Pentland Brands Sunderland
The Pentland Brands office in Sunderland.

Pentland Brands is launching an in-house brand building academy focused on growing its portfolio of brands by harnessing the cross-functional talent across its 1,700 strong global workforce.

The family-owned British business behind brands such as Speedo, Mitre, Ellesse and Berghaus, will offer employees access to new development workshops, toolkits and events, designed to develop a connected approach that makes brand building the responsibility of every employee, regardless of function.

The academy – known as ‘Brand Building the Pentland Way’ – will be rolled out across the entire portfolio and is the brainchild of Pentland’s brand development team. Speaking to Marketing Week, brand development director Simon Grove explains that Pentland made a conscious decision not to call the initiative a ‘marketing academy’ in order to expand the project’s scope and make it relevant to the whole organisation.

“Brand building can often be seen as the domain of marketing teams, but actually what we believe here is that it’s that collective brainpower, the creativity, those cross functional teams coming together that gives us the edge and that’s where we get the true value,” says Grove.

“The core principle we’re putting into place is that the accountability of brand building is for all of us and what that does is it joins people up, so everyone has a really good understanding and a consistent way of working that enables those people to flex and move across to different roles, different brands, different functions.”

Grove explains that it would have been easy for Pentland to roll out a traditional marketing academy or send people off to a classroom, but ultimately that just results in “a few people knowing more stuff”. He argues that what’s needed is a common approach based on real-life brand challenges.

Starting out by defining Pentland’s brand building philosophy, the team then wanted to ensure that the capability programme focused on putting the customer experience at the heart of each brand.

Rather than analysing customer journeys in terms of how they relate to a particular function, such as online or in-store, the approach is to look at the holistic experience across the portfolio and the categories each brand operates in.

The focus will be on bringing the right people together at the right moment based on the business cycle, meaning a typical workshop could include people from finance, supply chain, marketing, sales, planning, product…