Amcanu’s new image captures perfectly the company, its offering, and ambitions. Most important of all, for a family business with strong community involvement, we expressed Amcanu’s culture. With its brand identity better expressed, Amcanu is now better positioned. Internally, communication that is more positive and transparent is leading to smoother, more efficient operations. Together, they mean Amcanu not only looks the part, it feels it too. And, instilled with renewed confidence on how to manage change, Amcanu’s leaders can take a more strategic approach to investment and to marketing and communication.
On a practical level, Amcanu’s image now reflects what the business truly is, and this is conveyed through a suite of marketing collateral – print and digital – created by the designers and copywriters at James Good. The copy is so versatile it can be applied to all Amcanu’s documentation, bids included. Amcanu is thinking big and setting its sights higher, with renewed vigour and optimism.
As with many of our clients, there was a pragmatic incentive for Amcanu to seek advice on its communications. In this case it was the need for a new website.
A family business, Amcanu was founded in South West Wales in 1975 by Spencer Davies OBE and originally named Spencer Davies Engineering Limited. The company specialises in the manufacture of soundproof metal enclosures, customised for a range of applications in heavy industry. They solve clients’ problems and keep them compliant with regulations governing noise emissions.
In 2000 Spencer handed the reins to his son, who renamed the business ‘Amcanu’, meaning ‘design with purpose’ in Welsh. He has continued to build on the solid foundation laid by his father, taking Amcanu from its humble roots as a metal workshop to a specialist designer and builder of sound attenuation enclosures. The business consists of two divisions: design-engineers, whose plans are so complex they can take months to set out; and engineers who, thanks to time-served expertise, create the flawless products which have propelled Amcanu’s growth in markets such as construction, quarrying, energy and manufacturing. And the business is led by a man who, by his own admission, is “the biggest sceptic of marketing and fluff” you can imagine.
Sceptic he may be, but he was also sufficiently open-minded to see what James Good could do, mindful that there is room for improvement in any organisation.
Amcanu’s management were aware that the company was in transition but weren’t sure how to manage that change. They also knew that, although the sound enclosures were Amcanu’s best commodity, the company’s marketing was skewed towards their traditional yet less lucrative offering. It was clear Amcanu’s image had to be built around its best product if the company was to realise its potential and appeal to larger clients offering better work. Having started out in technical design and learned incrementally every aspect of the business, Amcanu’s MD was inevitably so deeply involved it was hard to step back. Which is where James Good stepped in.
Having highlighted “deficiencies”, including scepticism amongst the team, James Good mapped Amcanu’s transition in steps that were quantified and manageable, and helped manoeuvre the company into a position in which all its communication exuded the self-confidence the management and staff had always possessed but been unable to express. Every aspect of its image needed to be a perfect fit – for Amcanu itself and in the eyes of prospective clients.
It was then a natural progression for Amcanu to spearhead its marketing with the sound enclosures and aim for high calibre clients – because in reality Amcanu’s enclosures are world-leading: their finish is impeccable and they exceed regulatory standards by a country mile. With an excellent product and a highly skilled workforce, Amcanu possessed all the ingredients of a highly successful business.
Before anything could be delivered, however, James Good had to unpick every aspect of Amcanu – our ‘discovery’ process in which we find out what makes an organisation tick, its values, and its desired place in the market. We explored Amcanu’s communications – internal and external – and discovered that Amcanu’s marketing was missing a trick; with no sense of where or how it sat in the marketplace, nor a clear idea of how its quality compared with competitors, Amcanu unwittingly undersold itself.
On James Good’s advice, Amcanu drew together senior figures to form a leadership team, whose expertise and knowledge were invaluable. We held workshops on strategy and communication and were invited to the company’s production meetings to fully understand Amcanu’s operational challenges and most profitable activities. We ran competitor analysis to see where opportunities lay. We also held meetings with Amcanu’s people, to gather their insight and get them talking about the proposed changes that would accompany the company’s investment in marketing.
In an exercise devised to foster the engagement of the entire workforce, every employee was handed three cards and encouraged to write a Question, a Comment, and a Thank you – and do so anonymously if they preferred. When Amcanu’s MD later took to the stage, he addressed each card, and in doing so allayed many fears and concerns as well as sharing praise. It was a tour de force; so successful were the cards at promoting a dialogue between management and shop floor, Amcanu continues to use the process to this day.
“I was the biggest marketing sceptic there was, but James Good got to know our team and got everyone talking strategically. We respect what James Good has done because it’s having real impact on our business. The strong relationship between James Good and Amcanu means we can be more proactive instead of fire-fighting.”
James Good distilled the findings from the discovery into key statements – our ‘articulation’ – the words that most accurately express the identity of a company, based on its values, aspirations, culture and personality. Our articulation condensed the ethos of the brand, conveying it in a way never done before.
Amcanu’s new brand articulation then fuelled the creative work, leading to much more than just a responsive website. James Good delivered fresh copy for the website and CTAs (Call-To-Action), accompanied by a case study to showcase Amcanu’s work and a gallery of professional photography that not only enhanced Amcanu, it gave the company a totally new, contemporary look and feel and captured the soul of Amcanu.
Most notably, James Good’s discovery process proved to be the springboard for a psychological overhaul. Getting Amcanu’s workforce talking was a giant leap towards more effective internal communication: the alignment of thinking. The result is greater confidence in Amcanu by the shop floor and, ultimately, a more positive and productive environment. For a company that is all about people, this is important; Amcanu’s commitment to its employees and the wider community is as deep as it is broad. Not only does the company still trade with its first client and employ its very first employee, Amcanu actively supports local sports teams and musicians.
The corporate copy or ‘boilerplate’ supplied by James Good is comprehensive, covering every function – Amcanu’s background, experience, products, people and job descriptions – and is shared online to encourage contributions from accountants and other specialist advisors. So apt are these positioning statements, so cogent and versatile, the copy can be applied to the multitude of corporate communications without reinventing the wheel – to business plans, funding applications, project plans, PQQs, RFIs, RFQs…
By encouraging Amcanu to think big, James Good has been instrumental in leading the company towards a more strategic approach to selling itself, one in which the lifecycle of a sale is used for calculating the moment at which to launch new marketing activities. With greater confidence, Amcanu’s leaders are better able to attract their target market and make the investments necessary for the company to undertake bigger, more lucrative, orders. In a nutshell, James Good has affirmed Amcanu’s position as a world-leading manufacturer and laid the foundations for the company to communicate with confidence.
“I’m ambitious for Amcanu and I’ve realised that if you want to grow, you need ambitious partners, who are also looking for growth. Amcanu and James Good are a good fit because we share those aspirations.”