Tilley Distribution’s Merger & Acquisition Rebranding

Posted on in Case Studies

If you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward. In the wake of record-breaking M&A activity, brands are looking for ways to integrate diverse teams and create a new identity. Merger & acquisition rebranding demands introspection, deliberation and collaboration. Oneupweb has helped several clients navigate rebrands before, but our work with Tilley Distribution illustrates how to get it just right.

A Distribution Company Making Moves

In Q4 of 2021, our team hopped on a call with Sean Tilley, CEO of Tilley Company, to plan for the new year. We’d been working with Sean and his team for more than two years after helping the company rebrand from a regional distribution company. Founded as Tilley Chemical in 1952, the company had diversified over the years to add several other markets to its portfolio, including food and beverage, flavor and fragrance, and life science ingredients.

Tilley had purchased the leading specialty hydrocolloids company in North America. We helped integrate the new company, Ingredients Solutions Inc. LLC., known as ISI, in several ways, including:

  • Communicating the acquisition and transition on social media
  • Conducting a thorough content gap analysis to bring valuable keywords to Tilley’s website
  • Creating new product and ingredients pages
  • Designing downloadable brochures and product lists
  • Implementing domain redirects from the legacy ISI site to TilleyCompany.com

It was a playbook we’d be leafing through again soon. By the end of the year, Tilley acquired Phoenix Aromas and Callahan Chemical, expanding its business exponentially and reshaping the company’s size, reach and identity. It was time to reinvent Tilley…again.

The Challenge

Oneupweb was asked to facilitate a brand workshop to generate a new identity, brand and style that reflected the breadth of Tilley’s capabilities. With a new brand in place, we were able to support the rebrand with SEO fixes to maximize brand awareness and generate conversions. Our strategy, while flexible, was based on these key points:

Digital integration – Bringing all legacy digital assets to one spot. This includes websites and social media accounts across four companies and two continents.  

Voice and tone – Codifying what Tilley stands for by creating internal and external communication guidelines.

A new look – Designing brand assets from logos to tradeshow banners that reflect the company’s new capabilities.

B2B Rebranding Times Four

Rebranding after a merger or acquisition is about integration. Sean and the entire organization needed everyone on the same page to create a shared purpose, identity and mission. Before telling the world what the new organization was, this new company needed to develop an integrated identity themselves.

Shaping a New Identity with a Branding Workshop

We brought together leadership teams from all four legacy companies to create a new identity. Once the new name, Tilley Distribution, was established, Oneupweb’s project lead designer, Jonathan Davila, facilitated a comprehensive branding workshop. Once the conversation started, our team took a step back and listened.

Our rebranding process put Tilley in a position to ask – and answer – the right questions.

Armed with a deeper understanding of Tilley’s missions (plus hours of meeting recordings and several pages of notes), we shaped a comprehensive brand guide to help the organizations speak the same language. Brand guides are excellent tools during mergers and acquisitions to help employees learn about their new organization and to make external discussions consistent with the new branding.

Merger & Acquisition SEO – All Roads Point to Tilley

In addition to our rebranding work, Oneupweb also took on website consolidation. This process included the detailed work of:

  • Evaluating SEO value from each domain
  • Creating new content on TilleyDistribution.com
  • Mapping domain redirects from legacy websites

Content Consolidation

One of the most important elements of the merger and acquisition process was ensuring all relevant keywords were documented, optimized and implemented on Tilley’s new website. We conducted content gap analyses of all Phoenix, Callahan and ISI domains to see which keywords needed to make a move to the consolidated domain.

This work included writing 11 new pages to house keywords from the new or expanded markets, plus several optimizations to existing service pages to improve SEO performance. This also allowed our team to implement several voice and tone updates born out of the rebranding workshop.

Domain Redirects

One of the benefits of working with a full-service agency like Oneupweb is having experts from all areas of digital marketing involved on a project. Our web development team offered expertise and insight into redirecting nearly a dozen legacy domains to the newly-purchased TilleyDistribution.com. We also created special referral sections to Tilley’s monthly report (you can create a similar report for your site) that monitors the number and quality of sessions driven to TilleyDistribution.com.

The Results

Our team benefitted from more than two years of experience with the client and their unique industry to prioritize various elements of the project and streamline the process to meet important milestones established by Tilley. Here’s what a successful B2B rebrand looks like:

The Design

Tilley Distribution took the form of a smooth, organic and dynamic logo. The varying shades of blue were a departure from Tilley’s red diamond. We provided Tilley with a full brand guide that included all the assets they’d need for media outreach, events and internal communication. Many of those pieces were immediately put to use by Oneupweb to design new banners and event materials ahead of a busy tradeshow campaign meant to introduce and launch the brand in Q4 of 2022.

Organic Performance

The addition of hundreds of new products and expanded service capabilities offered our SEO team a world of opportunities. After writing 11 new pages and optimizing a dozen more, we saw exceptional improvements in organic traffic to the site. From January 1 through October 31, 2022:

  • Organic sessions increased 119.32% YoY
  • PDF downloads from organic sessions increased 124% YoY
  • Organic calls from the site increased 111.76% YoY
  • Organic sessions on the TilleyDistribution.com homepage increased 127.5% YoY

We were also excited to see how much the new content contributed to this impressive growth.

  • 5 of the top 10 organic landing pages by sessions were written in 2022.
  • 9 of the top 10 organic landing pages were written or optimized in 2022.
  • Non-branded search clicks increased 312% YoY.
  • Non-branded search impressions increased 298% YoY.
  • Total organic keyword count increased 24% YoY.

Aggressively Investing in Our Customers

Oneupweb’s work with Tilley is growing as quickly as the company itself. In addition to investing in expanded warehousing services and laboratory capabilities, Tilley is committing to improving customer service online by changing how its customers research products, order ingredients, and access custom formulation, blending and QA/QC services.

Oneupweb is helping by designing and developing a new website with a searchable product catalog, expanded customer resources, and the potential for real-time eCommerce capabilities. This new site will accelerate the customer application and order process and make it easier for Tilley customers to find the products, information and expertise they need to get things done.

Start Your B2B Rebranding Project with Oneupweb

Just like Tilley, we’re investing in our clients. Building on more than 20 years of digital marketing experience and serving brands across several verticals, we’re a fully integrated agency that provides solutions far beyond your website. See what we can do; contact us today or call 231-922-9977 to start your project.

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