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A 10-YEAR purpose-led partnership celebrated with igloo this year

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igloo is the UK’s leading ethical developer. As the first real estate B-CORP, igloo leads the way in sustainable regeneration, driven by their purpose of being in pursuit of people and planet positive places.  

Active Profile has been working with the igloo team for over 10 years. In that time igloo has tripled in size and recently received investment from PfP Capital, part of the Places for People Group.  

Peter Connolly CEO at igloo recently met with Anna Heyes CEO at Active Profile to reflect on the last few years and what this has meant for the two businesses as they’ve carved out their paths to success. 

Over the last decade, the teams have worked together on a range of initiatives, from rebranding the business to marketing award-winning housing developments across the UK. 

How did the relationship between igloo and Active Profile begin? 

Peter: “At the time, igloo was a relatively small business, delivering great work around the country, but lacking direction and clarity about what we wanted our external message to be. As a busy team, time would pass without us talking about what we actively doing to grow our brand presence externally.

We’d met the Active Profile team earlier through a project we were appointed on in Liverpool, the launch of the Chrysalis fund, and Anna was great at keeping in touch with us afterwards. 18 months after that initial meeting, and feeling like we were still not where we needed to be, I reached out to Active Profile.”

Anna: “We loved the work igloo was doing, and we had so many ideas about how we could help them. We knew they needed to review their brand messaging and what they stood for – they had a lot of great principles around sustainability and regeneration, and it was time for us to step in and help form a sense of direction for the marketing. In the early days, there were lots of purpose-led, passionate voices in the business all communicating in different ways. It wasn’t wrong, they just weren’t able to get traction. They had all the right ingredients– and they were doing so much great stuff operationally, but they just needed to speak with one voice, not ten!

It was tricky to get buy-in from the leadership team at first, but we knew we could create something everyone felt connected to, and take them on a journey. Ultimately, it was about delivering something simple that people could stand behind.”

What makes the partnership work, and why does it stand the test of time? 

Peter: “One thing that really impressed us at the start, was the initial time that Active Profile spent getting under our skin, getting to know the brand and what we do, before we told them what was missing. We’d worked with other agencies that had done this later down the line, but this approach of doing it first was completely unheard of and changed the game in terms of doing good work quickly.”

Anna: “For us, it’s about being able to have those open, honest conversations. We’re aligned on what’s important, which is the messaging around sustainability, and being transparent has enabled us to challenge some of team in a positive way to get better results.”

Peter: “One thing I’ve always admired about Anna is her steely determination. If there’s a direction that she believes we need to go in, she will stand her ground and fight for it. That mentality has led to a solid track record of the Active Profile team being able to deliver great results.”

What’s been your favourite result that you’ve worked on together? 

Anna“An early win for us was the brand messaging. Something we’ve always valued at Active Profile is the simple beauty of coming up with something that really works. We took all the frustrations the team had about how to communicate their messages, and turned it into “igloo for people, place and planet”.

Peter: “I think the brand messaging really gave us something to believe in. A highlight for me was coming out of a presentation in Manchester, where the team had pitched the igloo brand message, and thinking “I can’t believe everyone is on the same page”. Difficult stakeholders bought into it, and it meant that I could step back and manage the brand, but let other people drive it, because they truly believed in it."

Peter: “Another highlight for me has to be the way that Active Profile understands our clients and partnerships. We work with many different parties – from local authorities to high-profile investors, and the team at AP acts as a trusted pair of hands to move things through – from announcements to award entries, social media content to events. As a result, we’ve secured coverage in many of our aspirational titles and created content that we’re really proud of.

The way that they’ve taught us to communicate differently with different audiences and partners, has been so valuable, and it’s something I’ve even taken through to my work as a school Governor.”

What’s next for igloo and Active Profile? 

Peter: “So many things about what igloo is today, is completely testament to the work of Active Profile. Through our journey over the last decade, we’ve been through so much growth and transformation, and our constant has been having a trusted team to rely on.”

For our next steps together, it’s time for us to revisit our brand and our strategy to support the accelerated growth we have planned. We’ve been through a period of change, so we’re going to be working with AP to sit back, look at the brand and refresh it to help accelerate our growth, whilst spinning the plates of the day to day communications required across our regions and projects.”

Anna: “We’ve always been extremely proud to work with igloo. I love the fact they don’t just say, they ‘do’ when it comes to sustainability and impact. In the world of communications that is a gift. These types of partnerships, with invested relationships and alignment on a clear purpose ultimately mean we deliver our best work, and even better, we have fun too. As we look forward to the next few years we’re excited to start a new chapter of growth together."