CAMPAIGNS: Corporate Branding; Getting ahead by name-dropping

Client: Ventura Customer Service Management PR Team: In-house, plus agency support from Burson-Marsteller Campaign: Relaunch and renaming of Club 24 to Ventura Timescale: October 1995 Cost: pounds 20,000

Client: Ventura Customer Service Management

PR Team: In-house, plus agency support from Burson-Marsteller

Campaign: Relaunch and renaming of Club 24 to Ventura

Timescale: October 1995

Cost: pounds 20,000



Ventura was launched in the 1960s under the Club 24 brand name and, as

part of the Next group, it expanded rapidly as a consumer credit

provider to other high street retailers.



But in 1991, financial problems forced it to abandon providing consumer

credit directly. Instead, the company developed a range of postal and

telephone-based customer service management services, including credit

management, complaints handling, and customer support lines.



By last year, Club 24 had successfully re-organised its business, moved

back into profit and had doubled its staff level to 1,400 since 1992.



The time had come for the company to adopt a new identity to reflect

these changes. ‘People thought we had something to do with Club 18-30,

or that we were a nightclub,’ says Susan Goss, head of marketing

communications at the newly dubbed Ventura.



Objectives



To communicate rationale for the rebranding to staff and to generate

press coverage for the name change to Ventura.



Tactics



Twelve months prior to the name change, the firm began planning a

comprehensive internal and external communications programme.



The new name remained under wraps until October 1995, but six months

prior to the launch the company staged a series of 67 workshops for

staff explaining the proposed change of branding and allowing staff to

put forward their suggestions.



A ‘teaser’ campaign was put in motion, including monthly mail outs of

gifts and posters and a special issue of the in-house magazine - all

featuring the mysterious ‘Brand X’.



The new identity was finally unveiled to staff on 6 October at Leeds

Town Hall, followed by a celebration of the ‘clean break’ attended by 97

per cent of the company’s employees.



Meanwhile all traces of the former identity were cleared from the

office, and on the Monday morning staff returned to work to be greeted

by a rebranded office, and goody bags of branded gifts.



To give a hook to the external press launch, the company commissioned

NOP research into customer care and the changing face of the British

consumer.



Exclusive angles were sold into key media in the run up to the press

launch on 9 October by Burson-Marsteller and Goss’s in-house team.



Results



In the first week, the Ventura rebranding generated pounds 98,000 of

editorial space and airtime. The story proved a good filler story in

the Monday business pages of the nationals, with two well branded pieces

in the Telegraph and the Financial Times. Radio coverage included Radio

5 Live and several regional stations who picked up on the customer care

survey. The Yorkshire Post also ran the story as a business profile, and

trade coverage included Precision Marketing and Retail Week.



Verdict



In April the Ventura communications team picked up the Yorkshire

Publicity Awards best PR campaign for this well orchestrated re-branding

exercise. The lavish care and attention paid to staff, combined with a

sound educational programme seems to have paid off in terms of staff

loyalty.



A survey carried out in the week following the launch revealed that 94

per cent of the staff liked the new name, 89 per cent said it was more

appropriate and 91 per cent said that the staff campaign and event was

well communicated.



Externally, the Ventura relaunch had every danger of becoming a ‘so

what?’ story, but the use of relevant research, targeting of news

stories as well as the heavily branded shots of senior staff with the

new corporate logo, generated a surprising amount of coverage.



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