Case Study - East African Safari Operator

Synopsis: An East African safari operator, despite being in business and actively marketing in the U.S. for years, was experiencing flat growth and losing out on new opportunities. The 360RE process helped and directed this operator to implement streamlined internal processes, optimize staff as well as completely rebrand the company to best showcase both the changes that took place and highlight what has endeared the company to business partners for over half a decade. As a result, the staff became energized and motivated, the brand was meaningfully differentiated in the marketplace and the company now has new life and strategic direction for the next 10 years.

Problem

A well-established East African safari operator was experiencing stagnant growth from the North American market. For decades, the company had relied on strong, long standing relationships which drove the bulk of business from North America, and in recent years had developed new, productive relationships with smaller operators. However, the company realized that despite overall growth in travel from North America to East Africa, their sales numbers were flat.  They also realized that increasingly North American agents and operators were using a variety of in-bound operators and this company was losing share to this increased competition.

The company had identified that American bookings were the most profitable and thus investing in this market was a top priority.

Solution

First, we took a detailed look at the company by doing a SWOT analysis and detailed competitive review. We initiated the first round of this exercise, and then coached upper management as well as the staff in conducting a similar exercise, specifically identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This yielded some surprising results regarding discrepancies between management’s and staff’s perceived strengths/weaknesses.

As a result, we helped the company’s management document job descriptions for the first time and transition to more “open book management” approach. We helped the staff implement processes to enhance communication with international trade partners and categorize the plethora of product information so that it’s always available at their fingertips. At the end of this first phase, we were able to recalibrate the organization and set both upper management and the staff on the right direction.

The second phase of our work was to take a ‘deep dive’ into the company’s brand, utilizing our proprietary Cascadia Brand Compass™ tool. From our in-depth interviews with reseller partners, analysis of web site and marketing materials, an on-site trip to the company’s home office and what we learned from phase one, we uncovered and articulated the fundamental truths about the brand.

These truths were then defined as five ‘core themes’ and one overarching ‘meta-theme’ that then served as the foundation for a one-page brand story narrative, an only-ness positioning statement, value proposition, brand promise, elevator pitch, and brand personality attributes. These ‘compass points’ served to guide all of our subsequent branding and marketing work, including a new web site.

The third and final phase involved reigniting the organization by delivering a very detailed and specific implementation plan incorporating operational and branding recommendations we put forth. We coached management along the way and helped to hold each member of the team accountable for their implementation deliverables.

Results

The company accepted our recommendation of a total rebrand and over the course of only 5 months we led the development of a new brand, including name, brand identity, web site and more. Additionally, we implemented the launch of the new brand internally including officially introducing the new brand via an in-person presentation to the internal staff, coordinating the design of the new corporate identity and development of the new web site, developed launch communications and developed roll-out strategy among both domestic and international trade partners.