LiftMaster owner Chamberlain hires Droga5 to lead rebrand, business overhaul
Chamberlain will work with Accenture Song to recast marketer into a smart-access tech company.
Chamberlain Group, which owns garage door brands and openers including Merlin, MyQ, Chamberlain and perhaps its best-known brand, LiftMaster, has chosen Droga5 as its agency of record.
Droga5 will work with its parent company, Accenture Song, to help Chamberlain rebrand and recast the perception of its business from a garage door company into a smart-access technology company. Chamberlain was acquired by Blackstone at a $5 billion value in November. The agency decision was made following a pitch facilitated by Blackstone’s Global Head of Brand Strategy and Transformation Jonny Bauer and his team.
This is the first agency of record relationship for the company, according to Jeff Meredith, who was named CEO of Chamberlain in January. Chamberlain previously worked with Chicago agency Schafer Condon Carter, which launched a humorous 2020 campaign that reprised "Succession" star Alan Ruck’s role (Cameron Frye) from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off.”
Building the technology
“After we work on resetting the brand foundation we'll still continue to use SCC ... but we wanted to look for a really sound creative and strategic partner that could help us think about how we hold onto the past 40 years of our business from an equity perspective, but transition into the next stage of growth for us, which is really going to be around access solutions that go with our hardware," Meredith said.
Although LiftMaster is Chamberlain’s most successful brand from a revenue standpoint, the future of the company lies in the company’s software and added tech offerings, according to Meredith, who said Chamberlain has a presence in over 51 million homes in the U.S.
“What we're trying to do is use that base of hardware units and start to connect them,” Meredith said. “We're now up to 7 million connected garage door openers in residences that our customers are able to use our application MyQ to open and close remotely, to allow guests access to get their packages delivered into their garage. We’ve added a camera to our garage door openers. Seventy percent of Americans with a garage in their residence use the garage door as their front door."
"With the camera, you can see, in my case, my daughters, safely come home from school, open the garage, close the garage, and I know that they're securely in the house," he added.
The company has also recently launched geofencing technology that allows garage doors to automatically open when an owner’s car is nearby. Other Chamberlain tech innovations include software that gives people the opportunity to view who is visiting their apartment and deny or allow them access, and software that allows warehouses to manage traffic flow in and out of facilities.
A change in purpose and tone
“Our purpose as a company has changed and we want it to be captured in the context of this brand change as well,” Meredith said. “We were making the best hardware that moved your doors up and down reliably, and now we're building out access solutions that simplify your life.”
One main challenge for Chamberlain moving forward is remaining “relevant,” said Meredith. Part of solving that challenge will include assessing Chamberlain’s seven brands and determining if there should be a consolidation or name change.
“We're still actively looking at all of our options, whether it's retaining a name or multiple names that we have in the portfolio or something new altogether—all of those options are still on the table. We really are trying to open the spectrum wide so that we look at all of our options. We've got a retail brand, a professional brand, a software brand, brands that we've purchased, and it's just time for us to think about—is there one umbrella brand that could actually encompass all things access?"
Bauer says the key to a rebrand like this is “uniform alignment” within the company and avoiding “leaving any existing equities on the table.”
Meredith hopes to have the transformation completed by the end of the year and launch at the beginning of 2023. One point of difference in the company’s advertising will be in its tone of voice and focus on experiences rather than promoting products, according to Meredith, who foresees an increase in advertising efforts.
“We'll try to talk less about the specs, hardware and functionality and more towards the experiences that our customers will be able to benefit from with our hardware," he said.
Droga5 stood out because of the work it has done in the past, said Meredith, and anything added from Accenture Song’s breadth of capabilities was “icing on the cake.”
“We felt it was really important for Droga5 to be leading the charge as far as the brand thinking and how we can help [Chamberlain] approach their portfolio of brands strategically,” said Neil Heymann, who joined Accenture Song as its global chief creative officer in December. “We felt like Droga was really the tip of the sphere as far as how we could have those conversations. Having said that, we're obviously bolstered by all kinds of resources beyond just the offering of Droga5."
He added: "At a certain point, we're going to get more involved with visual branding design. There's obviously a design pillar we have access to. We’re at a very early stage, but our ambitions are big.”
Heymann and George Bennett, head of brand transformation at Droga5, will play key roles in Chamberlain’s rebranding.
Accenture Song, which went through its own rebrand and consolidation earlier this year, is still in the process of its transformation, according to Heymann, with “certain things progressing quicker than others.” The transformation includes defining different “layers of classification” under the Accenture Song umbrella, which includes classifying different areas by geography or skills, he said.
While Accenture and Chamberlain’s situations are different, Heymann said he has one takeaway that could apply to Chamberlain moving forward.
“There’s a lot of value in consolidating your assets and taking that moment to kind of look around at the current state of players and look at whether this is the most effective way to achieve our goals as one company. We’re still finding the power that is unlocked from this new way of looking at things.”