Granite Transformations, the home improvements brand owned by the international Trend Group, held its most important and best-attended UK franchise conference ever, last month. Franchise owners and their partners from around the national network, prospect franchisees, head office support staff from Tunbridge Wells and senior corporate executives from Florida, including Trend CEO Andrea Di Giuseppe, all took out time for the conference, held at Sarah Beeny’s magnificent Rise Hall.
The event provided the launch pad for the UK element of a major global rebranding programme, which will see the small yet significant brand transition from ‘Granite Transformations’ to ‘Trend Transformations’, first through a year-long pilot project, then a subsequent national rollout. The Group CEO offered his personal vision for the new brand, with its wider product portfolio, while senior directors from top rebranding agency, FutureBrand, outlined the practicalities. Guest speakers included Daily Telegraph business columnist, John Timpson CBE, and top interior designer and television presenter, Julia Kendell, who provided market insights from an independent perspective. TV and newspaper property guru Sarah Beeny hosted the event, chatting with guests and posing for pictures.
Chaired by Danny Hanlon, Chief Operating Officer of the UK and North American operations, and organised by his colleague Sam Gent, newly appointed European Brand Manager, the 2-day function was staged at the magnificently-restored hall, where Trend and Granite Transformations finishing products and craftsmanship are much in evidence. The venue was also notable for an absence of mobile phone and wi-fi links, which contributed directly to a more convivial atmosphere and relaxed networking amongst colleagues, away from the day-to-day pressures of the office.
Among the highlights of the event were the annual presentations to the top network performers, with the coveted Franchisee Of The Year title going to Ipswich business owners Steve Leech and Darren Cribb, following an extended period of double-digit revenue growth. They, together with GT Cambridge franchisees Peter and Henry Morrison and GT Cheltenham/Bristol owner Matthew Bird, received recognition for conspicuous monthly sales achievement, with special President’s Awards. Early UK franchise adopters Gavin and Sally Whittaker of GT Tunbridge Wells, again took the prize for highest annual revenue.
Highlighting the importance of glass mosaic and agglomerate hard flooring under the new branding strategy, Ferhan and Aisha Rasul of GT Swansea were presented with the Cactus Award for Trend product sales, which included a major flooring installation in Cardiff. Presaging yet another tranche of additional franchise recruits, Jason and Kelly Ball of GT Banbury gained the New Start-Up Award, for the most successful first twelve months. Meanwhile, recognising his franchise’s success in bathroom installations, Matthew Bird was also invited to talk to fellow franchisees about the additional revenue opportunities presented by interior projects of this kind.
Thanks to live music, a close-up magician, top band The Ambition, conducted tours of Rise Hall, informal photo sessions and a ‘country chic’ fashion element to the gala dinner, there were lighthearted moments throughout the conference, adding to a most enjoyable occasion. Food and refreshments at the event were provided by two leading outside caterers, Dine of Leeds and Kerbedge, with culinary highlights like a ‘silver service’ DIY breakfast and an al fresco barbecue in the grounds of Rise Hall. The whole conference was filmed and the occasion was used to preview the franchisor’s latest spoof musical video, centred around Rizzle Kicks’ song ‘When I Was A Youngster’ and featuring GT personnel in fancy dress, illustrating their childhood dreams and ambitions. Both videos can be viewed at www.gtfranchise.co.uk
The conference was sponsored by sink supplier Blanco Germany, media agency All Response Media and digital marketing specialist Motionlab, with support from BA Components, SpaceandPeople, the BFA, KeraKoll, PVL vehicle wrappers and other suppliers, all of whom were allocated display space within the hall and given a chance to talk with those attending.
For further information, contact Granite Transformations, Decimus Park, Kingstanding Way, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3GP, tel 01892 509 680 or visit www.gtfranchise.co.uk .