Unearth the Hidden Value
It was fast becoming known as a reputable company that helps land owners maximise the wealth of their most valuable asset. But as the founders of Wallace Land Investments (Wallace) eyed further growth beyond their immediate base in Edinburgh, they knew their brand had to better reflect the knowledge, expertise and personal touch delivered by the team. In stepped The Engine Room…
Founded by Jason Wallace and Iain McDonald in 2009, Wallace was the culmination of decades of experience in strategic land delivery and investment.
With a wealth of expertise in the delivery and promotion of greenfield development opportunities the team at Wallace was well placed to help land owners achieve the maximum potential value from their assets.
By bridging the gap between the client, the planning system and the open market, Wallace’s strategies couldn’t just unearth the hidden value of the land – they could also de-risk the whole experience for the landowner.
Customer relationships became formed on the basis of trust, given the magnitude of the potential land values involved, the upfront investment required and the impact they could have on farmers and their families’ futures. Every satisfied client further highlighted the benefit of working with Wallace during this complex process and reputation-driven organic growth followed.
There was no questioning the validity of the business proposition. But faced with stiff competition in a crowded market, Wallace needed to better communicate its approach and marketplace differential, to expand beyond Scotland.
Co-founder Iain was aware of The Engine Room given our work for another organisation in his portfolio. Conversations unfolded and a new identity began to take shape…
As is the case with most new client projects, the journey began with discovery workshops that would truly highlight Wallace‘s market position.
Treating this phase very much like a blank canvas from which to map the business vision moving forward, we spoke to the team in detail about every single step of the process they pursued with a land owner. We discussed the challenges encountered along the way and how they were overcome thanks to the depth of understanding within the company. We assessed what success ‘looked like’ and how long this typically took to come to fruition. And we delved into the specifics of project completions to date, to extract the difference that Wallace had made.
These learnings – coupled with wider market and competitor analysis – illustrated Wallace’s key differential. They had the degree of expertise typically found in organisations ten times their size, but their personal service was the key to the formation of trust within their high-value relationships with customers.
These same findings were used to bring the new brand to life. Nothing that Wallace was doing as a business really needed to change. But how the team conveyed themselves required careful attention. For example:
- They were not effectively communicating what they did, which needed to be addressed given the long-sell nature of this high-worth process. Story-telling, careful narration and more informative brand assets would help address this.
- The use of cliched stock imagery also limited the approachability and true professionalism of the company, so real clients were interviewed and photographed to add authenticity and personality to the brand.
- And meticulous thought was given to the positioning of the brand and the team’s ability to uncover hidden value from clients’ land. This needed to be reinforced in both the language and visual identity, with the part-concealed W in the new company logo just one manifestation of this objective.
“I will admit that I was sceptical as to the value that marketing could bring to our commercial objectives, but the strategic and considered approach of The Engine Room meant that we truly delved into the heart of our business model, ethos and vision.”
The Engine Room created an entirely new brand identity for Wallace, which was subsequently rolled out across the design and development of a fresh company website complete with written content and specially-commissioned photography, as well as stationery, explainer video and some very clever pieces of marketing comms.
When a potential customer first approaches Wallace, for example, they receive a 420mm x 420mm piece of beautiful stock which unfolds to reveal a branded Monopoly board – a light-hearted but professionally executed introduction to the brand. They are sent further cards for the personalised board game as the relationship progresses. This creative idea is complemented by the distribution of high quality A5 brochures and what has now become a regular company newspaper too.
Everything lies in perfect alignment, with the ultimate goal of demonstrating how Wallace Land will help clients reap the rewards from their land.
The company is now a 5-strong team with a second office in Manchester and clients throughout Scotland, the North West and Midlands, down to the Thames Valley
“This was a fantastic refresh of how we present what we can do as a business. The response has been nothing but positive. Our website, for example, is now the perfect shop window for our company – it finally does Wallace Land justice and sets the perfect first impression when conversations with a prospective client begin.
With the new brand and communications framework that we now have at our fingertips, we’ve laid the foundations to a long-lasting marketing strategy.”
“Farmers plough their whole life into their land, so when the time comes to divest of this asset, this will not be a decision they have taken lightly. We therefore treat each piece of land like our own livelihood is at stake, and it is this commitment to the project from the very outset – not to mention our breadth of expertise within this complex market – that ultimately means clients choose us. Our challenge, however, was how to better project this to people that hadn’t yet heard of our company.”
Jason Wallace, co-founder, Wallace Land Investments