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“The Allotment have taken a very effective and commercial approach to our rebrand project. They understand the intrinsic importance of what we’re trying to do. The solutions are always innovative, but they’re relevant and clever, but not just for the sake of being clever. They have a great combination of strategic business skills and creativity.”
VERNON GOLDBERG, CEO, QFC
New signage was applied throughout QFC’s manufacturing sites
The challenge and solution
Quality Furniture Company make over 250,000 sofas a year and is one of the largest manufacturers in the UK. It supplies all the major upholstery retailers, including Next, DFS, John Lewis, Argos and Laura Ashley.
Following a period of dramatic growth, the CEO of the business, Vernon Goldberg, approached the Design Council to discuss how design could support the business in a change of strategic direction, improving product design and development and employee engagement. As a result, Quality Furniture Company was seconded to the Council’s Designing Demand programme, which made many recommendations, one of which was to review its customers’ perception of its brand. After a commissioning process, The Allotment were selected to support this strategic programme.
Research carried out by The Allotment revealed that Quality Furniture Company’s customers’ expectations around product innovation were increasing – as category leaders in there supply chain the retailers expected the Quality Furniture Company to lead innovation.
Although competing well with others in the marketplace there was a sense internally and externally that there needed to be a new focus on innovation. The Allotment and the sofa company’s co-owners, Vernon and David, wanted to change this – to bring the brand back to having a sense of inspiration that would engage and enthuse everyone involved with the business. With this as the brief we were tasked to create a new brand proposition, identity and marketing touchpoints while retaining the name of the business, which to many was known as QFC.
HOW WE SOLVED IT
We are obsessed with giving meaning to everything we do and yet the Quality Furniture Company (QFC) as a name had little meaning in a market where ‘quality’ was a given. This was a challenge! The breakthrough came from the realisation that one of the key drivers for innovation is asking QUESTIONS; questions such as Why, What and How? We discovered that QFC was already asking big questions of its people to drive continuous improvement. We took this as the core idea for the brand’s development.
The ‘Q’ in QFC became the question and the big idea for the business. By asking questions the business would continuously deliver better products and in-turn become indispensable to its customers while delighting the consumer purchasing the sofa.
This became the vision and spurred a new set of values based on Imagination, Achievement and Support.
All 450 employees of QFC were given a brand-in-the-hand booklet, which provided the ‘Why’, explaining the strategic rationale behind the new brand and what it means for them. At the same time a new website was launched together with new signage across QFC’s two manufacturing sites.
Rebrand of QFC, the UK's biggest sofa manufacturer
In Quality Furniture Company's case its customers understood the business' ability to produce 250,000 high quality sofas a year but they were less aware of its passion for market-led innovation.
Our research showed that for QFC's customers category leadership and creativity was paramount. This was our focus to give the QFC brand meaning. Questions drive new thinking!