Instanta goes back to the future

As any company that has undergone a corporate rebrand will know only too well, such self-contemplation exercises rarely happen overnight.

Catering equipment manufacturer Instanta can now vouch for that, too, following a revamping of its own identity that the company recently announced to the market.

It was last February that the water boiler manufacturer first sat down with its design agency to kick off the process of freshening up its brand — and some 12 months down the line it is delighted with the outcome.

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“We need to ensure that everyone hears about [our products] by presenting them in a way that has meaning and relevance in the modern world, to audiences old and new, and we think our new-look package does just that, while at the same time underlining our great British history,” remarks sales director Graham Crisp, who has overseen the rebranding.

The new approach is particularly pertinent in light of Instanta’s goal to take the business into new market places — be it colleges and universities or large public and private sector bodies — by raising awareness of its offering in the UK.

“As we look to develop the business, we want to have more of a marketing presence. This revamp is designed to get us out into the market place,” says Crisp, who subscribes to the view that the more end-users that know about its kit, the more orders it will get.

“There are so many products in the market and often the customer will get what they are asking for. If a distributor is asked for something specific then normally that is what gets supplied. If our idea is to grow Instanta into a larger animal then we want people asking for our products.”

The Southport-based manufacturer might boast almost 60 years’ experience in the market, but as Crisp himself acknowledges, there will always be operators that either don’t know the brand or need reminding of what it has to offer. A consistent, visible message is crucial, he argues.

The rebranding can effectively be broken into three components: the logo, the website and the sales brochure. Instanta felt its previous logo was unclear, with customers often mistaking the ‘I’ for a number nine due to the typeface used. That has been now been cleaned up and made easier to read, while still retaining the hallmarks of the original badge in terms of shape and style.

“We needed to give it a bit of oomph and a modern look, but we have also kept elements of it similar so that people recognise it from its shape,” explains Crisp.

The website has been completely built from scratch and designed so that it not only reflects up-to-the-minute trends in terms of colour and design, but facilitates navigation of its extensive product range. Visitors can now see, at a glance, the model options on offer, aided by quick spec checks, while a simple click of the mouse will take them through to a more detailed description and all the technical materials they require.

This is all topped off by a simplified sales brochure designed to reflect the bright, clean appearance of the website, while showcasing the breadth of the portfolio. The plan now is for all marketing and promotional literature to retain the same theme and style, thus building that brand reinforcement and familiarity that Crisp talks about.

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So what does the investment mean for Instanta’s distributor partners? According to Crisp, they will hopefully see the fruits of a stronger, more coherent profile in terms of sales.

“We are hoping that by rebranding and targeting the end-user, the business will increase and it will be fed back through the distributors. People often get worried that we are going to take the business when they hear we are calling on end-users, but it is purely to grow awareness of the brand and then the work is farmed through the distributors.”

Additionally, says Crisp, distributors will now have access to new, higher quality product photography and marketing collateral as a result of the process it has gone through in recent months.

Over the years, Instanta has also diversified into creating a popular range of sous vide machines for the catering industry, but it remains best known for its auto fill, wall-mounted and undercounter boilers. On the boiler side this year, it has added four new lines to the range: three new CPF models and one new compact model.

“Our objective at Instanta has always been to produce top quality, innovative products that offer real value for money and deliver unrivalled reliability,” Crisp says, adding that since November Instanta has introduced a second year on-site parts and labour warranty to its entire SF range and a third year parts-only cover to all its CPF machines.

The move to extend the CPF warranty to two years was made as a result of the product’s reliability since its launch to the market and means that more than 60% of its portfolio is now covered by terms in excess of the industry-standard one-year policy.

It is with a renewed sense of vigour that Instanta enters 2015, and Crisp hopes the sales team — which now spans five people following its recruitment efforts last year — will soon be in a position to expand again. “We would like to grow that further but of course that comes with growth. Armed with the new material, I am confident we will see an increase in business and more visibility of Instanta in the market place,” he says.

UK manufacturing, right down to the components

Instanta has been producing boilers at its factory in Southport since 1957, making it one of the oldest British catering equipment manufacturers in operation today.

All aspects of its manufacture are carried out on Merseyside, including design and product development — both 2D and 3D CAD — manufacture of metal fabrication, welding, assembly, testing and inspection, packing and despatch.

It has an on-site machine shop which produces the brass and stainless steel components for its water boilers, while electronics are also designed and manufactured in Southport, giving it control of the entire manufacturing process from start to finish. This, says the firm, affords it complete control over the consistency and quality of its products.

Much of Instanta’s production utilises CNC machining centres, punch-presses, folding equipment, automatic placement in electronics manufacture and mechanical handling equipment. However, its products are still ‘hand-made’ as such, and human labour remains a critical part of the process.

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