In 1983, Jeff Cornelius created his very own manufacturing company, developing a line of products that were designed more for farm-implementation. His product line morphed and grew to include over-the-road trailers, flatbeds and livestock trailers. The manufacturing facility matured over the years with Cornelius adding an actual assembly line, rather than simplistic bay building.
While the company, CornPro Trailers Inc., flourished through the ‘90s and into the ‘00s, Cornelius eventually came to the decision to step away from the trailer industry for good in 2005. Cornelius decided not to place an ad for a potential suitor, but to look within the local area. It was within his own operation that he found his personal CPA, David Frette. After calling David, he simply told him, “I’m selling the company and you’re going to buy it.”
Understandably, the comment elicited a polite, “no thank you.”
However, being Cornelius’ CPA meant that David knew a great deal about the company, including its brand, its people and, most importantly, its finances. He connected with his brother, Gerry, found a way to buy the company and has been running it ever since.
Now, almost fifteen years later, the company has evolved even further under the tutelage of the Frettes. 2019 aims to be another year of change with the company going through a massive re-branding process, led by none other than David’s son, Brian.
The re-branding will incorporate a redesigned website, renovated literature, a reorganization of the company’s terminology and – most noticeably – a brand new logo. CornPro’s current iteration, a slightly altered version of the ‘90s classic, has served the company well. With changing times, though, Brian and his team are determined to keep CornPro ahead of the curve.
“A script font is typically seen as a more delicate type font. It doesn’t purvey strength,” Brian says of the old logo. “The new logo is more of a bold, thicker, heavier font. We’re building a strong product and we wanted a logo that reflects that.”
To help develop the new brand, CornPro turned to BLNKPG, an Indianapolis-based firm. From developing the font to producing guidelines on how the company’s logo will be displayed, BLNKPG was given the keys to creating a unified theme across the CornPro properties.
Brian says he’s working through a third-party company to develop the website, something he hopes will be introduced in the first quarter of 2019.
Dealerships and customers alike, are sure to be attracted to CornPro’s new look, but they’ll be even more excited to hear the company will be revealing a new car hauler. CornPro’s current car hauler model will be re-categorized to better fit the clientele that’s purchasing the trailer.
“This re-branding process has been more than just logo’s and decals. We’ve gone through a lot of changes. Some of it is, literally, just stickers on the trailer and a logo on a piece of literature. But, some of it is what we name our trailers, what we call them, how the dealers see them in a price book,” says Frette.
For the car hauler, specifically, CornPro turned to its dealer base to determine if what they had was best classified as a car hauler.
“Part of it was seeing how the previous model was being used by talking to dealers. ‘Why are people buying this trailer?’ We found out that it was being bought by equipment haulers. It’s someone hauling a lighter-weight piece of construction or farm equipment,” Frette says. “But, what does the car-hauling industry look for? What do the people that are moving vehicles with this trailer care about? They need something that’s easy to get on, something with an easy angle of approach.”
After going through its development phase, Brian thinks the company’s newly designated car hauler will be able to provide exactly what dealers and customers are looking for, including low-rise fenders and a tread-plate steel floor w/recessed D-rings.
“The car-hauler industry likes a steel floor, but we, typically, don’t do steel floors. So, when we built this trailer, the frame had to be built to ensure the steel floor goes right down to make a smooth top deck.”
Frette says the new models will likely have two sizes at first, an 18-foot and 20-foot. It’ll be available with 3500-lb or 5000-lb axles, and will come equipped with recessed D-rings, a 48” dovetail and rear pull-out ramps. Separate from the car hauler, Corn Pro plans to unveil another new product just after the first of the year. “We have an exciting new product category to announce in 2019. We are still ironing out a few details, but should be able to release information in early 2019”, says Frette.
When searching for details on the new model, dealers will be able to use, another new feature of the company over-haul, the newly structured pricing book. While the prices will remain the same, the layout of the new book and new model names will provide dealers with a cleaner, simpler way of finding details on the trailers they’re looking for.
“We’ve started changing model names. Not drastically, but slightly. Our names a pretty specific and tell me, as a very familiar person, exactly what the trailer is. To the end user, the current name means very little. The literature will be laid out differently because of that,” explains Brian.
The last things to be unveiled, unfortunately to Brian, will be the newly designed website and literature. Due to the need for all new photography, all products must first be produced to get a photo with the new branding. The new branding is initiating at the start of 2019, meaning only trailers manufactured this year will contain the new branding elements. Regarding the website, the use of another third-party company means Brian is simply waiting for someone else to finish the proposed changes.
Frette’s hope is that roll-out is complete by the end of second quarter of 2019. Until then, dealers can expect to see new promotional content through CornPro’s social media platforms and advertisements, including ones placed in NATDA Magazine.
It’s clear that 2019 will be an important one for Brian and his CornPro team. A re-branding is more than just an image placed on a trailer. It’s the very first thing people remember about a brand and the story it conveys is crucial to the success of a company. CornPro’s re-branding is not just about updating its look, but about reaffirming what it means to buy a CornPro trailer.
ABOUT CORNPRO TRAILERS
CornPro Trailers makes some of the finest trailers on the market with product categories such as dump, livestock, utility, tilt, horse, flatbed, landscape and more. CornPro Trailers is large enough to be your main supplier, but flexible enough to do those custom units your customers need. To learn more, please visit www.cornprotrailers.com.