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The Rokbak rebrand: One year on

Paul Douglas

For the first time, managing director Paul Douglas reveals the full story behind the rebrand

AS Rokbak employees gear up to celebrate the brand’s one-year anniversary tomorrow (1 September), the company’s managing director, Paul Douglas, has revealed the full story behind the rebrand for the first time.

Keeping one of the biggest construction equipment stories of 2021 under wraps was not an easy task, so how did Mr Douglas (pictured) and his team keep the rebranding of Terex Trucks a surprise for so long? The answer, he said, was down to good old-fashioned hard work from a dedicated and highly skilled team.

‘I was amazed that it didn’t filter out, I kept thinking I’d see something on social media,’ he admitted. ‘As the project progressed it pulled in more employees and more departments – there wasn’t a single function in the business that didn’t have to get involved.

‘For instance, we had to try the new colour scheme out in the paint shop; we said it was a customer-specific colour – which is something we’ve done for our customers before. Then, before the launch, we had to take the RA30 and RA40 to a quarry to take photos for the marketing materials. It was incredible how everyone in our team, the dealers, and our external partners worked together to ensure it remained confidential. It just goes to show what a fantastic team we have, everyone pulled together and did their bit.’

The COVID-19 pandemic and the essential lockdowns that came with it were obviously extremely difficult, but ironically the pandemic actually helped to keep the news under wraps. With no events or exhibitions to attend, and no customers or journalists visiting the Motherwell factory, the risk of anyone finding out was greatly diminished.

‘We didn’t have to drop the Terex Trucks name, but we had overrun on the initial agreement,’ explained Mr Douglas. ‘For the first few years changing our name wasn’t a high priority, as we focused on stabilizing the business and investing in the product, manufacturing, and our people.

‘But after we’d made such significant performance improvements to our articulated haulers, it was a natural progression to rebrand – the Terex Trucks name was holding us back. Our customers and dealers also expected and supported a name change to reflect the new machines, so the rebrand was set in motion about four years ago.

‘The Volvo Group are extremely brand aware. Originally, we investigated whether there would be any mileage in resurrecting one of the Group’s sleeping legacy brands, until the practicalities and legalities outweighed the benefits. This was the first time Volvo had created a new global brand from scratch, so they were heavily invested in its development and success.

‘We got a lot of help and support from the Volvo Group and Volvo Construction Equipment in particular. On top of the significant investment they made in the Rokbak brand, we also benefited from shared resources and support when it came to things like design, branding, marketing, and legal work – they really helped us bring the brand to life.’

With a small focus group put together from marketing, branding, commercial, sales, and dealer development backgrounds, the task of selecting a new name could begin. ‘Some of our original shortlist names turned out to be similar to those used elsewhere, but the team came up with one that we all loved and was truly unique and impactful,’ explained Mr Douglas. ‘We were told by Legal that they had never seen anything as clean as it, and that we should grab it with both hands.’

The team then consulted a handful of select dealers across Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania in an attempt to understand how different cultures would perceive the most critical aspects of the new brand.

‘One piece of dealer feedback was that it was important to ensure our eight decades of hauling heritage was embedded in the new brand, which was essential for us too,’ said Mr Douglas. ‘One way we incorporated this is through a ‘Made in Britain’ element within our machine branding for certain markets.

‘Of all the dealers we initially tested the Rokbak name and new colour on, the majority were immediately enthusiastic, leaving just a couple of individuals who needed to see a little bit more to be convinced. I wasn’t remotely surprised at how quickly they changed their minds at the launch. Two dealers in particular immediately flipped 180° – they were literally jumping for joy and couldn’t wait to start promoting the new haulers. I’d never seen them as enthusiastic when they were selling the previous machines. They are now some of our biggest champions.’

According to Mr Douglas, when the Rokbak brand was finally revealed on 1 September 2021 – taking the media, customers, and the competition by surprise – the public reaction was music to his ears.

‘I was delighted by how well it was received externally,’ he said. ‘The momentum built quickly with customers and dealers alike eager to get their hands on Rokbak-branded products, whether that was haulers, workwear, or coffee mugs. Seeing the news bouncing around social media was great too, perhaps the best feedback you can get.

‘When people see the new Sand paintjob in real life they are blown away – it looks incredible on the iron. We’ve been out at a few trade shows and open days this year – including Hillhead, Balmoral Show, and ScotPlant – and the feedback has been that our haulers were the best-looking pieces of equipment on site.’

The success of the entire rebranding project was also recognized by a wider audience when the company walked away from the Star Awards 2022 with five accolades from the Marketing Society, as well as a CeeD Industry Award at the start of the year.

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