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Creating a signature style

01 October 2013

For the first time in just under 20 years, Initial Hygiene has unveiled a 26 product, global range called Signature, designed to reinvigorate the Initial brand and shake up the industry. Cleaning Matters attended the official launch at the Millbank Tower, London, in September to find out more.

Signature has been in development for over two years and the result is a full range of sleek, design-led, hygiene products created for the workplace. The intuitive products have been carefully crafted to make them easier for customers to use, simpler for the service teams to clean, while at the same time blending into the chosen location to create a positive first impression and overall experience. All of these factors come together to reinforce Initial’s mission of encouraging good hand washing and hygiene behaviour in the workplace – something which 2 out of 3 people in an independent survey, carried out this year by Added Value,  said is extremely important. 


Thinking globally

The thought process behind the development of such a large range is complex. Creating a complete concept that works globally means the products had to be designed to meet the varying demands of customers and their washroom habits in different countries. Hygiene standards vary widely from country to country, with different industry standards and user preferences to consider in each. For example, in the Nordics, hand dryers are less frequently used than in the UK, and in Asia toilet seat sanitisers are very common as washroom users expect exceptional hygiene standards in shared spaces. 

Bearing all this in mind, it may seem counterproductive for Initial to even attempt to create an entire range. But the company wanted to remain true to its core values of "offering customers what they want, not what we’ve got”, says marketing manager Audrey Green. In creating an entire range, Initial hopes to drive change in the industry and enable organisations to have a well-equipped washroom which users find inviting to use and a more streamlined service process from one partner. 

"When customers buy into Signature, they are not just provided with the products, they gain a service partner as well," says Initial's operations director, Brian Lynggaard. "This means customers don’t have to deal with the hassle of managing several different manufacturers in order to equip their washroom, but can instead save time and money by only dealing with Initial. Once a washroom contains products from the same family, we believe it is easier to clean, to supply and to remove wastage."

Attention to detail 

The product range was officially launched to the UK market on 19th September and is already being used in a high profile location in London. Features such as smooth, antibacterial surfaces to reduce the spread of germs, and no touch lids – said to be 20 times more hygienic than manual versions – are automatically provided on those products which involve the user coming into contact with them. The real innovation is in the design, which has been thought through extensively, right down to the minute details. The symbols on each of the products clearly show the user what the product should be used for, in a design language which translates across regions. 

Audrey Green says: "Washrooms are inherently ‘unsexy’, so it can be difficult to get customers involved. With this new range we want to raise the profile of washrooms – it's about owning the space and creating a look that represents your brand and that customers can buy into. The smooth surface on the Signature products is attractive, but it also makes it easier to wipe over quickly with a cleaning cloth. To improve service, we also wanted to create products that users and cleaners intuitively knew what to do with to. For example, the curved lip on some of the dispensers points down towards where the soap is released."

As part of the Signature service, Initial offers clients a full hygiene survey of their premises and a hygiene expert will undertake a number of tests to build a full picture of their specific needs, so a bespoke package can be offered. Alongside the full range of products across hand hygiene, cubicle hygiene and air hygiene, Initial has also launched a range of premium hand soaps, some with luxurious fragrances like lavender and bergamot. The perfumes used in the soaps have been specifically developed to blend with washroom air fresheners to create a complementary set of fragrances in the room. 

Audrey continues: "Signature is all about providing our customers with the full package. The range carries the Initial logo, so for us it’s vital that the washrooms are serviced and maintained in a way that does our brand and our clients’ washroom’s proud.”