Managing change through effective communications


When Blue Max Banner (BMB) – the leading independent schoolwear provider with 150-years of heritage and an annual turnover of £29 million – acquired SWI schoolwear in June 2016, an intense communication campaign was required to unite the employees, calm existing customers and suppliers and inform the business community.

Speed Communications devised and implemented a comprehensive and integrated communications programme to ensure that the broad internal and external stakeholder audience was kept informed throughout.  This was central to achieving engagement, support and a smooth and successful transition.

The challenge

The biggest challenge faced by BMB was to alleviate any concerns that its existing retail business might have.  With SWI having a significant consumer focus there was a real danger that, if not positioned correctly, its retail relationships could feel neglected.   In addition, it was essential that BMB’s sales team all felt comfortable that they were armed with all relevant information when discussing the acquisition externally.

The solution

  • Speed chaired a senior leadership working group to gather information, identify relevant stakeholders and agree on the acquisition story for each audience
  • The communications strategy was then developed, setting out the recommendations and proposed activities, along with messaging and materials tailored for each stakeholder
  • Messaging was carefully crafted to ensure a thorough understanding of the rationale behind the acquisition and how it would benefit each sector individually
  • A media engagement strategy was developed and implemented to raise awareness of the acquisition amongst the wider business community appropriately
  • Throughout the process, Speed provided communications advice and counsel to senior leadership, legal and financial teams


  • The implementation of a highly effective change communications programme – all stakeholders were appropriately kept informed and understood the rationale behind the acquisition

Nigel Plenderleith, CEO, BMB said: “Speed Communications delivered and implemented a solid communications strategy before and during the transaction. We recognise that good communications is a vital component, yet wanted to ensure that our senior leadership teams were able to fully focus on the operational and integrational aspects of the acquisition. Speed Communications were instrumental in our ability to deliver a strong, clear and consistent message to all of our stakeholders.”


30 Number of days from Speed's appointment to executing a highly successful acquisition communication