GGF Commercial continues to revive the fortunes of each of its brands – and it’s good for the industry too, as MD Anda Gregory explains.
In November last year I addressed a meeting of the trade press to review the progress of her charges – brands including FENSA, BFRC, InstallSure (formerly GGFi) and the newly formed inspection arm RISA, and Borough IT, which largely exists to serve internal requirements – to both review their progress and discuss the hopes and plans for their future.
Discussing each of the Commercial Group’s brands, I said that cooperation and unity between the commercial businesses has been unprecedented, helping us to make more of each company, in terms of promoting each other’s businesses and lending expertise to deliver the best service possible.
Each division received a thorough review at least, with some receiving the most thorough of makeovers. Of these, FENSA has been the most radical. The largest of any entity within the auspices of the GGF including the membership organisation, with 6,200 members and growing, it is worth remembering that FENSA was created in 2002 with the express purpose of providing an entity through which window and door installers could self-certify their work, thus sparing local authority planning control officers a complete melt-down following that year’s radical revisions to the Building Regulations. Overnight, membership ran into the thousands, principally because there was little choice and nowhere else to go.
Since then things have changed and installers now have a choice of five competent persons schemes that are licenced by government to administer self assessment, although in reality there are two of any substance. But that introduced the element of competition to the scene; FENSA no longer had it all its own way.
What FENSA continued to enjoy was size and brand awareness, although both statistics were under pressure.
My team and I quickly recognised the potential for FENSA to become a dynamic force on behalf of its members and for the good of the wider industry and the GGF.
FENSA continues to be the highest profile brand of the GGF Commercial Group, a position that has been extended during 2019 with the launch of a TV advertising campaign, the first ever undertaken by FENSA. This, together with social media, a new and improved website and increased activity through PR and press advertisements has significantly improved the visibility of FENSA.
FENSA had rested on its laurels for too long. Although brand recognition by homeowners was okay, it wasn’t as high as we needed it to be for the good of our FENSA Approved Installers and there was confusion around what FENSA actually did or meant. This is why we made a hero out of our FENSA certificate, encouraging homeowners to always ask if they’ll get a FENSA certificate when the job’s done when getting quotes from installers.
Our expectations for the campaign had three components. The first was to help our existing FENSA Approved Installers to win more work; the second was to gradually bring more good installers who weren’t with FENSA already into the family; and the final, and most crucial from the point of view of the GGF Group’s mission to raise industry standards, was to help shrink the grey market and make it harder for rogue traders to win work.
Given trading standards is underfunded, we needed to find more creative ways to get homeowners to only use legitimate installers through spreading positive messages about our industry.
The campaign has been an unqualified success as by the end of the 2019 campaign – it will continue during 2020 – the advertisements have reached 63% of the adult UK population, with each person seeing the messaging an average of 8.1 times, equating to more than 247 million viewings.
To supplement this FENSA has launched a new Installer Marketing programme, designed to help FENSA Approved Installers realise the full potential of the UK’s largest and most prominent glazing competency scheme with a suite of expertly tailored and affordable marketing strategies.
Working in partnership with CMDi, the marketing specialist that was responsible for the TV campaign, FENSA’s new Installer Marketing package covers Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media management, content marketing and digital & press advertising.
Designed to enable members to concentrate on their core business by removing the hassle and hard work of marketing, FENSA installers can also choose from a range of other services that include: design consultation for company branding, logos and van decals; a website re-fresh or re-build including design and messaging enhancements and SEO; assistance with a complete digital marketing strategy; and homeowner marketing that includes brochures, email templates, point of sale material, and even workwear design.
The FENSA infrastructure has been reinforced to cope. A review in 2018 indicated that customer service had to be improved and big improvements have taken place, with the team strengthened with recruitment and training.
Partnerships with training providers have also been established to offer upskilling for installers across the industry, with FENSA also sponsoring the Building our Skills initiative to help tackle the skills shortage. In addition, exclusive discounts on fuel and at Trade Point stores across the UK are now in place for all FENSA Approved Installers.
Other divisions have also received a significant overhaul. The rebranding of the former GGFi to Installsure was carried out, in part, to remove confusion between GGFi customers and GGF membership, a move that actually took place despite 2019 being a record year for applications to join the specialist insurance and financial services provider.
This was facilitated by better marketing, improved communications within the group, the digital distribution of documentation and the simple provision of an online application form, all of which was capped by the renaming of the division.
The BFRC has also undergone significant change, including a new rebranding and website designed to promote BFRC as the best way for companies to prove the energy efficiency performance of their products.
Our bold new rebrand reinforces the vital role BFRC plays in proving this invisible performance, and includes a new logo, our new ‘proven performance’ slogan, a manifesto which underpins everything we say and do, as well as new ratings labels for use in the industry.
BFRC is also expecting UKAS accreditation and a number of new product developments will be launched during 2020.
BFRC will also be organising a further Fabricators’ Forum likely to take place in June 2020. A host of expert speakers will be announced in the coming weeks and provide detailed insight into the latest changes impacting the industry. Building on the success of last year it promises to become an industry staple in a short space of time.
Inspections and audit body RISA also received attention from the new team, with changes made to how the team operates with subtle yet highly effective adjustments such as renaming inspectors as ‘assessors’, designed to improve the development of personal relationships with FENSA Approved Installers.
In keeping with the Commercial division’s overall goal of being more customer centric, service has been improved, while delivering a higher number of on-site assessments with the fitters through a greater level of efficiency and with fewer miles covered.
These relatively small changes are combining to make us a better organisation with which to work, whilst efficiencies allow us to cover more calls and respond faster.
At the heart of the raft of changes introduced throughout the division has been an acknowledgement that the companies and individuals that subscribe to or purchase from its divisions, had a choice and could no longer be expected simply to offer loyalty without something in return.
Our offer has to be market leading in the wider commercial arena, and we have to communicate with our existing and potential customers in a way that appeals to them on a commercial basis, not just because we are part of the larger industry trade body.
So in order that we may contribute meaningfully to the members of the GGF – for that is our ultimate purpose – we have to be very good at what we do, by any standards. We have achieved a great deal in a short time, but there is so much more to come.