I worked for Ferranti Technologies for 9 years as their Marketing Manager and Internal Communications Manager. I was responsible for managing the brand, ongoing customer communication and coordinating all marketing campaigns for the business. I was also an occasional member of the bid team for larger sized bids.
As with any business, there is always a period of fact finding to understand the products, services, landscape, USPs, processes and customers. The level of depth that you go into with that process really defines how easy it is to manage the brand after that. The deeper you go, the easier it is.
Over 9 years, my knowledge of the business developed massively, to the point where I knew it inside out.
I was responsible for communication both externally, customer facing and internally, employee facing.
Ferranti went through many branding iterations over 9 years and the business was also owned by a parent company called Elbit Systems, an Israeli defence company who brought with them their own set of brand guidelines and marketing practices. I was often juggling support for both brands.
The first task I undertook was to take full control of the Ferranti branding and progress it to another level. I established a colour palette, set of fonts and brand guidelines that the business could use to maintain consistency of look and feel.
Through a better understanding of the businesses products and services, I re-wrote large chunks of marketing material from brochures to website content. Some of which had been developed by the parent company who’s first language was not English. Sometimes this proved challenging as they used American English quite a lot.
The business went through three website iterations during my time there. Firstly I inherited a website that was not mobile friendly, so we redeveloped this alongside some of the new marketing content.
After a few years and a better understanding of the business, I developed the website once again with a more clean and tidy look and feel and reflecting the new business structure that had been put in place to simplify communication.
Finally, another few years later, Ferranti’s product offering had grown enormously and the existing website was no longer sufficient for it’s needs. The company had also taken the decision to rebrand and so I redesigned the website once again.
Alongside the online marketing support that I provided, I managed the businesses events calendar from year to year. Exhibitions and events were a primary focus for the company and they took part in the Farnborough Airshow on a biannual basis and alternated with DSEi in London which was a huge defence show.
The size and complexity of the exhibitions that I managed grew and grew over the 9 years, starting from very humble beginnings as a shell scheme and progressing to large scale bespoke stand designs. I worked with an exhibitions contractor to supply the end product and provided all the graphics myself and coordinated all the product displays.
Elbit Systems also participated in the Royal International Air Tattoo each year with a hospitality chalet. The event took some organising as it was to host some of the world’s most elite military personnel and even royalty. I can only compare it to organising a small wedding, managing guest lists, seating plans, coordinating menu’s, table arrangements, invitations, acceptances and more.
Cups Of Coffee
“Gillian successfully led our marketing effort, building a new website, providing material for social media, conferences and exhibitions and running all our internal staff communications. Gillian has a strong eye for design, a good understanding of how to implement this in communications products and is effective on building strong, clear and impactful messages.”
George Baber, Business Development Director
As part of the Aerospace & Defence initiative ‘Sharing In Growth’, I was challenged to support Ferranti’s roll out of the new way of working. The company was entering into a huge period of change affecting people, processes and systems and I was central to supporting that with effective communication.
To embed the company’s mission, vision and values in such a way that would be engaging, memorable, gain feedback from employees, generate team spirit and embed the right behaviours.
To evaluate the target audience, understand their motives and behaviours and to generate a value proposition that would ensure employee retention.
Generating compelling messages, internal brand identity, promotional material and face to face communication.
Branding and Messaging
The internal decor of the offices was in need of some colour. So I made sure that communications, posters and artwork was colourful but maintained a degree of intelligence. I developed a colour scheme that was integral and provided opportunities to send subliminal messages to employees. For example ‘Communication’ was always talked about using Yellow accents.
This was collected together into posters and a mousemat.
To truly embed the values, I felt it was important to communicate with people face to face. I formed ‘Workshop Wednesday’ and rolled out a series of weekly value workshops to run for 8 months.
The workshops were to create opportunities for cross departmental communication, create a problem solving environment, help people to understand the values and how to live them & create opportunities for employees to feedback to the Senior Leadership Team.
I repurposed an unused area of the building and branded it “The Hub”.
I ran the workshops in a fun and engaging way, starting with an activity that would evaluate the current state of the value at the company, employees would work together to critically evaluate the business. This feedback was captured on flipcharts and displayed around the room for future use.
The second part was an interactive ‘Value Game’ where the game itself had a takeaway or learning message that was linked to that value.
Thirdly a review of the game in order to extract their ‘key takeaway’ and then finally a chance to take their learning back into work and decide ‘What am I going to do to make a difference?’
Feedback & Analysis
Feedback was always very positive. It was collected through a feedback form and then collated in Excel.
The Net Promoter Score was used to quantify how people felt about the session.
This averaged at 37 with one session reaching as high as 77 and one scoring 12.
I used feedback from employees to alter the course of the workshop if necessary but the general consensus was that it was hitting the mark.
Attendance was high, with around 70% of the workforce joining in.
Mood was always high when people left the workshop, the session on Respect had 31 people out of 65 score it a 10/10.
The following actions from other people in the business were a direct consequence of one of my sessions:
“Setting up a visual board to aid accountability & planning”
“Taking on new jobs in order to help out my department”
“Instead of waiting for someone to do a job, learn how to do it myself”
“Being proactive in resolving issues”
“What did you enjoy most?”
Everything” – “Being listened to” – “The opportunity to meet people from different departments” – “Best one yet!”
I saw a change in mindset of a number of employees who were previously negative.
For the first time in 3 years the MD received emails from customers commending the business for its improvements in performance after 9 months of the Engage programme. Coincidence?
Net Promoter Score
10 / 10
“I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside Gillian for a number of years; she is a naturally gifted communicator, graphic artist and marketing talent. She has a real passion and flair for her work, combined with the high emotional IQ essential for delivering on a complex communication strategy.”
Mark Stanley, Chief Design Authority
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