OATS originally stood for Oxford Advertising and Technical Services. Over time, as the company specialised and focused on its world-beating database of lubricant products, they changed the meaning of the acronym to Oil Advisory Technical Services. While this ‘does what it says on the tin’, it did little to set the business apart from – or ahead of – it’s competitors.
OATS’ marketing materials were disparate and dated. They lacked style, refinement and attention to important typographic details. In addition, the communication within them lacked structure and focus. For example, one brochure featured ‘16 reasons why a website could revolutionise your business’ and ‘10 reasons why OATS can deliver’. Such lists are unwieldy, unmemorable and best avoided.
Importantly, OATS’ materials also lacked any kind of consistent branding thread to link them together. All of this made OATS feel like an also-ran supplier of commodity services, not the innovative industry leader it actually was.