Selwood is a textbook example of how structured, strategic communications can be invaluable in delivering to an organisation’s business goals and help it reach key milestones such as a business transformation, exit or sale.
Polymedia often gets involved with businesses as they embark on phases of major growth and change. Establishing strong foundations is essential to enable an organisation to build from a position of strength as it grows and evolves.
Family-owned Selwood, active since the 1940s, had decades of heritage as a supplier of pump and plant equipment to the construction and water industries. The CEO knew that to deliver several major changes – ultimately including a sale – a carefully managed brand and communications plan was vital.
The first step was to work closely with the leadership team at Selwood to establish key messages for the brand, the Board’s growth ambitions – which included attracting investment to enable expansion overseas – and its target audiences.
The campaign then unfolded, step by step, always with those ultimate goals in mind. First came core messages centre around Selwood’s expertise, strong customer service and the quality and longevity of its products. A new website, designed and built after careful analysis of who would be using the site and why, incorporated these messages and better reflected Selwood’s position as a global leader.
A rebrand process evolving and modernising the Selwood brand, logo and all its collateral, liveries, and signage to standardise these across the business and give the company a more modern, forward-looking, and corporate feel. The business had previously communicated only sporadically with its audiences, including key framework customers in the water industry who were a key target to support growth and a shift towards engineered solutions alongside its traditional products and services.
Once the foundations were in place, Polymedia worked closely with Selwood’s in-house marketing team to develop a consistent drumbeat of news and updates through the blog, LinkedIn, and specialist press.
A “people project” turned the focus on Selwood’s teams for the first time, reiterating key messages about the business’s commitment to outstanding customer service and experience in resolving complex problems. Case studies were used extensively to showcase the business’s expertise.
These strong foundations enabled Selwood and its parent company, Workdry International, to retain a strong brand and market presence during a period of intensive activity as it worked to deliver to the board’s strategy. These included the planned move of the CEO to a Chairman role and the introduction of his successor, the closure of the Selwood’s plant sales operation and the sale of its plant rental business as the business moved to focus on its core offering.
These included the planned move of the CEO to a Chairman role and the introduction of his successor, the closure of the Selwood’s plant sales operation and the sale of its plant rental business as the business moved to focus on its core offering.
The acquisition of a water treatment solutions provider, Siltbuster, was announced with an emphasis on Workdry – Selwood and Siltbuster together – as a one-stop shop for engineered water handling solutions and water treatment.
These developments, managed and messaged over several years, paved the way for the CEO and board to deliver on their ultimate goal – to secure investment in the business to enable its next-level growth domestically and internationally.
In September 2022, Workdry International was acquired by independent fund manager Arcus Infrastructure Partners, taking over the controlling interest from the family owners and empowering the group to build on its track record by investing in innovation and new territories.
Polymedia continues to support Selwood as it embarks on this new phase of its journey. Richard Brown, CEO, said: “Over the years the team at Polymedia have brought invaluable perspective, always with their eye on the bigger picture and the business’s best interests at heart, as well as giving day-to-day support to our in-house teams.
“Polymedia’s strategic understanding of our business goals and ability to help us deliver these through our brand and communications programme has been instrumental in helping us grow the business and ultimately to develop the Selwood brand to the point where we were able to take this major next step.”