We’ve recently completed work on a new brand strategy for Interserve – a FTSE 250 company with global turnover of £1.9 billion in the support services and construction industries – after nine months’ effort, blood, sweat and tears! A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to attend their Leadership Conference (top 500 people across the 50,000 strong organisation), at Gloucestershire’s spectacular Tortworth Court, to present the new brand strategy, with the expressed aim of informing, engaging and getting buy-in from this vital, senior audience.
At the beginning of the year, we embarked on the project with the simple objective of creating a coherent and consistent brand strategy that would provide compelling reasons to consider, choose, prefer and recommend Interserve.
It’s been an involved project with various stages of proposals and collaborative review with both the Interserve PLC Executive Board and the Parent Board (including the non-executive board members). We began with deep immersion in the Interserve organisation – getting to grips with the status quo – because only by understanding where we were, could we determine the size of the gap from the perceived to the desired brand positioning. We conducted a series of workshops, telephone interviews, one-to-one meetings and project meetings, resulting in engagement with 200+ people across the disparate organisation. It also involved a significant amount of competitor auditing and benchmarking.
The project was driven by Factor 3’s Brand Planning Model and involved the creation, as always, of the Interserve Brand Pyramid, culminating in the identified brand essence of ‘Ingenuity’. We have identified the unique, differentiating territory that Interserve occupies and termed it ‘The Ingenuity Gap’ – the void between a customer’s challenge/opportunity and the successful solution.
Preparation for the conference included a fully mic’d up, onstage dress rehearsal the night before – alongside slots being delivered by their CEO and FD – followed by some 6am, in-car run throughs at Michaelwood services on the M5! The presentation on the day was incredibly well received, and the post-event survey has indicated a 20% shift in the level of brand understanding versus the pre-event survey, and 90% agreement that ‘the [new] brand feels right’ and ‘I feel confident I can engage my teams with the brand’. This is a great result and just rewards for the hard work and energy invested by the team here. Kudos must also go to the senior Interserve team, who deserve great credit for fully embracing the process and giving up their time in spades to ensure we were able to make it a success.
If you have an upcoming branding project, or are just interested in our approach, we’d love to share the work with you to ‘make it live’, as a demonstration of our strategic ability as branding experts and, last but certainly not least, because we’re really proud of it and the difference it will make to Interserve’s business.