Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Changes are never easy, but sometimes they are necessary. People decide to make a big change in their lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes this is because they want to try something new and different. Sometimes this is because they want to get rid of the past baggage, liberate themselves and start anew. Just like people, companies sometimes go through the same changes. Companies start this process of change – which can be internal and sometimes completely invisible to clients, or, on the other hand, radical and demanding of a full change of name and identity – in order to break away from the bad associations carried by their former name.
Exactly two years since it found itself on the verge of bankruptcy, Agrokor decided to make such a big change. As of April 1, Agrokor is no longer Agroko – it has transformed into the Fortenova Group, a new company that will try to change the perceptions of the past. Transformation is not an easy task and involves hundreds of key decisions. That is why jutarnji.hr sat down with the Fortenova Group’s management and prominent designers and communications experts who have been preparing this change for nearly two years, in order to find out what kind of difficulties they faced along the way.
“A week ago, a new company, with a different, fresh persona, came to life, with the desire to show all its partners and clients in different markets in which it operates a new way of working and communicating its values,” said Dubravka Jusić, Fortenova’s Marketing Director.
She can finally breathe a sigh of relief, because her team and the entire company have finished the first part of the rebranding process that has lasted for months. She explains how in fact it came to this big change, and it all started with the extraordinary administration process.
Jusić explains that the extraordinary administration process in Agrokor didn’t just mean the salvation of the company, keeping it alive in order to reach a settlement with the creditors, and securing a new start for the largest company in Croatia. Along with all this, it was necessary to begin with changes in internal business processes and the way in which the entire system is managed. Fortenova Group management say that already during the procedure they showed it is possible to do business differently, change the poor practices from the past, and settle large parts of debt to suppliers – thus, not only the system was saved, but also the numerous companies leaning on it.
They are proud of the fact that the financial restructuring through the settlement reduced the total debt that led the company to the brink of bankruptcy.
“The reporting patterns have changed, corporate governance principles established, and the foundations have been largely revitalized, allowing Fortenova Group to build its future. The way this will be done will be different than in the past,” said Dubravka Jusić.
But for a complete restructuring of the company, it is not enough to completely change the way it works from the inside. Sometimes it is necessary to give it a new visual identity, not only to distinguish it from the past, but also to let the new design and identity reflect the new values that have been established. That’s why jutarnji also included in their talk the design and communication teams who worked on the new identity.
“The very sign of the new company is made of grain seeds, as a direct link to the core business of the group – healthy food production, land, new life that springs from seeds sown in spring, and the palette of warm, earthy colours that the new brand uses, all together communicating new energy and modern business principles.”
As in the case of old Agrokor and the new Fortenova Group, much is not typical and already seen, so the rebranding process itself was not a simple one.
“Behind us is only one week of a new company under a new name. We can’t yet speak of the brand of Fortenova Group because today it’s just a new name, with which new associations are to be created, and the brand building work is still ahead. The name is of course based on certain positioning, but apart from the people in the narrowest circle, this name still doesn’t mean anything. On the outside, the first thing everyone sees is the new name, then the new visual identity, then the new colours. But for the true experience of the brand, certain time must pass, and common experiences in its creation,” says Irena Weber, Vice Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Fortenova Group, who, as part of the top management of the company, managed the process.
The final product was created through joint work, and finally by aligning all the participants in the rebranding process – first of all the company and communication experts, and then the new owners.
However, this seems to have been the easiest part of the rebranding process. Fortenova Group’s management is aware that the hardest part of the job is still ahead, in which the new brand must articulate itself, and prove its values.
“We are aware that the old Agrokor deeply disrupted many relationships and that the great effort we have invested in re-gaining trust has yet to get the final confirmation in our daily business,” explained Dubravka Jusić.
Everyone who has been involved in creating the new strategy and branding of Fortenova Group know that this was not just another ordinary change of the brand.
“This rebranding arises from utmost necessity, from the verge of bankruptcy. A new company had to replace a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. This fact is at this moment imbued in this new start, and some time will pass before the evidence that the Fortenova Group offers about itself as a completely new company can completely suppress that fact and send it to the junkyard of history. Thanks to, among other things, this rebranding, that moment will certainly come,” said the marketing director.
In this conversation, Fortenova’s management team leave an impression that they are very much aware of how much more work is still ahead after this rebranding process. As Dubravka Jusić says, it is very important for them in the future processes to define who are the people and the companies for whom this rebranding was actually done.
“In the case of the Fortenova Group, it is primarily about employees, creditors, partners and suppliers of the holding company, and ultimately new owners. You should have in mind that the Fortenova Group manages about 150 companies, and the rebranding process, through creating new values and relationships, will build the confidence among all its key stakeholders, all the way to the end customers. Namely, we are aware of the influence of names on consumers and the importance of positive associations that their umbrella name should evoke, and this is the work that is now ahead of us,” concluded Dubravka Jusić.