What you know about Thomas Edison: In 1873 he invents the incandescent light bulb.
What you do not know about Thomas Edison: His obsession with quality control of mass produced bulbs becomes the very foundation of an entirely new industry. He demands every light bulb be checked, tested, and, most importantly, be safe. His passion in turn spawns the largest quality assurance company in the world.
Until you read the name you might never have heard of Intertek. But here’s the thing: you would certainly be very familiar with dozens, if not hundreds, of their clients.
A bottle of Nestle water. The Big Mac you love to guzzle down. A refreshing Heineken after work. The seat you’re occupying on your next overseas flight. You’re getting a product that’s been scrutinized, verified, then stamped with the Intertek mark of quality assurance.
That assurance extends even to the Black Box on Air Force One (and the food served at the White House). It validates the gear expeditions use to scale Mount Everest, or trek to the North Pole. It keeps safe the crews operating the hazardous North Sea oil rigs.
43,000 Intertek people operating in 117 countries today keep 3-star Michelin restaurant gas burners fired up, aircraft materials safe enough for flight at 35,00 feet, cosmetic moisturizers free from harmful chemicals. And so very much more.
But you knew nothing of this. Because for 130 years Intertek has been operating behind the scenes, efficiently, quietly, relentlessly. A company totally vested in quality control innovation. An ever-present safety net. Invisible, but always there.
Until 2016. When Lindstrom Company took up the challenge to transform an “unknown” commodity player operating in an equally unfamiliar industry with no identifiable story, identity or purpose, into a company quite the opposite. One concise, recognizable identity. One incredibly powerful story.
Beyond the need to reinvigorate its brand properties with a new logo and identity lay the mission to create an entirely new purpose, with a unique proposition designed to distance Intertek from its competition.
For close on a year Lindstrom Company trolled through historic archives, visited the North Sea oil rigs, monitored toy lines’ safety regulations in China, compared the approach to safety standards across the world (witnessing one test to see the result of sharp metallic objects plunging into bicycle helmets from a height of 10 meters). Even visiting secret innovation labs in the Middle East, car factories in Germany, and food production lines in North America.
With one purpose. To uncover and identify an as yet furtive point-of-difference – one that Intertek could own in the future.
Since the project’s successful conclusion, Intertek’s share price has more than doubled. Signs that the company has entrenched itself as the industry leader.
Total Quality. Assured.