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Pro Landscaper Interview | Phil Jones, CEO | A Fresh Approach

31 Jul 20

ESL Landscape Contractors is now known as Cultura Group is this a rebrand or a complete reposition?

Our CEO, Phil Jones explains the reasoning behind the change in company name, ethos and direction.

ESL Landscape Contractors was set up as a commercial landscaping business 28 years ago. The original founder was bought out by investors three years ago and Phil Jones joined the business as CEO in December 2018. 

Going into the role with his eyes wide open, Phil’s first task was to look at the profitability of the business, the quality of the team and its relationship with suppliers, and then vastly improve the quality and consistency of the end product. 

Phil believes that the company has made great strides over the last 18 months; the cost base is reduced and now under control, and he has recruited a new senior management team that has vast experience, not only in landscaping but also the construction world. With this new team, the consistency and standards have greatly improved, as has feedback from clients. 

Phil explains that improving the performance of the business was the catalyst to Cultura’s brand new image.  The plan was to rebrand in March 2020, but this was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is extremely important to Phil that the rebranding reflects the new ethos of the company, the direction in which it is travelling, and the exciting future opportunities that are ahead. Phil goes on to say: “We want to grow our reputation as a company that takes care of its staff and delivers quality through our expertise and great service. 

“We worked closely with a branding partner who came highly recommended. The process was in-depth and involved feedback from the staff, clients, suppliers and industry commentators. No stone was left unturned – we were completely honest about the past.  We shared client feedback, the direction in which we had travelled, the competitive landscape and our future ambitions.” Phil explained that it is more than just a change in logo; the branding and new culture has to run throughout the business. It is essential that it reflects all the hard work that the team has put in over the past 18 months improving the overall performance. 

He continues: “I was keen that the name wasn’t a typical landscaping name, a plant or tree name, but that it did have a meaning and reflected a progressive, professional landscaping business. Though lots of names were discussed, Cultura was the name we kept coming back to. It’s linked to horticulture (the Latin meaning is ‘care’ or ‘cultivate’) and reflects how we want to cultivate our relationship with clients, suppliers, staff and the industry as a whole. 

“We have also added ‘Group’ to the name as we see potential in expanding our offering over the next few years. We are excited about the opportunities for the future.  The commercial landscaping sector, though tough, does offer opportunity. We want to grow our share of the quality-driven schemes, and to work with additional contractors to deliver quality jobs, on budget, and within the agreed schedules – a challenge, certainly, but I’m confident we will succeed.” 

The rebranding coincides with a move to a new office just off the A3 near Farnham, Surrey which is at the heart of the majority of the company’s contracts, therefore reducing time on the road for employees and making it a lot easier for clients to visit. It is also located in lakeland and forest, a statement about how Phil wants it to be an environment in which Cultura’s people can enjoy working. The company will also retain its office on the south coast for some of its admin and support staff. 

Phil is very upbeat about the rebranding and future of the business; he’s pleased with the way that the team has bought into the new culture and he’s impressed with developments that have already taken place. With everything in place, Phil is confident the team, the new office, branding and ethos will take the company to the next level.

Published in Pro Landscaper August 2020 Issue
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