Red Zebra Business Centre -Management Memos
January, 2009. Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!


Finally, the picture is getting clearer!

Max Williams, Principal Consultant

Now, at last, the economic numbers are beginning to show a consistent story.  Construction projects have been cancelled, mines are laying off people, job ads are at record low numbers, redundancies are on the increase, and to cap it all - radio ads are running advising employees to seek legal protection against unfair dismissals!

On the other side of the coin, retail sales are up, but that was in the face of massive promotions and extraordinary discounts. Even so, that retail growth is less than inflation. Activity levels are actually going backwards.

The big question is now: "Can retailers operate with enough margin in this tight market, or will they find profitability and cash flow unsustainably low"

No-one wants to talk down the economy, but commercial survival does require a realistic view of the world in which we live and trade. That view now looks like unremitting dark clouds getting closer and closer, and it would be wise to get inside, batten down the hatches, and hope our storm survival plan  works.

In real life, though, if we do get inside and batten down the hatches, the prophecy of doom will be self-fulfilling.  We will need to ride out the storm from on deck, managing in the middle of the buffeting from the tough times.

As for the clouds getting closer, there is now a clear consensus that "any recession will hit in the third and fourth quarters of 2009". That is in line with comments in this publication since last September, that we have just a few months to get our storm survival plan in place. Given that a lot of what must be done can take months to work, that gives us precious little time.

In this edition we show some practical and quickly implemented changes made by one small business to make sure that whatever happens in the next year or so, their performance will be at the top end of the scale. Our hope is that you get something helpful from this case study!

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n 2009, we will need every efficiency and productivity improvement we can get. That applies to all our marketing activities and marketing costs too. One sure way to maximise your marketing effectiveness, is to have a readily recognisable brand. Your brand also needs to stand for value, and an offer of products or services that your markets really want. Here is an example of one small business that has taken this lesson to heart, and done what all small businesses can do!

Well Established Family Company

Pollard Pools & Spas is a pool construction company operating now for over thirty years. It has been a  successful operation, and has become a by-word in its local area as a well established, ethical organisation.

The original business built concrete free-form swimming pools, and inevitably, there came the addition of installing of pre-formed fibreglass pools. In recent years, a retail pool and spa shop has been added to the enterprise, along with a service department.

front view 

There is competition however. In the north coast NSW town in which they operate, there are four pool shops, and a number of pool construction companies. All these have been vying for the lion's share of a market that has been, until now, driven by retirees leaving Sydney to invest in a country lifestyle and valuable coastal real estate.

Time marches on.  The founder has now handed the business on to the next generation. Faced with rapidly tightening market conditions, and holding a steely determination to keep succeeding, the new owners looked for ways to beef up their marketing and make it really effective.

In times like these, you don't want extra expense unless it is fully justified. One sure fire way to make their marketing more effective, was to re-invent their well established brand, and give it fresh values with links that pull on the established values of the past.

Recent Marketing Had Diluted the Brand

Without a clear marketing plan, marketing efforts had become piecemeal and had had only limited effect.Typically, in undertaking a new initiative, the website designer had gone off and created a new graphic, without any regard at all to the previous brand symbols.

old web logo

This web site header is appealing enough - but does it have any link at all to the established retail store, pictured above?

In a word - No, not at all! The palm motif is completely missing, the fonts are all different, and the theme of tropical luxury that dominates the showroom display is completely absent. You can see some of the palms that create the tropical ambience in the showroom - visible in the picture above.

Other advertising had been opportunistic and fragmentary. The brand had been seriously weakened by inattention. Now, it was time to rebuild!

Brand Symbols and Fonts Brought Back to Life

One look at the front-of-house of the company showed the classic, original theme intent. Could this be brought back to life, in keeping with modern styles?

palm treeYou can quite clearly see the tropical palm motif used in the earlier and effective marketing that had been driving the business to its early successes. A new palm was called for - since there was nothing left of any original artwork.

A close look at the building revealed that the original font for the name is still available. In keeping with how things are done these days, the different font for some of the words was discontinued - leaving the whole new brand presentation with a single font. The original signage on the building had missed one important point. The name is "Pollard", but that name is in a small size. Amongst today's visual clutter, a strong, stand-out, name is needed! Now you can see how the final brand worked out.

id complete

This has since been translated into a new header for the newsletter, which had been using the same header as the website. Next, the website is slated for a refresh too! Here is the newsletter header. See how it maintains a link with earlier newsletters, while displaying the new brand - which also carries all the old brand symbols with it.

newsletter header

Brand Value Statement

All we need now to complete the deal, is a brand value statement - the new name for a slogan! After extensive discussion, the brand value statement simply 'fell out' of the ideals of the owners. The brand value statement was just three words.

Trusted. Reliable. Experienced

Below you can see the first ad to arise out of this re-branding project - an ad that has already achieved good pulling success in an new, tougher, market.

So here now is a company leveraging all its past strengths and recognition, to make a really strong product and service claim in the here and now.

Is your brand identity in need of a spruce up - particularly now that you will need all the marketing 'heft' you can muster?  Don't wait!  Revitalise Your Brand. Now! 

Confidentiality is vital for The Red Zebra Business Centre and its Clients. This case study has been written with the help and approval of Pollard Pools & Spas, to whom we express our appreciation for their permission to use their data.

If you'd like to find out more about 'Re-Inventing Your Brand', talk to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's no charge or obligation.

This same offer applies in New Zealand. Click Here!