Case Studies

Our Work & Results

Horizon Platforms

A Brand Evolution Project
brand guidelines
app design

Overview

Excentra worked in partnership with Horizon Platforms to strategically grow and develop its brand. This helped Horizon achieve its vision of delivering service excellence as a multi-regional provider of high quality powered access rental, training and associated services.

  • The challenge
    Action

    In 2008, Ben Hirst founded Horizon Platforms, a powered access supplier catering specifically to the B2B sector. By 2014, the company was established as a respected mid-sized operator with ambitious five-year growth plans. However, Horizon lacked a coherent brand identity or strategy to achieve this.

  • The objective
    Action

    Excentra was one of 19 marketing agencies invited to submit proposals setting out how it could help Horizon achieve its objective of acquiring additional market share, particularly in non-construction sectors such as facilities maintenance, manufacturing and the general service sector. This would involve:

    • Analysing Horizon’s current market share within these sectors, paying particular attention to Horizon’s heartland in the north of England
    • Carrying out further competitor analysis to enable an assessment of the additional market share available to Horizon
    • Working directly with the Board and offering significant influence and direction to the sales team to gain full company buy-in to any proposed changes
  • The solution
    Action

    Excentra proposed a detailed Brand Evolution process involving six distinct stages of development: Immersion – Insight – Brand Evolution – Recommendations – Execution – Results.

    Stage 1: Immersion
    Excentra’s Managing Director, Richard Burnett, carried out a detailed assessment of Horizon’s communication resources including interviews with staff, a review of communication vehicles, secondary research and media analysis to determine the key strengths and weaknesses of the business.

    Stage 2: Insight
    Excentra conducted focus groups including staff, customers and prospects to find out what the company brand meant to them, what customers valued about the business and where Horizon was positioned within the marketplace. The research produced valuable insights into peoples current perceptions. These included: a confused brand architecture, low awareness in their sector and the lack of a clearly articulated proposition.

    Stage 3: Brand Evolution
    This insight inspired a new brand proposition: Putting people first. At this stage, the wider Excentra team began to collaborate with Horizon employees to develop key messages for the branding and marketing campaign. This important relationship building phase has the added benefit of building the foundations needed to ensure marketing success and growth.

    Stage 4: Recommendations
    A strategy was agreed to promote Horizon’s strengths and help the company overcome its weaknesses. More than 30 recommendations were made including:

    • Consolidating the brand architecture
    • Creating a service proposition for the cross-hire arm of the business
    • Realigning the Sales team structure
    • Increasing online engagement
    • Developing a greater focus on retention-based marketing

    Stage 5: Execution
    The first four stages of the Brand Evolution process are now complete and Excentra and Horizon are working together on the fifth vital stage in the process: Execution.

    Recommendations have been considered and agreed by the Board and a detailed action plan has been developed including proposals to implement specific marketing campaigns which use a blend of media, including print and electronic, social media, special events and media relations.

  • Execution
    Action

    Since the Brand Evolution process took place, Excentra has been retained as Horizon’s strategic marketing partner. Work is now underway to implement the brand strategy and deliver key initiatives and campaigns, including:

    • The development and marketing of three added-value service propositions
      – Multi-channel,
      – Third Party Affiliate (cross-hire)
      – Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for sales
    • Future Forums – thought leader events, hosted at Horizon, for senior decision makers on topics including cross-hire
    • Corporate PR – to raise awareness and appreciation of Horizon’s unique offering
    • The creation and implementation of an internal brand programme that has seen business-wide education on the Horizon difference, brand proposition and values
    • Key Driver – brand advertising to re-position Horizon Platforms in the hire/rental sector
    • Sector advertising to establish Horizon as the UK’s number one specialist in their chosen markets.

    An action plan will be reviewed, updated and implemented on an annual basis.

  • Results
    Action

    Whilst it’s too early to shout about the results of the changes, a detailed evaluation framework is in place which sets out the key metrics that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the campaign, as well as how and when to gather information.

    The results will enable Excentra to demonstrate its value to Horizon in very concrete and measurable terms and will help to shape future marketing investment decisions and priorities.

    Ben Hirst, Managing Director of Horizon Platforms said: “Just one year on and Horizon is increasingly being recognised as a specialist powered access supplier.

    “Today, the company works with many established brands. We are making a huge investment in both our people and our equipment and this is reflected in the additional staff we have recruited, and the 33% increase in our turnover year on year.

    “From the very start we were looking for true partners in this process rather than an arms length relationship and we haven’t been disappointed.

    “Richard and Excentra have immersed themselves in the company to the extent that they are regarded very much as part of the Horizon team. We’re looking forward to building on and strengthening our relationship even further in the future.”

     

    • Customer engagement up by 44% with a net promoter score of 77.
    • Increase of 26% in operational capacity
    • Local market share increased by 3% in first 12 months
    • Year on year revenue increase by 33%

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Yusen Logistics

Inbound Marketing

Overview

Yusen Logistics, one of the world’s largest global supply chain logistics companies, found that their UK base needed to grow its marketing output to align more with sales. They were keen on launching a new customer-centric initiative based on connectivity with their customer base, boosting sales in the most cost-effective manner. The aim of the initiative was to gain insight into customer challenges, educate and inform and build relationships with a prospective customer base.

  • The challenge
    Action

    Yusen Logistics were keen to build on their success by better aligning their marketing output with their mission to become the world’s preferred supply chain logistics company which could help businesses and society to grow. However, with a companywide strategy restricted by their global size and a lack of digital content aimed at their customers, they weren’t quite sure how to go about it.

  • The objective
    Action

    Yusen Logistics wanted to focus on ROI and connecting people, businesses and communities through logistics. Stakeholders recognised that an improvement in search engine ranking and the organic drive of traffic to the UK site would assist in turning the company’s blog into an industry thoughtleader platform. Not only would this attract more prospects into the pipeline, but Excentra were keen to increase our clients’ top-line growth by targeting global brands and key stakeholders through tailored content.

  • The solution
    Action

    Excentra proposed a content creation strategy following the highly successful inbound methodology. This process of attracting the customer to a business organically improves engagement and increases the amount of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) available, with an efficient ROI.

  • Execution
    Action

    Excentra began a strategic inbound content campaign, aimed at drawing potential customers to Yusen Logistics’ website via educational blog content, nurturing and converting them into MQLs via on-page downloadable content at little cost, representing strong ROI.

    Working with and at Yusen Logistics’ offices, Excentra created personas representative of potential customers, making the planned content as tailored as possible to a visitor’s needs. Excentra also identified expertise within our clients’ current workforce to serve as the faces of the upcoming campaign.

    Yusen Logistics were keen for their blogs to match the industry standard for technicality, and with that in mind, it was necessary for Excentra to quickly immerse themselves in the company ethos and industry knowledge. Our team successfully produced 80% of the blogs without needing any amendments or improvements on the knowledge presented.

    Excentra followed up on the content campaign with a social amplification strategy, increasing the reach of each post across industry networks and beyond, driving traffic to the core website.

    The content campaign was supported by a lead generation process, which nurtured prospects through various touchpoints until qualified adequately to set up meetings for the Yusen Logistics’ sales team directly. Allowing sales and marketing to work together to create greater efficiencies throughout the overall sales process.

  • Results
    Action

    Within the first week, our client had several dormant prospective clients reengaging with the sales team, having been impressed with the expertise on show in our written blog content. The overall site saw a near 100 per cent increase in SEO rankings, because of having trustworthy content uploaded on a regular basis. The logistics brand was pleased with Excentra’s influence on streamlining the collaboration process between the sales and marketing efforts, achieving internal buy-in from the sales team. With a yearly sales target of over £15m, consisting of an average of ten contracts, they were thrilled with the outcome of the inbound campaign, with Excentra’s efforts providing a fruitful amount of prospective leads.

    With over 300 calls made, 950 emails sent, 257 contacts researched, the campaign resulted in 15 appointments with brands like, Nestle, Nokia, Lenovo, Boots, Siemens, and Dell.

    An overview of the results were:

    • Conversion rate increased by 15%
    • 150 Leads entered the sales funnel
    • 48% increase in UK page views
    • 750k worth of new business
    • 16,384% Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
    • 65% Return on investment (ROI)

    Yusen Logistics were exceptionally impressed, and opted to take a long-term relationship with Excentra to continue managing their inbound marketing and lead generation.

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C3

c3 website
collateral design
roller banner
logo design

Overview

Excentra worked with C3, a leading Tax Consultancy for Accountants, Law Firms and Financial Advisers. We created a strategic growth plan over a 12 month period. After the year, we continued our relationship with them and have retained the client proving their return on their investment. Excentra assisted C3 with their brand evolution, creating a new website, sending emailers with key messages and developing their organic traffic.

  • The challenge
    Action

    C3 needed a strategic 12 month marketing plan with clear sight of their business goals. They wanted Excentra to define their brand, deliver their key messages to prospective clients, increase sales and profits and develop a customised CRM.

  • The objective
    Action
    • Increase traffic to the website
    • Improve Google rankings
    • Retain and gain new customers
    • Create cohesive collateral
  • The solution
    Action

    Website
    We set out to increase engagement and lead generation from the existing website. This meant increasing organic and paid-for traffic. We needed to align the branding, logo and their personality which was set out in the brand guidelines.

    Google
    Introduce paid and organic campaigns to increase traffic. Create quality content to rank higher on Google and optimise all the web pages for the search engine.

    Email
    Create a retention and acquisition campaign for clients to attract more clients and drive traffic to the website

    Social media management
    Multi-channel communication to increase brand awareness amongst people that matter.

    Collateral
    Brand evolution would define their personality and therefore new collateral should reflect this.

  • Execution
    Action

    Brand Evolution:
    Following changes within the business and results from the market research campaign, Excentra recommended for C3 to consolidate and rebrand the company. Excentra’s creative team helped C3 stand out from the crowd by creating a brand identity which works across all media now and in the future. Excentra supported C3 throughout the brand design process, breaking down each element and providing C3 with multiple options which could be developed into appropriate guidelines and templates to help manage the brand in the future.
    The final brand and logo options were refined based on feedback. Once approved, the logo was created in the required formats and presented in the brand guidelines with associated elements including correct logo use, colour palette, tone of voice, font and imagery.

    Market Research:
    Excentra was engaged to conduct a defined market research project to identify attitudes and perceptions of C3 and its products, benchmarking against competitors in order to understand customer needs and its position in the market. All data was captured centrally on Excentra’s analysis software (responses were captured and collated in real time throughout the survey), and on completion of the fieldwork a full report was produced.
    The report detailed findings, including key messages, data charts and comments; in addition to the overall results the report included expert interpretation, conclusions and recommendations.

    Company Processes:
    Excentra mapped out C3’s customer journeys and introduced bespoke business processes which now underpin the day-to-day running of the company, increasing efficiency and productivity.

  • Results
    Action

    Website
    Within a six-month period the number of visits had increased by 89%, with 30% more pages viewed and the number of goal conversions up by 400%.

    Emailers
    Email acquisition and retention campaigns were also launched introducing a new channel for website visits. Acquisition email open rates were increased from 14% to 26%, well above the 11% industry average and retention rates up from 13% to 56%. Engagement for these campaigns were increased from 11% to 23% for acquisition and from 19% to 35% for retention. This new channel now attracts 45.4% of all website traffic.

    Google
    Both paid and organic campaigns were introduced online. Keywords and key phrases were carefully selected and are now responsible for 21.9% of visitors finding the website.

    CRM
    Accessing the CRM via desktop, web browser and mobile app, and on Apple and Windows platforms allows C3 to focus on opportunities everywhere whether you’re working from the office or at home, C3 have the connectivity they need at all times. The CRM supports the entire process from importing names to campaign generation, lead tracking and conversion of opportunities to live jobs. Having all this integrated into C3’s job system gives end-to-end visibility of campaign effectiveness and no need for data re-entry.

    Brand 
    In an extension to the rebrand, Excentra rolled out the brand identity, designing, creating and printing C3’s new look which included a large range of the media services

    Telemarketing
    With the increased amount of leads generated for C3, Excentra also provided a telemarketing service which quickly became a valuable addition to the C3 Business and creates highly focused sales appointments for C3’s Business Development team.

    Overall
    Customer Business Development appointments were increased by 300%.
    Client engagement with the brand increased from 19% to 35%.

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Ascendis

Brand & Web Development Project
ascendis website
flyer design
logo design

Overview

Excentra worked with Manchester-based financial and business specialist, Ascendis, to develop and build a new company brand to portray a more professional image and attract additional high-end clients to help the company to grow.

  • The challenge
    Action

    Ascendis is an established financial firm, with offices in Manchester and Cheshire, offering expertise in all matters financial: accountancy, taxation, financial and wealth planning and commercial business advisory services. The company wanted to grow and in particular, increase its share of high-end personal and business clients, but suffered from an outdated and disjointed brand image which lacked consistency, did not properly reflect its ambitions and was limiting brand associations with current and potential clients.

  • The objective
    Action

    The aim was to enable the company to attract more high end clients by:

    •  Updating and modernising the company brand
    •  Developing high end positioning
    •  Incorporating Ascendis forward thinking philosophy and professionalism
  • The solution
    Action

    Excentra’s unique brand building process was implemented to achieve the clients objectives. Key steps included:

    • Researching and identifying branding perceptions
    • Concept development
    • Brand guidelines
    • Professional designs

     

  • Execution
    Action

    Research

    Market research was carried out into Ascendis and its competitors, allowing Excentra to be fully immersed into Ascendis brand position and ethos.

    Initial concepts developed
    After consulting with the client to fully understand the business, its objectives and the image it would like to portray, the design process commenced. Six initial design concepts were developed, including colour options and font choices, and presented to Ascendis.

    Further developed three concepts
    The Ascendis team was then asked to select the top three visuals. The three chosen options were then more fully developed, included colours, design, fonts and typeface. Further research into appropriate, responsive and influential concepts for high end clients was then incorporated into the evolving concepts.

    Preferred design chosen and fully developed
    Excentra’s design team fully developed the preferred design option. As Ascendis was consulted at every stage in the brand building process, all parties were confident that the final chosen design would meet the brief of portraying a modern, forward thinking company with a high end, professional look and feel.

  • Results
    Action

    Excentra presented Ascendis with a brand new logo, brand image and identity.
    They also offered the company a brand roll out plan, which included the design and production of a variety of marketing collateral including business cards, signage, letterheads, email signatures and templates, compliment slips and the development of a new corporate website.
    Excentra also supplied Ascendis with accompanying brand guidelines to help the company control and manage the brand in the future. This included specifics on fonts, colours and designs that can be rolled out across all areas of the business.
    Finally, brand assets containing the actual documents of the logo and designs in a variety of shapes and sizes that can be used for signage, letterheads and other collateral, were sent to Ascendis upon completion.

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Appealing Properties

Web Development Project
appealing properties case study

Overview

Finding your next home is tough, so we often rely on the internet to keep on top of the market.

Appealing Propertiesa professional lettings service for tenants and landlords based in York – wanted to stay ahead of the competition in a fast-paced industry.

For that, they needed us to reinvigorate their website and systems integration to boost usability and ultimately their lead generation.

They already had a designed logo and branding for us to work with. Our task was to build a website, attract organic traffic and help them gain an advantage in their local area. Vebra Alto would help with their new sales platform but we saw that our systems integration could introduce easy automation.

  • The challenge
    Action

    Appealing Properties came to us to unlock their business growth potential.

    We knew that their website was selling them short. It was difficult to navigate and wasn’t optimised – despite our research showing that a third of customers browsed using a mobile device. So they first needed to re-energise its look and feel; then utilise a communications plan that helped drive traffic to the website and bolster their brand.

    We also identified that without systems integration and automation, Appealing Properties were losing time with manual updates across their website, Rightmove, Zoopla and their Vebra CRM.

    Our plan was to ensure their brand positioning was right for them, promote their USP, and streamline their processes.

  • The objective
    Action
    • To create a website that has business growth and return on investment as its core purpose
    • To enhance the website’s usability and address limiting optimisation issues
    • To streamline business processes and create efficiencies of the Vebra software
    • To enhance the company’s brand identity online
    • To increase visibility in the local area
    • To gain a competitive advantage by increasing engagement and enquiries
  • The solution
    Action

    We had a clear strategy in place for our client.  We saw that we could easily automate and innovate for an improved user experience – and boost in leads.

    Over 10 weeks we:

    SAVED TIME

    • Vebra Alto Integration
      Appealing Properties chose cloud-based Vebra Alto as the best software platform to manage their Sales.We then knew how to improve its usability and get the Vebra Data Feed to talk to their website. By integrating, they only needed to upload their property listings once to a central point.Simple automation meant that listings would then update simultaneously every hour, so the customer never had conflicting communications.

    IMPROVED THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

    • Wireframe and Sitemap
      Wireframes let you plan effectively, so we could shape the customer journey by making sure each page element was clear, helpful and worked in conjunction for easy browsing.
    • UX Design
      A user-friendly interface keeps customers on your website and browsing towards a sale. We streamlined previous features and guided the customer journey towards a call to action – and all-important lead generation.
    • Website Development
      An impactful design can wow your customers and enhance your brand identity. Our developers reviewed the current site then tailored new innovative layouts and semantic coding.
    • Mobile Innovation
      By using responsive styling, we could ensure that the customer experience was tailored for smaller screens and touch screen interfaces – and our new search options and alert features would be available to all. 

     

    CAPTURED LEADS

    • Data Capture Features
      By adding a Property Alert feature, visitors could subscribe to automatic emails for listings based on specific search criteria.An Express Interest Form also meant customers could easily get in touch, sending the relevant property details straight to our client.
    • SEO
      With a stellar website in place, our strategy led us to an SEO campaign.Our top priorities were indexing pages and meta descriptions, deleting duplicate text, creating internal links, and driving traffic through external link building, Google Places and AdWords.

     

     

     

  • Execution
    Action
    • Our bespoke web solution boosted their brand presence
    • Vebra integration kept listings up-to-date across all platforms
    • A dedicated mobile-enabled website was developed
    • Wireframes tailored the customer journey to guide visitors towards a call to action – and lead conversions
    • Property alerts meant mailings were automatically customised and sent to all interested customers
    • Embedded SEO attracted traffic and increased engagement
  • Results
    Action

    Appealing Properties wanted to gain a competitive advantage with a brand-led website that kept generating leads and retaining customers.

    The result was a website that attracted customers for the right reasons.

     

    If we look at the numbers, what did our strategy achieve?

    Enhanced usability meant the customer journey was valued

    • 88% of website visits following the strategic customer journey, 38% of these browsing through at least 1 or more property detail pages.

    Improving user experience meant they stayed longer on the site

    • Increased customer engagement with above average user duration time of 2:54 minutes per user.

    SEO was a resounding success – and customers kept returning

    • An increase of visitors by 487% in the first 12 months of release.

    Integrated social media links drive traffic and increase publicity

    • An increase of website views by 1500% over a 48 hour period after publishing popular posts

     

     


    Most importantly, what did our client think?

    “Excentra understand completely who our customer is and how we need to interact with them. Even better, they understood what we needed – without us knowing what was missing. The Vebra integration has saved us from making costly errors”

     

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Hollands Smith

Web Development Project

Overview

In such a fast-paced industry, time was of the essence for Hollands Smith – a professional lettings service for tenants and landlords based in Bedford.

Their system and website functionality was holding them back but we knew integrating their Vebra software could transform lost time into tangible business results.

They wanted to modernise and become more responsive to their customers’ needs.
Excentra had already integrated Vebra software to eliminate inconsistencies in property management systems with Appealing Properties, so Hollands Smith were confident we could also streamline business processes and create efficiencies.

  • The challenge
    Action

    Hollands Smith’s challenges were technical and twofold: their systems were time-consuming and web-function limited.

    Their website had the potential to raise their profile and reputation in the local area, but instead its out-dated design was lacking. While it was easy to navigate, visitors were left frustrated by restrictive search capabilities, limited content, and poor signposting of contact details. They were losing time – and patience – in hunting down suitable properties.

    We also identified that without systems integration and automation, Hollands Smith were losing time with manual updates across their website, Rightmove, Zoopla, and their Vebra CRM.

    Our plan was to ensure their website attracted visitors and converted leads, while streamlining their processes.

  • The objective
    Action
    • To create a website that has business growth and return on investment as its core purpose
    • To enhance the website’s usability and address limiting optimisation issues
    • To improve the website’s content with customer-centric copy
    • To streamline business processes and create efficiencies of the Vebra software
    • To increase visibility in the local area
    • To gain a competitive advantage by increasing engagement and enquiries
  • The solution
    Action

    With a strategy in place, we saw that we could boost the user experience and drive traffic. In addition, automation would simplify time-consuming tasks – so their energy could be focussed on pushing profit.

    SAVED TIME

    • Vebra IntegrationWe knew how to improve their systems usability and get their Vebra Data Feed to talk to their website. By integrating, they only needed to upload their property listings once to their Vebra CRM.Even better, listings would automatically transfer to the website every hour so content was up-to-date. This freed up staff to concentrate on those all-important sales.

    BOOST THEIR REPUTATION

    • Website Redesign
      Hollands Smith’s website lacked an impactful design to boost their brand identity, but mainly it needed to rethink how content and key features were viewed – so customers valued their time on the site.Our developers redesigned the property listing view with formatted descriptions, larger images, and embedded maps for easier customer navigation.

    IMPROVED THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

    • Search Feature
      By expanding the search engine with specific options, customers weren’t missing out on suitable properties – and Hollands Smith potential leads.After choosing categories, visitors could sort the results as a list or pins on an interactive map. Then, when they’d discovered a possible new home, an ‘Express Interest’ form on each page was easy to fill out and sent automatically to Hollands Smith so they could act on a lead as fast as possible.
    • Mobile Innovation
      By using responsive styling, we could ensure that the customer experience was tailored for smaller screens and touch screen interfaces – and our new search options and alert features would be available to all.
  • Execution
    Action
    • Our bespoke web solution boosted their brand presence
    • Vebra integration kept listings up-to-date across all platforms
    • A dedicated mobile-enabled website was developed
    • Improved search functions enabled visitors to discover suitable properties faster
    • Clear contact points generated leads
    • Embedded SEO attracted traffic and increased engagement
  • Results
    Action

    We set out to save Hollands Smith and their customers time, so both could concentrate on discovering sale opportunities.

    Our Vebra integration reduced multiple processes to one click of a button.

    While improved search functions meant the customer could tailor results to their needs much faster.

    The result was an intelligent, modern website with responsive features for both the client’s and customers’ use.

    If we look at the numbers, what did our strategy achieve?

    A website that was more attractive to visitors

    • An overall increase of visitors by 62%

    Enhanced user experience meant better browsing

    • An increase of sessions by 54%

    Improved visibility meant new engagement

    • An increase of new visitors by 65%

    Valuable content was retaining interest

    • An increase of returning visitors by 40%

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