My Digital Wirral spoke to Stephanie Whalley (Marketing Executive) and Chris Birchall (Workplace Strategist) from Wirral and Manchester based Penketh Group.
Founded by Walter Penketh in 1976, Penketh Group have over 40 years experience in providing bespoke workplace design, furniture, interiors and technology solutions for businesses.
How many people are a part of the team at Penketh Group?
Chris: We currently have a team of 67 within the group, which are split across our Wirral head office and our working showroom in Manchester city centre. We are actually looking to recruit this year and going into next year too as we continue to grow. It’s an exciting time for us.
Are there any significant challenges you face when taking on these office design projects?
Chris: Discovering what a client really wants to achieve is the biggest challenge as they need to articulate something that they aren’t experts on. So, they aren’t always able to express exactly what it is they want or the specific problems they’re facing. Whilst this is the biggest challenge, it’s also a massive part of the process that we really enjoy as we help our clients uncover the key issues that need to be addressed and then share insights and solutions to those issues. I’d also say budgets and time constraints are very important but that’s always been the case and always will be, I guess.
What has been your largest project to date?
Chris: We’ve worked with some great businesses helping them with their office refurbishment projects recently including Jaguar Land Rover, Handelsbanken and the University of Manchester. Our biggest project to date though was probably Unilever GIO. The project was their new European IT HQ in North Wales and all of the workstation was a bespoke design and the installation programme was so tight we worked in shifts around the clock to achieve it. The end result was a fantastic workplace and an extremely happy client – so happy, in fact, we got an equally large order when we helped them relocate to new premises 7 years later.
How important has your online presence (website, social media etc.) been in the success of your business?
Steph: Our digital presence and website are things we have been investing a great deal of time and energy into over the past couple of years and we’re definitely seeing the impact. Since giving our online presence some TLC, we’ve had more customers finding us via internet search and social which is great. In a world where we’re all attached to technology for most of the day, an online presence is often the first thing prospective customers see of your brand and this is something we’re taking very seriously. So, to answer the question, our online presence is becoming more important as we continue to develop and refine it.
What can we expect in the future from Penketh Group?
Chris: Well, we’re always looking to improve our offering for clients and recently we have added a virtual showroom to our website to give a wider choice of products. It’s an exciting addition to what we can offer online and offline. We’re also in the process of refreshing our Manchester showroom in Bruntwood’s Neo building which will be ready to view in October. We’ve got plenty of things in the pipeline to make working with Penketh Group even better!
What sets you apart from other Office Interior Design companies in the North-West?
Chris: It’s a bit cliché but we have a great team that genuinely care about our clients’ needs and helping them achieve their aspirations. That mindset means you always get great service but more importantly as we get to know our clients better, we can tailor our offering to suit their individual business requirements. The number of long-term clients we retain proves to us it’s the right approach. Several team members have been with Penketh Group for over 20 years and when you mix that experience with the creative talent of our newer members you get a perfect blend. So, it’s our people that help set us apart from the rest.
Is there any advice you would like to give to people on improving their business’ online awareness?
Steph: The biggest piece of advice I would probably offer after many years working in digital marketing is to always be yourself and be authentic. Consider your brand, what it stands for, who your audience is and mould your strategy accordingly. I see so many businesses just using social media platforms or communication tactics for the sake of it. I even saw a portaloo company promoting their Snapchat handle on a van on a motorway the other day! What is that content even going to consist of?! Make sure everything has its purpose, be true to your brand and that way, you’ll find yourself in front of the right people and everything else should follow.
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