The last two years have been hugely exciting for the e-foods family, with a whole host of big changes taking place. We’ve invested in a software development arm, Air Publishing, and been acquired by FoodBuy – marking a huge strategic shift for the business. All the while, we’ve been conducting a digital transformation in the background – complete with a new website, brand identity and even a refreshed name.
In early 2021, we identified an opportunity to completely overhaul the positioning, offering and branding of e-foods and all sub-brands, products and services – bringing all the pieces together under one roof. And, so started nearly two years of stakeholder meetings, creative planning, design sessions, technical wizardry and lots of laughs!
Along the way, we learned a lot about the e-foods family, ethos and position within the market. Although we’ve overhauled our identity and branding, we’ve never felt closer to the business and the people who make it special.
Here’s a little insight into the mad journey it has been for marketing manager, Gemma, and myself as we set about digitally transforming the business.
How it began…
Realising that rebranding a business and building a new website might be outside our usual remit, the two of us set about finding a partner agency to bring our big dreams to life.
We put together a brief and sent this out to a number of leading creative agencies whose work we admired, we also reached out to some contacts in our little black book.
From there, we started meeting agencies and were treated to some amazing presentations featuring their creative visions for the brand. There were three major criteria that we wanted the agencies to meet:
- Amazing web design and development
- Understanding of the brief and the business
- Connection with us as people
When push came to shove, the final piece of criteria proved our main selling point and the thing which really won it for the successful agency, Banc.
We realised that a rebrand, complete with a new website, was going to be a long process with plenty of hurdles to overcome, so we were keen on partnering with an agency that provided a personal connection. That’s what ultimately led us to Banc, a Manchester-based agency that Gemma pulled from her little black book.
Here is where the hard work started on both sides. As a family business, we wanted to ensure that the rebrand was handled carefully and that the e-foods’ personality remained intact and respected. So, rather than simply giving Banc the keys to the project, Gemma and I firmly implanted ourselves and undertook a huge part of the process.
First steps and planning
Everything you see on the site today is the result of research which kicked off at the start of the process. Banc conducted a Customer Discovery Phase, which included competitor research and a survey among our Senior Leadership Team and other team members. This kicked up interesting nuggets detailing where we saw our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth. It was incredibly helpful to see how we viewed ourselves and how we were positioned within the industry.
From here, we were presented with the agency’s findings as they pitched a new vision for the brand. The drastic switch from the orange branding which had been our trademark since the early days took some people aback, but the feedback was hugely positive, and we knew we’d cleared the first hurdle.
The long middle bit
After the initial flurry of excitement with interviews, new colours and fonts, and some new name ideas thrown into the mix, we were buoyant and ready to tackle the meaty part of the project. This included planning new site structures, pitching new wording, and coming up with brilliant ideas for onsite functionality.
However, unbeknownst to most people outside of the Senior Leadership Team, our acquisition by FoodBuy was bubbling away under the surface. There was a delicate balancing act to be carried out by myself (I couldn’t even tell poor Gemma), in which I wanted to keep the quick pace of the project going whilst ensuring we weren’t getting carried away and completing work which might have to be re-done when the takeover was complete.
As we approached the end of 2021, I had to let the team know that something was going on – without giving away what it was! We effectively paused the project until the takeover was agreed and the pen had dried on the contracts, poor Gemma still scratching her head as to why! Finally, in Q2 2022, all could be revealed and we got going again.
After some back and forth, we knew that it was now more important than ever for us to retain our EF heritage and for our clients and suppliers to be comforted in knowing that despite the acquisition, we were still the same loved and known business. So the new (and pretty amazing!) name we selected was locked away, the EF name was here to stay and we had to take a few steps back and do some rework to marry EF and the new brand together. So now it was full steam ahead with a Q1 2023 launch date in mind.
Gemma went into overdrive, attending multiple copywriting and design sessions with the agency to get everything shipshape and ready for the wider world to see. The developers plugged away to bring our artistic visions to life, and the website is now ready – bringing together our core services, Freshmarkets and CaterCloud, under one roof.
We’re delighted with the new website, and believe it truly represents us as a brand and a family business, and we can’t wait to show our customers old and new. As I look back over the project, I can’t quite believe everything that has gone into it – so, here are a few stats I’ve plucked out…
- 58 hours of meetings with the agency
- 28 versions of the sector page videos
- 15 additional grey hairs
- 1 million laugh-out-loud/delirious moments
- 1 new brand name consigned to the history books
And yet, after all that, here we are with a new site and a new look. Hope you love it as much as we do.