Gattaca is the parent company of several leading recruitment brands such as Matchtech and Networkers. The group operates internationally and has an annual turnover in excess of £600 million.

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The challenge

Since its formation in 1984, Matchtech Group (now re-branded as Gattaca following this research) has grown into a leading player in the recruitment market. This growth had been driven by creating, and latterly acquiring, several brands each of which was focussed on a particular market niche. Adopting this ‘house of brands’ strategy brought a number of benefits, especially the opportunity for each brand to build a stronger identity and position itself as a specialist.

However, Matchtech Group’s management team also saw the potential downside. Maintaining several distinct brands multiplied marketing costs, reduced group cohesion, may have caused confusion and failed to leverage the power of the parent brand. As such, alternative brand architectures were being evaluated. Perhaps it would be better to adopt a ‘master branding’ strategy where the parent brand is used with service descriptors? Or maybe it would be more effective to take an ‘endorsed’ approach where sub-brands remain but are augmented by the parent brand?

Whilst Matchtech Group’s management team could make a decision based on careful evaluation of the pros and cons of each option, they knew that the best route would only become clear once they understood the target market’s point-of-view:

  • What does the target market want a recruitment brand to stand for?
  • What meaning do they attach to each brand in the Matchtech Group family?
  • How strong an attachment do they have to each brand?
  • What relationship, if any, can they see between the brands?

This was Circle’s brief – to uncover brand perceptions and, on the basis of this, make recommendations about the optimum brand architecture.

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Our approach

To identify the optimum brand architecture, it’s essential to understand the views of all key stakeholder groups. This will ensure that the brand has 360-degree appeal and reflects the true essence of the organisation. With this in mind we designed a research programme which canvassed the views of three audiences:

As ‘brand’ is an abstract concept it was critical that these engagements probed beyond superficial responses and really got under the skin of this issue. This led us to employ several techniques designed to elicit people’s true thoughts and feelings, such as projective techniques which allowed participants to describe the ‘personality’ of different brands by imaging them to be real people.

The research revealed three critical findings.

These findings led us to suggest that Matchtech Group retain their ‘house of brands’ approach, but augment this by increasing the visibility and role of the group brand. Each individual brand would retain its own identity, but Matchtech Group would create a unifying culture across the brands, actively spreading best practice, learnings and market-wide insights.

The business outcome

On the basis of these insights the Matchtech Group was re-branded as Gattaca. This clearly distinguished the group brand from one of its sub-brands, Matchtech, and provided an umbrella under which sub-brands could retain their unique attributes whilst still benefiting from the added-value brought by being part of a group.  Adopting this ‘house of brands’ strategy has also been invaluable in supporting Gattaca’s acquisition activity.  For example, Networkers International, a specialist ICT and engineering recruiter acquired by Gattaca in 2015, was able to fit neatly into the wider family whilst maintaining existing brand equity and goodwill.

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