Transforming the brand and the business
Laing Homes began as the housebuilding division of John Laing, a major UK construction group. When the housebuilding cycle turned upwards in the mid-1990s, a new management team led by Steve Lidgate seized the opportunity to adopt a new business model, re-positioning from volume housebuilding into a premium homes brand.
The brief comprised four deliverables: define a premium brand positioning for the ‘new’ Laing Homes; create a visual identity system to communicate positive change; organize ‘brand engagement’ events to embed a new company culture; and, building on the brand values, implement a ‘brand experience’ for new and more affluent customers.
At the outset, in close collaboration with the client management, a brand proposition was developed for the new Laing Homes − individuality, quality, and modernity with a sense of tradition. This phrase encapsulated in short-form every aspect of the re-positioned company: the design and constructional quality of its premium homes product; the value and location of the company’s landbank; and the brand’s positioning, visual style and communications.
At the heart of the brand identity is the Laing Homes ‘pineapple’, a symbol since ancient times of hospitality and prestige, supported by classical typography and a strong use of ‘racing green’.
The new brand supported the rapid transition of the business to a premium position and strong profitability. Within two years, the portfolio reached upmarket to new homes priced at over £1.5 million, and customer satisfaction was measured at 85%. In 2002, Laing Homes was purchased by Wimpey for £297 million.
“The project was based on a strategic understanding of our business and enabled us to build a new brand that will carry forward our business for years to come”
Steve Lidgate, Chief Executive, Laing Homes
Above: ornamental pineapple of Coade stone at Ham House, Richmond-upon-Thames (National Trust)
Project undertaken by Nick Sheaff while at Nucleus