The scope of work while Marketing Director for MacAuthority – a leading Apple Specialist and consumer electronics retailer – was perhaps the most prolific and multi-faceted in the Lucas Leverett portfolio. Now known nationwide as SimplyMac, this multi-state, multi-location retail and authorized service vendor brought the Apple brand to diverse markets before the arrival of the Apple Store and in tandem well after.
Managing a complex budget of in-house and and MDF support while balancing a relationship in which your primary competitor who is also your primary supplier is a unique undertaking. At MacAuthority, this was part of a recipe for truly parallel successes alongside Apple in an era in which their most world-changing products were exploding in popularity.
Once upon a time, a small used Mac shop called the Computer Exchange thrived in serving the secondary market in a single location in Nashville. Over the years, with growth that would include an education division laying claim to official status as Apple’s K-12 agent in the territory, the store was reimagined as MacAuthority, adding new Apple gear and authorized service to the mix. After a solid run under its original concept, it was time in 2011 for a rebrand.
A comprehensive process of internal and external engagement, including detailed negotiations with Apple’s legal team concerning how to best incorporate the grandfathered inclusion of “Mac” in the name, a new branding concept was born. The immediate following few years would see the number of locations and states served double, more than justifying the need for the home-grown brand to be “all grown up.”
Leaning in to a full commitment of the new livery, MacAuthority adopted the “apple core” letter “I” and the wedge-leaf, as well as the “To the Core” slogan in all respects, including customized die cut business cards and holders, name badges, and more.
A new era of retail interiors was born, with mall stores adopting a sleek “very-Apple” concept is look, feel, texture and color. This necessitated a full redesign of the original store location near downtown Nashville – inside and out.
The store remained open with a temporary lower level space during construction, and reopened alongside a celebration of 20 years of the MacAuthority brand. The new design featured the brand’s “wedge” in prominent use as an entry arch.
The time had also come to update the company headquarters with modern and professional workspaces and meeting rooms. Utilizing half of the existing warehouse space next-door, an empty industrial space was converted to a world-class office environment.
Supporting special promotions, sales, fleet graphics, signage, price and spec display frames and related inventory/fulfillment programs, promotional partnerships, advertising kiosks, retail bags and everything in-between, MacAuthority’s distinctive brand thrived across the region and multiple markets.
Tax Free Weekend promotions were hallmarks of fully-developed campaigns for the brand, working alongside content sourced from actual customer feedback. High-ROI television (OTA) campaigns and video content well ahead of the now-popular trend were staples in the marketing mix.
New retail locations boasted packed grand opening events, from the unique Campus Store at Vanderbilt University to the eastern expansion into Winston-Salem. Driven by the popularity and buzz of Apple and various promotional contests, shoppers helped launch these locations with strong performance.
In addition to its status as an AT&T dealer, MacAuthority featured the Griffin Technology “Griffin Shop” – a store-in-a-store concept with the largest accessory selection in the sector.
With a thriving business and enterprise division – with client organizations such as Nissan, Ford and Nike leading the roster – offsite seminars and workshops were regularly produced throughout the territory.