Nigerian facilities management companies have many strategies and tactics to learn from the players in the developed markets. Likewise, those in the developed markets have many things to learn from Nigeria, especially how they are coping during uncertainties situations. This piece examines brand portfolio management and shared value creation from the perspective of Mitie Group. This becomes imperative as our previous analyses indicate that Nigerian players cannot do without co-create value and capture it together as the industry grows.
Mitie is a household name in the United Kingdom’s facilities management industry. Over the years, the Group has been delivering FM solutions and offering products to businesses, governments and individuals in the UK and other countries in Europe and North America. In recent times, it has undergone a series of merger and acquisition.
Brand Portfolio Management
The clear difference between a brand and a product is that a product evolves from a brand. A brand is an entity that entails people, material resources and financial capital that produces or manufactures a product. As clear as this, in our experience, we have seen how marketing and communications professionals in the Nigerian FM industry are muddling communicating a brand with communicating a product.
This reminds us of the place of brand portfolio management. BPM stresses the use of communication playbook for effective and sustainable communication. The playbook encompasses the ways and approaches to communicating values, culture and personalities of people ad brand to the targeted markets. As a rulebook, it explains how logo, font, colour, photography among others, must be used in written communication engagement. The key strength of communication playbook otherwise known as brand style guide is its ability to help businesses maintain consistency in voice and character (personality). When it is used properly, it has the tendency of enhancing brand equity, identity and loyalty.
However, the success of using it largely depends on the extent to which employees are carried along. Among the brand experts, employees should be considered as the recipients and expressors of brand identity. This is necessary because clients see employees before experiencing products or services. This explains the reason that evaluation of the employees fit with the playbook has to be done in relation with companies’ strategic intents. Companies have to constantly ensure that the manners and channels being used to present products’ personality, status and voice are consistent with the vision and mission statements including functional level strategic objectives.
Mitie cannot communicate its personality and culture exceptionally without having a guiding style or plan. As espoused earlier, the company must interact with the internal and external publics by informing them of its history, vision, personality traits and core values. On a specific note, it has to tell the publics why and how it is a business that is receptive to feedback, new ideas and always on the lookout for innovation in its markets. To communicate the vision, personality traits and core values effectively, Mitie devised brand guidelines that encompass the way to place texts, images, illustrations and communicating core attributes associated with services, personnel and customer engagement. In 2014, it commissioned “a special cut of the Megallanes font to ensure a unique brand image.
The new brand carries the Mitie name in lower case lettering beneath pink, purple and orange spheres, which it claims ‘reflects the company’s vision to inspire change in the way people live and work’. The new logo and brand identity are said “to be more in keeping with the shift in Mitie’s labour force from a largely blue-collar manual workforce to a modern service employee base. Reflecting Mitie’s desire to see the brand at the heart of every employee and customer”.
Shared Value Creation
As one of the FM companies with the intent of creating and capturing value sustainably, Mitie’s culture has been built the ‘exceptional, every day’ mantra with the focus on being committed to customers, professional colleagues in the industry and other stakeholders.
For instance, it initiated Project Helix with the intention of consolidating its share, enabling investments in employees, customers and emerging technologies. Mitie’s commitment to the emerging technologies could be discerned from its the Connected Workplace project. With the project, the company is capitalising on the new technologies towards ensuring exceptional value delivery every day for people and any environment it found itself. To make the purpose sink in people’s minds, especially top executives in sectors being served, Mitie made a film that captures essence of the concept.
Mitie has demonstrated that it has robust and sound HR policy and practices. It has stressed that the brand standards must be maintained at all times to ensure a consistent and impactful message. In addition, employees must think like a customer. This could be gleaned from its strategic vision and mission statements.
On the employee development and management practices, Mitie states that “Financial and non-financial remuneration must reflect the capability, skills and experience of the individual and incentivise behaviours in line with our principles. We will provide access to wellbeing support for our people, such as occupational health and an Employee Assistance Programme.”
In our journey of studying the Group in the last one year, we have realised that sustainable value positioning is being pursued consistently. A big lesson for the Nigerian players. Having created value collectively, our analyst proposes that customer positive experience can evolve in FM industry when companies initiate sustainable value sharing. Like Shared Value Creation, Shared Value Sharing should also be formed and used by considering clients’ inputs. Both value creation and sharing should not be the main responsibility of companies. Clients’ voice must be heard. Without this, customer positive experience will remain elusive in Nigeria.
In our analysis of Mitie’s messages, we found that employees and partners were more targeted than clients and professional bodies. This does not indicate that the Group does not prioritise other publics. How do the brand guidelines state in the playbook manifest in the messages? From the messages mined and analysed by our analyst, it emerged that the messages were developed around the key services and connected workspace project. The rules of usage regarding crafting content were discovered to be prominent in the messages.
However, it is glaring that the rules were not followed properly while employing photography, typography, colour and logo elements. Many factors could account for this. It could be linked to the media platforms used by the marketing and communications department and the kind of messages disseminated to the stakeholders.
Exhibit 1: Fully Supported and Engaged Connection with the Group’s Core Words
Analysis reveals that employees are receiving adequate support and engagement from the management of the company. It could also be deduced that collaboration is in existence among the employees and between the management and employees. Analysis further indicates that be the best every day and having a sense of belonging are being perceived by the employees. A great number of the employees also indicate that they are connecting their values and traits with the company’s success pursuit.
Though, we did not analyse the link between employees’ views and revenue or profits in 2019, our analyst notes that the company is expected to have substantial revenue or profit from its superior employee engagement and support for application of the rules in the playbook. One of the successes of support for application, according to our analysis, is the reflection of fully supported and engaged in the way employees crafted messages about the company and products. We found more than 14 times reflections of the company’s watchwords.