Charles Bentley: Reinvigorating the brand

Charles Bentley
Reinvigorating the brand

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.

The Challenge

Charles Bentley was a business of two halves. The Charles Bentley business manufactured products for supermarkets who white labelled them, while the ‘BuyDirect4U’ brand, established in 2005, sold direct to consumers via eBay and other online marketplaces.

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 up BuyDirect4U. 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 BuyDirect4U 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 Steel, Charles Bentley’s Ecommerce Director.

Our Approach

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. 

Well & Truly 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.

The team 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.

“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 outputs

The project culminated in the creation of a brand bible that included:

the results

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. Well & Truly’s 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.

“We appointed Well & Truly in October 2018 to assist us in a brand positioning project to align our two businesses as one. The team’s energy and vision was very much in line with ours and the additional knowledge and insight they bought to the process, really helped to crystallise the approach.

We successfully completed the project, on time and budget in January 2019. We very much look forward to working with Well & Truly in the years ahead.”

Andrew Steele | Director

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