STRATEGY: Developing a new brand strategy for Charles Bentley

Charles Bentley
Reinvigorating the brand

As a family run business, with over 150 years of heritage as a brushware manufacturer, Charles Bentley as a brand had lost their way somewhat as they had steadily increased their product portfolio over the years and started selling direct to consumers, via a new website ‘Buy Direct for You’ in a bid to protect and manage their trade and retailer relationships. 

The Challenge

From brushware to garden furniture, children’s toys to bedside tables the product portfolio seemed random and disperate from the outside. Further analysis uncovered at least 20 different sub-brands that had been developed over the years across brushware and cleaning products – mainly driven by a need from the sales team to create a ‘story’ or from retailer requests to create specific ranges just for their needs.

Whilst the business was strong, and sales were good, the brand had been weakened to the point that it had very little meaning or awareness with consumers. There was no story or meaning, and no clear way to present all of the products in a clear and meaningful way.

Our Approach

We started by getting understanding how the brand had product portfolio had developed over years. We carried out a product range analysis to understand the role and commercial relevance of the different sub-brands and ranges. We analysed their trade and retailer relationships, and understood that selling direct to consumers under the Charles Bentley name, was much less of an issue or threat to retailer relationships than it had once been. And in fact – with a stronger brand that resonated with consumers, it could actually prove beneficial and positive to the retailer. Enabling them to command higher price points, and use Charles Bentley as a leading brand to draw consumers to their stores.

We worked with the team to take a step back and understand what the strengths were in their brand story, what made them unique and really get down to the crux of who they were, before looking at how motivating and inspiring this would be to our potential consumers and trade customers.

We explored the different customers they were talking to – from public sector and ‘industrial’ clients buying large volume or cleaning and brushware products, through to a retailer selling direct to the consumer, as well as the end consumer themselves.

Our Strategy

First we made a clear distinction between the retail and commercial sides of the business. The Charles Bentley brand would encompass the retail market whilst the commercial side was consolodated under a new name – Bentley Professional.

We then created value propositions for both sides of the business, before focussing on strenghtening the Charles Bentley brand – defining the vision, mission, purpose, pillars, values and personality. Next we honed the brand look and feel, developed an ownable tone of voice and created new design guidelines for packaging, POS and website.

Finally we defined a clear naming convention for the product portfolio in order to limit the creation of sub brands. Enough flexibility had to be included to allow retail partners to create exclusive ranges without diminishing the integrity of the Charles Bentley brand.

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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