It was the early 90s when Reece’s creative agency “Trout” came up with a new tagline for Reece: ‘Reece works for you’. It was seen as a differentiated positioning that worked for customers, suppliers and staff: all elements of the business working together for the benefit of all. The tagline summed up our customer promise of Customised Service.
The then Trout Co-Founder and Strategy Director and current Reece Group Brand & Innovation Director, Carlo Tarquinio considers it to be Trout’s first truly significant piece of work for Reece; enduring for decades. He said, “The idea was ‘Reece works for you’ – as in we work for you, but also Reece works as a solution. We thought it was genius! We were coming out of a recession and the last thing you wanted was to be arrogant. You want to be really grateful for any sort of work that you got. So, there was a big shift in marketing at that time from beating your own chest and saying how good you were, to what you could actually do for your customers. It wasn’t just at Reece, it was across the world, there was a whole shift around positioning.”
It sounds simple, but many managers at the time took umbrage at the loss of the tagline that had worked for so long: ‘One step ahead’. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? But Peter Wilson was all about change and improvement, and he liked the new tagline: he could see it was about more than just words. It was based on customer research insights and focussed on humility, rather than arrogance. It aligned with what he was trying to achieve in marketing Reece as a business that worked hard for its customers. Alan, too, could see it made sense for the next generation of Reece, so Trout’s ideas were accepted.
‘Reece works for you’ started appearing internally and in advertisements in June 1994. Another change introduced that month was a tweak in the corporate colour from mission brown to burgundy, as Carlo explains, “There wasn’t anything strategic in it, it was just that brown is such a horrible colour, and we wanted to modernise. Burgundy was like the nineties version of brown. Thankfully, we’ve outgrown burgundy and have evolved the colours to the iconic Reece Blue you’d recognise from the ‘Works for You’ t-shirts worn by almost all our customers today.”