No Such Thing As Luck – How Fenti Marketing Supported IPM Group Throughout Lockdown
When you finish reading this article, you may suspect that IPM Group CEO Rick Bailey can predict the future or has some sort of oracle at his disposal.
You will certainly wonder how a business working primarily within the hospitality and construction sectors doubled its turnover in the past 18 months and not only retained all its employees during the pandemic but actually hired new team members.
Rick Bailey said:
It’s all down to planning, seizing opportunities, and compassion. I did the opposite to a lot of business leaders. I reassured the team their jobs were safe, doubled the marketing budget, and pulled the team even closer together to steer IPM through the turmoil of 2020.
You might not have heard of IPM Group, but you are likely to have encountered at least one of their distinct brands. The core of IPM is security and facilities management.
From their base in Killamarsh, IPM manages a sophisticated 24-hour security center, combining the latest technologies with the watchful eyes of IPM’s dedicated security experts.
Add to this, Silversmiths restaurant in Sheffield city center, Firepit Rocks sports bar on West Street, VR Leisure gym, and fitness center in North Anston, to name a few, and you will see many businesses forced to close in early 2020.
So how did Rick do it? Furthermore, how does he expect to take his current team numbers from 500 to 1500 in the next few months?
In February 2020 we were trading normally but we saw the signs and acted fast. Every one of our brands had the potential to diversify, so that’s exactly what we did. Our marketing agency Fenti, who manages 7 of our brands, supported us to launch several new products and initiatives within just a few months.
Mark Shipley, Managing Director at fenti Digital Marketing, said:
When Rick has a new project, it’s all hands on deck at fenti. In 2020, every one of IPM’s brands had to evolve and stay ahead of the curve. It was really encouraging for team fenti to have exciting new projects coming in amid such torrid times. With Rick’s entrepreneurialism and drive, there’s always plenty for us to get our teeth stuck into.
So How Did Each Brand Diversify?
Security requirements in the construction and hospitality sectors disappeared overnight. While IPM knew it wouldn’t last, they had to be ready for change.
Initially, IPM staff were redeployed to support temporary measures introduced by local councils to support homeless people and to ensure places like supermarkets could safely control in-store customer numbers.
In the background, we were working on a new project. A world-first in the security sector which we developed and launched within 3 months, ready for when the construction sector started up again.
Combining the latest thermal screening, facial recognition, and anti-virus misting technologies, IPM developed InteliPod, the world’s first touchless, automated access control unit.
The construction industry needed a solution to ensure worker safety across sites. InteliPod not only restricts access to construction sites but also identifies the tell-tale signs of a virus infection.
VR Leisure gym and fitness center closed, switching to online fitness classes. Within the well-being sector, Rick spotted an opportunity where the diet was concerned.
Silversmiths chefs began preparing freshly cooked, nutritious, restaurant-quality meals for home delivery. Revive Nutrition was born.
Rick Bailey said:
Food is the cornerstone of good health. We noticed that while exercise routines were forcibly shifting, so did people’s diet. We partnered with Sheffield Steelers, as the acid test for Revive Nutrition, and haven’t looked back, it’s been a great success.
Firepit Rocks closed in 2020 to keep staff safe while COVID infection rates soared. However, the team certainly didn’t put their feet up.
During the first months of the lockdown, the Firepit team was cooking up 1,000 meals a week to support people relying on food banks.
Supported by Sheffield boxing legend Tommy Frank, who lent a hand to help with the logistics of delivering that many meals.
We just keep looking forward. All the way through 2020 and 2021 we tried to predict what measures the government would enforce and how they would affect the different sectors we supply. Long-term planning went right out of the window. We focused on the short- and medium-term. We predicted that a combination of the pandemic and Brexit would cause a staff shortage, resulting in a wage increase. We planned for that.
IPM also diversified it’s security brands into the world of post-lockdown football. Before the government gave the green light for fans to return to matches, IPM had recruited and trained 250 new team members, ready for new stadium security requirements.
IPM launched in 2006, started trading in 2007, and headed straight into one of the worst recessions ever known. There is no such thing as luck in business. Adaptability is key. We are a brand-led business and always have our marketing partner Fenti to turn projects around fast and manage the development of our brands.
Marketing has changed a lot, even since the 2008 recession. But the need to maintain regular communication and support your stakeholders remains the overriding imperative. Rick and his team understand how to leverage marketing, he is always working to evolve his brands ready to strike while the iron is hot. The world never stops changing, you have to be ready for anything.
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