The Optionis Group are experts in accountancy, employment, tax and professional services to the contractor and SME markets. The group was operating through several brands including, SJD Accountancy, Nixon Williams, Parasol, ClearSky Contractor Accounting, Brian Alfred and ClearSky Business.
Whilst there was some crossover in services offered, some of the sub-brands had small points of difference. SJD Accountancy was the largest contractor accounting specialist in the UK supporting over 15,000 clients and with offices throughout the UK. Nixon Williams offered similar services, but on a smaller scale. Parasol offered professional employment services to the UK’s contingent workforce, whilst Brian Alfred, as one of the UK’s leading tax rebate specialists, helped CIS, self-emloyed and PAYE workers make the most of their earnings.
The main challenge to the group was that whilst it had the largest share of market, because of the disparate nature of the many brands, it didn’t have a meaningful share of voice.
Consolidate many brands into one, including a unified vision, look and feel, and tone of voice
Create one brand that stands out in the market, but is fit for the foreseeable future
Create a brand which will take a disparate collection of current customers on its journey, but will also attract new customers
Create a new brand name which not only appealed to a wide variety of people, but also key stakeholders within each existing brand
The target audience is made up of people from all walks of life, from freelancers to contractors and consultants—to sole traders and people who work as independent employees under an umbrella service. What unites the audience is that they all work for themselves.
Whilst the audience are not corporate careerists, they have every ambition to both do well and grow their respective businesses and their income—whilst feeling proud of what they do. That gave us the notion that this group of people were as entitled to have a career as much as any professional climbing the ladder in a blue chip organisation. And because we are talking about taking care of the financial side of things for them, while they concentrated on their careers, we wanted to introduce a ‘money’ theme to the name, whilst also ensuring the brand felt human and fun. We took that thought and used the slang for money—moola and married that with the career aspect of our naming strategy; which is how Caroola was born.
The next stage was to create a visual identity that had mass appeal, but competed with peers in the industry—as well as having a fintech feel to it—as the proposition was based around using great tech and having the support of real people.
We held several brand development and insight workshops with key stakeholders from the marketing team and the clients Exec, as well as sessions with customers. Then we researched the various brands, the market—and the opportunities for the new brand to be a success. Exploring several key territories, we worked with Optionis to refine a number of propositions down to one and worked on creating a new brand look and feel and set of visually distinctive brand assets. Selling the new brand internally was a vital part of this project and in doing so, we created a brand video and deck that was presented to staff on several face-to-face meetings. This culminated in the launch of the new brand at the annual all staff Christmas party, and meant the whole team went into the new year with the confidence and backing of the new brand.
After initially embedding the new brand internally and into the market through a number of channels, we have since carried out tone of voice workshops delivered to thirty staff members. We have also walked staff through our execution of the brand guidelines, so that the new brand can be implemented independently of the agency.
Creode has also designed and built the new Caroola website and continue to test and improve on the UX.