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Nationwide Video Rebrands

Mike Wharton • Company 411October 2021 • October 8, 2021

Complete solutions, client focused, not self-focused, relentless endless support for the industry, a game changer, daily improvement, and growth; these are the principles that make up the philosophy that has kept Nationwide Video at the forefront of the industry since its founding. “We know we have two ears and one mouth,” says Bret Tracey, president of Nationwide Video (NW), “all the better to listen to our clients with. But what makes us different is, we hear them. Taking action to impact change. These defining aspects are the corollary to our ability to maintain cool calm and collected while all around things are falling to the chaos of the moment.”

Bret Tracey and his team are capitalizing on NW’s expertise in shipping electronic equipment around the world by venturing into road cases. Case industry veteran Josh Schneidmiller is leading the charge.

A New Paradigm

Covid-19 brought a whole new paradigm to that mindset. Respecting the isolation and quarantine but refusing to succumb to the dormancy inherent in that, these people maximized this unwanted freedom of time. While many found a way to help in the larger effort to restore safety to humanity that was in cataclysm, they also kept peering ahead at what the industry may look like afterwards; what channels needed to be developed to better serve the industry when this well-oiled sleek machine is opening up the gates again.

“Early March [2020], we were on pace for a great quarter,” says Tracey. “Then, within a two-and-a-half week period, the industry saw “a ton” of rental dollars go away through Covid-19 cancellations. It was numbing, speaking to friends, partners, and clients, as our whole network was screeching to a halt.”

Through that darkness, Tracey grasped that “perspective is everything. We’re the USA, we got this — three months, tops… we’ll be back.” The uppermost priority in his mind at the point of initial impact of Covid-19 was safety of his team, their families, and trying to first understand, then find the safe survivable path forward to preserve the business itself and the jobs that support the families tied to Nationwide and clients businesses.

“If you can find a silver lining in a nightmare like this, we did,” says Tracey. Though it was a “torn, frayed and rusty” lining, it produced a unique set of circumstances that all came together, affording the NW team the time to understand, learn and quickly implement a pandemic survival plan. “We did so with no support from anyone — no corporate funding, no government support, just our team — and we’re proud of that.“

With that said, there were some very instrumental people that, if not for them, the story would be way different. “We were able to retain many of our team members, but sadly we also had to watch some great people move to other industries. Happily, as of July 1, all of our team members are back to full time.”

Next, NW transitioned to focus on a key driver — don’t waste a second on the pandemic. “We looked around to see where Nationwide could assist and support our industry far better than the current options. We looked in the mirror and found areas that needed improvement, that were already in our natural wheelhouse, things we’d been doing 20+ years, we just needed to optimize and amplify them to better support the industry.”

Josh Schneidmiller

Cases… and Much More

Tracey also revisited years of past strategy sessions, and what jumped out right away to him and his team was road cases. Rightfully so, Tracey could faithfully answer the question of who knows more about shipping delicate electronic equipment literally around the world than NW. “We’d been, of course, shipping our gear globally for 20+ years. We know cases and the particulars in creativity, efficiency for cost savings without sacrificing durability. As Nationwide does, we worked with our case partners, guys who are innovators with great success in design and build. Josh Schneidmiller, a 20+ year case industry vet, joined our team to lead the charge.”

On the equipment sales front, “we’ve been driving gear sales, both B-stock sales of our clean rental inventory since 2000, and collective purchases with partners to allow them access to more gear than they could purchase when needed, like LED and cameras. In 2003, we created Flexible Alternative Ownership (FAO). This is our “short, medium or long term” equipment rental program that works like a lease and fits nicely for those choosing not to own all of their equipment, so new gear sales fall right into place for us.”

Mark Ouwerkerk

NW is the first to provide a complete solution to the Pro AV Industry. “Now, because of the pandemic, we have the time to improve and expand this service. It made sense when Christie asked us to represent their brand, but we also knew our clients needed more.” What better way to represent Christie than to bring a “seasoned sales Jedi” like Mark Ouwerkerk to the Nationwide sales team, figured Tracey.

Tim Morin

Looking for a master to steer the ship forward, Tracey and Scott Nayor, VP of sales and business development at Nationwide, were introduced to Tim Morin by an industry friend. “Tim had a powerful resume, perfect to carry the torch with what we were doing. He simply needed the right company and culture to accompany the strong game he brings. He’s appreciated here.”

The NW concept seemed to grow geometrically. Coincidentally, Panasonic and Nationwide were like-minded in their approach to how they would work together to better support the staging industry with a fresh creative approach and value adds that go far deeper than box sales.

A Team of Industry Pros

“The Nationwide team has always been made of guys from the industry,” beams Tracey. “From our director of engineering and technology Chuck Laszyca, with his amazing rounded technical skill set, who is well respected and was instrumental at Christie Digital and Bluewater, to Brett Thierbach, one of our senior technologists, who can tell you stories from his days building LED for Van Halen, Avril Lavigne, or Guns N’ Roses. These are the guys who support and consult our clients when they need assistance. And these have been the guys teaching our LED and cameras courses for years.”

Chuck Laszyca

The training program at NW has developed over the years. In the early 2000’s it was more like a handshake and a favor when a client would call to ask if one of their former live event field pros could “train my people.” It was all ad hoc at that point. Then a really solid friend and client of Nationwide’s approached them about formalizing a syllabus based, accredited program that left trainees with a repeatable skill-set. NW now has “awesome fortune” of Kevin Ring on the team as the national training manager. Ring is tasked with redesigning the training program into the vision of Nationwide U (a.k.a. NW-U). “He is an infectiously positive upbeat ray of sunshine,” smiles Tracey.

Kevin Ring

Regenerating the Brand

Running through the background like an SMPTE trigger, and serving as a catalyst as well, is Elias Akouri, director of marketing at Nationwide Video. Tracey and Nayor had been managing and producing marketing efforts towards the rebrand going on three years. They realized that time was never on their side. “We couldn’t get there with the rental business in perpetual growth mode and consuming us — a good problem, I guess,” Tracey admits. “We’ve always had a website, but it never felt like, ‘There it is, we got this,’” he adds. “Our weakest link has always been that we don’t step out claiming our wins, but man did we watch others claim the wins like they were theirs. Oddly enough, not doing so has paid off for us.”

With Akouri on board, the Nationwide Video green dot took on greater prominence. “What this new logo does,” says Tracey, “it allows us to remain the recognized name Nationwide Video with our green dot everyone understands and knows. That dot now amplifies and diversifies the verticals we’ve launched.”

“We’re always going to be NW Rentals, but now NW.Sales, NW.Case, NW.U, NW.Repairs, most importantly at the heart of our business are our clients,” Tracey says. Akouri points out that “the new look feels like what NW is now — a lot more embracing of the rebel side that Bret and his team bring to the game.”

The homepage at nationalvideo.com

An Updated Website

The updated Nationwide Video website, nationwidevideo.com, is geared toward “an awesome user experience,” adds Akouri. “Not only does the refreshed experience better display rental equipment and sales opportunities, but it’s also completely interactive so customers can reach us in any way possible. Be it email, phone, and now even through Zoom. Clients can set an appointment from the website to Zoom with a NW specialist on the site.” A video channel, somewhat like a blog, “will be the hub and spokes to everything that we do for all our clients. They have the opportunity to showcase on our site. This all strengthens our core commitment,” says Akouri.

“It all goes back to more efficiency, quicker solutions,” adds Bret. “I don’t know how to look at business any other way. This is an amplification of NW. 360 is really 360 degrees of service. It’s why we looked at it as a name. And stagers just don’t have the time, they want to spend the time; they just cannot. So we are that bee line to the solution they need for them, we carefully and respectfully stay right where we belong — in the background. Then we step in and support when called upon, the step back and let the live event people and the stagers do what they do, all the while knowing they have this resource in their back pocket that is insane, like a Swiss Army knife on steroids.”

The new team that has assembled are joining a brand that is recognized as fair, honest, trustworthy, and transparent, which is what his core team over the last 20 years has exemplified. “We didn’t get here without the commitment that built Nationwide Video and the support of our stagers. A lot of people paid the price doing amazing things during the pandemic to make sure we survived.” That core philosophy has not veered in any form from its original intent, Tracey adds. “It is key when growing and diversifying your business that you stay in your lane and never interfere with your client’s business. You need to dig harder to find opportunities that fit the needs of the industry, coupled to what you know.

Bret Tracey

“If the pandemic has taught us anything,” Tracey continues, “it’s that we don’t know what the future is. What we can guarantee is that NW is paying attention, listening to our clients, hearing them, and responding to their needs and the industry pulse.”

Up Next

That prototype of trussing NW debuted at LDI 2019 has not sat dormant either. Says Akouri, “We revised, refined, and broadened the purpose for which it can be deployed. It has a sleek defined look and is so versatile that is bound to be a show runner, stage manager, and studio manager’s dream product… and it is universal.”

Thanks to the patented structure design by his longtime team, Brett Thierbach and Chuck Laszyca, “you can use virtually any brand LED wall with this system,” says Tracey. “For anyone attending InfoComm,” (infocommshow.org) I urge you stop by our booth and check it out,” adds Akouri.

For more information, visit www.nationwidevideo.com

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