If any makers, manufacturers or entrepreneurs are lost on their design journey, Avnet wants to be their Sherpa.
The electronics component distributor launched a global branding and marketing initiative this week to position itself as a resource to guide customers from design and supply, to production and delivery and beyond.
The new campaign includes a redesigned website, logo and overall branding and advertising strategy, says Kevin Sellers, CMO.
“In the past, we had done a lot of marketing on the regional level, but there was no cohesion to it,” says Sellers. “Now, we have a more global, authentic look and feel, and we can really build a lot of momentum going forward.”
Avnet is “the largest company you’ve never heard of,” says Sellers. The Fortune 500 electronics distributor has about 100,000 customers, focusing on makers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs, helping innovators go from idea to product, and product to market. The company sells components, computer products and embedded solutions in more than 100,000 countries.
Traditionally, Avnet has focused more on manufacturers. With the acquisition of UK-based Premier Farnell last year, the company gained a customer base of about half a million makers and entrepreneurs, many of whom participate in the company’s Element14 online community.
Avent’s B2B target audience is broad, ranging from large manufacturers to small IoT customers that might be looking to purchase in small quantities. Price points range from sensors that might only cost a dollar each, to custom implementations running far higher. “We’re the Walmart of technology for the engineering community,” Sellers says.
The rebranding will allow Avnet to better serve not only its traditional customer base, but the smaller customers such as makers that the Premier Farnell acquisition serves, says Sellers.
“It’s an interesting time in the technology world,” he notes. “You still have the big players like the Ciscos, but there’s a new world, with the democratization of technology that allows entrepreneurs to create. You don’t need to have a large R & D department to come up with an idea.”
Catering to this new audience means transitioning away from the traditional sales model and adapting to a model utilizing low touch and digital tools, enabling customers to transact easily no matter where they are in their journey.
“Twenty years ago, if you had the right suppliers lined up behind you, life was great,” says Sellers of the electronics space. “Now, so much consolidation is happening and the number of customers we are engaging with is growing. “
The “Reach Further” campaign, he says, is about making Avnet relevant to that new and fast moving community.
A major part of the rebrand—the first ever for the 95-year-old company—is a revamped website designed to engage the millions of makers, including online design tools to assist people in their creative process.
The campaign will rely heavily on both organic and paid digital and social advertising, as well as some targeted technology industry print, especially in Europe.
Fifteen second teasers will drive users to the Avnet website, where they can see videos of cool case studies showcasing how Avnet has helped innovators, such as the creator of Owlet, a baby monitor embedded in pair of socks, to measure infant oxygen levels and heart rates.
“We helped them refine the product and get it to market,” says Sellers. “We want to put the audience in the place of this company and show how we can be their Sherpa and help get [their ideas] to market.”
Targeted email and direct mail will take the campaign to the existing customer base. The top 100 customers by region will receive special brand launch kits. A three-part direct mail effort, sent over three weeks, capitalized on the journey/Sherpa concept. Recipients first received a jar of trail mix, followed by a compass and then on the day of launch, a journal emblazoned with the new logo and the “Reach Further” tagline.