Breathing new life into a hundred year old brand

Gates Corporation Breathing New Life into a 100-Year-Old Brand

When Gates makes a product, good enough is never acceptable. Their brand, however, didn’t embody that ethos. It had become fragmented after years of global expansion, and it was weighed down by the perception that they were only an ingredient brand. Through a deep discovery process, we found authentic brand insights that elevated Gates in the eyes of customers and employees alike.

We created a new brand, focused messaging strategy, and we reorganized their brand architecture to align the entire organization with this new vision. This gave Gates the platform they needed to launch an IPO and for us to create compelling marketing campaigns.


  • Messaging strategy
  • Brand architecture
  • Market analysis
  • Positioning
  • Audience insights


  • Campaign development
  • Branding and identity
  • Messaging development
  • Video
  • Print and packaging

Content + Media

  • Broadcast
  • Out of home
  • Digital advertising
  • Social media
Logo development
Logo refinement
Brand guidelines
Branding and identity

Brand Strategy

Bringing a Global Brand Together

We started by building a rich understanding of their competitive market and their brand. Analyzing data and crisscrossing time zones, we connected with key stakeholders around the globe and gathered crucial business insights. We found an ownable space within their market that focused on innovation and R&D. This position would stand out among their competitors while generating enthusiasm throughout the organization.

Dedication: Gates corporate values signage
Curiosity: Gates corporate values signage
Tenacity: Gates corporate values signage
Collaboration: Gates corporate values signage

We could not have done this without CMD! The positive feedback we’re getting internally, externally … you name it, has been universally positive, some of it bordering on downright ecstatic!

Tom Pitstick
Senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Gates Corporation
detailed design schematics

Audience Insights

Getting to Know Their Customers

To hone their marketing efforts, we developed detailed personas that revealed the mind-set, concerns, challenges, and decision-making processes that customers face in their job roles. We leveraged this information to get inside the heads of target customers and tailor messages to address the issues they care about most.

Customer journey map from awareness to advocacy

Thank you … everyone at CMD. We couldn’t be here without you! I love your “can-do” spirit.

Karen Toor
Director, Global Brand Management, Gates Corporation
Gates brand product shot

Brand Architecture

Overcoming Decades of Fragmentation

The Gates brand had become highly fragmented with a number of sub-brands and hundreds of products. We conducted a deep brand audit—uncovering all the instances of the brand’s use—and architected a simplified new product and brand hierarchy that gave Gates the structure it needed to make crucial decisions on how to employ its brand elements. Now, they’re able to maintain brand integrity even as new elements are added. CMD continues to support this effort by reviewing and providing direction to business units on how to use the brand.

Product packaging
Photography guidelines
Brand style guide
Print advertising

Campaign Development

Unchaining the Potential of Gates and Their Customers

To bring the innovation message to life and drive sales, we created the first external marketing campaign for Gates since their re-brand.

The “Unchain” campaign was a wake-up call to industrial business and equipment manufacturers, urging them to break free from old ways of thinking, shake off the chains that hold them back, and discover the benefits of upgrading to modern belt drive solutions.

Customer testimonial for the Gates Unchained campaign

Advertising Campaign

Taking Gates’ Bold New Message to North America

To bring the innovation message to life and drive sales, we created the first external marketing campaign for Gates since their re-brand.

We created the “Unchain” campaign concept, messaging and various assets that communicate how Gates belt drive solutions address the concerns and challenges of the campaign’s target personas. Ads on television, digital billboards, videos on social media, and more were placed throughout North America.

Gates advertising in Times Square, New York City
Email template for Gates Unchained campaign