The Gray Dawes Group
Going back to Square1 for a full rebrand
The Gray Dawes Group is a 150-year-old family-owned Travel Management Company (TMC) based in the UK. Having grown rapidly through both organic sales and acquisition, Gray Dawes Travel was in need of some brand love. Their existing brand had been created when they were a much smaller operation, and wasn’t effectively demonstrating their level of expertise, professionalism and attention to detail.
As with many companies of their size, the service they offer far outstripped the promise of the dated brand. It was time to bring their brand up to date to ensure they were representing themselves in the best possible light and to demonstrate their full capabilities to the world… while competing with and differentiating themselves from the competition.
Before the acquisition of the Giles Group we’d been impressed by their branding and marketing. We were delighted that we’d have the opportunity to utilise Square1 to help bring our brand to life.
Square1 had previously been a part of The Giles Group which was itself acquired by Gray Dawes Travel in 2018 and – seeing the value that we bring – it was a no-brainer that we’d undertake a full brand audit once the acquisition was complete.
The brief was simple… take Gray Dawes Travel back to Square1 to ensure the brand was a true reflection of the business and aligned with the strategic long-term objectives.
As we began our analysis of the company, it became clear that two factors would be key in bringing the brand up to date:
- Gray Dawes Travel was a multifaceted business. In addition to the core corporate travel service, they also provide a range of additional offerings across meetings & events, leisure travel and consulting.
- The company had been through a period of sustained growth through acquisition, bringing together a number of different brands, businesses and their teams. As it stood, the group had no consistent brand strategy and little continuity in the execution of the brand.
These two elements, along with the size of the company, helped guide our approach. We knew the brand needed to support a range of service offerings while simultaneously bringing together different teams and cultures that had joined at various stages and from a range of businesses.
Rather than imposing an existing brand upon these teams, we demonstrated how much more effective a full, inclusive rebrand would be. And to reach each operating unit’s full potential it was clear that Gray Dawes Travel would need to become The Gray Dawes Group; a branded house of operational units to include Gray Dawes Travel, Gray Dawes Events and Gray Dawes Holidays.
By including everyone as part of a full rebrand, the buy-in would be so much higher and the brand would be much more closely aligned to the true sentiment within the business. Going down the route of a branded house would offer differentiation for each business unit while maintaining continuity of the core brand values across the entire group.
We called this process ‘Project Phonenix’, as from the ashes of the old acquired brands, something new was born!
Following an extensive rebrand process, we launched the new Gray Dawes Group brand, complete with full brand guidelines, logos, tone of voice documents, templates, website and more. Alongside this sat Gray Dawes Travel, Gray Dawes Events and Gray Dawes Holidays – each with their own distinctive take on the core group brand, their own websites and collateral, all to reflect their own individual personalities and target markets.
Since then, the group has continued to grow, and thanks to the branded house approach, it’s been a simple process to continue to expand upon the brand foundations that were set. In addition to Gray Dawes Travel, Gray Dawes Events and Gray Dawes Holidays, Gray Dawes Consulting and Gray Dawes Sports recently joined the roster. Again, these new business units have their own client bases and their own personalities, which we’ve been able to present while still being very much a Gray Dawes company.
We were hugely impressed with the work that Square1 carried out. Internally, it’s pulled us all together, giving us a brand that we can all get behind and be truly proud of. For external audiences it’s repositioned us as the industry-leaders that we are and given us the foundations to build and evolve.
Suzanne Horner | CEO | The Gray Dawes Group