Be your best at work

Human_Code + Beatties
Brand Development


Beatties Basics, a Niagara institution since 1860, knew it couldn’t rely on its rich history to grow an equally bright future. The mid-sized office supplies company was struggling with name recognition and an outdated brand at a time of great change in both the marketplace and the workplace.


  • Branding Strategy
  • Corporate Identity
  • Website Creation

Our first step was to present a strategic assessment—a summary of trends in the office supplies industry, the modern workplace and in small- to medium-sized businesses (which was Beatties’s ideal customer). Next up was a comprehensive brand discovery involving interviews with management, staff and customers so we could get to know the real Beatties and its key audiences.

What we learned was there was nothing “basic” about the Beatties’s brand. In fact, the term “basics” implied stripped-down commodity products and services, which was the opposite of the Beatties brand promise: personalized customer experiences, expert (but always friendly) advice and superior products and services. It was here that Beatties could compete with the Amazons and Staples of the office products world and win, not on the “basics.”

It wasn’t hard to convince Beatties to drop the “basics” from their name. From there, we developed a new logo and brand story that played on the customer-focus of the Beatties brand. The capital ‘B’ became a fun way to emphasize the many ways that Beatties helps its customers ‘be’ their best at work (“be productive”, “be bold”, “be connected” etc.) speaking to customer goals and areas where Beatties could help. In this way we shifted the focus from products to outcomes, and from selling to helping.

Our goal was always to help Beatties develop a digital-first mindset, but the company needed to take care of some more traditional marketing needs first. We interpreted the new Beatties brand across a wide range of materials, including stationery, vehicle wraps, product leave-behinds, appointment cards and catalogues.

Next up was a fully responsive website. Since e-commerce was handled through a link to another site, we could focus the Beatties online experience on offering helpful, valuable content in areas the company wished to grow.

Gone are the days when it’s practical or prudent to spend months on a website that will be out-of-date before it goes live and won’t be touched until a complete overhaul years later. Websites developed according to the Agile methodology are living products, built to evolve as our client’s priorities emerge and we learn together. Our first iteration of the Beatties website was built in less than a month—a beautiful site that told the company’s story and set a strong foundation for future growth. We integrated the site with HubSpot to eventually support a robust inbound marketing program. Google and HubSpot analytics are used for data-driven decision-making.


There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a client apply its new brand with creativity and enthusiasm, growing its business from seeds we planted together. In late 2016, Beatties hosted its first annual “Be your best at work” trade show, complete with respected local speakers whose presentations were streamed live on Periscope. We’ve got our future work cut out for us, including robust audience personas, blogging, content offers, lead nurturing and website refinements that will grow priority areas of the business by being—no surprise here—helpful.


The Client

Commercial Services & Supplies
~90 Employees

The Agency

Hamilton, Ontario
~14 Employees