Bringing new companies on board is a vital part of many companies’ growth plans. But the true value of this strategy is not the investment itself but bringing businesses together to create a firm worth more than the sum of its parts. Company brand is one of the levers leaders can pull to propel consolidated companies to new heights. With Tenzing Sherpa Pauline Vargas on board, consolidator firm Gravita was able to create and deliver a new company brand to help drive its growth.
Following the investment in an accounting platform in February 2021, Tenzing supported the management team in swiftly purchasing Arram Berlyn Gardner and Propel, followed by Carter Backer Winter and Davis Grant. Combining these high-quality accounting firms into a single entity – Gravita – propelled the firm into the top 30 of the UK’s accounting league table. Positioning Gravita to achieve its ambition of being the UK’s leading tech-enabled challenger firm for SMEs.
With a highly competitive consolidator market taking the accountancy profession by storm, Gravita’s CEO, Caroline Plumb, wanted to create a common vision to unite Gravita’s people and drive the business forward. Key to achieving this goal was a company brand launch that would clearly define the business’ proposition while putting people front and centre.
The main project goals were to launch a new mission-aligned brand while building on the strengths of the legacy firms to clearly position Gravita as the preferred partner for high-growth business.
This included delivering a new visual and written brand identity, creating supporting brand assets and a go-to-market launch campaign. The brand needed to appeal to three audiences so that:
- Top talent wanted to join
- Growing and established SMEs wanted to partner with
- Like-minded firms wanted to be part of
Not only would this unify Gravita’s newly expanded workforce behind its mission, but it would ensure its proposition was clearly defined in the market. Helping it generate leads, drive sales, retain existing clients and recruit talent and partner with new businesses.
Given the pace of change in the market, Gravita wanted to quickly lead from the front, setting an ambitious 16-week target for the launch. With extensive consulting experience and an ability to bring people along on the journey, Gravita’s Sherpa, Pauline Vargas, was a great fit for the project.
While the executive team focussed on other key parts of the growth plan, Pauline partnered with Caroline to turn the strategic vision into reality, enabling critical business-as-usual activity to continue without distraction. Pauline assembled a trusted freelance team including a designer, web designer and SEO specialist. She was also able to draw on in-house skills, including the CEO’s brand-building experience and the copywriting and digital marketing capabilities of the Head of CRM.
Under Caroline’s direction, Pauline focussed on three main delivery areas:
1: Building on the established brands to fuel Gravita and bring people on the journey
A business naming competition ensured Gravita’s employees were quickly involved in the project. Although many of the suggestions were already in use by other companies, the ideas shaped different naming categories which sparked alternative name ideas.
The concept of space and new frontiers emerged with the team relating to forward-looking yet highly practical brands like NASA. The name Gravita was chosen to reflect a sense of grounded innovation which also informed the visual brand identity.
Pauline worked iteratively with the design partner and Gravita’s Head of CRM to bridge the ideas of Gravita as a challenger firm and its reputation for providing grounded, established expertise. This included exploring innovative colour ways and visual expressions to support these ideas and help the brand stand out from the competition.
Mood boards were developed and presented at all-hands meetings so the team could provide their feedback, vote on brand colours and help shape the design. Alongside these company-wide forums, Partners and leaders were also consulted to help shape the brand ahead of final decisions being signed off.
2: Ensuring business continuity at a time of change
Given the ambitious timelines, the website was populated so it would be sufficiently searchable by Google and intuitive for clients when it launched. Top-performing content was migrated to support the marketing and sales funnel. And, to leverage the power of the legacy brands, each company’s old website redirected traffic to the Gravita site.
LinkedIn and job postings were also updated to reflect the new brand. Plus, the most important mission critical assets were created to ensure the entire team could transition to the new brand and was able to promote Gravita’s new proposition from day one while ensuring business as usual.
3: Careful project management to deliver the plan on time
As a regulated business, Gravita’s brand had to meet sector requirements, including approval for elements like the company logo and letterheads. With many moving parts to the project, Pauline adjusted the plan to keep the brand launch moving while managing all the steps necessary for regulatory go-ahead.
Active project management ensured website build and design iterations and feedback were managed throughout. With a clear proposition that was carefully communicated to the team, everyone had the confidence and clarity needed to share the brand with their clients.
No project is without its challenges – it’s how you deal with them that counts. One of the main concerns was finding a way to introduce a new brand identity that also respected the long-standing brands that had gone before.
Given that many of the legacy firm founders were still in the business, this was an emotional topic that needed careful handling. Pauline resolved the issue by balancing individuals’ concerns with the desire to be bold and by carefully managing the change to bring everyone along with the project.
The Gravita brand launch accelerated the integration of the new businesses and consolidated Gravita’s culture and values. By helping align everyone with the company’s vision and mission, the project drove greater collaboration and created the ‘one team’ feel that will be key to Gravita’s success.
One business, one brand
Gravita has a consistent proposition and messaging when going to market. It’s clear what Gravita does and how it’s different from the competition.
With one brand to manage, Gravita was instantly more efficient. Scaling will also be easier with new strategic investments joining a single brand.
With a Sherpa onboard, Gravita’s CEO could delegate the leadership of this project, enabling her to focus on other priorities and continue to deliver her agenda.
Gravita has continued to build on the launch, consolidating its brand across its online channels. Employee inductions also include a brand section, helping new hires better understand the business and helping to embed the brand.
Following the project, Pauline has moved onto a new role as Head of the Sherpa Programme and the Entrepreneurs Panel at Tenzing. Gravita now has a Chief Commercial Officer and expanded growth function, leaving Gravita in the capable hands of a specialist team.
With a single, clear proposition, Gravita is perfectly positioned to continue to service its clients, attract new strategic investment and new employees and develop a single culture aligned with Gravita’s mission. Promising a bright future of tech-enabled innovation and growth.