Hussain Bayoomi chats to Neil Probert, of Newport-based Johnson & Phillips (Capacitors) Limited, about branding and what it means for his business

Neil Probert started his career back in 1990. Having spent 30 years learning his trade, he now runs one of Gwent’s fastest growing electrical engineering businesses. 
Johnson & Phillips origins date back to 1875 in Charlton, London. 
Initially offering services related to ‘complete equipment of cable machinery, accessories and stores for cable laying and repairing steamers’. In 1949 it was established as electrical engineers and cable makers. J&P latterly focused more on transformers, switchboards and solving complex power problems. 
The company has changed hands several times since the late 19th century. 
Today it is based in Newport and is regarded as specialists in its field offering a variety of world class solutions helping a wide range of businesses tackle electrical problems either from a commercial perspective or from an electrical asset management. 

Hussain Bayoomi: What does your brand stand for?
Neil Probert:
It stands for value, quality and expertise. We haven’t changed this promise since we began. It’s consistent, the whole team understand our values. Customer service for us is at the epicentre of everything we do. We know that we are world class in terms of skill and technology. Collectively, we have 125 years of experience within electrical engineering, therefore we have a responsibility to talk to businesses, and to showcase our skills, knowledge and experience. 

HB: How did you build the brand? 
It all started with a vision. The team strive to achieve that vision based on our core values which ultimately reflect our brand. Quality must come first in our chosen discipline, we won’t erode our brands reputation or integrity. We demand the very best from our engineers and suppliers. The team has helped build the brand, it’s a 24-7 commitment to fully support our customers. 
We align all our communication – we consider staff uniforms, social media, PR, external sponsorship of great importance. 
As a hands-on manager, coach and leader it is important that as an engineering business we become an employer of choice. 
People now come to us for career opportunities, people know what we stand for our message is clear, along with our commitment to the team.

HB: Your team is obviously important, what does that mean? 
It means we invest regardless of what they need: tools, equipment and training. We are a family, they amplify the core values of the business, as such its important that we exist in a 360 environment. They feedback ideas, suggestions, improvements. 
We now employ three business development managers. They all come from various industries, we employed them based on their personality, and values rather than experience. 

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HB: Do you have a typical customer?
No, we service everyone from a one-man band to a cruise liner and an oil rig. Our clients include the NHS, Kelloggs and Windsor Castle to name but a few. Each project is interesting as all our clients have varied requirements, everything from installation, maintenance, repairs etc, up to 66,000 volts. 
No solution is ever the same, each one is bespoke. We pride ourselves on a deep understanding of electricity and its application we are also able to provide solutions to improve our clients power, quality, and energy use. 

HB: How do you deliver a great client experience? 
We listen to our clients and analyse their needs to provide bespoke solutions. We offer emergency support 24/7 for disaster recovery to ensure our clients experience minimal downtime. We have a wealth of knowledge, experience and a passion for our industry and the constant changes. The need for power in the 21st century now exceeds expectation. 

HB: What’s the future of energy?
: We have a greater requirement for power stability, and efficiency. However, our emphasis must be on stability, demands on the network and the shortfall during certain times is a major issue, particularly where renewable energy doesn’t meet requirements. 
Wind and solar power all rely on external factors, which mean that when this fails, we are back to fossil fuels. Consumers need to remain balanced with their requirement, with a greater need for efficiency. 
Renewable energy is part of a multifaceted solution, we can quantify that there is 35 per cent available energy within our existing resources. We really could be doing so much more. 

HB: Share some of your wisdom with us 
The dots of my life only join up when you look back. It’s been an interesting career journey – never judge a book by the cover. 

HB: What does the future like?
Interestingly, as a people-centric business, our future very much depends on finding, retaining and developing good people. Our brand and ethical position is key, working with the local community is important. Our policy is that we employ a diverse, local workforce, and actively look to support the local economy and subsequent the supply chain. Again, this goes back to our brand values. 

HB: Give us your top tips for developing a business brand 
Make sure your culture is part of your business; have brand consistency on and offline – one version of the truth; have a marketing plan, something down in black and white; have the right mix so that you can measure ROI; be prepared to hold your nerve, sticking to the plan; your number one objective is to build a trusted brand, everything is centred around trust. 

HB: Finally, what’s the best advice you have ever been given? 
The best business strategy you can pursue as an owner or manager, employ people who care.