January 30, 2017: Why has Huthwaite International, one of the best established names worldwide in sales training, consultancy and research, carried out a rebrand?
After a root and branch review, Huthwaite transformed every aspect of the way it looks and feels when communicating with clients, starting with the switch from imperial purple to passionate red and powerful black in its new logo.
Chief executive Tony Hughes says that the change had two main drivers. The first was what Huthwaite’s customers were going through.
“Our clients must compete in increasingly commoditised and competitive markets,” says Hughes. “It’s becoming harder to add value and stand out. Being able to sell, negotiate and communicate to a world class standard provides a crucial advantage here. It’s what we do, and it’s important that our audiences truly understand all the ways we can help them.”
Karen Woodhead, Huthwaite’s new head of marketing, says that red and black were chosen to leave clients in no doubt that working with Huthwaite will propel them one step ahead.
“Red for our passion, dynamism and progression, and black for our stability and the safe pair of hands we provide,” says Woodward.
This is re-emphasised in the new strapline, which reads “Out-think, Out-perform”.
Reflecting the new reality
The second driver, says Hughes, with uncommon and admirable frankness for a chief executive, was that the old branding had lost impact.
“It was becoming difficult for anyone – including ourselves – to really put a finger on what the Huthwaite International brand was about,” says Hughes. “We are world leaders in our field and had so many strengths but somewhere down the line the true character of Huthwaite wasn’t coming across as clearly as it could.”
Woodhead explains that this “relates to our growth”: Huthwaite International has grown enormously over its 43 years. “We had outgrown our brand,” says Woodhead. “As we evolved as a business it was becoming more difficult to singularly articulate what the Huthwaite International brand was about.”
So, what has changed? The logo, of course. One subtle decision was to extend the right-hand upright of the ‘H’ to make it taller than the left, in a symbol that Huthwaite staffers refer to affectionately as the “Hoosh”.
It’s a visual symbol for moving upwards towards success, explains Woodhead, that backs up the symbolism of the new colours.
The look of the website has changed, too, to give it greater clarity. The amount of content has been pared back and the pages given a clean, minimalist look.
Huthwaite has created a new library of visual imagery based on eight “hero clients” – their businesses diverse and scattered worldwide, but all united by their ambition and their readiness for change. Images were chosen to be inclusive, reflecting the gamut of Huthwaite’s diverse client base from SMEs to global corporates.
A particularly interesting change is to the writing style used in Huthwaite’s online content. Once again, the goal was clarity.
“We removed complexity from our tone of voice,” says Woodhead. “We are a deeply intelligent business but our clients still want communication that is clear and succinct.”
A successful transition
Leaders at Huthwaite International are relieved and proud that the feedback from clients about the rebrand has been universally positive.
Colleagues say the rebrand already feels embedded, even though it only went live on January 3.
These changes are not the end of it, Woodhead adds. Rebranding is a dynamic process that will continue, as the company learns more. She promises more developments in the coming months.
Huthwaite International is the skills partner of the Association of Professional Sales. Together, we aim to bring fresh insight and research and to drive the highest standards of quality and excellence across the sales industry.