Ashtead Group

Ashtead Group

brand case study

Brand longevity based on simplicity


As one of our earliest clients, Ashtead Plant Hire Company Ltd approached Nucleus in 1983 immediately after a management buy-in. The two MBI partners had a very clear mission for the next 10 years: to develop an internationally-based industrial rentals group, across markets with scope to build a significant presence. This was to be achieved through aggressive acquisitions, allied with substantial expansion in their existing markets.


Nucleus renamed and rebranded the operating business ‘A-Plant’ and the group ‘Ashtead Group’, ensuring that the customer brand would be sufficiently distinctive and credible for rapid growth. The A-Plant brand was applied consistently to all plant equipment, offices, vehicle liveries and print in a nationwide programme. The Ashtead Group brand was then launched when the company floated in 1987. We then worked on their annual report over an unbroken sequence of years, developing a very distinctive corporate tone of voice and well-recognised portfolio of corporate communications.


The group witnessed spectacular growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s against the backdrop of a tough commercial environment. Ashtead grew more than three times in a space of three years, becoming the UK market leader and establishing a dominant US presence within a highly fragmented rentals market. Nucleus was retained as their brand partner for over two decades and the A-Plant brand remains in use up to this day.