Equanet asks Propaganda firm to help it shed box-shifter tag

'We don't just sell tin you know'


Mid-market reseller Equanet has charged brand consultancy Propaganda with helping to shake off its box-shifter image.

The Dixons Retail-owned business recently underwent a change at the top, with Phil Birbeck becoming chief of the group's ailing web shop PIXMANIA and biz development head Felix Stauber replacing him.

A "brand audit" will be overseen by Propaganda's planning director Julian Horberry and the firm claimed it will "drive brand strategy and make business recommendations".

"The IT market has changed significantly. Businesses in this sector, like Equanet, used to sell just boxes, now customers demand the whole package - a bespoke end-to-end IT solution," said Horberry.

This is not a new trend - firms in the channel have long integrated biz solutions from different vendors for customers.

It became apparent after the Y2K bug fiasco that faster processors and next-gen operating systems just didn't cut it anymore, so some resellers tried to cosy up to customers to understand their business needs.

In a glorious canned statement, Horberry said: "Our insight driven approach, which depends on knowledge before assumption and strategy before tactics, is the key to our success with brand transformation."

He added: "Once we have this knowledge, our job for Equanet is to create a business model that drives growth into the business through increased sales at a high margin."

It is difficult to know how Equanet has been faring in recent years as parent Dixons used to report specific numbers from its reselling outfits, but after a string of weak results combined them with the retail P&L.

When the business was initially set up, Dixons had plans to grow PC World Business and the acquired Equanet and Microwarehouse businesses into a £1bn organisation, but it didn't get close to half of that target.

The company has often been the subject of takeover rumours in the market in recent years but feedback was that its operations offered little in the way of high margin services.

Appointing Propaganda could be taken as a sign Dixons is preparing to dust off the "For Sale" sign, or maybe it is setting sights on that £1bn target again - the first is more likely. ®

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