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[8 comments]

Staples and Office Depot take to airwaves in time of change

January 16, 2014

Change is in the air among the major office supply chains. Staples, as covered on RetailWire, recently replaced its more than a decade-old tagline, "That was Easy," with a new slogan, "Make More Happen." Office Depot is just a couple of months into its post-OfficeMax merger under new CEO Roland Smith.

The two rivals have each launched television campaigns to introduce their new and improved selves to consumers. While the creative executions are quite different, each spot focuses on the wide variety of product solutions that the chains offer in the daily business and personal lives of Americans.

Staples' "Everything but the Big Idea" page on YouTube offers this introduction: "Brilliant business models. Fantastic food trucks. An amazing new app. Whatever your big idea is, Staples has what you need to make it happen. From paper towels to power tools to the latest in tech (and of course your favorite office supplies), it's all here when you're ready to do something awesome. So go ahead and #MakeMoreHappen."

[Image: Staples Spot]

Office Depot's campaign follows individuals using cool gadgets so others can ask the burning question, "Where'd you get that?" The chain's YouTube channel includes pages for "small business essentials" including a commercial featuring a landscaping business owner using "mobile technology that wows everyone around him."

[Image: Office Depot Spot]

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Discussion Questions:

Which commercial, Staples or Office Depot, do you think is the most effective? Beyond rebranding, what will the respective chains need to do to succeed in the current hyper-competitive marketplace?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Which commercial, Staples or Office Depot, do you think is the most effective?

Comments:

What the "L" - Staples commercial is more effective! (Full disclosure I used to work there). Both chains are rebranding and trying to show breadth of assortment. I think Staples is more effective at demonstrating this in the commercial, but the question is, will consumers view either of them as a destination for these other categories? If you need a micro projector or a stethoscope, are you really going to think of Office Depot or Staples? You need to stand for something vs everything. There is only one Amazon.

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Robert DiPietro, GVP Product Strategy & Business Development, Affinion Group

The Office Depot ad seems to portray a more intimate store that solves everyday problems, while the Staples ad seems to be about a superstore that has everything from wrenches to coffee.

Based on the ads, I'd be concerned about getting lost in Staples, and that Office Depot might not have everything I need. Consumers want to get into an office supply store, find what they need, and maybe some items they didn't know that they needed, and get out. Neither ad emphasizes ease and value.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

I am not sure which is most effective as they appear to offer quite different messages that will appeal to different customers. The Staples ad tries to position the store as an all inclusive solution which will appeal to some customers, while the Office Depot ad is selling high-tech solutions. The first one to blink and change marketing approaches will verify which approach is working!

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J. Peter Deeb, Managing Partner, Deeb MacDonald & Associates, L.L.C.

This is comparing apples to oranges.

The Staples ad is reminding consumers of who they are, it's a "Category Leader" ad. It's telling consumers they are empowered with their ideas and Staples is their retailer go-to place, their business wingman, to bring their big ideas to fruition

The Office Depot ad is screaming for relevance to its target consumers who have written off the retailer in favor of Staples, Club Stores, and online purchases.

Personally, the Office Depot ad stands out because the last time I visited the retailer the product offering made me feel as if I had traveled back in time 20 years. I walked out, drove to Staples, and bought what I needed. After viewing the ad, I might be willing to reconsider a visit to the store to learn if they have improved since my last visit.

To remain competitive, Staples needs to continue category leader communications, while Office Depot needs to evolve the message into other relevant items such as "better prices," "more variety," and other competitive claims.

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Carlos Arámbula, Managing Partner, MarcasUSA LLC

The Staples ad does it for me. This rebranding effort also offers the most opportunity, IMHO. They can rap services around the various business types and offer to set up subscription orders, etc.

If I were opening a new small business, I would certainly go there first to see what they could do and maybe what I had forgotten to put on the list.

Lee Kent, Brings Retail Executives Together to Meet.Learn.Profit, RetailConnections

The Office Depot spot focuses more on a customer's immediate needs. Staples is about if you have a big idea, we can help.

Neither store is likely to get "casual" business relating to non-office supply products. However, companies that have house accounts, especially those that order online, are likely to purchase additional items.

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Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions, LLC

ODP has a warmer and more personable ad.

ODP is far from finished with the merger and consolidation with OMX. What about the identity for OMX and its perception versus ODP now that they are one? When will we see one brand or will there still be two? One message? One strategy? What economies of scale will ODP capitalize on? Many OMX and ODP stores still exist in the same market. There's more work on the horizon.

Alan Cooper, Contract Trainer/Training Consultant, Independent/Freelance

The Staples ad is more creative and will generate more buzz, but the Office Depot ad is a more direct call to action and therefore probably more effective in that way. In both cases, it feels as though they are losing their focus. With the exception of Amazon, no one has been able to consistently be seen as the place to go for "everything."

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Mike Osorio, Senior VP Organizational Change Management, DFS Group

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