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A 'why' based brand approach

Rebranding an established Oxford firm to position them at the forefront of their industry.

For 100 years, Critchleys have been dedicated to helping the businesses of Oxfordshire reach their financial best.

Their overall brand identity was dated and old fashioned, an established, highly successful business had started to feel that technology and a thriving, innovative community was starting to leave them behind. With disruptive products entering the market, like Xero and Quikbooks, Critchleys’ realised they needed to invest heavily in a reposition of their full identity from the ground up, for both their internal and external audiences.

After a phased tendering process, we were selected to work very closely with the internal marketing team.

From the start, it was clear that Critchleys needed to adapt more than just their brand identity. To keep up with industry changes, an entire business restructure had to be considered. This meant focusing more on the businesses they were assisting as opposed to the services they were offering. From an internal perspective, all members of the 100+ team needed to be convinced of the new brand and company structure.

Traditionally, Critchleys had been a ‘what’ based company, servicing the needs of their customers when required. By identifying very clear buyer persona groups that Critchleys already worked with, we were able to change the culture internally and turn them into a ‘Why’ based company. This has started to enable them to service their clients in a completely different way.

The business was structured in a very task based manner, accountants, tax advisers, pensions specialists etc. They would never join forces and see the bigger potential of each customer. The brand and its message was developed around this idea of becoming a ‘why (y)’ focussed business, servicing personas as groups, for example, a small business needs paypal services, tax advice and business strategy. This is now being addressed in one meeting with a full persona team, spreading the knowledge and understanding of the client amongst the Critchleys team.

It our job to then ensure that this change was catered for and reflected in the company image, brand strategy and website development. We needed everything about the newly branded Critchleys to appeal to and engage their new audience persona segments.

Insights used

We conducted thorough persona workshops with Critchleys, interviewing five existing customers to address the services and changes they wished to see. Originally meant as an exercise to understand the business, the five personas became the focal point of the Critchleys restructure. Internal teams were moved and shifted to allow for more collaboration and to offer their customers the best and most complete service.

The creative approach came from Critchleys’ desire to become more than a service-lead accountancy firm. The vision that their customers could ‘lean on Critchleys’ for any and all of their needs lead to the creation of their logo.


The new era for Critchleys included a change of location. We assisted in moving the company closer to the Oxford City Centre, ensuring their new premises reflected the progression of the company, their new collaborative approach and new brand identity.  

A new brand and business structure meant that a complete set of brand guidelines was needed. We created a set of strict brand guidelines to accompany the new visual language. This included the new brand messaging and mission statement that was woven into all internal and external communications.

We assisted with the selection of interior decor, furniture, creating adverts, wall art and timelines to adorn the new space. Other branded collateral included: notebooks, stationery, business cards, letterheads, envelopes and customer brochures.

I'd commend Syndicut to you - they are excellent people to have around for big creative and technical jobs like this.”

Mark Kingston - Critchleys

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