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.
To communicate rationale for the rebranding to staff and to generate
press coverage for the name change to Ventura.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.