You wouldn’t throw a dart without taking aim, you wouldn’t cross the road without looking, and you certainly wouldn’t jump into business growth without clarity of judgement.

When OfficeMax approached us with the intention of establishing a more effective way of growing their business within the SMB market, we knew we needed to do some detective work, starting with the basics: their target audience and buyer story.

What we discovered

OfficeMax, along with their competitors, had been setting their sights on the wrong target:

Top-level male Business Owners.

The SMB reality, however, told a very different story – Business Owners weren’t making all the decisions (and yet they were getting all the glory). The real people doing all the real work weren’t even male…

What we did about it

Based on our research, and our instincts, it was clear that we’d unearthed a forgotten hero:

Female Office Managers and Admin Assistants.

So, we decided to get to know them better. Like in all good stories we also identified a villain, and, in this case, it was the sad reality that these females were getting overworked, underpaid and juggling multiple roles. Having built up real empathy towards them, we went about establishing how OfficeMax could alleviate the struggles of our unsung heroines, sparking an entire brand refresh.

This involved:

  • Reworking their communication, content and special offers with a brand-new tone of voice.
  • Retargeting their messaging, placing the real hero at the heart of the brand’s customer story and addressing their pain points.
  • Introducing new media channels to unlock new opportunities.
  • Creating a bespoke typeface entirely exclusive to OfficeMax.

And the result?

OfficeMax enjoyed their best sales in a decade, and it has completely revolutionised the way they market their business. Such a drastic shift in direction, unpinned with research, insight and empathy meant they were able to gain significant market share by making the hero the heart of their story, and shedding the misconception that Business Owners were the key decision makers within SMB companies.

This project was completed by BallantyneTaylor – the B2B marketing agency founded by our director Steve Ballantyne and Greg Taylor.