Hodges case study: 160 years of branding in today’s market
When Carmel Baker was appointed CEO of the Hodges brand in Melbourne it coincided with the company’s 160th birthday, presenting the perfect opportunity to contemporise Victoria's oldest and most recognised brands. The rebrand has not only set a clear direction for the company’s future but it has attracted staff and franchisee interest and increased stock value. Here’s how they did it.
Undertaking a rebrand is a major challenge for any business, your brand is your identity and changing this has far reaching implications. Add to this 160 years of heritage, and Carmel Baker and the Hodges team had to make sure they got it right. The benefits of a rebrand truly can transform a business and for Hodges they needed to set a defined path ahead.
“We have a lot of pride in our business,” Carmel explains, “and we needed this to translate in the new marketing collateral we produced. We needed to ensure our new brand remained consistent, that it was one our staff could own and be proud of, and one that gave us a clear direction for the future.”
By delving into the business’s DNA, working closely with staff and franchisees and engaging the right agency help, Hodges has a major success story to tell. Increased market share, stock value, staff and franchisee interest… this is how it was done.
Delving into the DNA
Working with branding specialists Traffic, Hodges set about understanding what made their business tick, where they were placed in the market and where they needed to be in the future. Internally, the franchise directors and Marketing Manager Troy Wood drove the project. The sales administrators were also a critical link in the process, clear communication is essential to a collaborative business change.
Prior to the launch in April 2016, workshops were held with directors and staff.
“We asked them to express their feelings pictorially of the current business; how they saw the company today, what represented the future of the business, and where they saw our competitors,” Carmel says. “This process clearly articulated to Traffic where we were and where we wanted to go. While everyone worked on their drawings individually, it was amazing to see the similarities.”
The new look and feel
It takes a leap of faith to change your identity and for Hodges it was about illustrating its commitment to innovation, evolving with the times and standing out from the crowd. The rebrand needed to reflect what sets Hodges apart – not just their service offering but their brand values.
“The ‘H’ is made up from the + symbol to bring to life the core promise that ‘you get more with Hodges’. This + symbol features heavily in our visual language, acting as a device that connects Hodges with their customers, for example ‘you + Hodges’,” Carmel explains. “We have kept the orange colour as this has always been a part of the Hodges DNA but we softened the black to a light, warmer grey and added in a fresh yellow to give it a more contemporary, brighter feel.
“Hodges may be 160 years old, but it definitely doesn’t look it.”
Carmel had anticipated the biggest challenge being getting people to love the new brand but in reality it was the implementation.
“We had to ensure we didn’t underestimate the importance and value of getting this right,” Carmel says. “As a leader, I have a desire to get things done quickly and while we achieved our targets, the workload and fine tuning of each and every rebrand component took an incredible amount of work and time.”
Campaigntrack was involved early on in the process, with Victorian General Manager Tina Foley liaising closely with Troy Wood. Tina provided instrumental advice on how the redesign would need to work across the company’s range of collateral and within the different mediums. Overall Tina delivered consultancy support throughout the rollout.
“Campaigntrack was by far the most crucial partner in the success of the rebrand,” Carmel explains.
In addition to branding agency Traffic, Hodges coordinated closely with their communications company Arize to ensure their promotional activities were aligned with Hodges’ marketing plan. “We also relied on our trusted software [Campaigntrack], print, and board partners to get everything right,” Carmel says. “We are appreciative of all our agencies and suppliers for their support in rolling out our new branding.”
“While it’s still quite early to measure the overall success of the rebrand, the early signs are strong. Enquiries from prospective franchisees are up significantly, which was a goal going into the rebrand. Hodges has also increased its stock value and grasp on the market since the rebrand was launched, which is significant in a time where many in the industry are recording losses.”
And while achieving overall business objectives was the aim, ensuring internal buy-in from staff, along with meaningful engagement with the franchise’s communities and discerning vendors, were also paramount.
“Upon roll-out of our new brand our staff loved it – they actually burst into applause when we unveiled the final creative. Initially, we offered them four choices and everyone immediately leaned towards our preference. Throughout this rebranding process we took our staff on a journey with us and by involving them each step of the way there was a great sense of pride and ownership of the new brand we’ve created,” Carmel says. “Externally, the awareness of our brand in the marketplace has increased… our brand genuinely reflects who we are and we have a strong vision for the future.
“When employees want business cards the next day, want to have their office remodelled and our phone is ringing with people wanting to join the network, we know that’s a good start.”
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