Q&A With Apache, Inc. CEO On Their Name Change, New Focus

In September, Industrial Distribution ran a story on Apache Belt & Hosing, Inc. when they announced that they were changing their name, slogan, and marketing philosophy. Since that time, we have had a chance to follow up with the President & CEO of the new Apache, Inc. on why Apache decided to make the change.

There have been several stories over the past year of companies that have announced name changes or brand overhauls. This move made perfect sense in the instance of SCS Supply Group back in April changing it's name to Applied Industrial Technologies, LP, as it is the Canadian arm of the company of the same name in the U.S. Other changes, like HD Supply's re-organization and re-naming of its electrical and utilites groups into HD Supply Power Solutions, make sense from an organizational standpoint. Some changes seem to come right out of the blue. At the beginning of September, Industrial Distribution ran a story on Apache Belt & Hosing, Inc. when they announced that they were changing their name, slogan, and marketing philosophy on the heels of their 50th company anniversary. Since that time, we have had a chance to follow up with the President & CEO of the new Apache, Inc., Tom Pientok, on why Apache decided to make the change when they were already experiencing such success with their brand name. Below is a brief Q&A on the topic.

What prompted Apache Hose & Belting to change its name to Apache, Inc.?

We are approaching our 50th anniversary in 2013, and as you can imagine, things have changed enormously over that amount of time! Through growth, product development strategies, and acquisitions we have expanded Apache’s product offering beyond belt and hose to include cut and molded products, as well complementary accessory items.  We didn’t want to be thought of as just a hose and belt company, and we want our name to show the diversification that we have in our products. The name change also ties into our new brand and market strategies, which are really focused on who Apache is today, and our forward-looking strategy.

Why a new brand strategy?

Apache sells cut and custom molded products, and industrial consumer products, as well as industrial belting, baler belt, and industrial/agricultural hose products.  We feel that as “Apache Inc.” we won’t be pigeon-holed as only selling a segment of the products we actually offer, where the name “Apache Hose & Belting Co.” did not fully encompass the products and capabilities we have grown to and will continue to expand upon in the future.

Another piece of this new brand strategy is demonstrating the new direction our company is taking with our market channels.  These changes are part of our growth strategy, including advancements over the last 50 years, as well from a forward-looking perspective.  We are positioning Apache for continued growth, both globally and locally.

What do you hope your new brand strategy says to your customers and to your competition?

Elements of our brand are demonstrating the strategic changes we have made, as well as emphasizing the fact that we are changing how we do business every day.  Our new tagline “Think Forward” is a key piece of this, as it embodies our belief that to evolve as a company you must learn from your past, while aspiring to the future.

As a thought leader in our industry, we want to bring new ideas to the table. Solid partnerships are key in our strategy, and success begins and ends in a united effort and helps all of us to work more effectively.  These customer relationships are where we will create and provide solutions that move our entire industry forward.

What do you hope to gain by creating the new identity for Apache?

Historically we have gone to market via broader channels, including end-user customers. This created an enormous amount of channel conflict.  Essentially, we were competing against our customers. Clearing this channel and focusing solely on distributor, dealer, and OEM customers, we have resolved that challenge and can provide a higher level of service to our customer base.  Clearing this obstacle has eliminated a significant hurdle to growth, and allowed us to partner more effectively with our customers.  The response to this has been extremely positive.

Why do you think it is important to have an easily recognizable name in the current industrial market?

There are so many huge brands out there today, and over time these brands mean something to the people who know them. We want our brand to stand out, represent who we are, and to demonstrate progress.  Apache has built a strong reputation and we want infuse that into our customers – we want them to connect our name and our logo with expertise, innovation, and value that Apache offers.

As a 100% employee-owned company, our employees are uniquely invested in our business and our success.  Everyone at Apache has “skin in the game” so to speak, and that drives us to provide best in class service for our customers.  This has been part of the Apache culture since day one, and has gotten us to where we are today.  Our people are committed.  They have a passion for their customers.  They do what it takes to make our partnership succeed.