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The Pest Detectives

The definitive history of Rentokil

By Rob Gray

Hardback £20.00 / $30.99
eBook £17.99 / $21.99
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The Pest Detectives

The definitive history of Rentokil

By Rob Gray

Jacket text

Rentokil is the heart and soul of pest control. A brand synonymous with its field and familiar to all. Innovative, ground-breaking, highly professional; renowned for scientific rigour and go-the-extra-mile customer service. At last, here’s a book that tells the full story of Rentokil’s rise into an international powerhouse – and the pest problems it encountered and solved along the way.

The Pest Detectives explores the origins of the brand, including the story of founder Professor Harold Maxwell-Lefroy, a brilliant yet tragic figure; Britain’s first Imperial Entomologist and one of the foremost scientific minds of the early 20th century. It covers the personalities, big deals, landmark assignments and technical accomplishments that shaped the business.

But as well as looking back, The Pest Detectives is very much a book about the business today: the culture, the strategy, the significant investment in innovation and training required to ensure Rentokil will still be at the forefront of the pest control market another 90 years from now. Through interviews with senior managers and talented ‘pest detectives’ on the ground, Rob Gray paints a picture of what the brand stands for and where it is going. A compelling picture of the greatest pest control business there has ever been.

About the author

Rob Gray has been a journalist since 1988. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, from newspapers such as The Financial Times and The Guardian through to business titles including HR Magazine, The Marketer, Campaign, Broadcast and Management Today. Aside from developing a healthy respect for the challenges of pest control, Rob writes about brands, marketing, corporate communications, innovation, organisational development and people.

For over a decade, Rob has worked in a part-time freelance capacity as head of editorial content at the International Public Relations Association, where he is responsible for commissioning and editing the IPRA Thought Leadership series of essays on trends in media and communications. His previous book, Great Brand Blunders: The worst marketing and social media meltdowns of all time...and how to avoid your own (Crimson Publishing) explores the root causes of marketing disasters, takes idiocy to task and is packed with good advice on steering clear of potentially damaging pitfalls. It attracted widespread praise: "excellent" - Forbes; "You simply must read this book" - Marketing magazine; Chartered Institute of Marketing Book of the Month.

Rob has spoken at conferences and events, including the Eurobest Festival of Creativity in Lisbon. He lives with his wife Ginny on the border of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire.

Media coverage

From CorpComms Magazine :

Corporate biographies have form for signalling oncoming doom. ‘Fountains and flagpoles are recognised totems of corporate vanity, but when companies come out with histories of themselves, alarm bells ring,’ wrote The Daily Telegraph a few years back on the publication of a new biography of Barclays. The bank had already fallen foul of this rule… Read more »

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From The Market :

Descended from Thomas Langlois Lefroy, whose killer charm made him the generally accepted model for Jane Austen?s Mr Darcy, the founder of Rentokil was Maxwell Lefroy, 1900s England?s premier entomologist. And so commences a lesson on how to build a global corporation in The Pest Detectives: The Definitive History of Rentokil. As entertainingly told by… Read more »

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From IG Trading / New.Markets TV:

VIDEO: There’s a lot to learn from 90 year-old pest exterminator Rentokil, says Rob Gray, author of The Pest Detectives. Lessons in business longevity, marketing and customer service, as well as the dangers of over-diversification.

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From European CEO :

VIDEO: There is usually a story behind every business ? sacrifice, struggle, reward, and sometimes failure, but always endeavour. At least, this is certainly true of bug-busting Rentokil European CEO speaks with Rob Gray, author of The Pest Detectives, on what start-ups today can learn from veteran companies.

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From The Huffington Post UK:

As Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” This couldn’t be truer than in the case for ending malaria; working in partnership with business and wider society is crucial if we are to beat this killer disease which tragically claims the life of a child… Read more »

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From Business Info:

Pest controllers past and present attended a reception at the House of Commons on Monday 9th November to mark the 90th anniversary of Rentokil and the release of The Pest Detectives, a book which charts their 90-year history. British pest control business Rentokil Ltd was founded by Professor Harold Maxwell-Lefroy in 1925 after he created… Read more »

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The Birth of a Pest Control Powerhouse

1. Dangerous Experiments
2. The Early Years of Rentokil
3. Parallel Beginnings - The British Ratin Story
4. The Road to Flotation
5. Life as a PLC
6. Aiming High
7. Renewed Focus
8. Tales from the Frontline
9. Going the Extra Mile
10. Reinventing Rentokil
11. Adapt, Change, Improve and Excel
12. The Pest Detectives

The Pestiary
Rentokil Firsts
Who's Who
About the author

Published: 30/10/2015
Edition: 1st
Pages: 376
Formats: hardback - ISBN 9780857195074
ebook - ISBN 9780857195081
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