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Massy Group CEO admits: Rebranding was not easy

Saturday, July 5, 2014
Gervase Warner

Rebranding the Neal and Massy Group of Companies to Massy Group was not easy but the conglomerate’s vision for the future required that the brand be overhauled, Group CEO Gervase Warner said.


He said the decision was difficult because over the past nine decades Neal and Massy had became a household name, not only in T&T, but the Caribbean and parts of Central America.


“We wanted to make sure that whatever we came up with represented growth—businesses that worked and grow together. We also wanted prosperity, good economic, as well as community prosperity to be incorporated in this process and of course, we wanted it to be representative of the Caribbean basin. 


“We wanted it to be a brand that people would look at and say this thing looks friendly, warm and everything Caribbean. So we did that,” he said.


“We started to search for different names that would embody the manifesto that we put out before. After all the brainstorming, we just kept coming back to Massy. Massy was a strong name. People already abbreviate Neal and Massy to Massy. They are going Massy. They (are) taking their car Massy. Massy is a strong name, a name that translates well on the Latin American market that we would go into. Mass is more, si is yes. You want more? Yes! So we went with Massy.”


As a result of the rebranding, the group’s mega supermarket chain Hi-Lo is is now Massy Stores, the automotive division will now be known as Massy Motors, while Illuminat, the information and technology arm of the company, is now Massy Technologies. The integrated structure was intended to treat with the business to business dynamic of the group’s operations.


Warner said the previous model, there was a clear disconnect between the group’s 10,000 employees working across 60 companies with different names, even though some conducted similar businesses. He not even the public knew the companies, so they searched elsewhere for services which they could have easily accessed within the family of businesses. Because of this, there was a need to improve how the company interfaced with its public, he said.


Warner said former group CEO Sydney Knox challenged the move when consulted on the matter. He feit it was a “terrible” idea and declared that under no circumstances should the legacy of Harry Neal be allowed to die in the company’s new vision.


In 1932, Neal Engineering, led by Harry Neal, merged with and Massy Ltd headed by Charles Massy to establish the company. Knox argued that Neal and Massy was firmly positioned as more than just a name in T&T and was firmly etched as part of the country’s heritage.


Warner said the project team took the former executive’s advice and returned to the drawing board and incorporated the word in the logo in an effort to preserve the legacy. That’s when Knox gave his blessings.


“While a lot of time was spent on strategy it was soon realised that not much time was spent on identity. In emerging markets the best performing group like the Tata Group in India, pays attention to both strategy and identity. If you look at conglomerate out of Japan, like Mitsubishi who were do a lot of work with all of their companies carry the Mitsubishi name,” Warner said


“It turns out we sell vehicles. When you buy a vehicle, you need insurance, you finance. We have a company called United Insurance. We have a company called General Finance Corporation. Do you think official are talking to one another? Now they are. 


“It’s only recently that we started to sell motor insurance in T&T. Funny thing (is) United Insurance sells insurance everywhere else in the Caribbean except the place where Massy Group of Companies has the number one car dealership. It’s clearly an opportunity to simplify the experience of buying a car inside the Massy Group.”


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