Higher Yields Come From Levity Fields
Growing natural produce such as potatoes, lettuce, soft fruits and root vegetables, may not sound like a complex business. But a great amount of agronomical innovation goes in to optimising the yield and quality of such foodstuffs, especially in an ever-changing and challenging global environment. This niche area of crop science is the very specialism of the Levity team. But as this young organisation looked to gain worldwide traction, it was clear that a more considered brand strategy was required…
Established in 2011, Levity brings together leading agronomy scientists who can bridge the gap between academic research and farmers, continually developing crop science solutions that help produce more food with less input.
A self-confessed ‘boutique’ organisation rather than a mainstream agricultural supplier, it was this niche, problem-solving focus which quickly saw the business attract global attention.
The brand therefore had to evolve rapidly. Levity’s identity, at the time, was befitting of a University spin off project. But to better deliver the strategic needs of the organisation – not least to support the projected growth plans and reflect the team’s global authority – a significant overhaul was required.
That’s when The Engine Room became involved, following a recommendation from The Design Council.
Originally commissioned to undertake a strategic brand review, we began the project with an exploratory workshop. By asking seemingly simple questions we were able to gradually understand the business ambition and vision, as well as industry challenges and opportunities, the language used and, with the help of wider research, the nature of the competitor landscape.
Only then could any potential rebrand activity truly deliver the future objectives of this growing firm.
This in-depth collaborative process revealed a number of key factors, including the Levity ‘difference’. Not only was the organisation itself different to what already existed in the market, in respect of the experienced, academic, creative and personality behind the brand. But the genuine passion of the team – and their commitment to making a difference in this pressured industry – was also clear. They knew that change and innovation would help instigate an agronomical step-change. And they had the talent to help make it happen. But the brand didn’t, at that time, live up to the vision.
The recommended strategic direction quickly took shape thereafter. At the same time as helping to reposition the company for future growth, the underpinning principles were to:
- Position Levity as a clear leader in their field
- Sell the team’s insight and intelligence, not just their products
- Create a flexible brand architecture that could evolve
- Achieve a stand-out presence with a clear differential
- Present a justified image of confidence and trust, both in terms of the emotive and altruistic factors that influence why customers turn to Levity as well as the team’s scientific acumen.
As with the majority of projects undertaken by The Engine Room, this assignment looked far beyond the visual manifestation and messaging of the brand. It also considered the extent to which a strategic remodelling of the company could support Levity’s bottom line potential.
Consequently, we were appointed to undertake a second phase of work, which involved:
- Affirming the brand values.
- Rationalising the product portfolio.
- Overhauling the design and naming architecture of Levity’s ever-evolving product range. Interestingly two key concepts were proposed, with the client choosing the naming concept of one (based on ancient gods and protectors of the earth) and the visual representation of the other.
- Reframing how the team talked about the business.
- Creating a suite of brand collateral including core website elements, product packaging, exhibition materials and stationery with purpose! The team’s business cards also act as plant markers, for example!
And all of this in only three months.
What was a £400,000 turnover business when the relationship with The Engine Room first began, has witnessed incredible commercial success in recent times:
- The team has built a new research facility to support the continued pioneering development of crop science solutions.
- The product range has almost doubled since the commencement of the project.
- In April 2016, Dutch field trials revealed the team’s new potato product could boost yields by 6MT/ha.
- In the same month, Levity attracted equity investment to further fuel the company’s peak period of growth.
- By the end of 2016, export levels had trebled and sales doubled.
- What was initially a team of two is now a 6-strong brand with newly-appointed board members too.
- The organisation was crowned the Most Innovative Business at the Red Rose awards, in recognition of Levity’s innovative approach to delivering local, national and global impact.