Organisational Branding Case Study: Hanson
- Hanson, formerly known as Pioneer International is one of the world’s leading heavy building material companies.
- In 2000, Pioneer International was acquired by Hanson PLC based in the UK.
- In January 2004, a business decision was made to rebrand the Pioneer business to Hanson in Australia. Prior to this, Hanson was not known in Australia.
- The Australian CEO had the foresight that a brand name was more than a logo and seized the opportunity to also develop a competitive brand position for Hanson.
- Hanson employs over 3,500 employees across 183 locations Australia wide.
- Hanson required assistance to project manage the rebranding process across the business.
- A successful transition from Pioneer to Hanson was a business requirement which was nonnegotiable.
- Clear definition was required on what the Hanson brand should stand for in the Australian market and this needed to integrate global company strengths and also the positive associations for the Pioneer brand.
- The rebrand was a major change for the business and employees needed to be engaged in the process for successful implementation.
- It was important that customers were not alienated during the rebrand and that not a single customer departed the business as a result of this project.
- Building an internal culture that supported the new Hanson brand was an additional requirement to ensure sustainability and future business success.
The Right Group developed an inside out, end to end approach to rebranding the Pioneer business. The phased transition process involved the following:
Understanding of the heavy building materials market and the current position of Pioneer
- Employee-wide feedback sessions were undertaken to gain internal perceptions.
- Competitor analysis conducted to understand competitor positions and strategies.
- Market research with current Pioneer customers and also current non customers was conducted.
- A Brand Scorecard audit report highlighting key perceptions and positioning was delivered to the project steering team.
Development of a Strategic Brand & Culture Blueprint
- The new Hanson Brand Building Blocks – Most Reliable, Best Team, Best Customer Focus and Most Responsible were defined.
- The brand strategy developed was highly congruent with Hanson’s business objectives and aimed to differentiate Hanson in a commoditised market.
- The brand blueprint was recognised as the cornerstone of Hanson’s brand identity and organisational culture.
Development and implementation of an employee communications program
- A strategic communications plan was developed to ensure information flowed to all employees throughout the business.
- The plan included a regular newsletter, visual communication reminders, a brand handbook and the integration of brand themes into all internal communication.
- A website and intranet brand portal was established as was the integration of brand into web based training and employee inductions.
- Success stories from the business were communicated and shared to recognise employee achievement around the Hanson brand.
- Employees were communicated with before, during and after the physical rebrand to encourage employee buy-in and ownership of the new brand.
Brand leadership education for senior and middle management, as well as supervisory personnel
- Brand leadership training was conducted to up-skill middle management and enable managers to ‘walk the talk’ around the four Hanson brand building blocks.
Brand Touchpoint Initiative
- Hanson’s brand touchpoints, the points of interaction between its brand and customers, employees and other stakeholders, were audited and reviewed using The Right Group’s touchpoint framework.
- The process involved both internal and external customer interviews which highlighted performance gaps impacting on Hanson’s delivery of its brand promise. Areas of greater efficiency were also highlighted.
Monitoring of business uptake and market ownership
- Pre rebrand KPI measures were established through external market research with customers and non-customers and an employee survey.
- Post rebrand KPI measures were also collected. This included employee surveys to gauge the level of employee engagement and infusion of the brand building blocks in employee and manager behaviour.
- A periodic brand recall survey was also conducted to understand the recall of Hanson versus Pioneer and key competitors, as well as held perceptions.
- Understanding of the heavy building materials market and the current position of Pioneer
- The Pioneer Hanson company rebrand project was highly successful with the project completed on time and within budget.
- Employees were successfully engaged in the process around the new Hanson brand, resulting in increased employee retention and satisfaction.
- Zero customer churn was experienced as a result of the rebrand.
The company developed a greater sense of appreciation of the value of the brand, evidenced through:
- The brand becoming instilled in the fabric of the business.
- The company developing a more disciplined approach to branding including a brand management structure and a centrally coordinated brand manager.
- Customer feedback indicated Hanson is clearly differentiated as a premium brand in their key markets. This is also evidenced by their ability to increase prices and retain customers and market share.
- Employee communication and feedback has improved with regular employee forums enabling employees to have their say and be listened to by the organisation.
- Its brand is now owned by every employee of Hanson.
- Based on the success of the Australian program, the Hanson brand initiative was rolled out to 14 countries and 27,000 employees across the UK, Europe, Asia and North America.