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Staples/ is an online office supply retailer, serving over a million small and medium sized US business customers. Quill is owned by Staples, Inc. and accounts for over 25% of the company’s net income.

Business Challenge #1
  • Quill had the challenge of branding against a larger “sister” brand: Staples.
  • Additionally, online competition was growing, and industry margins were compressing.
  • Quill recognized it needed a strong point-of-difference to retain customers and attract new ones. Quill has a strong history of exceptional customer service – how can this be leveraged?
  • AspireUp conducted two waves of research—both qualitative and quantitative— to deeply understand customer needs and to clarify the source of competitive advantage.
  • Based on the research and strategy work, AspireUp developed a full branding strategy which included four key components: 1) hierarchy of brand benefits and key messages 2) brand positioning strategy, 3) implementation plan focused on marketing communications 4) implications for the service experience.
  • Based on its strategy work, customer satisfaction, retention, and profitability grew; is currently Staple’s most profitable business.


Business Challenge #2
  • Armed with a new brand strategy, recognized the opportunity to identify “vertical” targets – unique B2B customers in industries that are particularly drawn to the value proposition.
  • AspireUp conducted both primary and secondary analyses against some hypothesized verticals including small medical offices, among others.
  • Using quantitative research, AspireUp identified several vertical targets for that were prioritized based on external trends, size of the market, and fit with the brand.
  • implemented the recommendations, shifting their approach to managed account acquisition, and making their marketing dollars more efficient with a stronger ROI.

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