Tile Space talks heritage and the delicate art of rebranding

  • News
  • March 4, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Tile Space talks heritage and the delicate art of rebranding

Tile Space, formerly Heritage Tiles, is the latest addition to the bunch.

The company was founded in Warkworth in 1987 as Heritage Ceramics, becoming Heritage Tiles in the mid-90s. 

In its early days it produced terracotta tiles, but now it imports over 200,000 square metres of tiles to its Auckland-based warehouse each year.

The tiles come from Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Turkey and across Asia.

As a retailer, it definitely has a heritage. The company has 25 years in the business, and managing director Peter Roberts took over the company from his father.

However, Roberts says the Heritage-related company names have created confusion about the products.

When Tile Space was called Heritage Ceramics, he says, staff grew tired of telling customers they only made tiles and not plates or mugs.

When it became Heritage Tiles, people were under the impression the company sold only Victorian-style tiles rather than the modern products it offers.

“We often had feedback that our range didn’t reflect the name,” Roberts says.

“Heritage tiles didn’t reflect the style of the product, so we decided to take the plunge and look at rebranding.” 

Peter Roberts outside Tile Space's Parnell shop

Roberts say another problem was that most of Tile Space’s sale staff have a qualification in design, architecture or fine arts, but customers didn’t realise the expertise behind the name ‘heritage’. 

The company enlisted in the help of Radiation, a branding agency run by Jill Brinsdon and settled on Tile Space as a name.

Brindson says with Tile Space, it was more than just a “quick brand refresh”.

“It was about repositioning the brand to better suit its’ offering,” she says.

“We needed to capture and reflect the calibre of the Tile Space staff, their incredible range of tiles and the environment they were helping transform.”

The previous orange branding was also discarded in favour of a royal purple to better suit its middle-to-upper-market products.

The Tile Space Ellerslie store in the 1990s and in 2014

From there, Roberts says switching from Heritage Tiles to Tile Space was a progressive change that began last year by telling key customers and informing staff.

He says for companies looking at rebranding, the most important thing is to have a planned approach and alert staff and customers early on.

“It’s a matter of having a good plan and not rushing into it,” Roberts says.

“We started this process in June last year, we put a lot of thought into it and we planned the execution. It’s a hell of a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

The new name was officially rolled out February 1 to the company’s eight existing stores around New Zealand.

Two new stores have also joined the franchise. There’s a flagship store that has opened in Albany, Auckland and an acquisition of the Bay Tiles store in Tauranga.

Roberts says it’s still very early days, but everyone has been very positive so far.

As for the rest of this year, he says the company is going to focus on its showrooms and staff training to make sure everything is running smoothly under the new name.

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