Established in 1860, Charles Bentley has grown from one of the UK’s leading brush and broom makers into a multi-million-pound global supplier of stylish home and garden products. In addition to their online store, the company’s products are sold through many of the UK’s major supermarket chains and large scale general stores.
Charles Bentley was a business of two halves. The Charles Bentley business manufactured products for supermarkets who white labelled them, while the ‘Buy Direct for You’ brand, established in 2005, sold direct to consumers via eBay and other online marketplaces.
How we helped
- Research and Discovery
- Strategy and Planning
- Brand ID & Guidelines
- Tone of Voice
- Design guidelines for packaging, POS and website
- Naming Conventions
“Laura and her team got us immediately. It was clear she understood the brief and what was needed to bring it to life.”
Despite the success of this two-pronged approach, it was clear that its channel focus had started to present some issues. Online marketplaces were being infiltrated and dominated by large scale players from the East that could easily swallow Buy Direct up. Their white label partnerships were strong but left them prone to changes in buyer strategy.
The management team wanted to unify the two brands under Charles Bentley and sell direct to consumer but awareness of the brand amongst consumers wasn’t strong. There was also concern that the direct to consumer strategy may have a negative impact on their retail relationships, who could see them as a threat.
“We wanted to take control of our own destiny. That would mean merging Buy Direct with Charles Bentley, changing focus to distribute our own range of products and building the master brand. We knew what we wanted to do but not how to do it,” said Andrew.
The management team wanted a partner who could help them devise the strategy and plan for successfully transitioning the Charles Bentley brand from a legacy manufacturing business into an omnichannel retailer.
Our team was selected because of the strength of its process and the speed at which the team grasped Charles Bentley’s brand vision.
“Laura got us immediately. It was clear she understood the brief and what was needed to bring it to life,” said Andrew.
We analysed their trade and retailer relationships and found that selling direct to consumers under the Charles Bentley name, was much less of an issue or threat than it had once been. In fact, with a strong brand that resonated with consumers, could prove beneficial. Enabling them to command higher price points, and use Charles Bentley to draw people to their stores.
“Critically, we helped the team take a step back, understand their strengths, their uniqueness, who they really were as a brand and how we could tell the story,” said Laura, Insight & Strategy Director at Cite.
“Laura helped us to understand what we stood for. There was a lot of soul searching. We realised we were at our best when scouring the globe for great products. Then she showed us what the brand could look like and it was exactly as I’d dreamt it would be,” said Andrew.
The project culminated in the creation of a brand bible that included:
- A clear distinction between the retail and commercial sides of the business and value propositions for both
- Brand look and feel, vision, mission, purpose, pillars, values, and personality
- An ownable tone of voice
- New design guidelines for packaging, POS and website
- A clear naming convention for the product portfolio to guide range choice with the flexibility to allow retail partners to create exclusive ranges without diminishing the integrity of the Charles Bentley brand
“Laura sowed the seed and gave us the clarity and vision to run with it. Our story, message and look and feel of the brand are consistent across every touch point.”
The brand work has helped put Charles Bentley in the driving seat. B2B partnerships have increased and growth is on target. The Charles Bentley brand is established across every platform and commands the reach and reputation it deserves.
“Laura sowed the seed and gave us the clarity and vision to run with it. Our story, message and look and feel of the brand are consistent across every touch point,” said Andrew.
The brand work has also helped Charles Bentley to scrutinise its product portfolio and identify which fit and critically which don’t.
“Less is definitely more. We had started to struggle with stock management and were aware that some of our ranges didn’t work with the brand. The teams work has delivered a strategic rethink of our product range. We now have around half the products. We understand them better, negotiate better with the factories and more easily educate our B2B partners on the full suite of products we have to offer,” said Andrew