WillisPalmer is a social services organisation providing high quality independent social work services, primarily to local authorities and the courts. The business was formed in 2004, and since then they have been driven by robust values, with their first priority being the protection and welfare of children. They have built their success upon their ethically driven determination to be the best provider of services to organisations that work with vulnerable children and their families.

WillisPalmer identified the need for an external marketing partner as an important element of their next phase of growth. Mackman was approached in 2019 for marketing support in order to refresh their brand and encapsulate the values that they represent as the company neared its 16th birthday.


Brand Facts

  • WillisPalmer is a multi-disciplinary organisation that provides independent, high quality social work and psychological services.
  • Established in 2004, by 2014, they had recruited over 250 contractors and 40 psychologists.
  • They were selected as a Parliamentary Review Best Practice company in 2020.

Project Facts

  • WillisPalmer approached Mackman to work with them on refreshing their image to reflect their unrivalled commitment to quality and to coincide with their 16th birthday celebrations.
  • Mackman worked with the team at WillisPalmer to explore their digital and marketing footprint, establish a deeper understanding from their clients’ and contractors’ perspectives, and deliver a confident direction for their brand’s future.

The Client

Protecting the welfare of children & families

Established in 2004, WillisPalmer is a multifaceted social services organisation. Committed to the delivery of a diverse portfolio of child welfare provisions, they provide independent social work, psychological and therapy to children and families across the UK. The protection and welfare of children is at the heart of everything they do.

Mackman was approached by WillisPalmer in 2019 for marketing support and a full-scale review of their brand image. This came after identifying the need for an audit of their internal marketing functions and overall brand image. WillisPalmer already had their own small team which managed their digital channels. However, while this team was producing regular content, the output needed to be focused on strategy and targeting to ensure they were deriving maximum value from their marketing.

WillisPalmer was also in need of a full brand review, as their brand assets lacked consistency and needed aligning with their key messaging and values. With extensive experience in the areas of brand identity, insight and digital marketing, we were proud to work with WillisPalmer to realise their marketing goals.

The Challenge

Mackman was tasked with aligning the WillisPalmer brand with the style and level of service they were delivering. This brand needed to continue to grow and evolve with the firm, just as it continues to do so with its clients.

Our Process

Reflecting quality through brand refinement

Our process began with customer insight – we gathered client perceptions of the WillisPalmer brand and service offering. We also conducted several workshop-style sessions with key stakeholders within the organisation, which included revisiting and refining their mission statement to ensure it reflected their objectives.

After examining their market segments, creating personas that reflected their target audience, and plotting a typical customer journey, we established a clear picture of how WillisPalmer viewed themselves, how their clients felt about them, and what their clients expected from them. We also audited how they presented themselves digitally across social media and on their website. This insight allowed us to pull together and develop a brand strategy, reshaping how they project themselves to their clients.

We began by simplifying their identity, making the brand more accessible to a wider audience. The transition from WP to WillisPalmer was a particularly significant step in this user experience focused process. We followed this through into a revitalisation of their website, refining areas such as typefaces and colour schemes, and making the website more intuitive to navigate. Our next phase transitioned their photographic style to focus more on the people working there. This contrasted from their previous use of stock photography.

What does this mean for WillisPalmer?

From working with staff and clients, we really got to know the people, why they deliver the services they do, how they do it and why people use their expertise.

Supporting the brand’s future

Aware they were creating their own content on an ongoing basis, we created a brand toolkit for WillisPalmer. This provided them with all the brand elements they needed to create consistent, on-brand content, allowing access to colour palettes, logos, typography, and photography. We also built digital templates, allowing them to continue their content generation in the knowledge that what they were creating was on-brand. Finally, we ensured they would be able to refer to any of the marketing planning and development steps we had been through with them by providing access to a brand portal that preserved the strategy, research and brand development information used throughout the project. This will also serve as a long-term guideline document, protecting the quality of the brand for the future.

The Results

Our support of WillisPalmer has equipped them with a refreshed brand identity based on thorough insight, reinforcing their image as one of a professional, approachable organisation of experts who care. We have adapted their website into one which puts the people behind the organisation at the front and centre of their image. Alongside our work on their user experience, this made their brand more accessible to their audience. Our work with WillisPalmer remains ongoing as we provide assistance with their digital and image needs through our WebCare service and produce material to promote their brand image through design work. 

“Mackman proved to be highly adept at taking the time to understand our business; despite the complexities encountered in branding a niche business like ours they were professional throughout our work with them, and most importantly the finished branding met our requirements exactly.  We are really pleased that we made the decision to work with Mackman and I would have no hesitation in recommending them.”

Mark Willis – Chairman, WillisPalmer