London brand and design consultancy Perq Studio has completed a brand and signage refresh for family-owned Squire’s Garden Centres. Badshot Lea, Frensham and Wokingham are the first sites to sport the new look.
The project, currently under way across the company’s 15 sites, consists of a refreshed brand strategy and identity including new logo, typeface, colour palette and art direction as well as an improved way-finding experience and communications across the customer journey in-store.
From humble beginnings as a family landscape gardening business in the 1930s to a modern day horticulturally-focused retail group, Squire’s has evolved to meet the needs of the UK home and garden market. With multiple extensions to the core garden product including gifts, crafts, specialist pets and aquatics, as well as stylish Café Bars, Squire’s centres are widely regarded as retail destinations in their own right, with excellent brand recognition within the communities they serve.
Customer insights gleaned by Perq Studio showed that while customers were loyal to Squire’s, many were unaware of the unique heritage of the family-owned company and the rich history that underpinned the existing brand. Sold on the potential behind amplifying the family focus, Squire’s contracted Perq Studio to finesse its brand and story and optimise the stores through a consistent, modern brand refresh.
During interviews with the Squire family, the phrase “modern garden centres with a tradition of excellence” was uncovered. Perq Studio felt this perfectly encompassed the brand story – one of family and traditional horticulture but also a modern retail experience enjoyed by all generations of other families. This informed the wider brand refresh which focused on the authenticity of the company’s long history of expertise, local ties and the emotional and meaningful connections made with its customers.
Informed by the brand pillars of ‘expert, welcoming and inspiring’ the updated tone of voice makes a commitment to effective communication; providing the right information at the right point in the customer journey. A new simplified logo ‘with an ownable Q’ was developed and the new typeface – classic British 1930s font Gill Sans Nova – is a nod to Squire’s date of origin, but is also timeless and legible, feeling at once storied yet contemporary.
The primary brand colour was updated from a traditional burgundy to a vibrant berry hue and complemented with a fresh, seasonal colour palette that promises a bright, positive and optimistic retail experience. Existing standard plant-related imagery was replaced with new innovative photography, developed to not only include the wider products on offer, but happy people and moments of interaction to better reflect the customer experience.
Through a brand immersion and discovery process, Perq Studio identified each store had evolved organically over time, nurtured by the personal touches of their trusted and knowledgeable staff, yet resulting in some inconsistencies in the customer experience – especially challenges to way-finding throughout the stores.
Perq Studio worked closely with Squire’s to streamline its mixed approach to signage and unify the customer way-finding experience. A customer journey audit identified key signage touchpoints to deliver on brand impact and ease of navigation; from striking branded entrances down to the smallest ticketing touchpoints. The result was a professional yet approachable in-store experience, creating the feel of a modern retailer staffed by trusted, friendly experts.
Laura Giffard, founder and client director at Perq Studio, said: “It’s so rewarding to see our two-year collaboration with Squire’s Garden Centres taking shape. As a creative agency, it’s always exciting to assist a heritage brand with a contemporary vision position itself strategically for continued success. Bringing the family history and brand heritage to the fore in a modern way, driving meaningful connections with customers through a balance of contemporary retail experience and personal tone of voice, enables the quality of the brand and its products to shine through.”
Martin Breddy, MD of Squire’s Garden Centres, says: “One of our favourite things about working with Perq Studio is that they have taken the time to understand not just our current market position, but the value of our heritage. The materials they have produced have given all our locations a shared identity, and the opportunity to re-affirm to our customers that their trust in us as a reliable provider of quality products is well placed.”