June 27, 2022
Making Sense of the Recent Current™ Rebranding
How to decipher all of the moving parts of the $1+ billion lighting company
In February of this year, Ohio-based GE Current, a Daintree company, completed the acquisition of South Carolina-based Hubbell Lighting. The two companies combine to now be over $1 billion in revenue and many have been asking what the new, larger company will look like once all of the pieces come together. In April, we wondered if there was a simple way to integrate the Hubbell Lighting brands into Current amidst all the different brands and channels.
Last week, the company announced its new branding initiative. New logo. New colors. New simplified verbiage. Let’s break down some of the other next-order effects:
Current™ is the Overarching Go-to-Market Brand
In February the company announced that the combined new business will be branded as Current. So the names “GE Current, a Daintree company” and “Hubbell Lighting” go away, as do some of the sub-brands containing the “Hubbell” name. Commercial GE lamps, complete with the GE meatball logo, remain as part of the product line.
Along with the concise and simplified naming convention, Current unveiled a new logo and grayscale color scheme last week. Company staffers wore black Current™ shirts in the LightFair booth in Las Vegas. Current™ President and CEO, Manish Bhandari, told us that the new logo is “simple, elegant, bold” and that some people look at it and comment that the logo is “three-dimensional”, “light cutting through dark”, “an LED chip” or symbolic of “customer centricity”.
Introducing HLI & GLI Brands:
The next level down from the corporate branding is the categorical branding that will help Current’s business partners and customers better understand the delineation among all the channels and sub-brands.
Simply put, HLI describes the brands that were formerly part of Hubbell Lighting, Inc. In recent years, Hubbell Lighting had shaved down its brand count by simplifying and consolidating product platforms.
Over the last decade, some brands including Alera Lighting, Spaulding Lighting and Sterner Lighting Systems have been combined into others.
With the “Hubbell” name going away, brands like Hubbell Outdoor Lighting will be renamed and rolled into other existing brands. Hubbell Control Solutions now becomes NX Lighting Controls.
A new brand “LifeShield” emerges in the complex environment lighting space
GLI brands include just about everything except the brands previously known as Hubbell Lighting.
Forum Lighting is cited in both HLI and GLI due to its varying alignment with HLI agents and GLI agents in different territories
GLI has a more diverse path to the local markets. See below for more details relating to channel.
At the Local Market Level:
In the U.S. and Canada, there are often three, four or possibly more agents in each metropolitan market that represents a portion of the Current portfolio. Here’s how it breaks down from a channel perspective:
Commercial & Industrial (C&I)
Refrigerated Display Lighting (RDL)
And, This Might Be the Best News to Help Lighting People Keep Things Straight:
HLI and GLI will maintain separate websites.
Each of the websites still contain the former GE Current and Hubbell Lighting branding at the moment, but over the coming months will be updated to include the new Current™ branding and colors. It seems like quite an undertaking with hundreds, possibly thousands, of product webpages and specification sheets in line to get a refreshed facelift. Some parts of the websites already reflect the new Current™ branding: About Us, Sustainability and Media Room.
The separation of websites will likely cause Current™ agents to be very pleased. This will avoid the concern HLI agents might have about emailing a website link to a customer for a Columbia high bay and then having GLI Albeo high-bays one or two clicks away – which are products not represented by almost all the HLI agents.
An undertaking of combining a couple $½ billion+ companies is way more involved than simply asking Marketing to create a new color scheme and geometric logo. The present and future of the new Current™ brand will be reliant upon how it leverages its already strong market presence in a way that fosters even more innovation, customer loyalty and future growth.