the first 3D printing concept store in South America
Fabrix is the first 3D printing concept store in South America, founded in 2014. It offers a wide range of services that go from 3D printing, scanning, model prototyping and software education to the both physical and online sale of 3D printers and supplies.
The client carries out since 2003 a company called Danston S.A. which is in the business of importing supplies and accessories for inkjet and laser printing.
The idea of importing 3D printers is born from the client in 2014, after visiting a printing trade show in China and forseeing its potential in the Uruguayan market.
By identifying the trend that would manifest in South America and the rest of the world about a year later, the client commissioned Suiza de America to create a Danston sub-brand, that would include the 3D printing products as a new category within the company.
3D printing is an additive manufacuring technology where a three-dimensional object is created by superimposing successive layers of material.It is becoming more relevant than ever and changing the way we understand the fabrication of objects, bringing it closer to the domestic sphere and allowing a previously unreachable level of customization in mass produced processes. The popularization of the technology and the current development of both hardware, software and materials, marks a bright future for it.
Although its current relevance might suggest that it is very recent, 3D printing was born in 1984; but it is only since 2003 that there has been a great development of it, since the cost of printers and supplies have been significantly reduced and a series of patents have been liberated.
3D printing has been applied in fields such as industrial design, architecture, engineering, medical, educational, etc. Many consider it as a new industrial revolution beyond the information age, but it will be the evolution of this technology and its use that will mark what will happen in the next decades.
- There was a notion of what existed in the 3D printing world.
- Investment capital was available.
- The local market was in a quasi-virgin state.
- There was a worldwide "hype" of the 3D printing phenomenon.
- A clear business plan had not been developed.
- There was no experience in selling to the end consumer.
- There was no experience in dealing with the target audience.
- The necessary know-how of 3D printing was not yet available.
After a thorough analysis, we were able to demonstrate that firstly it was necessary to substantially differentiate Danston S.A. of the new venture since it was going to work under a very different approach, identity and objective.
Based on the audit of Danston’s existing graphic and communication materials, we identified that a more comprehensive quality control would be necessary on the part of the company's high hierarchies so that the integrity and coherence of the brand in successive pieces that should occur in the future could be maintained. We concluded therefore that it was absolutely necessary to produce a brand manual that clearly defined all the applications of it.
Regarding the international situation of 3D printing, we verified that there was indeed an associated trend and an inclination to personalization and individuality in which the participation of people in the creation of consumer products was being taken to the extreme.
We also identified that the activities related to the sector did not depend on hardware or software, but on people, their culture and their needs. According to this, we observed that depending on the geographic location and its market habits, the companies (franchises in some cases) offered from online services, to manufacturing in situ; classes or workshops and both online and offline communities where they shared these experiences with a strong DIY spirit. In all cases, all the activities available were aimed at 'materializing ideas' in an integral and highly social way.
As for the local situation of the sector and after the analysis of existing competition and substitutes, we found that the new venture had a unique opportunity to be pioneer in the local market and the main drivers of this technology if they offered a comprehensive proposal.
At that time there were no suppliers of an all-inclusive 3D experience, but small companies that were dedicated only either to the sale of printers and supplies, others exclusively to the educational side and others offering the service of printing and design, generally without owning a physical location open to the public, with little presence, and even many in experimental phase.
We recommended taking as reference the international model of franchising that offers a comprehensive experience for customers (service, training, community), while taking into account the localist aspects.
Therefore, it was very important the situation at the local level, we had to identify who were the role models at company and individual level, in order to discriminate within the mass public the different niches which we should target and how.
Objectives and Scope
- Short term: Spread 3D printing technology among the Uruguayan mass audience.
- Long-term: Franchise the brand locally and regionally.
- Install a point of sale to the general public in Montevideo.
- Sell supplies for 3D printing both in point of sale and online.
- Provide printing services.
- Conduct educational workshops about this technology.
- Carry out activities open to the public in order to generate interest in the sector.
Our role as creators of the brand would consist of:
- Carry out a naming process.
- Create an online and offline visual identity system.
- Define a communications and marketing strategy for the correct implementation of the new brand in the market.
Since the venture did not initially have a clear and defined business plan, a large part of the brand's development was to help the client to get their ideas to paper so as to have a tangible guide on how to shape their business.
A diagnosis of the organization was carried out in order to determine, ratify or modify the vision, mission, personality, positioning, differentiation, attributes and values of the new brand. The study carried out adapted and/or modified each of the mentioned aspects and established a new brand platform.
We know and offer the leading edge technology to provide the best solutions available in 3D printing within the reach of children, adolescents and adults. We train in the usage of the latest software to design, model and shape projects. We promote 3D printing as a medium to materialize your ideas.
To be promoters of the 3rd industrial revolution in Uruguay and the region. Be the forefront of the application and dissemination of new 3D printing technologies. Promote that each person is the architect of their own dreams.
We believe in the exchange of knowledge with people in order to promote the evolution of technology. We will always offer products and services of the highest quality to materialize ideas.
- Quality: in customer service and products available.
- Inspiration: be a source of resources, ideas and solutions.
- Efficiency: always meet the customer's expectations.
- Human Value: value and materialize people's ideas.
- Teamwork: working collectively and collaboratively.
To define the strategy we took the following steps:
- Solid definition of the target audience: its age range; the level of benefits that the brand could bring them; who is the competition, its positioning and barriers of entry of each segment; and how the brand would be linked to the current market that responds to each segment.
- Identification of the most important attributes of the brand and the niche market in which it could thrive.
- Decide on the key positioning messages: to reach an appropriate tagline.
- Naming process: from an exhaustive process and verification with the registry of trademarks at a regional level, we reached a nomenclature that we understood best identified the new venture and resonated with the target audience.
We make your ideas happen
The name Fabrix, a neologism, is chosen, which represents the way in which 3D printing allows nowadays to obtain products that used to be produced in series in a factory at home. It contrasts the concept of the factory with the renewed Fabrix domestic concept. It reminds the action of making, is active and is associated with work.
Social networks were defined as the most important communication channels. We determined as key strategy a need to create an online store and a series of alliances with other businesses to be able to access the market quickly.
The alliances referred to a series of partnerships with other brands already adopted by the target audience, to appear in places where they attend assiduously or to participate and/or sponsor events that are relevant to them.
The Design Solution
A unique visual style was achieved, in which the most representative attributes of the brand were incorporated, to be attractive to the three defined target audiences.
The logo is based on the multiplicity of processes and results that can be obtained with 3D printing. At the same time, each typographic character shows the different ways of representing tridimensionality on a two-dimensional surface.
In order to prioritize the attention on the morphological aspect, it is decided to compose the logo in a grayscale palette. The color versatility that can be obtained with 3D printing is represented by a series of patterns of different colors, each one based on the morphology of each individual letter of the brand name.
The brand was successfully introduced in the local market, becoming a benchmark in the sector, both for architecture, engineering, design students and the general public (with custom printing services) and at the corporate level (with the sale of printers and supplies for schools and universities and for the construction, engineering and product development industries).
Strategic partnerships proved to be very useful and fruitful both for the economic repercussions by having access to new potential customers and for the positive media exposure received.
An example was the linking with the National Union of the Blind (UNCU), allowing students to experiment via 3D printed maps, the geography and topography of the world. This responds to one of the biggest failures in education in Uruguay for people with visual impairment, which is the study of science at elementary and secondary level.
Another example was the partnership with the Montevideo shopping mall and Disney/Pixar for the premiere of the movie "Planes". Fabrix gave children 3D-printed airplanes to decorate while simultaneously learning
An alliance with the IBEC educational center was achieved to provide courses in 3D design and prototyping, again becoming a pioneer in the market by offering professional training in the field.
These actions, as well as effective campaigns in social media, has resulted in 14,200 followers and a review of 4.8 on Facebook (the main social network of the brand).