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Oxford Direct Services (ODS Group)

Rebranding a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo).

A doing good business that's good for everyone

Strategic Challenge: Build a brand that could operate with local authorities, commercial businesses and the community.

 When Oxford Direct Services (ODS) became a separate entity, it opened up new possibilities and ambitions. It needed a brand to match and to bring people with it. 

Creative Challenge: To make people feel good. 

We wanted to make people feel a good reason to do business with ODS.


What emotions and personality did we want to convey?

Oxford Direct Services (ODS) has over 600 people working across a broad range of services. They are visible every day in vans or working on the streets, yet invisible. It was too easy not to 'see' them, not to care about them. But these people were not just building and repairing homes, streets and parks, they created the foundation for a community. So, we wanted them to feel like heroes, or more precisley like angels. 

'Doing good business that’s good for everyone'.

First established as the public-facing branch of the City Council, ODS carried out everything from housing maintenance and recycling services to park management and highways engineering. On becoming a sole company in 2018, they needed to rebrand to open up commercial opportunities whilst maintaining their core value of serving the local community. This required them to find a commercial proposition that could compete in the marketplace.

We felt that ODS's value was in the good it did. The way it gave back to the community, reinvesting in the local area, and ensuring the wellbeing of their employees. So we set about to build a brand that was all about doing good.

The idea for this brand came from the role and personality of Mary Poppins - a character who did good and brought the best out in people. A brand personality known as the 'Angel' brand. But how did we go from a fantasy character in a story to branding a business that was at the hard end of construction and street cleaning? 

For two weeks we spent time with the men and women of ODS, getting up early and picking up the rubbish, visiting people's homes and getting to know what it was like working for ODS. What we learnt was how much they are in contact with people in the community. Yet it was clear how often people didn't notice or appreciate the true value of what they did.

We also knew the impact communication could have in changing people's perception, so we set about building a brand that made people see the organisation differently.



Creating an archetypal 'Angel' brand

To create a brand's 'authentic' personality, everything must be aligned. The name Oxford Direct Services didn't feel modern or friendly so we changed it to ODS Group. With this we created a new visual identity with ‘doing good’ at the core - the ‘wings’ device reflects the idea of the staff doing good in the community, creating great places to live, work and visit.

To help ODS with their initial roll out of the brand, we designed the website, stationery, signage, uniforms and vehicle livery. We also created a short animated video to launch the new brand.

In tandem with the rebrand, we created a new website in Kentico 12 MVC. The new site had to make a large step away from the ‘council’ feel of the old website, so the bold, bright colours of the new brand are the main feature. ODS had a good image library showing the human side of their work and we utilised this to bring their people to the front. The site has multiple calls to action, making getting in touch with ODS quick and simple. We also integrated an MOT booking form with registration look-up functionality.

Together, the new brand and website highlight the doing good nature of ODS and will allow them to explore more commercial opportunities in the future.

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