Europlan’s Brand Journey

Two years ago our business decided we needed to simplify our brand story.

As a business our journey started in 1963 and then in 2010 we became the New Zealand dealer for Haworth, a global leader in the commercial furniture industry. This prompted us to create a sub brand “Haworth by Europlan” allowing us to take Haworth to the New Zealand market under the Europlan umbrella.

Different pieces of our brand experience were targeted at different audiences and but often people were still referring to us as Europlan as they were unsure of how to pronounce and spell Haworth. Phonetically it’s Hayworth but without the Y? Well, because.

Over the last nine years we’ve maintained both Haworth by Europlan and Europlan as active and well established brands, each thriving in a competitive market place.

Because we are always thinking about the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’, we began to wonder ‘how’ our market felt about us having two brands and ‘what’ value that was really adding. Were we really serving the people what they deserve?

We were operating with two brands, two websites and what felt like many hats.

 

Our Senior Leadership Team sunk our teeth into robust discussion, set goals and challenged each other.

We went to the gym with each other at 6 in the morning and let ideas rummage around in our heads while we winced our way through jumping lunges and endless kettle bell swings.

We drank kombucha, coffee and a responsible amount of margaritas. We kept each other accountable.

Sometimes we took feedback on board and sometimes we went away and made decisions that were in direct opposition to that feedback. Why? Because our gut said let’s go and because of a strong sense of our ability to do our jobs well.

We decided we could create inspiring workspaces as one premium brand and this propelled us on a journey to refresh our brand identity and rationalise our digital assets from two websites to one.

First, we created a brief for the brand refresh and released it to market. We had great responses from excellent agencies, one of those being Plankton Agency.

Plankton immediately captured the essence of who Europlan was and what we were trying to achieve on this mission and presented us with an exciting proposal. They understood who we were when they first began working with us, and who we wanted and needed to be by the time we hit go and launched our refreshed brand.

Our marketing team (me) are based in Wellington and so is Plankton. This proximity paved the way for deep engagement and a connected partnership, critical in a new working relationship. Their consultancy, advice and support were invaluable and the broad range of skills among the team at Plankton brought a huge amount of value to the experience. I knew we’d hit peak levels of partnership when they let me eat my lunch in a meeting, it was hot smoked salmon and a raw broccoli and red onion salad. Smelly as hell and they didn’t even care. Choosing Plankton for the brand refresh piece was the first equal easiest decision of the entire process.

Brand piece sorted, it was time to select our web build team.

We’ve worked with Scratch for over 7 years; they used to work out of our Auckland showroom with us.

We had a peek at what was happening in the industry and armed with the intel that came from our foray out into the world of website design and creation we confidently cracked on with Scratch. They presented Europlan with a future proofed and premium web build package chock-full of value add and an innate understanding of our business goals. Their ideas and solutions were imbued with a level of customer intimacy that comes from a long term and successful partnership.

Through the design and build process they provided superb banter, created a well firewalled black hole for me to download my angst and frustration, and most importantly, truly understood the load involved in delivering a project of this size and nature. They didn’t shy away from frank conversations and this made communication straightforward and very effective.

Flanked by two exceptional agencies, we set a date for Go Live and away we all went.

The next 18 months were a sea of deadlines, workflow and project management updates, meetings, reviews, revisions, sleep deprivation, check lists, pantone colours, font styles, colour palettes, UX design, coding and a patchwork of post-it notes.

I went through four project notebooks, endured countless opinions, burst a blood vessel in my eye from an increase in ocular rolling, drank way too much coffee and worked 140 hours in the fortnight leading up to Go Live.

And then at 6:49pm on the 27th of May we were done, and we hit go. The out of body experience that transpired over the next few days has been captured by a team of documentary makers and will be released as a Netflix special late 2019.

We’re freshly made over and out in the world. Our new brand is bold and approachable and represents who we are; flexible, creative, inspiring and cool.

Europlan places big value on our reputation coming first and this journey has galvanised our organisation and placed that principle at the forefront of our decision making. If you thought we were pumped to get out of bed and slay before the 27th of May 2019 brace yourself. We have levelled up!

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University of Otago - ISB
Thank you again for the great job, the fine work you and your team did to deliver what was promised, in the short time frame.
Maureen MIller Otago Library Management Team
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Barnardos
I don’t want to deal with a sales rep, I want to deal with a relationship manager who has a genuine interest in our organisation and who sees value to me in offering solutions, not value in it for themselves. That’s Europlan.
John Cameron National Assets Manager
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