Two years ago Rentokil Initial introduced a new strategy, THE RIGHT WAY, which focused on a new regional structure and investment in growth and emerging markets. By the beginning of 2015, the strategy was embedded across the business and Rentokil Initial launched a new more proactive approach to corporate communications.
Its objective was to raise Rentokil Initial’s share of voice in the crowded support services sector and to create a better understanding of the company with key influencers in order to rerate its shares. The approach concentrated on three areas: innovation, M&A and heritage.
The Pest Detectives campaign, comprising print, digital, event, internal and traditional PR activities, focused on the heritage aspect of the strategy, and drew on Rentokil Initial’s 90th anniversary.
The definitive history of Rentokil Initial, The Pest Detectives, is a 365-page book that was published as an eBook and in hardback. It told stories from the frontline, but also took the reader on a journey through the company’s innovations and future plans. Against a target of 1,000 sales, more than 2,000 copies have been sold.
Rentokil Initial also launched mobile game The Pest Detectives that allowed players to ‘splat’ a selection of pests, which mimicked their real-life characteristics and offered information about the pests and how to control them alongside fun facts from the company’s history. The ten-level game was promoted via Facebook and Twitter.
A programme of events, including pub quizzes and competitions, to celebrate Rentokil Initial’s 90th anniversary culminated in a party at the House of Commons, which was the company’s first client. The event, which was attended by colleagues, journalists, politicians, shareholders, suppliers and customers, launched The Pest Detectives, showcased innovation (past and present) and hosted a pop up Pestaurant for MPs.
A new corporate website and blog brought all the themes of the campaign to life, attracting a 15 per cent uplift in visitors over the year.
The influential Today Programme on Radio 4 attended the anniversary party, culminating in a four-minute breakfast slot. Five other broadcast interviews also took place while a selection of print media articles inevitably focused on MPs eating bugs, an initiative that raised £30,000 for Rentokil Initial’s chosen charity Malaria No More.
The programme boosted Rentokil Initial’s profile in both the media and with stockmarket analysts, which ultimately boosted its share price. In the 12 months to 1 March, the company’s shares rose 37.4 per cent while the FTSE 100 suffered a 10.1 per cent decline.
The judges felt The Pest Detectives had ‘lots of personality’ which made good use of storytelling and achieved strong results in both traditional and social media. ‘This was a fun campaign, particularly for a B2B corporate,’ they said.