Changing the perception of energy management
Unlocking the potential in a challenging property industry.
FleetMilne Property was established in 2004 and provides premium apartments to rent and buy in Birmingham city centre, as well as managing properties for both landlords and investors. During the first seven years, they were able to build a business based on the growth of the property market in Birmingham.
But with the economic collapse and developments in the city being put on hold, competition to find apartment stock increased. FleetMilne’s brand and communications up until 2011 were focused on one audience – tenants. With the amount of choice within the city, making new apartments available for tenants was easy.
VIVA worked with the FleetMilne leadership team to understand how the brand, communications and business strategy needed to evolve together. We developed a plan to help FleetMilne maintain its growth by defining its audiences and understanding the market conditions today. We helped to shape and breed an improved culture by putting innovation at the heart of the business.
Over the past three years, VIVA have helped FleetMilne redefine itself. The brand now successfully has innovation at its heart and won a Sunday Times Gold award for ‘Innovation Lettings Agency of the Year 2013’. The team has two new offices, with the HQ offering an environment that not only inspires the team but also delights their customers. We have developed a new digital home with specific sections for each audience, including relevant content and further communications through newsletters and insight reports for each audience.
Our work has led to VIVA’s Managing Partner, Gary, becoming a non-executive director at FleetMilne. Providing the highest level of collaboration possible. Including the mentoring of existing talent and an active role in recruiting new team members.
We looked at the strengths of the business and the key aspects that have attracted success. This helped to distinguish where change could aid in adapting to the difficult market conditions.
With an abundance of prestigious properties to rent and equally, a great deal of interested customers, early business for FleetMilne boomed. But in 2009, stock within the city, in line with the UK’s economy, took a dive. New-build developments came to a halt and despite the decreasing availability of property, people still wanted to rent in the city. FleetMilne were faced with the threat of an imbalance between demand and supply.
“AFTER A GREAT START IN A COMPETITIVE MARKET, WE NEEDED TO MAINTAIN OUR MOMENTUM AND OUR THOUGHTS TURNED TO HOW WE COULD DO THIS.”
The challenge that confronted the industry as a whole, and is still affecting it today, is that property is not appearing as quickly as the demand for it is. Through their passion for the city, FleetMilne built a reputation to be proud of, but what they needed to do at this point was up their game. Through aligning their strategy, adjusting their model and focusing on a shift in communications. To ensure they didn’t fall victim to the conditions surrounding them.
For FleetMilne, the aim to compete on a higher level was established. And ways to address the obstacles that had been stunting growth began to evolve.
A new team structure was introduced, with Account Managers being placed at the centre of the business to manage all things lettings. As well as benefitting the internal process, this gave tenants a consistent point of contact and an increased level of satisfaction.
Our insight uncovered the need for a shift in the way that FleetMilne operated and communicated. This started with changing their name from ‘FleetMilne Residential’ to ‘FleetMilne Property’’, incorporating the consultancy offering from the business and cementing their position as experts in the field. VIVA placed innovation at the heart of FleetMilne’s operations and communications.
With the need for more property, communications shifted to speak to investors and sellers in the city, whereas the focus had previously been on landlords and tenants. This shift was a vital factor in overcoming the challenges of property shortage and widened the reach of FleetMilne across Birmingham.
The strengths of the business had been working in their favour, but to really drive ahead there also needed to be some introductions. A new website segmented their audiences, ensuring that their messaging could be highly targeted and consequently more beneficial. A new sales office placed emphasis on an area of the business that had not as yet been highlighted. The creation of a dedicated working environment to thrive in gave the team an area to really focus on driving this area of the business forward.
All of these changes led to FleetMilne enjoying the success of a ‘Sunday Times Innovative Lettings Agency of the year’ award.
FleetMilne not only wanted to keep up with market conditions, but to excel within them. Meaning that behaviours needed to change and adapt, both internally and externally.
In order for FleetMilne to be all it can be, it needed to strengthen its core and work from the inside out. After establishing their purpose and desired movements, the most important components of their implementation plan are the people.
With a newly focused marketing and communications strategy, VIVA worked with marketing executive Dan Malin to take a hold of the plans and make strides with them. Ensuring that the marketing and communications area of the business has its own energy. So that it can become a powerful tool in conveying why FleetMilne Property are market leaders.
The ongoing development of the brand has led to VIVA’s Managing Partner Gary Blowers sitting on the board as non-executive director at FleetMilne Property – investing in the future of the company through continued consultancy, board-level support and a strengthened link to its continued evolution.
A presence in the city is essential in order to stay competitive.
Building on the new brand direction, taxi wraps were developed to spread the word, and image, across Birmingham. In keeping with the stylish office décor, these wraps conveyed in an instant, the city-chic experience of the FleetMilne Property brand.
With a refreshed ethos and rejuvenated purpose, it was vital for FleetMilne Property to bring their team up to speed. Ensuring clear lines of communication, extensive understanding and a collective positive outlook in order for them to strive together for success.
The FleetMilne team away day was introduced, taking the staff out of their working environment to enjoy some downtime together. Spending a little time out, burning some energy and trying things out of the ordinary are proven to be uplifting and motivating methods. Allowing teams to reconnect with themselves, each other, their roles and the business.
In an exciting and innovative industry, staying ahead of the game is vital. And in the months ahead, the opportunity exists for FleetMilne to benefit from Birmingham’s growing attraction.
Birmingham is in the midst of some pretty big changes. Transport links are being strengthened with the renovation of Birmingham New Street Station, to be closely followed by a refreshed Snow Hill Station. Along with the proposed high speed HS2 line and the introduction of a central metro line in the city centre. Add to this, the huge investments being made in the business, entertainment and residential districts of the city – Birmingham is very much a place to be. As new developments spring up and further potential presents itself, with the appointment of Joanna Osborne as Sales Director, FleetMilne’s sales, marketing and leadership teams are poised, aligned and ready to win.