Con/Agg event in Las Vegas Tuesday night, the company unveiled a sleeker, more modern logo, featuring the iconic Mack Bulldog symbol poised above the Mack word mark, along with a new tagline, "Born Ready."
"Because of everything we've been working on over the last few years, we really had to take a fresh set of eyes to look at the brand," said Stephen Roy, president, Mack Trucks North American Sales and Marketing, in an interview with Heavy Duty Trucking following the announcement. "It was time to clean the brand message up and the brand logo as well, so it's really aligned with where our strategy is today."
"We thought the timing couldn't be better," John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing, told HDT, noting the investments the company has made in its manufacturing facilities over the past few years.
Since 2010, $64 million has been invested in the Hagerstown, Md., plant that produces all Mack engines and transmissions. Nearly $20 million has been invested over the same period in the Macungie, Pa., plant where all Mack trucks for North America and export are build. And in 2012, $10 million was dedicated to the expansion of the technical center in Greensboro, N.C., the site of Mack product design, development and testing.
On top of that, Walsh said, is the $300 million that dealers have invested since 2010 in new facilities, more service bays, more technicians, expanded hours of service, and other ways to improve customer service.
Mack has put millions of dollars into research and development, resulting in new products and services such as the Mack mDrive automated manual transmission, innovative new suspensions, and Mack GuardDog Connect, an integrated connected vehicle solution that proactively increases uptime.
Roy and Walsh believe the recent investments and the new brand identity will help the company get greater market share (Roy has said he thinks they can top 10% this year), including a renewed focus on the on-highway market.
"It allows us to have the conversation with the customer of who Mack is and what Mack can do," Roy said. "We have a good foundation product today, and we continue to invest in support and future products that will allow us to be a bigger player in the highway segment."
As Walsh said, "Clearly we have a very strong position in the construction and vocational part of the market. But the way we're positioning this new look and feel and brand relaunch also speaks very strongly to the highway part of the market, which right now under Stephen's leadership is definitely in focus for us.
"We see real opportunities for Mack to grow the longer haul part of the business, and a big part of that is all the investments that have been made in the dealer network. So we feel the new brand identity is not just capturing our strength on the vocational side but really sends a message that Mack is a player in the highway market, and watch out for us moving forward."
Roy and Walsh both emphasized the amount of research that went into the change.
"We did not take this lightly, that's for sure," said Walsh, who said the project has been in the works since he started in his current position about two and a half years ago. "We feel very deeply the responsibility we have in the roles we have today as the primary caretakers of an iconic American brand."
"The Mack bulldog hood ornament has been around for 80-something years – that hasn't changed," Roy said. "It's just positioned in a more modern way, that showcases the strength Mack has, the direction Mack is going, and ties the emblem in with the truck, with all of our literature, our web portals, our business cards, into this new fresh modern look."
Both Roy and Walsh noted that the more modern logo also was designed with a global perspective.
Roy pointed out that Mack has the advantage of being an American brand with the global resources of parent company Volvo AB. And Walsh said research was done to ensure that the new brand identity also resonated with customers in other parts of the world such as Australia, South America and parts of Africa.