Samac Nails it on Rebranding - BMJ May 2016

Samac nails it on rebranding


When you are well-known and well-established for one type of product or service, it can be hard to get the message across that you are more than that.

Essex-based Samac Fixings have been well known as a supplier of nails to the merchant sector for many years. “Prepacked nails. That’s what people have known us for,” says managing director Simon Robinson. “We have relied very heavily on word of mouth and on the work of the external sales team to get our name and our products out and about. However, a formal marketing strategy hasn’t really been something we’ve done.”

In order to give themselves a more updated, modern image out in the marketplace, the company has been redesigning its branding and literature and has also touched on advertising. “We feel there is a lot more we can do if we boost the marketing side of things which has really been touched upon until recently. We haven’t advertised to a great extent over the years are now advertising and promoting ourselves to wider audience.”

Part of the key message coming out is that Samac is more than just prepacked nails. A lot more. “We would like to increase awareness of who we are and what we can offer merchants.” Besides the rebranding, the company has introduced a range of new products to develop its market.

“Up to now we have been very good at promoting other people’s products but we are at the stage where we feel we could be doing well with our own brand.” A high performance screw was introduced at the end of last year, a similar decking screw came out earlier this Spring and a high performance structural screw and other new ranges are imminent.

“The fixings market can be very commodity driven, so we are trying to show the features and benefits of the products. They aren’t always obvious with a simple screw – there is so much engineering and technology that goes into creating what is, to look at it, just a simple screw, and we are keen to get that across.”

Samac has no direct end-user business, all sales are through the merchant sector, mostly independents. “Originally we set up aiming to concentrate on the London and south-east market but we soon expanded that to offer a national service,” Robinson says. “Our location, near Southend, between the A13 and at A127, means we have easy access to the M25 and, from there, the rest of the country.”

One area that the company has always excelled at is the provision of own-branded products, an avenue they intend to continue down. “Own branding is great for our merchant customers because they get a quality products branded with their own message and with the extended profit margins that own branding offers merchants.” The downside, from Samac’s point of view of course, is that the Samac brand hasn’t been as prominent as it might have been. “People don’t know where the nails come from other than the merchant they bought them from. That’s great for the merchants, not so great if you are Samac and want to extend your reach.”

Hence the extension of the Samac branding into other products.

Own branding will continue to be a big part of Samac but the company want to try and extend beyond that.

“Our message to merchants for this year is that we are continuing with the own branding. However, what we are doing is extending the quality of what we are offering. Many of our competitors are going down the generic own-branding route, so you could find the same own-brand nails in several different merchant. However, where we believe we win out is that we offer merchants a comparable or better quality product, at a comparable price but with their own branding rather than a generic brand. So we are effectively promoting our customers’ names rather than our own under this side of the business. To a certain extent, Samac is anonymous unless you are buying from us because it’s not our name on the packing or the product, it’s Joe Smith Builders Merchant’s nails that customers are buying.

“From a merchant’s point of view of course, there’s a lot to be said for being able to sell a big bucket of nails with their name on it which can sit out on site for a few days acting as an advert in the same way that the big dumpy bags do.

The company can own-brand anything from a small pack of screws right up to a large 20kg bucket of nails.  This, Robinson says, is their bread and butter business. “What we are trying to do with the newer products like the Performance Plus and the Performance Decking Screws is add, if you like, some jam to that.”

“Samac’s never been just about nails. We’ve always had an incredibly varied range, and we really like to pitch ourselves as specialists, with a huge amount of knowledge about nails and fixings and products for all requirements. Our roofing range in particular is incredibly broad.

“We are also focusing on improving our ranges and our packaging, making it work better, be easier to access, easier to store and, in some cases, more eye catching and easier to find in the back of a dark van.

It’s all about making the most of what we do and making sure that our merchant customers know and understand what we can bring them – whether it’s being sold under their brand or our own.”



Fiona Russell-Horne


Builders Merchant Journal