Little Shipmates Group

Creating a coherent portfolio

Challenge: Branding a group with acquired identities

In ten years Clive and Helen Tongue have developed a successful group of children’s day nurseries. All the nurseries though had different identities, as Clive said “as we acquired businesses we had taken a rather piecemeal approach to visual identity. We wanted to go head-to-head with national corporates and we wanted to ensure our successful business model was not rejected because it lacked the professional credibility of a strong brand.” After a pitch, Kin were appointed to develop the brand strategy, brand architecture and identity for the four nurseries including signage, brochure and adverts.

Solution: A ‘family’ brand architecture

From research it was clear that the nursery team and parents valued a ‘personal touch’. So we developed a ‘family’ brand architecture where there is an overarching identity that still allows for individuality and local flavour. We did this by creating a ‘make and do’ visual identity inspired by children’s craft projects and the existing names, backed by Little Shipmates as the group.

Result: Won a major tender

The new branding helped Little Shipmates to win a tender to run the Explorers nursery for Ordnance Survey, enabling the business to grow and take on new employees. The brand architecture also allowed for the name with a new design to be easily added to the group.

“Each nursery in the Little Shipmates family now has its own distinct image, based around simple children’s craft projects, and looks highly professional. That alone would have been enough to justify the time involved, but we were also successful in winning a new contract and from their feedback we know that our branding was instrumental to that success.”

“The first offsite meeting Fiona ran was a real eye-opener we sat down with our nursery managers and looked at the company from a completely different perspective. We defined values, identified aims and future achievements. It was a fantastic session, really motivating and brought the whole team on board.”

Clive Tongue, Founder, Little Shipmates