Investment in strategic branding is on the rise judging by our recent new business success.
The past year has taught us a lot about why clients are looking carefully at their brand during a period of immense challenge and change.
Right after the first lockdown happened in March last year we had a few bits of good luck with some new clients and big projects landing just when we needed them most. It gave us a clear focus and considerable hope when the future seemed pretty bleak.
As 2020 progressed we kept on winning work from many different quarters. It’s funny that the more you focus on your specialism and the better you work as a team, your luck just keeps on growing! We were collectively determined to grow our way out of a nightmare situation.
But why have so many different clients been willing to invest in the kind of strategic, creative branding that we are expert at when you’d expect them to be battening down the hatches?
From the clients we have worked with in the past year we have seen some common themes:
Businesses focus on strategic branding when their marketplace changes or they do. Hopefully both.
The world definitely changed in 2020 and we’ve all been forced to reassess some fundamentals about what really matters. Beyond the immediate crisis of the pandemic there are long-term tectonic shifts in how we live and work. Was this the wake-up call we all needed? Because we are seeing so many businesses reassess their role in a changing world and that can only be a good thing.
Many of our new clients are realigning their strategy and brand with where the world is heading now. The pandemic just made the pace of change accelerate rapidly and focused minds on the fundamentals of their strategy. The sense of urgency, and opportunity, is now much stronger.
Many businesses over exposed in one sector, want to broaden their reach but that requires a new positioning.
Any business with an over reliance on customers in the retail, hospitality or travel sector now wishes they had a more diversified strategy. It’s not always possible, but looking at transferable skills and expertise may open up new markets in parallel sectors hungry for innovation. Repositioning the business opens up alternative opportunities for growth while allowing time for established markets to recover.
We are working with a number of clients that are exploring how to enter new sectors with modified versions of their existing product and service offers.
The best business leaders managing change want to really listen to what others have to say before they act.
Decisions in the boardroom can often be made in haste and without fully appreciating the impact on others. Setting out to listen carefully and widely before acting can result in much better outcomes and is increasingly a sign of responsible leadership. Confidential consultation by an independent third party allows key decision makers to hear what people really think without personalities and politics getting in the way.
In recent months a number of clients have asked us to conduct confidential research on their behalf, feeding the findings directly into the boardroom to inform decisions on strategy.
Read our blog about the importance of brand research here.
When changing the focus or direction of the business, changing the brand signifies your strategic intent and forces everyone to take notice.
We notice change when we can see change. So a dramatic brand refresh or full rebrand is a signal of much deeper transformation and will make people pay attention. The sweeping away of the old clutter and the focus on a purer expression of the brand narrative and identity is a mark of confidence in the future. It creates the space and the opportunity for you to explain the changes being made.
We are working on a number of dramatic rebrands that will shortly communicate a very clear message to their stakeholders that the organisations concerned have a renewed sense of purpose and focus in their chosen markets.
The best marketing leaders are perfectly aligned with the challenges and opportunities faced by their customers and make more meaningful connections.
With all the demands and expectations heaped on marketeers it’s not surprising that some are not more closely connected to their customers. They simply don’t spend enough time seeing what the world looks like from the other side of the desk or screen. But delving into the brand experience brings the end-user and buyer into sharp focus and enables a much more meaningful dialogue that puts the customers’ needs at the heart of the brand story.
Through some very different approaches to creative consultation we are helping brand owners get closer to their customers even when direct face-to-face consultation isn’t possible.
Many of the most inspirational businesses aren’t motivated by financials, they are motivated to make the world a better place.
Positive financial results are a mark of a well run business, but they are rarely the focus of their strategic ambition. Increasingly brand owners seek ways to explain their positive purpose in a way that engages and inspires their employees, customers and partners without being at odds with their commercial objectives.
We are helping many leadership teams to align and articulate their Vision, Mission and Goals into a powerful brand story.
Read our blog on Positive Purpose here.
Beyond selling the features and benefits of their products and service portfolios, brand owners need to explain how they add value over the long term. In highly commoditised markets this matters more than ever.
Buying and selling is both a rational and an emotional process. But how do you differentiate your brand when you are selling similar products and services to many other players? This often comes down to focusing more on how and why you do what you do, rather than what you deliver.
In one recent project we helped to define and deliver a comprehensive messaging platform that unified key product portfolios, essential support services and core capabilities into a simple and compelling brand narrative. We took time to ensure this was properly explained to internal teams and supported them with the tools to take those key messages out to their customers and the wider marketplace.
Brands need to cut through with greater clarity when the world around them is in chaos. Less is often so much more.
The world is a pretty noisy place right now. Especially online. Without the ability to travel and meet in person we have to find a way to cut through in the tiniest screen spaces and in the shortest amount of time. Hence the rise of channels like TikTok and Linkedin. We all have to find ways to deliver our message with sharper, better targeted content.
Recently we helped a major client move their annual EXPO participation online, creating videos and presentations, supported by targeted digital advertising that now form the backbone of an on-going content strategy for the year ahead.
What all this tells me is that a cool head for strategy, a willingness to listen and collaborate, the agility to respond to change, the commitment to make a positive difference and the desire to enable growth has meant that our agency is doing what we do best: helping many diverse clients to build powerful brands capable of realising bold ambitions.
8 reasons why our current clients are investing in strategic branding:
- Businesses focus on strategic branding when their marketplace changes or they do. Hopefully both.
- Many businesses over exposed in one sector, want to broaden their reach but that requires a new positioning.
- The best business leaders managing change want to really listen to what others have to say before they act.
- When changing the focus or direction of the business, changing the brand signifies your strategic intent and forces everyone to take notice.
- The best marketing leaders are perfectly aligned with the challenges and opportunities faced by their customers and make more meaningful connections.
- Many of the most inspirational businesses aren’t motivated by financials, they are motivated to make the world a better place.
- Beyond selling the features and benefits of their products and service portfolios, brand owners need to explain how they add value over the long term. In highly commoditised markets this matters more than ever.
- Brands need to cut through with greater clarity when the world around them is in chaos. Less is often so much more.
Rebecca is the founder and Managing Director of rbl. An experienced brand and marketing professional, Rebecca has spent over 30 years helping clients to build, design and manage their brands.