Case study 4 Sapience HR

Sue Hook had to make herself redundant from a board-level position in 2007 and so, having realised HR was under-valued in Cornwall, founded Sapience the same year.

Sue saw a rise over the next six years in local start-up HR companies, coupled with the ‘big boys’ offering packages to business nationally; she needed to stand out from the crowd.

Along with their PR agency, Absolute thoroughly reviewed products, brand, business journey and customer attitudes. Clients weren’t aware of all Sapience’s services, and, like most businesses, used HR reactively. Sapience saw an opportunity to change business culture from just ‘cure’ to ‘prevention’. This was the focus of their rise. Sapience would move from ‘day-to-day’, ‘emergency’ HR to offer proactive mentoring and human resources programmes to ambitious businesses.

The creative team brought together brand styling and tone of voice. A new colour palette and brand ethos along with a strapline – Empowering People, Unleashing Success – gave the company a focus and helped them stand out. Communication is key in consultancy: tone of voice and copy led the rebrand.

Impact was instant. In ten months, turnover rose by 45%, new clients by 24%, existing client spend by 22%. Website visits rose 27% and are far outstripping local competitors. The company has added another team member, increasing their size by a third.

The design investment has seen an empowered, motivated team and an increase in sales locally. It has re-energised the founder, becoming almost an autonomous, self-sufficient helper in itself, while boosting the business’s growth. The rebrand also gave the business a platform from which to sell their intellectual property online, as well as developing clear work streams for clients.

The new brand is winning new clients and Sapience is on course to meet and exceed all its objectives.

“As a small team, we were working as hard as anyone possibly could, ‘shackled’ by the needs and demands of clients and the high intensity delivery required by our ‘emergency work.’ We will continue to provide this invaluable work and service for our clients, but we were deeply frustrated as we knew that we had the potential, and a deep desire, to deliver much more proactive and rewarding results for a whole raft of clients – but we couldn’t see the way.

The research process for the new brand, the development of the brand style and copy, and all of the resultant tools, have been transformative in enabling us to clearly identify who we are, why we are different and better than our competitors. The process has also clarified not just the actual products and services that we now deliver, but the deep-rooted and simple need for these products amongst our clients and our target clients.

The rebrand has been our key to empowering us as our people, in turn, unleash our success. The rebrand hasn’t
just clarified the future of this business, it is the future of this business.”
Sue Hook, Founder

2017 DBA Design Effectiveness award for branding