AEL Mining Services unearths wealth by meticulously providing the mining industry with carefully controlled energy. Their core competence is making explosive energy easy to use. AEL was established at the same time as the gold mining industry in South Africa. It now operates throughout Africa and has operations across the world including South-East Asia and South America.

As AEL became increasingly international, one of the requirements was for it to project itself professionally, and a sophisticated brand was therefore a necessity.

The first step was to develop a brand strategy which positioned AEL in a relevant and persuasive way. The brand strategy saw the evolution of AEL’s brand identity and the development of brand expression guidelines that ensured creatively differentiated communication.


But the most important part of this brand journey has been the establishment of The AEL Way.

The AEL Way describes the values identified in the brand strategy as follows:


Clearly understanding what is meant by values is important because brands and values are inextricably linked: people identify with brands that resonate with their values.

But values cannot be measured. The behaviours that underpin values can be observed and therefore measured. The challenge therefore was to develop a set of behaviours that would measurably live The AEL Way.

These behaviours were defined, first by the executive of AEL and then refined by senior management. The result was the following:

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Behavioural change does not just happen. You cannot tell people to change their behaviour because the way they behave is wired into them through their own life experience, and through those that influence them. Behavioural change is therefore a process that is led by leadership, setting an example and coaching the desired behaviour.

The solution to creating ownership of the values and therefore of AEL is recognised by leadership at AEL. That is, embarking on a journey that empowers them to coach the behaviours that have been identified as being central to AEL achieving sustainable success, and then engaging with employees.

Employee engagement creates both expectation and ownership. Essentially, this provides everyone with a road map to AEL’s desired future state, creating expectation. Ownership begins with the understanding of the company’s vision but it will only be fulfilled when employees understand their personal role in achieving the vision. This ownership will not be achieved though telling – it will be achieved through an ongoing dialogue between leadership, at all levels, and the work force.

Ensuring that there is ongoing fruitful dialogue with leadership at every level of AEL is being empowered through TowerStone’s BreakThrough – Leader as Coach and Schuiteman’s Care and Growth methodologies.

Our results are monitored through a combination of the annual Barrett’s Surveys that measure cultural alignment and through 360° Assessments that keep leadership informed of their success in coaching the behaviours.

Written by Johnny Johnson ~ Brand and communications strategist