Two years ago, UK change consultancy Project One embarked on its own journey of change. They employed 100+ deeply experienced consultants, doing great work for some of the UK’s best-known names – John Lewis, Co-op, Rolls Royce, Virgin Media – but their brand was little known in the wider marketplace.
The leadership team knew that the web was an opportunity to get the Project One message out more widely. They’d always had a website, in fact, they’d recently invested pretty heavily in a new site and visual brand, but this still didn’t feel right and it certainly wasn’t bringing the benefits the business sought.
They decided to rethink their strategy, from the brand message up. Roll forward to today, and Project One is flying. New message, new website, a library of valuable content, over 900 UK leaders in their Real Change Club and greater awareness amongst existing clients and the wider market. The work is attracting inbound leads from potential clients and high calibre candidates. There’s a greater consistency and a new confidence around the firm, reflected in their recent European Business Award – Project One is national champion for the UK in the ELITE Award for Growth Strategy of the Year.
We must come clean. Project One is our much-loved client and we’ve been deeply involved in helping them turn this around. But this is not an award for us! We’ve given them this content thing but they’ve run with it. In the words of an X Factor judge ‘They’ve really made it their own.”
We’re hugely impressed by their determination, creativity, commitment and enthusiasm. And we’ve learned a whole heap about driving real, long lasting business change in the process.
So congratulations Project One. A very, very well deserved Valuable Content Award for you. Here are some of your best bits.
A purpose to work for
It all started here. Like all great content projects, it started with a solid slab of customer research and some heartfelt soul searching. How did Project One’s clients define their challenges and the way that Project One helped them? How do Project One define themselves? What is the purpose of the business? What change do they want to make in the world?
Project One didn’t take the challenge of defining their purpose lightly. They took Simon Sinek’s Start with the Why idea and ran with it. In fact, we reckon they put more thought into it than anyone we’ve ever worked with. And the thinking paid off.
As Business Development Manager Glynis Ward put it:
“We now have a clearer, more confident, bolder and more distinctive expression and message. It has become the golden thread that runs through the whole brand. We have a way of describing Project One in a way we’ve never had before – one that feels comfortable and confident and also distinctive.”
The Real Change Club
The Real Change newsletter idea came from the conversations we’d had with Project One’s clients at the beginning of the project. Geoff Mason ran with it (Geoff was Knowledge Director at the start of the project; he’s steered the process from the start, and now goes by the title of Content Director.)
The tone and approach of the Real Change Club has quickly won followers and fans, which has led to new leads and useful sales conversations. Geoff shares a variety of content through the email newsletter each month, from beautifully illustrated guides written by in-house experts, to tips on running good meetings. We particularly liked this one: 10 Dysfunctional Steering Groups
Written with a laser sharp focus – how can we help people dealing with tough business change – the Real Change Club newsletter is right on target.
The Values Animation
Our deep dive messaging work with Project One highlighted the importance of the company’s purpose and values. Project One is on a mission to improve the way critical business change is delivered, and it’s a mission underpinned by some deeply held values. The team had the idea of turning these values into an animation (designed by Lizzie Everard), to share with the whole business, to engage new recruits and to tell clients more about the way they worked.
A Charter for Real Change
Putting purpose and belief centre stage sets Project One apart from its drier, more corporate sounding competitors. We love the deceptively simple list of the elements you need to make real change work that they’ve created. Written from deep experience and with heart – that’s Project One.
Project One Guides
So useful, and beautifully designed by design partners Ultimate, Project One’s Guides are seriously valuable content. Project One is building a fantastic library of change resources which clients can access in the Change Hub on the website, and which consultants can use to help them onsite with clients. Great to start useful conversations, and far better to leave behind than a business card, these guides are stacking up into a fantastic vault of trust-building content.
And finally, a website that does you proud
Clean, clear, packed with valuable content and with a real people focus, Project One’s new website is a worthy winner of a Valuable Content award. Keep up the great work, guys!
The impact on Project One’s business
- A renewed and shared purpose for Project One.
- Consistent message – clear articulation of the Project One story and its values.
- Better conversations. Consultants are equipped to contribute more to business development. The growing library of valuable content supports sales conversations.
- More people contributing to the sales process, in a way that feels natural.
- More successful bids. The work on the message and values has made responding to bids faster and more successful. Project One has plenty of powerful content to hand that illustrates their value.
- Inbound leads from the right type of clients via the Real Change Club.
- Easier recruitment process – the content is motivating inbound enquiries from potential employees too.
- More confidence in the business – pride in the message, brand and the website.
“We’ve gone from being relatively unknown outside the customers we’re working with at the time to being known about far more widely in the wider market. We now have a consistent message and distinctive way of describing what we do, with a library of valuable content to support sales conversations. We’re seeing more successful bids and we’re starting to see inbound leads from the right type of clients too. Overall there’s more confidence in the business – and a renewed pride in the Project One brand.” Geoff Mason
Lessons for your content and marketing
There’s so much to learn from Project One. If we had to pick out top three takeaways for other businesses we’ll go for:
- Invest time in getting the message right first. It might take longer than you think, but it’s time well spent.
- Be bold when you’re testing content ideas. Geoff launched the Real Change Club early on in the process rather than waiting until the website was up and running. It was the right decision, helping people within Project One buy into the changes, getting them used to consistently creating helpful content, and attracting the interest of potential clients.
- Raise the bar on quality. Everything Project One creates now looks distinctive and high quality, and delivers real value to their clients.
“Here at Project One we’ll never go back in terms of quality. We’ll drive to keep improving our content and we’re getting better and better My aim with our content is to produce something of quality that somebody values, I want to drive business, but I want it to be valued. I want people to love what we produce – to cherish and value it. This gives me immense pride.” – Geoff Mason
More information on the Project One approach
- Interview with Content Director Geoff Mason – thoughts and learnings about embedding content marketing as a growth strategy
- Details of the process and journey we took them through in the Project One customer story.
Lots to learn from their experience and approach if you want to make marketing change both deliver and stick.
A hard-won Valuable Content Award
Massively impressed Project One! Delighted to present this hard-won award. (Despite all the great content he’s produced over the last few years we refused to present it to Geoff until the new website was up. We’re harsh taskmistresses we know!)
Geoff, Glynis, Ian, Andrea, Sharon, Hayley and team – it’s been such a pleasure to work with you and the team at Project One. Hope you wear your Valuable Content Award badges with pride.