CAMPAIGNS: New name on the property market - Corporate Branding

Black Horse Agencies was acquired by the Bradford and Bingley Group on 1 April 1998. It was previously owned by Lloyds TSB, and the Black Horse name belongs to them. Therefore it was a legal requirement that the estate agency change its name and logo within a specified time period of the deal being signed.

Black Horse Agencies was acquired by the Bradford and Bingley Group

on 1 April 1998. It was previously owned by Lloyds TSB, and the Black

Horse name belongs to them. Therefore it was a legal requirement that

the estate agency change its name and logo within a specified time

period of the deal being signed.



To align the new business with its long-standing values of mutuality,

the financial services group chose to rebrand the company as Bradford

and Bingley Estate Agents (B&BEA). This meant a change of look, logo and

name - except in Scotland, where the company elected to retain the

goodwill of its Slater Hogg and Howison banner.



Objectives



To roll out a rebranding programme to staff, the media and the

property-buying public and relaunch all 370 estate agency offices

between 1 April and 31 May 1999.



Strategy and Plan



As the estate agency is the fourth largest in the UK, it was crucial to

ensure that market share was maintained during and after the

programme.



From January, changes were explained to the 3,500 staff via literature

which included a series of postcard mailers and a desk calendar. Several

issues of the staff magazine Frontline were dedicated to the rebranding,

outlining the processes, key players and the timescale.



Activities also needed to address any potential confusion which might be

felt by customers, as all external literature assured that the same high

levels of service would remain. In addition, Icas wrote a branch PR

’toolkit’, which included three template press releases for each office

to use with the local media.



The Black Horse Agencies had traditionally produced a quarterly ’Home

Report’ - which tracks trends in the housing market. It was essential

that journalists understood it was business as usual, and accepted the

rebranded reports. To promote the changes, the PR team set up 15

face-to-face and telephone briefings between B&BEA directors and the

national and trade press.



Measurement and evaluation



The rebranding received positive coverage in the regional press, with

the changes in name, look and logo well explained. Most importantly,

there were also plenty of visuals showing the new Bradford and Bingley

bowler hat logo, alongside the retention of the local trading name.



The ’Home Report’ issued after the rebrand in June generated 25 national

pieces of coverage, and to date has generated over 250 pieces of

coverage in the regional media.



Results



The internal and external communications exercise ensured consistency of

message to all audiences.



Janet Young, assistant manager communications at B&BEA says: ’We only

had one chance to get it right and I think we did.’ Informal research by

B&BEA since the rebranding indicates that business is on the up,

although this could be part of a general up-swing in the housing

market.



Client: Bradford and Bingley Estate Agents (formerly Black Horse

Agencies)

PR team: In-house and Icas Public Relations

Campaign: Rebranding of Black Horse Agencies

Timescale: January to June 1999

Budget: Undisclosed



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