2007 – 2008
6 month consultancy contract working as a key member of the senior management team, responsible for development and implementation of ‘from scratch’ PR and marketing strategies for numerous individual companies and the formation of a new group company brand
- Development and creation of branding for newly formed group company
- Coaching and educating management and employees in marketing techniques
- Successful project management of company annual conference, including: writing and producing presentations for all speakers (self included); team building and business development exercises, resulting in +50% increase in consultant call times within 2 weeks
Starting with a small construction recruitment company in the North East, the owners and directors of NOW Group had, over a number of years, developed or acquired a number of recruitment and contract umbrella companies across the UK. With a diverse range of brands, no overall and few individual marketing and communications functions, the strength of a group brand could be used to further develop and promote the portfolio.
My remit was to first educate the company as a whole on marketing practices and implement both ‘quick win’ and longer term processes and strategies across the group. This was followed by opening up communications throughout the business to raise morale and productivity and the formation of a new group brand to attract investment and assist with the growth of the group.
Explaining the marcomms function
While each division of each individual company generally ran its own local promotional campaigns, there was no in-house knowledge of strategic marketing as a business development tool. This often led to different branches of the same company competing against each other and also meant each company fell behind its external competitors in brand awareness.
I gave a number of presentations designed to show and prove links between marketing and communications strategy and better business development. Many of the managers and their staff had no marketing background and I needed to dispel myths (‘marketing is just pens and mugs’) as well as provide workable methods they could use to bring their branches up to the standard of their competition.
Idea generation and collaboration sessions enabled both management and staff from different branches and companies to see how they could use their new skills in practice.
Creating marketing collateral & collaborating between branches
I devised a number of easy to use templates for each branch of each company, which conformed to a new style guide. This allowed branch managers to maintain their individuality – essential to suit their own localised markets – while maintaining a clear company image. New lines of communication between branches were developed with joint targets, which improved healthy in house competition while eliminating ‘client-stealing’ between branches.
Creating a new group company
With no overall branding, there was no visible link between the various individual companies – investors and major clients would have no way of ‘seeing’ the group as a whole. The company was actively acquiring other companies and needed a single image to promote these activities. I designed a new brand identity, which could stand alone as well as sit comfortably beside each individual brand.
Opening lines of communication
Capitalising on the new group brand, I developed a number of internal communication routes throughout the group to allow each company and branch to collaborate more easily.
As part of this culture reform and to launch the new group brand I organised a company wide conference. Senior head office management each presented new strategies for their divisions and through a number of interactive business development exercises, all staff were able to put forward their ideas for growth within a supportive atmosphere.
What I learned
Despite each company being successful in its own right, there was a marked lack of communication throughout the group and within individual companies. This meant each branch or company did not know how their actions affected the others in the group and led to a sometimes hostile environment. In addition, the lack of marketing knowledge had led to weakening of each brand. Turning this around was the major challenge for this contract.
Giving all managers and staff a voice led to many interesting and viable business development ideas and helped turn unhealthy competition into collaborative success. A more open communication approach developed trust and helped focus staff on the development of the group as a whole, bringing an immediate and significant increase in sales activities.