The Robert Horne Group is the largest paper merchant and manufacturer in the UK. In the main their marketing is aimed at senior buyers in the print industry who buy stock in volume. But the second key market are the ‘specifiers’ – those who rarely buy directly, but often specify Robert Horne papers for use in a print job. They often buy premium papers with a higher yield – but with some serious competition from smaller companies, this market is a tough one to crack.
Our brief was to create a brand for Robert Horne, targeted at the 'specifiers' market, to help position their premium 'creative' brands directly against the competitors. This meant overhauling their entire offer, from their core stationery and samples carriers, right through to styling above the line advertising and producing some of the specification tools themselves. Our initial research phase threw up some useful information. For instance, in the design industry, which accounts for the majority of Robert Horne's specified sales: 67% of large UK consultancies are in the South East, 77% of UK design businesses have a turnover of less than £100,000 and amazingly, only 1250 UK design businesses have a turnover greater than £250,000. This really helped in targeting the brand and structuring the marketing plan.
We could see that Robert Horne, with its massive variety of stocks from paper and plastics to metals, had experience which if made visible, could give the company a real competitive advantage. 'Material by Robert Horne' became the central proposition, communicating directly to the market about the company's passion for, and experience in, cutting edge materials. Throughout all of the marketing communications we made the material the hero. Photographer John Ross was commissioned to add to the idea, with powerful images that further demonstrated the company's love for the very stuff itself. The brand was launched in 2006 with an initial DM piece entitled 'Lovely Stuff'. Our branding work was rewarded at The Benchmark Awards and at The Roses Design Awards.
"Reaction to the new identity for the Specification Team has been really positive – we have a fresh new image and specifiers have noticed and this is having a positive effect on sales. The creative products sales overall for July 06 – May 07 is tracking at 40% up on volume from last year which is fantastic in a very competitive marketplace"
Philippa Charlton, Communications Director
Robert Horne Group