People, places and potential
Covering 14,000 West Berkshire and Hampshire acres, Englefield Estate is a long-established, family run business managing a diverse range of farmland, forestry, residential and commercial property, whilst maintaining strong relationships with its local communities. At the heart of the estate is Englefield House, a beautiful Grade II listed building that has been home to the Benyon family for many generations, and continues to be so to this day.
Over the course of the last 18 months we have become the Englefield brand guardians. We have defined their brand strategy for marketing and communications, developed the visual identity and repositioned their digital offering to fully reflect the diverse commercial and social sides of this unique estate.
We even helped lay the table for the Prime Minister.
Acres of potential
From our first engagement with the estate team, we identified the huge commercial opportunity that lay before us. The estate had the usual brand channels… an identity, website, community newsletter and more… but it lacked definition – there was no unified purpose or understanding of why the estate existed or what it stood for. It became evident that even when your story goes back as far as 871AD, you still need some help getting your house in order from time to time.
In line with the estates core objectives, our role was to enable them to showcase their commercial and community offering, both on and offline, and build their reputation as an innovative and forward thinking estate. Our collective goal was to drive increased revenues through farming, property, events and of course, the house itself, as well as helping launch new initiatives. We were also tasked with helping the estate share stories of community and environmental activity. All this ‘and’ the opportunity to showcase the Englefield brand to a very diverse audience base.
Our discovery process quickly highlighted that our biggest asset, both literally and metaphorically, was the estate itself. We identified that we had 14,000 acres of visual opportunity that was largely untapped. That coupled with the incredible stories we had to tell enabled us to define a creative strategy that would raise awareness, drive footfall, commercialise the estate and help us deliver against objectives.
Seeing is believing
Showcase is a word we frequently use to describe the visualisation of how we have approached a client challenge. And this word sums up perfectly how we looked to make the most of the Englefield Estate. With 14,000 acres of estate, the opportunity to capture and showcase the visual qualities of such a vast offering and embed its beauty in the hearts and minds of our audiences was core to our creative strategy. Photography became objective number one, with a diverse shoot list quickly created.
Starting the process in Autumn provided some challenges but also inspired us to use the seasons as an influencer in our brand communications strategy. We identified an opportunity to build a secondary colour palette that was inspired by the following 12 months of photography, basically taking the colour references from the photography throughout the following seasons.
Our first tactical brand activation came towards the end of 2016, creating the first ‘new world’ Englefield Echo - the annual estate magazine which doubles up as a review of the year. Keen to maximise the new suite of photography at our disposal, our objective was to showcase the stories and the brand to ensure readership and engagement was higher than ever before. The final 36pp, PUR bound book was a stunning success, both visually and against objective, later hailed ‘the best’ by Richard Wilkin, Secretary of the estates business group…
“Just opened my copy of 'Englefield Echo'- many congratulations to all. I see them all and, if I may say so, this is quite the best – content, style, presentation and format. You must be very proud – and rightly”.
Our efforts on the Echo and our ever growing in-depth knowledge and development of the brand as a visual system led to us being asked to evaluate and extend the brand guidelines. In an effort to ensure consistency and quality in all branded marketing and communications, we added depth to the guides, including fonts, colour, photography, graphic devices, the estate visual system and associated collateral. We took incumbent stationery templates and modified them to fit with the new visual guidelines we had created. This resulted in an extensive suite of corporate stationary and communications tools, such as letterhead, business cards, PowerPoint templates and email signatures, as examples.
We had quickly established ourselves as the go-to guardians for everything brand-led.
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Throughout the duration of establishing the day to day activation points for the Estate, their website was being worked on behind the scenes. Our knowledge of the brand, their core business objectives and the requirements from their digital strategy accelerated the discovery process, resulting in a defined audience map, scope, site map and content structure soon after kick off. Over the coming months we worked in partnership with the estate marketing team to wireframe, design, develop, create content for and populate the new site, using our now extensive suite of stunning estate imagery to great effect. The websites' clean visual appeal coupled with concise user journeys were designed to engage, inform and challenge the audience to act, be it a visit to the gardens, the village, garden centre, express interest in the commercial and residential property portfolio or take up the vast array of commercial opportunities available, including events and location hire.
The result was a true showcase of the vast opportunities the Englefield Estate provides, driven by clear call to actions and a focus on the estates' ‘people, places, potential’ brand position.
A brand ‘fit’ for royalty
Although actual acreage figures remain the same, the Englefield Estate has grown significantly. Their brand value ‘means more’ than ever.
Although hard to truly justify with a statistical success metric, our greatest achievement is how we have been able to bring the brand to life in the real world. Although the new brand had been created, the ability to visualise and realise its potential both strategically and through activation is a separate challenge. In the words of their Marketing Manager “You have really helped us to do this.” Although anecdotal, we are very proud to have helped the estate achieve an internally perceived level of brand maturity and growth.
Other notable successes to date, in addition to the glowing testimonial (above) for the Echo from Richard Wilkin are as follows…
For the year 2017/18 up to the end of Q2, the number of events booked at the House / Gardens currently stands at 88 (excluding filming) as compared with 80 for the whole of 2016/17.
The number of event enquiries generated through the website since its launch in May is xxx, of which x% resulted in confirmed bookings.
Admissions to the Englefield House Gardens have doubled in 2017/18 when compared to previous year.
The house was booked to host the 2017 fundraiser for the conservative party, attended by the Prime Minister, Theresa May and her husband in addition to other notable guests from the public and private sector.
The estate was selected by Pippa Middleton and James Matthew as the venue for their 2017 wedding and champagne reception. The couple married in Englefield Church and hosted their guests in Englefield House and Gardens afterwards. The event was attended by many members of the royal family, including sister Kate, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Englefield has been (and continues to be) selected as the shoot location for the highly acclaimed Netflix series, The Crown.
Our next challenge is to apply the same logic and magic to another part of Englefield – The Benyon Estate – the family’s residential and commercial property portfolio in Hackney, London.
Only time will tell if we can attract royalty and the Prime Minister there for tea too.
View the Englefield website here
Admissions to the gardens have doubled
Venue for the wedding of Pippa Middleton to James Matthew