Changing perception: from cotton trader to textile innovator

We were tasked with transforming the image of traditional Lancashire fabric manufacturer Carrington Textiles

F ounded in the 19th century, Carrington Textiles is proud of its heritage – it was part of the historic Lancashire textile industry that once produced a third of the world’s cotton fabrics. However, the company recognised that it needed to update its brand image and bring it into the 21st century.

Having spent tens of millions of pounds upgrading its production facilities and investing in R&D – in order to meet increased global demand for high-quality protective workwear, Carrington’s product range had expanded to include numerous innovative materials. The company had grown to become one the largest workwear fabric producers in Europe, with international sales reaching more than 80 countries. Its customers include some of the largest employers in the world, such as McDonalds, UPS and Coca Cola – and its fabrics have even been worn on the International Space Station.

Yet, despite the change in the company profile, Carrington was still being viewed as a volume seller of simple cotton fabrics – with many major industry buyers not aware of the pioneering steps Carrington had taken as a business.

To shift brand perception, Fourth Day was asked to launch a European campaign that would change the way people viewed the brand to ensure Carrington was seen as a leading innovator in the workwear market.

The campaign

Our campaign emphasised how Carrington was investing in R&D and new technologies to:

  • Improve worker wellbeing
  • Create a more sustainable fabric industry

To push these messages out, we generated a stream of coverage across industry and national media titles – in the UK, Germany and France – that consistently reinforced these points.

We also built ties with key industry publications, associations and awards organisers, so Carrington would always be front of mind when industry matters were discussed, and when innovation was being recognised.

Finally, we coordinated strategic campaigns, which included both media relations and advertising, that would coincide with the major industry conferences. These high-profile events offered Carrington a vital opportunity to meet face-to-face with buyers. As such, the campaigns were designed to stimulate and steer conversations in the right direction.

"Whereas previously we may have been seen as a follower, we now have a reputation as the industry leader. We have buyers asking what innovations we've got in the pipeline - and, when you've got customers coming to you, half the battle is won! This hasn’t happened by accident."
Jonathan McKendry Sales and Marketing Manager, Carrington

The Results

At a glance:

  • Media Coverage 245 pieces of coverage in key publications
  • Industry recognition Several award wins
  • Lead generation Numerous sales conversations started

Media coverage

We reached Carrington’s audience across a range of publications. This included more than 245 pieces of coverage in key industry publications, such as T.EVO and WTIN. We also gained coverage in nationals such as The Times, Mail on Sunday & The Telegraph, as well as business and regional titles including Management Today, North West Business Insider and Lancashire Evening Post.

Industry recognition

Since launching the PR campaign, Carrington’s directors have been invited to join the board of the Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide (PCIAW) and the European Textile Service Association (ETSA). Carrington Textiles was the first fabric manufacturer to ever be invited to join the board of ETSA. The company has also won numerous awards including:

 

  • Winner of Best Innovation: Protective Textiles at the Future Textiles Awards
  • Winner of the best Fabric and Fibre Innovation category at the Professional Clothing Awards

Conversations with prospects 

The PR campaign play an important role in ensuring potential buyers were taking an interested in Carrington’s latest innovations.

 

Jonathan McKendry, Sales and Marketing Manager, said: “Whereas previously we may have been seen as a follower, we now have a reputation as the industry leader. We now have buyers asking what innovations we’ve got in the pipeline – and, when you’ve got customers coming to you, half the battle is won! This hasn’t happened by accident. Fourth Day has played a significant role in helping to start these conversations. The PR campaigns we’ve worked on together have been instrumental in getting the right messages out there.”

Media highlights

  • How reducing your carbon footprint could cut business energy prices

    Businesses should aim to operate more sustainably – for the planet and their bottom line. Read how companies are going green and cutting their energy costs The Telegraph

  • Traditional industry cutting its cloth for the modern era

    Mass manufacturing of textiles may be carried out overseas, but British companies have found their niche The Times

  • How Carrington Textiles came to dress the world's workforce

    Pragmatism and continual innovation has enabled the Lancashire manufacturer to take its work wear global. Management Today