Breaking through in a commoditized market


Since its founding in 1965, Willington Nameplate has succeeded where many others have failed. As a small, regional manufacturer, it navigated business ups and downs by relying on a family-oriented, do-whatever-it-takes, entrepreneurial spirit. In recent years, however, company executives saw signs of change. Faced with a contracting competitive landscape, more price-driven purchasing, an aging workforce, and more competitive recruiting environment, they recognized they needed to examine their approach to the coming years.

Implementing a broad survey of Willington’s constituencies, we revealed a need to clarify, strengthen, and align both its internal identity and its market-facing presence. Working with the leadership team, we brought their beliefs and assumptions about the company into question, and helped shift their perceptions about who they are and what they can accomplish.

Reversing a legacy of undervaluing their work, the team embraced a new perspective and adopted language that recognized the company’s important contribution to their customers’ products and revenue. Company workshops and an all-hands event elicited contributions from across the workforce, surfacing ideas around how to use their new call to arms in all aspects of customer relationships.

Volunteer teams were given autonomy to plan and implement a series of initiatives identified as critical to the new vision of their future. Leveraging the company’s existing expertise in continuous improvement, and our strategy for team building and leadership development, programs were designed to realize quick progress, develop employee capabilities, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to the new direction.

Inviting contribution

Company-wide events engaged every employee in the creation of Willington Nameplate’s future. Using core narrative elements as catalysts, divisional groups were asked to envision how they could help bring the new future to life—giving everyone a sense of their personal importance to the company’s success.


Designing a road map for the future

Recognizing that the company would need to evolve to fulfill its new vision, change initiatives were identified to begin the process. Following initial guidance provided by our team, employee teams had the freedom to design and implement the programs as they saw fit.


Renewing pride and identity

For Willington, living its brand shift meant undergoing a visual change inside and out. A new identity system gives employees and customers a new understanding of the company and provides a timeless expression of their promise to the marketplace.


Honoring the heart of the company

A key element of Willington’s brand has always been the people who work there. We helped bring them to the front of the Willington story and acknowledge their importance to the service and products the company delivers—a clear differentiation from price-focused competitors.


Workspace transformation led by the workforce

It became obvious to the leadership team that the physical work environment needed to inspire everyone to embody the brand promise. Employees were asked for ideas that would allow for more collaboration and celebration in their work. These ideas were formulated and presented as a phased environmental branding plan.


Opening the door to partnership

With a transformed self-image and the language to express it, external story-telling took center stage. Collaborating with numerous internal teams, we re-imagined their online presence, helped focus customer service and business development processes, and created new employer brand messaging for their recruitment efforts.

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