By Sonya Rinkus
Citing rapid growth, construction consultancy firm Savant International re-branded in July. Said Principal Chris Hartfield in a press release, “Midway through the year, we are already exceeding our annual target. Few if any other companies can match our growth as demonstrated by our dominant position in many of our markets. Our decision to re-brand will reflect and enhance our established presence in Russia, the CIS and Europe.” Savant’s turnover in the CIS quadrupled in the past four years ($16.2 million in 2006 compared to $4.1 million in 2003), and they are expecting $22 million in 2007.
If business has been going so well, why re-brand? Principal David Whitehouse told Passport that the firm is changing along with market trends, in order not to stagnate. “Our business has reached a level where we have to change the way we work and the way we view ourselves and how we are viewed,” he says. And the change is foundational, not just cosmetic. “[It’s] a change in the whole way we do business, the way we speak, work and achieve,” he says. According to Whitehouse, the new brand better reflects Savant’s ethos, which is, namely, energy, reliability and responsiveness. Unveiled in July, their new logo is friendlier, invoking the helpfulness and can-do attitude of a small firm rather than a monolithic corporation.
An image revamp isn’t Savant’s only move to avoid stagnation. The company, which has served as an intermediary between clients and contractors since 2002, was similar to many other successful multinational construction consultancies. Now Savant is positioning itself outside the primary group of consultancy players by offering a “pro-active and direct approach to getting projects built,” says Whitehouse.
This approach appears to be working, as the company recently signed a host of contracts in Russia, including a 170,000-sq. meter Spartak Club in Moscow, hotels in Ukraine and Belarus, a General Motors car parts factory in St. Petersburg and an entertainment complex in Cherepovets. Developer Grand Land, which commissioned the Cherepovets project, has also hired Savant to consult on AAA-class office complexes in the elite Barvikha and Razdory areas of the Moscow oblast.
Another feature of Savant’s expansion is “in-house” design. Previously, as a project management company, Savant executed the blueprints of professional design companies. Now it’s vertically integrated, taking over the design side as well. Upon receiving its design license, Savant employed professional specialists in all design sectors — architects, structural designers, mechanical and electrical designers — in order to play a more comprehensive role in projects.
With these innovations under its belt, Savant is confident that it will be able to expand its presence on the Russian and CIS markets and take its business to “the next level,” as Whitehouse says. Still, the company will continue to “look at ways to improve and go beyond the boundaries” that limit its actions today.