Case Story / Rebranding

The future is brilliant: a Saylite rebranding case story

by Shachar Meron
06.10.19

Saylite-rebranding-illustration

Over 50 years, Texas Fluorescents expanded beyond Texas and evolved past fluorescents. Rebranding set them up for the next 50.

Saylite delivers lighting solutions for businesses nationwide, with one of the most comprehensive LED selections and compelling stories in the industry.

It began as Texas Fluorescents in 1965, when Larry Sayah bought a two-man fluorescent assembler. Fifty years later, his son Jon is navigating the Lighting Revolution, with tectonic shifts in technology, trends and global competition rapidly shaping the lighting landscape. “We’ve seen more change in the past five years than the five decades before,” said Jon Sayah, President at Saylite.

The company has managed to stay ahead of the curve, pivoting from commodity industrial lighting to more innovative solutions: LED, smart lighting, sensors, retrofits. They’ve also been investing in tech and expanding their footprint across the US, gaining capabilities and partners along the way.

But while the business had evolved, the brand was starting to hold them back—reflecting their past in a future-focused industry. “We’re proud to have been in business for 50 years,” said Larry. “We want to be around for the next 50 years.”

"We're proud to have been in business for 50 years. We want to be around for the next 50 years."

For Texas Fluorescents, this started with a strategy overhaul. For years they specialized in delivering back-of-house lighting (hallways, warehouses, etc) faster and cheaper than anyone; but in today’s market, that’s a losing battle with China. They also offer custom engineering and personal service, rare for a company their size. As a result, they found a sweet spot in their market: just the lighting solution you want, at the price and speed you need. (Classic case of the Goldilocks Principle.)

How do you exit a price war? Change the conversation by focusing on problem-solving, service and expertise as much as the products themselves. Rebranding also created the opportunity to address the central issue of today’s lighting customer: that all this innovation and choice comes with confusion and anxiety. “What we do best is take the complexity out of lighting, to get you just what you need from experts you trust,” said Shannon Kelley, VP of Technology.

That also meant changing the name—overdue for a company that long ago expanded beyond Texas and evolved past fluorescents. Reinvented as Saylite, they’re able to focus on solutions over product lines, while highlighting the heritage of a multigenerational family business. It’s a name with a story.

With their name and messaging established, next came the brand redesign, starting with a visual identity that elevates lighting from a functional afterthought to an aesthetic essential. The Saylite logo is simple and bold, deconstructing what we expect from a lighting company—and it pops, especially against a black background or paired with powerful photography. The new Saylite came to life with new marketing and sales materials, each channeling the brand’s energy to connect with the audience on a new level.

(By the way, good rebranding also involves knowing what not to change: in this case, the “Yes, we can” philosophy that has guided company actions and employee behavior since the beginning. While the brand evolved around it, this phrase was enshrined as a timeless core value.)

Reinvented as Saylite, they're able to focus on solutions over product lines, while highlighting the heritage of a multigenerational family business. It's a name with a story.

Launching the Saylite brand wasn’t just about updating pieces—for the rebrand to work, earning employee buy-in was key. At the company rollout (part presentation, part training, part rah-rah) they explained the “why”, unveiled the new story and design, discussed the possibilities, listened to feedback, and clearly explained responsibilities and next steps. It worked. “After that,” said Jon, “our team was enthused and energized and ready to get back out there.”

The whole Saylite management team was involved from the beginning, and found the rebranding process itself to be enlightening. “We were asked questions that got us to understand what we should be thinking about,” said Jay Butler, Fabrication and Engineering Manager. And rebranding came with unexpected advantages, like when they experienced a recruiting boost—attracting more applicants from larger companies, and being more confident in their employer brand.

They’re also learning that a new brand takes time to click: while Saylite sales managers absorbed the brand immediately, retail sales reps (the ones employed at partner showrooms across the US) needed more tools and training to talk Saylite effectively. And they’re exploring SEO and SEM strategies to help Saylite get found by customers who don’t always know what they’re searching for.

What does it take for a company to thrive in the next 50 years? Hard to say. But a lighting company with vision and focus is as safe a bet as any.

Key takeaways:

Saylite was rebranded in collaboration with the partners at Bluegreen Branding. Jon Sayah said it best: “you’re all pros at the top in your field…flexible in your approach but uncompromising in quality.” (He also said “I’m a lighting genius,” and we promised to include that quote in this piece.) For more detail on how it all went down, contact Charlene Gervais at charlene@bluegreenbranding.com 

Reflecting the geometry of a modern light fixture, the new Saylite logo deconstructs what we expect from a lighting company.
Bold yellow, black and white pops in an industry that often plays it safe.
Larry and Jon: two generations of lighting leadership.
Timeless values: "Yes we can" is one thing that did not change from the old brand.
Seizing their moment.
Here's to the next 50 years.

Case Story / Rebranding

by Shachar Meron

06.10.19


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