iconnet drew on their experience, skills, careful listening and confident promotion of ideas when they helped Colour Centre transform their website and their whole brand, and boost their appeal to retail customers ready for the launch of their eighth UK store…
Online, they had an established, albeit heavily trade-orientated, website. It was iconnet's engagement, to produce a company profile brochure and a major website overhaul to make the site more retail friendly, which ultimately led to complete rebranding. The results will underpin future expansion of the business.
Stuart Slatcher, Colour Centre's marketing manager, explains how iconnet got involved. 'They transformed our online presence by designing and developing a bespoke secure (SSL) website content management system (CMS) to replace our outdated WordPress site. The new fully responsive website gives visitors an engaging experience no matter what device they use. At the same time, we also wanted better engagement of retail customers as well as trade visitors – without giving the impression that we're a printing company, which had happened in the past!'
iconnet's approach impressed from the start as the Gloucestershire-based digital marketers took Colour Centre's objectives, and proposed relevant ideas. These included some that initially appeared to be off target. However, it was soon apparent that they knew their business. The ensuing discussion ultimately led to the wholesale rebrand that's transformed Colour Centre. In particular, iconnet impressed with their competitor investigation, understanding of Colour Centre's positioning and grasp of their objectives.
Stuart concedes that it's hard to single out any glitches or teething troubles. If pushed he comments on a few minor webpage loading issues. 'But that could happen with any developer and Ben at iconnet always fixed things quickly' he adds. 'The biggest "glitch", if you could call it that, was that some initial ideas seemed a bit wide of our brief. However, this started a rewarding iterative process. When Nigel and Ben explained their logic and rationale, we suddenly got their ideas – and liked them.'
Although iconnet's original brief didn't include rebranding, that's what the website work led to. According to Slatcher, iconnet talked so much sense that Colour Centre had to listen. 'In particular, with our first South East England branch (Bracknell) opening mid-2016, we realised that if we did rebrand we should do it before launching the new store. We didn't want to launch in an important new market, establish presence with current branding, and then confuse hard-won new customers by rebranding after a few months.'
Marketing director Daniel Langley continues the story: 'We wanted more than just a new logo. We'd previously toyed with localised rebranding, but the full possibilities of professional rebranding soon emerged from the website work. iconnet put forward a strong case for this. In particular, their thought-provoking questions got us to re-examine our business plans closely. Looking back, they undoubtedly helped us make the right decision at the right time.'
As well as the new website with its improved trade:retail balance, iconnet's 'future thinking' rebranding included logo, straplines, colour palettes, typography for different sales contexts, vehicle livery and design guidelines for future online and in-store branding including social media. There was also sub-branding for product groups such as wood care, protective clothing and Colour Centre's Spray Base.
Colour Centre now has a powerful brand toolkit complete with guidelines for consistently applying the new branding online, in store and in other online and print media.
By autumn 2016, the new branding had been applied to an established Gloucester store and the new Bracknell branch, with plans for other new and existing branches.
Daniel Langley, speaking a month after the opening of the Bracknell branch: 'It's still very early to fully measure benefits, but we know footfall and over-the-counter (OTC) premium-product sales are up. Customer feedback on the improved visitor-experience has also been very positive. We've also benefited from iconnet's input into our strategy – for instance, to lead store promotional activity with luxury brands, such as Farrow & Ball, as powerful traffic drivers.'
There's increased website traffic too, with views up 50 per cent and 10,000 more views year-on-year. Stuart Slatcher: 'Several hundred online enquiries that previously went uncaptured now give us opportunities to engage with visitors in ways that we couldn't with the old site's limited functionality.'
'Online and in-store,' he continues, 'we've improved the trade:retail balance. The rebranded stores are much more welcoming destinations where retail customers can engage with us better. To hear their feedback in the long-established Gloucester branch is to understand the difference iconnet made.'
Talking to Daniel Langley and Stuart Slatcher quickly reveals their appreciation for the value that iconnet brings to the business. Both would recommend the Gloucester digital agency unhesitatingly. Stuart Slatcher again: 'For any SME that isn't confident about rebranding, iconnet is a creative, proactive, trustworthy partner during a process that can appear intimidating. We know from our own attempts that "DIY rebranding" isn't as easy as it looks and the results are often disappointing. In contrast, iconnet brings experience, thought-provoking questions you may not think to ask yourself, and an effective iterative approach. They're so enthusiastic, yet pragmatic; you meet them with one idea and leave with 15! And they'll explain – clearly and convincingly – which are most relevant for you. They have been pivotal in the recent advances of our corporate image.'
A few months of iconnet's input has given Colour Centre solid foundations for expansion into its second half-century. Langley and Slatcher clearly see iconnet as part of that future – with involvement including more website updates, further online marketing campaigns with targeted landing pages, and new in-store digital advertising on the cards.
'Above all,' Daniel Langley concludes, 'iconnet are professional, enthusiastic and really understand our brand and requirements – we sensed that from the start. They're a joy to work with and we look forward to continuing our business relationship. We couldn't be happier with what they've done for us and our customers.'