Founded in 1976, Pelmark is widely recognised as one of the longest established and most respected organisations in the promotional merchandise Industry. The company's image has remained very traditional throughout its life, experiencing only subtle changes in the famous 'head' icon and font style. The colour has always been dark blue.
Danny Marsh,Jane Foley and John Ridge
Now, in its 25th anniversary year, the company is being given a complete face-lift.
Following a management buy-out at the end of 1999, the company held a two-day brain-storming session in a Hertfordshire hotel to review the whole perception and positioning of the Pelmark brand. Every single member of the workforce attended - this in itself symbolised the fresh approach adopted by the new owners to embrace everyone's ideas.
The 'new' Pelmark, now run by a trio of previous company directors, John Ridge, Danny Marsh and Jane Foley, decided radically to change the management style of the company.
The precarious reliance on core products such as clothing and bags, allied to clients' demand to expand their range and capability, led Pelmark to set up an office in Hong Kong and appointing a head office-based supply chain team led by Jeffery Pearce.
As a result of this initiative, Pelmark is now providing existing clients with many non-textile items such as cameras, inflatables, children's activity packs, sunglasses, cover-mounts, bottle openers, in-car air fresheners - the list is potentially endless.
But the most significant conclusion was the strong need to re-fresh the Pelmark image. It was considered safe, but dull; respected, but resistible; established, but stale; cosy, but stiff. The decision was taken to re-launch Pelmark in a new guise that would embrace contemporary style without losing touch with its admirable history.
Whilst there was a realisation that it was not considered the coolest promotional clothing company around, it was vitally important not be perceived as a new kid on the block. The challenge, therefore, was to create an image that moved Pelmark forward, out of the past and into the future in one fell swoop - 'The Marque of Evolution'.
"We thought long and hard about how we wanted to be perceived by our market place - it had to be fresh, young, contemporary, daring, distinctive, established, confident, and simple", says Pauline Farrell, senior account manager - 'New Image' team leader. "Above all else the logo had to be instantly recognisable and encourage people to think Pelmark and all that it stands for. We are delighted that one little image can communicate so much".
The re-launch was broken into three elements - headquarters refurbishment, website upgrade and new corporate logo. Refurbishment is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Visitors to Pelmark's impressive Hertfordshire base can witness the change already. The showroom and reception areas have received a complete refit. "It now looks like a West End designer HQ rather than a 1970s East End clothing importer", said one insider.
The floor is now solid wood board with a giant inlaid T-shirt mosaic. Pictures on the wall feature glass-frame mounted works of art, based on prestigious Pelmark productions - reminiscent of a record company's framed gold and platinum albums. The furniture is now black leather, chrome and glass rather than brown velour and plastic! Halogen spots and a streaming monitor reflect the company's new mission.
Website development is under reconstruction, with many innovative and useful features. The new corporate logo is now fully complete and a major revelation launch took place on 6th October. On this day Pelmark took 70 lucky clients to Newmarket Racecourse to enjoy the Cambridgeshire Stakes from a luxuriously appointed and exclusive marquee right next to the finishing post - corporate hospitality at its best. Here the new image was revealed to the trade for the first time.
It is a radical departure from the old logo and reflects all the attributes of the new philosophy. At first glance all one sees is a thumbprint impression. This reflects the bespoke approach that Pelmark always adopts when it comes to a client's needs.
"At last we can appear to be in tandem with our client base. With regard to image projection, it is crucial for us to appear contemporary in order to deliver the level of credibility necessary in our market, which is also image and brand projection! The new logo will become a benchmark in the industry within two years and beautifully illustrates everything we believe in", says Pelmark sales director Danny Marsh.
The suggestion of "no two the same" also further underpins the company's belief that it is the client who makes the rules, not Pelmark, and therefore no two clients are expected to fit into any specific system. Pelmark's activity is helping clients to leave an impression, by making an impression - whether it is printing, embroidery or construction. The impression that is left by a thumbprint is one of 100 percent individual distinction - an allusion that is positively intended.
On further examination, a 'wave' shape can be seen at the centre of the thumbprint. This is the evolved and only remnant of the original icon - the retention of the past was very important. "It also symbolises that our roots, experience and expertise are at the core of everything we do, now and in the future", comments Danny Marsh.
The typeface is modern and contemporary, reminiscent of the style used in the computer technology industry - adding to the feeling of 'today'. This will always appear in black on a white ground. The thumbprint will appear mainly in the corporate colour of 7456C/7455C, but sometimes as a half tone. It will always be seen on the angle as it appears in the logo - even when by itself.
It is envisaged that the use of the thumb-print without the text will be increased once the icon becomes widely known as the marque of Pelmark - in time even dropping the word completely on marketing communication, if the recall is powerful enough.
The company has been refreshed, revitalised and brought up to date. All these changes will have positive benefits in the creativity, energy and production enjoyed by current and future clients.