Before joining as managing director, I joked about Gabbitas Education – old, archaic, it appeared long past its heyday. I often thought of it with the same affectionate sadness as I did about Arsene Wenger. Once an innovator, who introduced broccoli, yoga and massage to Premier League football, signed up foreign players and was the first to electronically collect and analyse performance data, Wenger was overtaken by competitors, angered Arsenal’s fans and had to be replaced.
I had the task of modernising a once illustrious institution, which had lost touch. I didn’t like the old name, the style, the colour – it looked like sepia, stuck in the past. None of it said to me: ‘Education, Excellence, Aspiration’. First thing we asked was: why do we need to be called Gabbitas Educational Consultants, when everyone refers to us as Gabbitas? We are in the business of education, we have been for nearly 150 years, we don’t need to prove it. So, we call ourselves Gabbitas. Indeed, Gabbitas is much better, succinct and to the point. My vision for Gabbitas is of a business which makes significant contribution to changing educational outcomes internationally, and our brand needs to reflect that.
Having sharpened the name, and reaffirmed Gabbitas’ international dimension, I also changed its logo. We wanted something that gives the feeling of heritage, of history. Our new emblem says: we are in education, we have been for a very long time. We looked at various options of a logo, realised that red was the colour everyone liked, particularly in China where it symbolises good fortune and joy. The new Gabbitas logo depicts what looks like a crimson crown, but at closer inspection is a family, whose embracing hands form a letter G. Underneath, in blue, it reads: Gabbitas, 1873. Sharp, simple, it speaks volumes. Developing the new branding was centred around how we look forward as a business, and how we unite as one Gabbitas to drive our vision.
Like Unai Emery’s convincing performance with Arsenal – 11 wins in a row, 22 unbeaten at the time of writing – I feel confident that I will see it through, that Gabbitas will rule the waves again, regaining its place as a world leader in education.