We’ve just completed a yearlong process which resulted in changing our company’s name, logo and brand.
It was an interesting, worthwhile experience. We handled the re-branding internally, tasking key team members with collaborating and coming up with a new name which reflects who we are now, as opposed to who we were when the company opened for business in 1955. And, in addition, one which would achieve company-wide buy-in.
People asked us why we would undertake this process.
First, much has changed since 1955. Back then, a gallon of gasoline sold for 23 cents. A black and white television sold for $99.95, the average cost of a new house was $10,950, a new car cost $1,900 and average annual wages were around $4,000. The minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. Rock and roll was gaining in popularity, with Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and the Platters dominating the a.m. radio airwaves.
We live in a very different world in 2019. It makes sense that a name which stretches back that far in time might be in need of an upgrade. Most people in the industry have known us as Des Plaines Office Equipment (or the acronym DPOE). The name perfectly suited the business at its onset: it was located in Des Plaines, Illinois (in fact, it started in our Dad’s garage), and it sold office equipment: calculators, furniture, and typewriters. Looking back, we could have made a case for changing the name when our business moved from Des Plaines. But even as we moved to other communities (and for many years it was Elk Grove Village, Illinios), we kept the original name. That remained the case as we opened additional locations in downtown Chicago and then Rockford, Illinois. And along the way we acquired four of our smaller competitors and folded those businesses into the Des Plaines umbrella. It all worked smoothly.
Then came our expansion into Indiana. With the acquisition of McShane’s and then Kramer & Leonard, we had moved off our home turf and added two well known Indiana names to the family. For the first time, we were entering a market where our name was not as well known as the names of the companies we were acquiring.
Our interim solution was to operate the Indiana companies under their existing names while keeping our parent company name active in the Illinois markets. But, more was at stake. We now had the opportunity to introduce our new products and services to markets that had not previously seen them. We could now offer IT to our Indiana client base, and furniture, for example, to the Chicago market. As we began introducing our services to new markets, we realized that the best path forward would be to say goodbye to the familiar and go forward with a bold new name and brand.
The internal discussion and collaboration which led to the new brand was comprehensive, thoughtful, and in the end, great. There was lots of creative input, discussion about who we are as a company and who we might become. It is no small accomplishment to go through a re-brand and name change. We sought a name and mission that would define our path forward.
The result: Des Plaines Office Equipment, as well as McShane’s and Kramer & Leonard, will now be known as Pulse Technology, with the tagline, “Kickstart the heart of your business.” A pulse reflects energy, ongoing activity, and the very heartbeat of a business. For us, that heartbeat is technology, so Pulse Technology is truly who and what we are.
Every business owner should be open to doing an assessment from time to time to be certain that your name, your mission, your marketing materials and in short your entire corporate image positions you in the best and strongest way.
The feedback has been very positive. Our friends over at the Business Ledger ran a cover story about our rebranding in their February issue with the headline “A pulse on the future.” And I’ve been invited to present on the topic of re-branding a business this summer at the BTA (Business Technology Association) Mid-America “Gateway to Success” event in Austin, TX. I’m pleased to share our experience in the hope that it will help someone else who considers a similar journey.
“Des Plaines Office Equipment” will always be a key part of our company’s history. Three generations of our family and “extended family” have made this business, now nearly 65 years old, what it is. All of the hard work that has built Des Plaines Office Equipment, as well as McShane’s, and Kramer & Leonard, has led us to this point where we can take our next steps. As the son of the founder of Des Plaines Office Equipment, I will always appreciate and value the entrepreneurship and dedication that Vince Miceli used in launching and building this business. For me, and my brother Vic, Des Plaines Office Equipment will always be a part of our history that we remember with pride. But it will be the name “Pulse Technology” that drives and defines our future.
Chip Miceli is President of Pulse Technology, with locations in Carol Stream, Chicago and Rockford, IL; and in Chesterton, IN.