March 4, 2018
Wynyard Hall has rapidly grown from a wedding venue into a £5m-turnover destination for corporate events and leisure activities. As the business has grown, its management team has overcome challenges in creating a strong identity and future-proofing the brand…
Growing the brand with the business
One of the toughest challenges is allowing a brand to evolve with the business. Sir John Hall and his daughter Allison opened Wynyard Hall as a wedding venue 10 years ago. It grew very quickly to become one of the best wedding venues in the North East.
Ingrid Brough-Williams, sales and marketing manager, reflects: “As the business expanded, it was initially challenging to alter consumer perceptions and get people to see us as much more than a wedding venue. It took the implementation of a new five-year strategy for the brand to be re-positioned and realised as a destination for a magnitude of services.”
Maintaining brand consistency
Naturally, diversifying the service offering results in a diverse target market. Wynyard Hall’s corporate clients range from independent businesses to public sector organisations, construction firms and solicitors, while The Gardens appeal to local residents and tour operators. The next challenge was keeping the brand consistent across all departments, and all channels – ensuring that every single social media post, magazine advert and radio campaign was aligned. How do you make sure that a cocktail posted on Instagram is the same tone as an exhibition screen at a trade show? In 2015, a re-brand was commissioned, and a marketing agency was appointed to develop a new website, print creative and brand guidelines.
Ingrid continues: “Wynyard Hall was growing so quickly, the brand ran the risk of becoming disjointed. Our re-branding project helped us re-establish our core values, and make sure each department was working to the same goals.
“Following completion of the re-brand, we were using multiple agencies for various different services – PR, web development, graphic design etc. We decided to start growing our in-house team. This has made a positive impact on the business, we have shortened lead times for design creative, streamlined the sign-off process and made our marketing more coherent.”
One such recruit is marketing manager Beckie Andrews. She says: “We made a conscious decision to alter our tone of voice and use only the best content. We focus now more than ever on creating compelling copy and telling Wynyard Hall’s story. It can be tough keeping a traditional brand contemporary, but it’s something that is important to ensure longevity. Our guests really engage with striking photography and emotive videos. This is evident in our social media engagement – our Facebook following has doubled in the last two years.”
Managing brand growth
Another strategic test is how to manage brands within brands and keep them consistent?
Beckie says: “Now in its third season, Wynyard Hall’s Gardens attracts more than 20,000 visitors per year, and we have been faced with a decision – whether to keep information on the main Wynyard Hall website, or whether to launch a new site dedicated to The Gardens. While a Gardens website would allow more room for content, we feel there are too many negative implications – splitting the website traffic and its impact on SEO, additional resources to maintain the website, duplicate booking systems, etc. We felt the brand has more power as Wynyard Hall and The Gardens, rather than two separate entities.”
Beckie concludes: “To ensure a brand’s longevity, it must evolve with the business. You must have long and short term strategies in place and the team to deliver and review them. It’s also crucial to be objective by using focus groups or consultancy firms that can provide unbiased insights into your brand. Finally, for a strong brand, it’s essential to remain true to its core values, and not allow it to be pushed or pulled in different directions as the business grows.”