As a creative agency, we research, concept and design brand identities – the names, tag lines, logos, patterns, colour palettes, tones of voice, typography, and imagery that come together to represent a business, product or service, or an internal or external campaign. But what our clients want to achieve is brand equity – recognition, memorability, favourable perception, and ultimately the loyalty that means expectations were exceeded and the people targeted will be back for more.
Achieving brand loyalty is where great branding delivers commercial success. It can be seen at work in the world of big brands. It’s why owning a McDonalds franchise guarantees profitability. It’s why global giants like Unilever will buy rather than try to beat up-coming competitors. It’s why even when companies are floundering, investors will still buy a brand that is resonating well. So, to get our clients on the path to brand loyalty we blend their expertise in what they do, with our expertise in putting creativity to work. Together, we put everything in place to make their brand matter more.
To get that conversation going, here’s a run-down of the building blocks of branding and some insight into what we want to understand about where you are now and what you want to achieve. If you’re looking to give your existing brand a boost, or launch something new, Destination, our brand development programme, will be game-changing. Talk to email@example.com to have a coffee with Gareth and get started.
Great branding is what we do, and great branding delivers value for any type of organisation. We’ve worked with B2B, B2C, charities, CICs; high precision engineers looking to pivot, health insurers and financial services companies aiming to scale, food start-ups, digital start-ups and more. We can deliver brand solutions for any situation. But… branding doesn’t work alone. Branding can work like magic, but it can’t save a flawed proposition. If a product doesn’t function, if the market is already saturated, or if you’re not clear who you are serving, there’s no point in discussing logos or promotional materials. This is why, before we begin, we want to know more about what’s going on:
Why do people buy from you or engage with what you do? What do you do to ensure you meet expectations and what makes you extra special or recognisably different? For example, do you deliver premium luxury, or focus on simplicity? Are you very high tech or do you take pride in face-to-face interactions? By reviewing your current proposition, and those of your competitors, we will feed back on the level of difference you have – because difference supports recognition. And if there isn’t anything super-special there already, don’t worry, that’s an opportunity for us to facilitate creative sessions and work with you on new possibilities.
As well as functional USPs, we also review personality. Here’s where branding adds an emotional layer of value that makes a proposition harder to replicate. Are you the fun and friendly brand in the market, the sophisticated one, or perhaps the most environmentally responsible? What’s your attitude, how do you talk? Even in situations where competitors might have similar features, a unique brand personality can be what really sets you apart and shakes things up.
What makes you different and the personality you might want to convey is important for us to know. But the other side of that coin is what your target audience wants, needs, and thinks of you. Broadcasting your proposition and hoping it will land is a risky strategy.
A brand only works if it works for your customers. After all, it's in their minds that your reputation is formed, and decisions are made. So, whether we use quantitative survey data or immerse ourselves in the qualitative experience, getting close to your audience and understanding them as much as possible is essential to developing a brand.
While a brand needs to be targeted, it also needs flexibility. Not all C-suite executives or first-time mums are the same, but there will be some recognisable patterns across types. Knowing who you are not aiming at can be helpful to understanding the traits of those who love you the most or those you haven’t yet approached. And if we can identify and engage with your most enthusiastic ‘prosumers’, they will sing your praises and help spread your message.
In summary, your USPs and personality need to be reflections of what your audience values and what delights them. They will judge you in many different ways. Did you perform? Do you look good in their eyes? How did you make them feel? Do you ‘get them’? Even in B2B situations where selection criteria might seem purely rational, people engage with brands that reflect them. This generates a shared sense of meaning between the values of a brand, and the values of customers.
To the uninitiated, branding can get dismissed as highly subjective and difficult to measure, but there are tried-and-tested ways to know if they are working. Sales figures are the common priority, which is why we often work closely with marketing and sales teams to understand those goals before we start. But whereas a marketing campaign might create a sales spike, brand equity is built more slowly over time.
The pay-off for investing in brand building is that a strong brand becomes a steady and reliable factor that supports ongoing sales. And as this happens, it reduces marketing cost and effort. So how can brand strength be measured?
This is a significant factor. It drives other perceptions and when quality is a key point of difference it creates a premium position. Getting regular feedback on quality and knowing what quality means to your audience is important.
Familiar products have sales advantage. When customers see a brand multiple times (which is supported by consistency), it builds memorability. This can be measured in recall – was your brand seen, was it remembered, if so, how was it remembered? It can also be measured by knowing how many people are searching for you (see our Matter more No.5 on why great names are a supporting factor in this).
Nurturing the company you keep can create positive perceptions. Are you building partnerships with like-minded brands and those that resonate with similar audiences? What events do you attend? Where will you be discovered and what will that say about you?
This is the point at which people return and head straight to you rather than reconsidering other options. Measuring loyalty needs the ability to record repeat purchases or capture referrals and recommendations. Here’s where NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a metric that some of our clients already use and we do too.
And last but not least, there are numerous awards to be won for brand creativity and company performance. We are proud to have won a few of our own, but more importantly, we encourage an award-winning mentality with all our clients and the work we deliver – for their brands, their business performance, and their teams that make it happen.
If you would like us to review and refresh your current brand, or help you create a new one, talk to firstname.lastname@example.org. We research, concept and design brands and create all the activation assets and implementation services that are needed to successfully deploy them. We’d be delighted to make your brand matter more.