The brand Hitachi is a huge corporate conglomerate with power plants, trains, computers and tools was only a small part of the overall company. Now that that’s been sold off the tool division had a limited time to change the name. With the new owners also owning Metabo Tool there seemed to be some good reasons to bring the two together build off each other’s strengths and have one tool brand that made the best grinders, hammer drills, nail guns and much more. However easier said than done when one company is in Japan and another in German, both with strong presence all over the globe. So what’s the result, HiKOKI becomes the name in Europe, Asia and other markets while the same tools get the name Metabo HPT in North America… Huh?
Clearly there are lots of factors here, some of which we as consumers can see, others we probably will never know. Rebranding is a big deal and not an easy task to do successfully, 3, 5, 10 years from now people will still be trying to replace a part or get new batteries for their Hitachi and have trouble. Typically successful brands like Hitachi would never change the name but for obvious reasons it has to happen. So what’s the best strategy?
There is already some confusion and the switch hasn’t even happened yet. The internet is a wonderful thing, we can watch tool reviews on YouTube from thousands of miles away and comment right alongside people in other countries who maybe even speak different languages. Global brands are recognizing this and moving toward standardization or names, models and brand messages. Skill Builder in UK, Oz Tool Talk in Melbourne and our Coptool Team in USA often will make Youtube on nearly identical cordless tools. Which make us real wonder why the spliting of a brand into 2 Brands?
All the messaging and branding literally becomes twice as hard, throw in the face that Metabo and Metabo HPT will not share battery platforms and you’ve got even more confusion which compounds the matter. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not the person who’ll be confused with your own tools but it will become an issue with a new purchasing assistant, a hand written requisition, husband buying his wife some replacemetn batteries, phoned in orders from the jobsite and the list goes on. Both Metabo and Metabo HPT with have grinders, rotary hammers, cordless tools and many other overlapping tools, either combine them or use the HiKOKI name.
All that being said we are very excited for what comes next for these brands. We’ve already seen some positive effects on the partnership between Metabo and the Hitachi-Koki brands (don’t forget that also includes Tanaka Outdoor Equipment) under the parent KKR. Maybe this is just a step towards one awesome brand a few years from now or maybe they do something smart with the multiple separate brands. Clearly we are at the bottom writing stories about the ballers at the top making the moves, so what do we know.