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Freshening up an adviser brand

What do you do when you want to inject a new vibrancy into your company? For Phillip Bates & Co. the answer was to rebrand

Rebranding your business can be a daunting and expensive task, but that didn’t put off Chartered Financial Planning group Phillip Bates & Co., which freshened up its image with a brand overhaul earlier this year.

Phillip Bates & Co chartered accountants, based in Neston, Cheshire, was established over 100 years ago with the financial services arm being set up in 1998. Both sides of the business have Chartered status.

The rebranding process took nine months from start to finish and managing director Alan Mellor explains the reason for the decision. “In people’s eyes, we’ve been around forever, so it was important to us as a business that we did something to remind both existing and prospective clients that we’re a vibrant, forward-looking company.

“I think the beauty of a rebrand is that it breathes life into the business, and shows clients that you’re moving with the times,” he adds.

The catalyst for the decision to rebrand was partly prompted by a new client, who owned his own marketing agency.

“As a new client and one who knew a great deal about branding, it was interesting to hear what perception he had of us as a firm,” says Mellor. “Initially, we just asked for his thoughts and he told us the image we projected was very safe, perhaps a bit old hat and not very dynamic. That resonated with us – we certainly didn’t wish to be seen as dated or old-fashioned.”

Focus on core qualities

Mellor says that the firm is unique in the area in that it offers a Chartered partnership under one roof, including accountancy, tax and financial advice. But what they came to realise, when going through the rebrand process, was that not enough emphasis was being placed on its raison d’être.

“Our client asked us what we wanted to say – the message we wanted to get across to clients and it made us really focus on what makes us stand out. From there, we were able to build a logo and brand that encompassed those qualities,” says Mellor.

But while Phillip Bates & Co. wanted to freshen up its image, the firm had to be careful not to go overboard and unsettle its clients, the majority of which are 50 plus and have been with the firm for several years.

So the marketing agency supplied around eight new designs for Mellor to look at, which were shared and discussed with the staff and a unanimous decision was made on the way forward.

Eye-opening process

Mellor describes the entire process as eye-opening, not least because of how wide-ranging it became.

“You get excited about the big things like redesigning the logo, client brochures and painting the offices, but you forget about all the little things such as email headers which all need to be changed so it’s a longer and much more detailed process than you might at first think,” he says. “It’s easy to lose steam once the main bits are decided, but you have to keep with it so that the changes ring throughout the entire business.”

Reflecting on the rebrand, Mellor says the biggest surprise was just how big a role image plays.

“If you’d have asked me before I started what impact image had on the business I would have said very little but this whole process has really surprised me as to just how much your image says about you and the work you do.”

Fortunately for the firm, feedback both from clients and outsiders has been extremely positive.

Mellor says: “I think in this industry, it’s good to get noticed and have people talking about you. All the comments we’ve received have been really enthusiastic and supportive of the changes.”

He adds: “Of course you do get the odd comment from clients that they hope their fees don’t rise to pay for it, which is only to be expected!

Admittedly, the cost of rebranding was nearly double what I had anticipated but as a business wishing to stay fresh and play on its strengths, it’s been a worthwhile investment.”

Pictured: Company chairman Phil Bates (left) and Alan Mellor outside the new look Phillip Bates & Co offices.

Visit the Phillip Bates & Co. website

Phil Bates and Alan Mellor outside the new look Phillip Bates & Co offices (low res)


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