It’s been a year or two since we rebranded the company having sought the guidance of the good folk at RBP in Lincolnshire. Our aim was to tidy up and refresh our offering, create a brand even, but principally try to make our message a little clearer and easier to follow. We are after all in an industry that throws out confusing terminology and grey areas for fun, let alone different ways to build, package and supply each different offering. The “definition of a caravan” covers everything from the lower end, basic holiday products, through to all singing, all dancing, high specification timber frame “bungalows” that you’d quite happily live in. Then there’s statics, cabins, chalets, glamping, pods and goodness knows what (don’t ask about prefab, sectional and modular, that’s for another day) it’s no wonder people get confused. We were having more than our fair share of disgruntled protests as we would explain to our potential customers that the 4 bed, two storey structure they were calling about (built to residential building regulations by the way) was going to cost quite a lot more than the small “caravan” they already had a price for. Apples and oranges anyone? Bear in mind we’re just talking about the structures at this stage, let alone how they arrive and what’s included in the price.
We needed to clear this up somehow, and while we’re at it, where do we as a company fit in?
And so, with that I lay down on the hypothetical “couch” with my appointed PR expert and began the process of soul searching, self-analysis and reflection (“think back to when you started the company…”). Throw in a liberal sprinkling of self-criticism (let’s not take ourselves too seriously now…) and we set about reinventing the wheel. She was very quick to make an early breakthrough. “For a company that doesn’t do internal fit outs, your website has a lot of pictures of…erm…internal fit outs. Do you not think that’s a bit misleading?”
“A very good point!” I thought. How had I not thought of that myself? It did of course explain the recurring questions about what kitchens and bathrooms are included in the price and could we send them a colour chart for the paint. I was after all spending quite a lot of time fending off questions about fit outs. So that was that, it was all my fault, no more pictures of interiors with immediate effect, problem solved. Lo and behold (coupled with some refreshed text) the questions about internal fit outs pretty much dried up straightaway.
To add some context to this, just in case you haven’t yet had a detailed read of the website (I’m sure you’ll get round to it), it might be helpful to reiterate what we do spend most of our time doing (whilst avoiding jargon and complex terminology of course). We focus on the “big bit.” The building. The design, often from concept onwards, with or without an architect, structural engineering, manufacture, export, supply and fit of insulated structures, cladding and external doors and windows. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on what you want. We then hand it over to the client to work their magic and apply their imagination, using local teams where possible to fit them out. All in all, the most cost-effective way to self-build given that most of our clients are happy taking on the fit out…they just don’t want to take on the structure. “The big bit.”
“Get to the point!” I hear you say.
Over recent weeks I’ve done the rounds of the annual trade shows, met with clients and suppliers, looking for new opportunities and ideas, I have also sat in on a few seminars and talks. Whilst listening to a presentation by glamping holiday gurus, Canopy & Stars, they took a question from the floor about tips for a successful build when starting a new holiday venture…to which they replied, “make it your own!” I then heard it again a couple of weeks later at a different show, in a different city, during a different seminar. “Make it your own!” they said.
“That’s what we do!” I thought to myself incorrectly. Alright, that’s actually what our clients do. Another moment of clarity. We give them the blank canvas to fit their brief, and they sprinkle their own personalised stardust on it by fitting it out exactly how they want it. Granted, this is not for everyone. Not everyone has a creative eye, or has the time, or interest, and not everyone wants to run a building site. But if “off the shelf” isn’t for you, “making it your own” can create some spectacular results. And that brings me to the following gallery, if it’s no longer a good idea for us to put fit out pictures on our website and social media, the very least I can do is showcase and celebrate the fantastic achievements of our clients on this page. So long as you remember…there’s no kitchen included in the price!