Think of OS (or Ordnance Survey as it was known before a rebrand in 2015) and the images that spring to mind are probably of school orienteering trips, hikes up Snowdon or family rambles outdoors during lockdown.
One of the brand’s greatest strengths, according to marketing and customer director Rebecca Paterson, is that it is so well known. But that is also causing the company some problems.
“OS is known, but it is not understood,” she says, speaking exclusively to Marketing Week. “We have a big transition to make.”
Despite being synonymous with the paper maps you might take on a holiday to the Lake District, this makes up just 5% of the company’s revenues. The rest comes from how it helps governments and countries use its location data.
For example, Sainsbury’s uses OS data to better plan grocery deliveries and the government to map areas with car parks large enough to take a testing centre for Covid-19. The emergency services use it to route vehicles, while its data is also used in disaster relief.