The Central Group
The Central Group is a leading Marketing-at-Retail company built around a single focus: Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is defined as the relentless pursuit of new ideas and solutions that offer real value for clients.
Central group works with a wide range of clients across multiple industries, best described by the following three words: discover, imagine and innovate; clients who are constantly on the look out for what’s new and what’s next. At Central, “applied Innovation” defines their purpose, culture and passion. Central is a company committed to applying innovation in all aspects of its business through significant R&D investment and activities, ROI planning and performance metrics, high performance merchandising and packaging solutions, full research and test facilities, the industry’s largest and most diverse design group, and as an institute for retail innovation and education.
Founded more than 30 years ago, Central Group has defined itself through innovative responses to market demand and evolving customer needs. What originally began as a packaging company, over the years Central Group embraced its manufacturing and intellectual capabilities and today offers the full gamut of packaging, merchandising and marketing at retail solutions. Central believes in creating an environment of collaboration and often co-create solutions within its unique innovation centre.
Clients of Central Group compete to collaborate with the company as it continues to push the envelope forward with awardwinning industry leading and innovative solutions.
“Our business has always been tied to constant reinvention,” Domenic Cecol, Chief Design Officer and Vice-President of Marketing with Central Group, told The Canadian Business Journal. “A lot of companies claim they can provide pretty packages and displays. But if you take a moment to think about it … Are they providing the most intelligent option based on your needs or are they giving you the option that best suits their own capabilities? At Central, we have invested millions of dollars in leading edge and diversified manufacturing equipment to offer our clients display and packaging solutions that outperform the competition across the retail supply chain. Over the last few years, we’ve embraced our commitment to innovation even more so, as it continues to be the leading competitive edge for all businesses, locally and globally.”
Central Group recognizes that it must constantly provide its customers with added value, and it is quick to attribute its growth to this purpose. Throughout its history, the company has continued to enhance the customer experience through advanced product lineups and enhanced services, software applications, intellectual property, and non-traditional customer-driven solutions. The biggest challenge in retail is to stand out in a sea of choice. For example, Central was first to market creating a unique solution leveraging leading edge shelf technology. The integrated solution resulted in a creation of a display that positively impacted its clients’ ability to get noticed, be liked and remembered resulting in increased sales, awareness and profitability.
As part of this customer service mission, Central Group encourages its loyal team of employees to actively participate in the company’s innovative planning process. Cecol detailed, “Our employees enjoy the benefits of our successful and growing business because we offer unique programming and employee incentives. This collaborative process keeps the passion at a high energy level. Our culture has always been that it is our people who bring the innovative products, services, and solutions to our customers.”
An organization built on entrepreneurship, this ethos is found through all roots of Central Group. It is this drive and passion that has continued to push the company forward, from innovative solutions to business success as a whole.
“Our ownership always has the accelerator down on innovation and new ways of thinking and working to continue to add value for our customers,” Cecol described. “We make it easy for customers to do business with the Central Group, but we also make it difficult for them to forget about us. Our complete suite of services is highly addictive.”
Value Added Services
Continuing to drive forward brand image, product innovation, and customer experience, Central Group began by pioneering the application of unique graphic print processes in its packaging. Entering the field of enhanced retail graphic packaging allowed the Central Group to recognize the industry need for added value in its primary retail channel product offering of packaging and display products. Customers see the significance of the retail channel as a means to boost sales, market share, and brand recognition. Central Group continues to produce innovative retail and brand building solutions for its client base because it understands the retail environment.
Most recently, the company established a research capability that allows its customers to initially test products and services for actionable insight prior to launch.
The Central Group is able to establish a greater understanding of the value and measurable benefits it provides to its customer through strict adherence to accountability and performance metrics. As a means of continually meeting this customer demand, Central Group has looked toward integrated technological systems, such as analytics and mobile platforms, to further augment its service offering.
Cecol summarized, “We offer a complete enterprise system from shelf to floor that embraces all aspects of the supply chain.”
Looking toward the future, Central Group plans to further ramp up its strategy geared toward innovation. The company aims to establish a greater presence in the marketing at retail marketplace, and strives to obtain a better understanding of its analytics of in-store product performance.
Central Group recognizes the importance for the organization to position itself as a complete service offering with a solutions based approach. Moving forward, the company hopes to align itself with likeminded businesses that constantly pursue innovation and new ideas, as well as different organizations who through partnership can add value, with the notion being that businesses work better together than apart. Cecol concluded, “We have the talent, expertise, and knowledge to embrace new industries, customers and products to move the Central Group forward.”