10 October 2016 | FM World team
BIFM Awards 2016 - Brand Impact
Mitie Group's Gather & Gather catering brand has won the 2016 Brand Impact Award, the awards category recognising brand innovations that have enhanced facilities management services and strategy.
Ruby McGregor-Smith, Mitie CEO, asked Allister Richards in 2010 to devise, launch and manage a standalone brand to convey Mitie Catering Services' (MCS) love of food and industry-challenging aspirations.
In 2011, Mitie's £34 million catering arm adopted an entrepreneurial business model and in 24 months almost trebled in size to be the fastest-growing caterer in the UK and Ireland, with Rolls-Royce, Sky, Standard Life, The National Audit Office and Lloyds Banking Group among its clients.
By 2013, it was contributing £86 million in annual turnover to the group, but its beliefs and values were getting lost behind its parent's identity; a heritage in cleaning and security didn't fit with the fiercely contested food market. A rebrand was needed.
This had to turn workplace canteens into a place workers chose to spend time in, blurring the lines between the traditional contract sector and restaurant business/high street eateries. This had to work for staff, clients and customers and communicate the profound impact food could have on how customers feel about themselves, their colleagues, and their workplace.
The strategy that gave the company its name was to ?encapsulate its 'special difference' by adopting the idea of 'urban hunter gatherers' exploring the world of food, collecting the latest approaches, bringing them back and "making them both unique and accessible".
Identity was honed in everything from on-site menus and recipe cards through to canteen signage. Director of sales and marketing Heidi Stone drew on examples of brands that had championed emotional connections, embracing US brands guru Jim Stengel's theory that by setting out business 'ideals' - shared goals of improving people's lives - a brand's profitability can be hugely increased.
BIFM judges said it was an exceptional presentation and strong interview based on an excellent brand development programme by the Mitie's catering business to develop a stand-alone catering product and brand.
The highly commended entrant in this category was Skanska, for its "Build for a better society" business plan, which judges said was "simple, focused and underpins their business culture".