The directors of S3 Process have always been discerning in their choice of partners, selling the equipment of only the leading manufacturers to only top-tier pharmaceutical companies. Traditionally, the company’s marketing focussed on the high-value equipment it sold, and overlooked the huge amount of consultancy that paved the way to a sale, making no mention of the supervision or aftercare service they offer.
Since its rebrand, S3 Process is perceived more positively by potential partners as well as its own team, attracting engagement by multi-national players of the calibre the company seeks. S3 Process is even showcased by some of its partners as a fine example of professionalism, knowledge, structure, and now, image.
S3 Process sells equipment for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals – an industry that is complex and governed by a raft of regulation, owing to the high toxicity of active ingredients.
As licence-holders, with authorisation to trade the products of top-tier names in technology and the manufacture of pharma equipment, S3 Process is the link between principal equipment manufacturer, and the end-buyer – the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Principals and clients choose S3 Process because they value the company’s down-to-earth consultative approach.
S3 Process projected itself as nothing more than a vendor, its website focussing on the sale of equipment via two divisions: S3 Equipment, and consumables arm S3 Direct.
In addition to sales, S3 Process carries out Factory Acceptance Tests and Site Acceptance Tests (FATS and SATS), assesses the suitability of equipment and addresses logistical questions of transportation. They project-manage installations end to end and realise significant production efficiencies through the planning and positioning of equipment – resulting in the avoidance of downtime, for example. However, despite their involvement with large, high-profile projects such as Penn Pharma’s high-containment continuous manufacturing facility, the directors of S3 Process did not lead with their consultancy, regarding it merely as a necessary component in the supply of equipment.
The challenge for James Good was to modernise the identity of S3 Process by telling a story of the company that was more true to life – one that would resonate more strongly with clients.
“Because we’re selling large capital-value equipment, we must first build relationships with potential clients so they have confidence in their investment. It means our approach is more than selling; it has to be a consultancy-led sale.”
For James Good, consultancy emerged as the company’s primary differentiator. After our discovery phase – many interviews with directors, employees, their newest recruit, and key clients of S3 Process – we learned that it is the company’s knowledge and experience, frank approach and clarity of communication, that are most valued by clients. We used this insight to inform our brand articulation – a set of statements finely tuned to evoke each facet of S3 Process from a comprehensive range of perspectives.
At James Good, our brand articulation is founded on deep understanding which seeks out an objective perspective rather than the stakeholders’ own subjective view. Despite ‘knowing’ their company inside-out, company leaders frequently know too much – about the numerous different pillars of their business, any one of which could feasibly be the focal point of the company’s identity. In the case of S3 Process, our findings were unequivocal: the aspect of the business the directors took for granted was highly prized by clients and their consultative approach arguably their greatest asset. It was our mission to bring this to the fore.
“In an exercise akin to business-process mapping, James Good plotted all client touchpoints...”
Steve Boswell, director of S3 Process, described the next stage of strategy realisation: “In an exercise akin to business-process mapping, James Good plotted all client touchpoints to add maximum value with minimal effort, by digitising all S3 Process documentation and placing it online, for example; or by ensuring that our logo appear on all partner brochures.”
With a strategy – a fresh set of core messages – now established, we embarked on implementation: drafting copy and designing and developing a website, a brochure and other marketing collateral.
On a tactical level, James Good’s discovery phase had revealed that technical drawings and flow diagrams are intrinsic to the work of S3 Process, as they plot the manufacture of solid dosage (pills) through weighing, mixing, drying, compressing, coating etc. The diamond icon indicating a decision point in a flow chart, i.e. the opportunity to add value, seemed to us a perfect synonym – and ideal springboard for a logo. When the final concept evolved, some 200 versions later, it had gathered other positive connotations along the way – an ‘S’ and a ‘3’; a pill-shape; two items butted together (reminiscent of a continuous production line). Adapting the logo for digital was also a lengthy process, again involving many iterations to ensure faithful reproduction on digital platforms.
To capture precision, another theme of S3 Process, reflected in the fine calibration of equipment and its installation, we adopted the crosshairs that mark the position of equipment on technical drawings as our graphic device. Our typography and layout are clean and corporate, and the colour a metallic Pantone echoing the brushed aluminium finish of the equipment sold by S3 Process.
“We appreciated James Good's method: they didn't come to us with a pre-scripted solution.”
S3 Process now has a fully responsive content-managed website, and a company profile brochure so comprehensive and professional it can confidently be left at the reception of targeted clients without further explanation.
Reflecting on the journey, Steve Boswell said: “We needed an image created around our values, one that would withstand the test of time so we can develop the brand. What we appreciated about James Good was their method. They didn’t come to us with a pre-scripted solution; they listened and mentally dismantled the business – something that’s hard to do from the inside when your time is devoted to operational matters. James Good’s external viewpoint, combined with internal exploration, offers a privileged perspective on what S3 Process does and how, removing us from the echo chamber.”
“The way James Good penetrated our business and culture was absolutely key to the final product.”
Director Duncan Betteley described the discovery phase: “The early work James Good did to penetrate our business and culture was key to the perfectly attuned product the team delivered.”
“We’re confident of the image our business projects; it’s professional and appropriate.”
Entrusted with copywriting, James Good crystallised S3 Process into a more engaging, distinct tone of voice – one that also aids consistency internally by ensuring all stakeholders are aligned in their projection and expectation of S3 Process. Coupled with its visual identity, S3 Process now has the consistency it lacked to give it confidence and a competitive edge.
Recruitment is more streamlined since the re-brand. Now that the brand conveys more accurately the character and nature of the business, a candidate attracted to it is likely to be a good fit; and since the company offices have been branded, S3 Process now portrays itself in the right way, all the time, internally and externally.
As anticipated, S3 Process is attracting more clients; since re-branding, a major pharmaceutical manufacturer has engaged with S3 Process. Most impressive, however, is the perception of S3 Process by principal manufacturers, some of whom now showcase S3 Process as an exemplar of structure, image, professionalism, and knowledge.
“It’s easier to engage with global players, as we now appeal to partners of the highest calibre.”