Wolseley Centers builds an image

Manchester-based Appleby Bowers will present identity concepts by the end of April for plumbing and building giant Wolseley Centers, in a project worth close to six figures in fees to the consultancy.

The project is part of the Ripon-based company’s moves to counter competition from the likes of B&Q Warehouse, Travis Perkins and Jewson and design applications are likely to include in-store signage, point-of-sale materials and packaging.

The company is the owner of trade brands such as Plumb Center and Builder Center, and the work is described as a ‘total brand review’ of a family of corporate marques that are now 18 years old.

‘We’re reassessing the brands from the base up,’ says Appleby Bowers managing director Bernie Bowers. ‘There’s potential for a clean slate – everything’s up for grabs.’

The existing identities have ‘aged gracefully’ and enjoy high recognition in their markets, Bowers adds, but the time has come to modernise. ‘The tap and the trowel icons have created huge awareness, so careful consideration has to be given to any design changes,’ he says.

Design work will be based on a ‘close assessment’ of the competition and will retain Wolseley Centers’ ‘sector-specific’ approach, which differentiates its brands from one-stop shop-style rivals.

Plumbers, for example, appreciate being treated as specialists, Bowers explains, resulting in a ‘better rapport’ with the brand. However, Builder Center has a broader constituency, including non-trade customers, and needs to become more ‘retail-conscious’, he adds.

Bowers was part of the original design team that created the identities in 1985 while at Jordan Williams. Since founding his own group, he has carried out the ‘ten-year review’ of the brand.

Appleby Bowers won its current assignment in a three-way pitch in December 2002.

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