Simplex’s rebranding aims to make tool rental easy

The equipment chain overhauls its brand and retail experience to compete with new entrants and prepare for expansion.

1. lg2_mosaic_Simplex Simplex, a Quebec-based tool and equipment rental company, has undergone a complete brand and retail transformation to remain competitive in a changing industry, with the hopes of one day expanding globally.

Part of the objective of Simplex’s brand transformation – which was led by Lg2 – is to position itself favourably in the minds of consumers who are looking for more of a modern and efficient experience, something not traditionally associated with the tool and equipment rental sector.

About a year and a half ago, Euclide Véronneau – the CEO of Simplex – decided the company needed to make some changes, according to Jonathan Couture, the company’s director of marketing, business and market intelligence. “I think he felt there were a lot of things that needed to be changed, especially on the experience for consumers,” he says. He adds that the already competitive tool and equipment rental sector was beginning to get more crowded as companies from outside the province and the U.S. were entering the Quebec market.

Couture says that made it “perfect timing” to change the perception of how Simplex – a company founded in 1907 – was viewed and the manner in which it operated. It aims to make business more effective, efficient and simple for its customers, including through its new website – which allows customers to now view the company’s inventory of tools and rent online.

This was something that was not available previously, according to Marc-André Fafard, VP of design at Lg2, and is going to set the “backbone” of Simplex’s ecommerce business, which is going to be rolled out over the next month.

Fafard says Simplex has also refreshed the customer experience and studied the consumer journey inside the store, “just to make sure everything was smooth and really clean.” Some of the questions Fafard, the team at Lg2 and Simplex considered regarding the in-store experience were: “How do you demo some tools? How do you interact with clients when they give back their tools? What is the experience like?” 7. lg2_Simplex_Architecture The new in-store design show the digital-heavy nature of the brick and mortar Simplex locations, looking more like a mobile phone store than a tool rental warehouse. The new design takes on an open concept format, with service desks and display screens throughout to make for more efficient customer services. Tools hoisted up on display walls, as well as on display platforms that make them accessible to customers and can show off seasonal equipment and new models.

“A good brand experience is based on a smooth and rich retail and digital experience…that makes sure that you can do everything you can in a short amount of time and without any friction,” Fafard says.

With 33 locations in Quebec and one in Ontario, Simplex’s brand transformation is a stepping stone to where it wants to eventually get to.

“Being regional means that if your brand is modern and relevant, then you can export your brand everywhere,” Couture says. “That could be the northern U.S., that could be everywhere else in Canada. We needed to have a brand [that was] up-to-date, because you need [a] clear message, you need to be clear who you are before you start exporting it.”

“Simplicity” is also the main focus in Simplex’s new branding and communications campaign, which comes complete with the tagline “C’est aussi simple que ça” (“It’s as simple as that”). Creative focuses on letting contractors and builders – the retailer’s main target – that the process was a simple and quick solution to problems they might face on the job, so they can get back to work. The new logo and branding incorporate elements made to look like arrows, communicating the clear guidance Simplex offers to help entrepreneurs move forward with their work.