New Year, New Brand.
Karen Woodhead, Head of Marketing, Huthwaite International
As many of you will have now seen, January 3rd 2017 saw the launch of a new brand identity for Huthwaite International. Here, I share the rationale behind what we did and why.
Why did we rebrand?
When we sat down to redevelop our brand identity, the idea was not to change who we are or to merely re-design the website and revamp our materials, but rather to communicate who we are more clearly than we had been doing.
It was becoming a pressing issue on two fronts.
The first relates to our audiences. Our clients must compete in increasingly commoditized and competitive markets. Adding value and standing out is becoming harder. Being able to sell, negotiate and communicate to a world class standard provides a crucial advantage in both areas. It’s also an edge that’s hard for competitors to emulate because it’s under the radar. Helping companies acquire these skills, wherever they are in the world, is what we do. It is important that our audiences clearly understand all that we can do to help them compete. Our brand is crucial to this communication.
The second relates to our growth. As we evolved as a business it was becoming more difficult to singularly articulate what the Huthwaite International brand was about. We are world leaders in our field with many different strengths but we needed a simpler way to convey this. In truth we had out grown our brand. It was time for change.
Uncovering our personality
The first stage was to revisit who we are. It was important that our new brand was built on the strengths and values that already exist within our business, something solid and real that our people and our clients recognised and cherished. We had countless conversations, inside and out.
Many things stood out.
We narrowed them down to ten points. We divided these ten points into four Pillars and six Values.
Our Pillars are our physical differentiators. They are the reasons why clients come to us.
Our Values are our personality and the reasons why clients stay with us.
To have one without the other would be half a Huthwaite. They work together. They are what make us whole.
We summed up our Pillars as follows.
We’ve been studying and observing successful verbal behaviours for over 40 years. No one knows more than us about what makes a successful sales and negotiation professional. The resulting verbal behavioural analyses are the foundations of our solutions.
Supporting behaviour change
Commercial ROI comes when a new skill becomes a habit and therefore continues to reap rewards after the learning is over. This is a process not a single event. We guide our clients towards a learning programme that will stick and pay dividends long into the future.
Sometimes, the more global and complex a client’s requirement is, the more their skills provider will demand a rigid and inflexible deployment in order to cope. Not so with us. Complex international projects are our sweet spot.
Our digital capability is continually evolving. Our focus is to give our clients tools to enable them to receive our proven methodologies but delivered in an agile, efficient and contemporary way.
We summarised our values as follows.
We strive for excellence in everything we do, as individuals, as teams, as a company. No one can impose standards on us higher than those we impose on ourselves. Our quest for continuous improvement is relentless.
We are not generalists. We don’t aspire to be all things to all people. Sales, negotiation and communication skill development is what we do and we do it to the highest standards in the world.
Doing the right thing for our clients matters deeply. We listen, we consult, we respond. We work hard to be a team they trust, with whom they feel safe and enjoy working. The fact that many of our clients stay with us for years, if not decades, is testament to this.
We do what we say, we deliver what we promise. We are open and honest in our dealings with our clients, our stakeholders and with each other. We would rather politely decline business than promise something we knew we couldn’t deliver.
5. One team
We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers, learning specialists, project managers, trainers, instructional designers, communicators, lawyers, administrators. Our skills combine on a daily basis to make a difference for our clients. We respect each other and work as a team. We place the good of our company before personal success.
We value expertise greatly. We challenge our understanding continuously. We study commercial contexts, markets, trends, new and emerging thinking in every industry. It is integral to our ability to help clients achieve a measurable difference in performance.
Thinking different – telling our story
The next step was to consider how we tell this story to the world in a different way. How can we ensure that our audiences see and understand the real us and all that we can do for them. How could we stand out?
Our brand identity
We changed our strapline to Out-think, out-perform. It’s a simple concept. It’s ultimately what we help our clients to do and ultimately what they want from us above all else.
Our logo was modernised and simplified. The H of Huthwaite, which our team have affectionately called the Hoosh, is an icon that tells the story of our and our clients shared passion for performance improvement and the upward trajectory of success.
Our colour palette is new too. Red for our passion, dynamism and progression and black for our stability and the safe pair of hands we provide.
Imagery was our next consideration. When the world is your marketplace, how do you create imagery that is relatable? One thing we know for sure was that when clients come to us, they are ready for change. They know there is a better way, for their business, for their teams, for themselves as individuals. We tried to capture that aspiration in what we called our hero shots. Eight images that convey the profile of different clients around the world all reflecting on the same shared ambition.
We removed complexity from our tone of voice. We are a deeply intelligent business but our clients still want communication that is clear and succinct. We prefer to let our outcomes convey our effectiveness, not our turn of phrase.
We wanted to make sure we offered enough relevant information without overwhelming visitors. We reduced the volume of content. We also wanted it to be an inclusive place. We work with global brands who strive to be world class. They want their providers to be like-minded. We knew this was a hugely important factor in deciding whether to get in touch with us. We also work with smaller companies too. We needed to accommodate both. Evidencing our effectiveness with clients of all sizes and sectors helped us do that. Show not tell.
Our new brand we hope will provide a greater clarity for our clients past and present as well as those looking to learn more about us for the very first time. We’ll be building on it and we look forward to sharing more exciting developments with you over the coming months and years. Also to learning more about you and how we might help.