The picture shows the new corporate design of CWS on a white van.

“CWS’s transformation from paper towel dispenser to humanitarian”, w&v, 2019

This article originally appeared in German in the w&v
By Lena Herrmann

How rebranding works: CWS-boco gets a reboot after its joint venture with Rentokil Initial. From now on the company trades under the name CWS – and gives the letters new meaning.

Just like that the name of the founder has been relegated to the annals. Following a joint venture with Rentokil Initial, CWS-boco, once a manufacturer of washroom hygiene products such as paper towel and soap dispensers, as well as workwear provider, is now simply CWS.

And the three letters no longer stand for founder Conrad Wolfgang Schnyder, but for the new slogan: “Clean. Well. Safe”.

Additionally, a completely new corporate design was created in collaboration with Munich-based agency Blackspace. Here a first look:

Nary a stone remained unturned at CWS during the merger with Rentokil Initial. “We changed the entire organization,” said CEO Thomas Schmidt. “Instead of being a country-based company as before, we are now organized by division. These represent the six pillars of our company, hygiene, mats, fire protection, workwear, clean room and health & personal care.

CWS operates in 16 countries. Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH holds 82 percent of the new joint venture and Rentokil Initial plc 18 percent. “The reorganization was a big step,” said Schmidt. “We’ll certainly continue to work through it over the next few years.”

All under one roof

All individual brands now appear under one CWS brand umbrella. It was an extensive process that CWS had been planning for a long time. One that involved its employees at every step of the way, as Maren Otte, Head of Corporate Communications & Corporate Responsibility, stated in an an interview with W&V+.

“We thought a lot about how we want to run the company in the future,” Schmidt said. The new strategy is to move away from textiles and towards becoming a solution provider. Otte said, “The new brand will stand for a healthier, safer world.” Put in simple terms: “Instead of selling products for hand hygiene, we want to promote the practice of proper hand washing to help prevent the spread of diseases. And instead of simply renting workwear, we want to protect people against workplace accidents, “ said Schmidt.

With its new appearance, CWS exemplifies its focus on current topics such as environmental protection and fair trade. It also shows how renting products benefits the planet. Digitization also plays an increasingly important role in the company. That is one of the reasons why CWS is actively seeking startups to exchange with.

Shifting from products to solutions

CWS deliberately decided to launch an image campaign rather than a product campaign. From now on, CWS wants to sell solutions, not individual products. For example, CWS is currently exploring the washroom of the future and wants to establish itself as a washroom vendor.

The new appearance is an extreme departure from its previous look. Bold colors now dominate where there was once simply white. CWS appears in black letters on a red background, followed by a designated color to represent the different solutions. Bright pink stands for the company, yellow for workwear, purple for floor care, light green for healthcare. The new appearance is modern and eye-catching. Exactly how CWS wants to be perceived after the re-launch. “Although we are still a B2B provider, we see ourselves oriented to B2C,” said Schmidt. “You could also say B2B2C.”

The website in new colors is live and the first company delivery vehicles have been repainted. All employees have now taken a brand training course. The primarily digital campaign, also by Blackspace, will primarily run in social media networks. CWS also relies heavily on its 10,800 employees. “Each of them is a brand ambassador,” said Otte. To which Schmidt added, “We all want a fresh new start together.” A red and pink one.