Back in 2017, Crown was providing office moving services across 32 countries, generating around US$9m in revenue. It was clear that our service offering was geographically wide but was developing at different paces. We decided it was time to join up our efforts and have a more global approach to develop the opportunities provided by the workspace market
When the Crown Worldwide Group acquired two commercial moving specialists – one in New Zealand and one in the UK – during late 2018 there was no thought of a global pandemic that would impact how the businesses of potential clients would change soon.
2019 was a year when Crown was uncovering the synergies between the two companies and exploring the potential of them whilst creating a new brand – Crown Workspace – which would build on the foundations of the acquired businesses.
“Crown has a reputation of uncovering potential in one marketplace, developing our ability to serve customer needs, and then transferring the expertise gained throughout our global network” says Stuart Lawson, Global Alliance Manager.
Developing a strategic roadmap
In developing a new brand, it was necessary to create a strategic roadmap of development based upon existing and potential client insights. Crown’s Marketing Insight team had many conversations with Clients to understand their needs and this led to the development of 3 tiers of service:
- Workspace consulting, design and fit out.
- Relocation project planning, management and co-ordination.
- Commercial moving and logistics services (packing, moving, storing).
The strategy was designed to support Crown operations develop capability and competence – starting with basic services and building out from there whilst tapping into expertise from locations where all tiers are in operation. Seeing the opportunity to introduce a broader range of services to the existing client base in our Records Management and Relocations/Mobility brands, we launched a cross referral programme where employees of each brand were encouraged to share business contacts and leads.
The impact of Covid-19
And then, Covid-19 came along in early 2020.
“Although Crown was as shocked as most companies at the speed of the spread of the pandemic and its implications for our brands, we quickly regrouped to minimise its impact” says Stuart. “Crown is not the sort of company that waits for the storm to pass, we march headlong into the head wind whilst working on the change of clothing that will protect us”
“It became obvious, very quickly, that our clients needed support – initially in adapting to practices that would enable their staff to continue to work in their offices safely but, gradually, in reorganising workspace to right size their operations. Crown Workspace was at the forefront of our efforts to provide that support and in many ways, the pandemic encouraged Crown operations previously focussed solely on international relocation to speed up the development of services in their territories”
“The pandemic has speeded up the thinking of business towards creating more agile workspaces for staff, whilst also questioning the need for expensive office space. This creates opportunity for the Crown Workspace brand to become involved in projects at a much earlier stage. At the same time, the development of services in a larger number of territories makes Crown Workspace an attractive partner for global facility management companies seeking a one-stop shop of service provision and has led to its appointment as a primary supplier to one such client.”
“Further developments in recycling office furniture and I.T. equipment for re-sale brings an environmental focus to our service – these diversifications are not just profitable in themselves, but they serve to build long term brand sustainability”
Although tragic in its impact, the pandemic has enabled Crown Workspace to develop both geographically and it the range of services it provides. “There are territories where we have Client requirements but no resources of our own to meet them. If there are existing Service Partners to Crown that have interest in developing their capabilities and supporting Crown Workspace, I’d be delighted to hear from them” says Stuart.