BARBOUR FIT OUT SPECIALIST CASE STUDY

Rebranding Helps Open 20% More Doors for a Fit Out Specialist

One consistent feature of successful companies – whatever the market, whatever the economic climate – is the ability to adapt to changing demands, without compromising standards of skill and customer service. Barbour Fit Out Specialists is one such company. As the Directors put it:

“The Barbour family business has created interiors for countless shops and stores, building an enduring reputation for value for money, delivered through top-class workmanship and high quality service. For over half a century our expertise in manufacturing and fitting out has overcome the challenges of commissions large and small, the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland.”

NORMAN BARBOUR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BARBOUR FIT OUT SPECIALISTS

Since 1964 the Barbour standards of service have remained painstakingly high, but the company’s corporate appearance has changed more than once, and will undoubtedly change again.

The challenge for Glasgow-based branding consultants Darwin, who have worked with Barbour for over 15 years, is always to reconcile Barbour’s principles and heritage with the perceptions of customers sensitive to contemporary trends as well as practicalities.

“For years Barbour were known as shopfitters but recently they decided to rebrand as ‘Fit Out Specialists’: the term ‘shopfitters’ relates only to one part of the Barbour service and does not wholly cover their abilities in retail, commercial, public and leisure markets.”

VINCENT BISSETTE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DARWIN BRAND CONSULTANTS

“Barbour work a lot with major multiple retailers, especially at the top end of High Street retail, where brand management is extremely influential. Stores in this sector go to great lengths to ensure their brand image is in line with market trends. Consequently, Barbour’s own brand image had to be remodelled to express an appropriately sophisticated style.

In the course of an annual brand review, Bissette was struck by a possible solution. “Barbour have long possessed a complete offering, which set me off towards the idea of the 3D circle, revealing both the exterior and interior of the shape. It is a complex form to work with, which suits Barbour: only a specialist can succeed in such multifaceted projects.”

Barbour’s 50th Anniversary brochure also went down well: “I like the style and humour of the brochure … I would like you to accept a really nice bottle of one of our single cask single malt Scotch whiskies. I do not make a habit of sending out rare bottles!”

FRED LAING, MD, DOUGLAS LAING & CO., SCOTCH WHISKY BLENDERS & BOTTLERS

The rebrand has been well received. Said Bissette. “Staff, suppliers and customers alike have commented favourably – without prompting – that the classic authority of the strong circle conveys the established Barbour values of reliability, safety, quality, clarity, integrity and honesty. It is also a symbol of longevity: it says, ‘We’ve been here for a long time and we’ll still be here tomorrow’.”

The new push has earned compliments from the trade media, such as the influential National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) Directory: “The outside back cover position is arguably the most prominent position and we have placed your advert on it in recognition of the excellent creative and eye catching material which Barbour Fit Out have always given us to publish.”

GORDON GREEN, PURPLE MEDIA SOLUTIONS LTD

Said Bissette, “Previously we’d used dramatic photography of a contortionist to help express Barbour’s flexibility. We did the shots for real, no photoshopping, with the contortionist being ultra supple, literally bending over backwards for one iteration of the concept, compressing himself into a suitcase for another, and so on … it was engaging, fun and effective, but times change. The contortionist delivered a worthwhile message, but he wasn’t right for our present age of austerity.”

“That’s the beauty of a regular brand audit and review by an outside professional – Barbour can strip everything back to the brickwork, so to speak, and gain an objective overview of where the business stands in relation to where it wants to be, “said Bissette. “From there we re-aligned the brand strategy, and took a fresh look at the brand collateral.”

“Since rebranding, we’ve been asked to estimate for more jobs: I’d say around a 15 to 20% upturn. We’ve picked up new business, not only in our established field of retail, but also from smaller independent companies such as a repro house and jewellery businesses, where the need for high quality fit outs is obvious, and in commercial offices.”

NORMAN BARBOUR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BARBOUR FIT OUT SPECIALISTS

“The market remains profoundly cost conscious and that is usually the deciding factor in clinching a contract, but the new branding gives us stand out, generating opportunity, which is fundamental to any business.”

Summing up, Barbour said, “Darwin Brand Consultants was instrumental in our recent rebrand and 50th anniversary marketing campaign. We now have a new logo, new website, new blog, new stationery, new vehicle livery and now operate on all social media platforms. Barbour is a family-run firm, where we value team spirit and independent thinking highly. I’m delighted to say Vincent and his team are always available, easy to work with and keep our marketing and brand relevant and vibrant. We’re a good fit.”

“I read your brochure cover to cover and found it inspirational as I am just starting out in my business with the first site. I am always looking at new sites and I will no doubt look at Barbour as an option.”

ROBBY SCOTT, OWNER, BABUCHO BAR & RESTAURANT, NEWCASTLE