What’s in a brand? A logo? A website? Marie Turbill reports.
“There so much more to it than that,” says Kate Burton, the new Brand Director at Stokesley-based Better. It’s their job to help businesses identify and understand exactly what their company stands for and then build a brand that says just that.
She explains: “Many confuse having a logo or a website with having a brand.” But she says a brand runs far deeper than that. “It’s about identifying what the company is about and what it stands for. It’s the entire ethos of the business, its DNA.”
At the end of the day she says it is a brand that a make a firm – an individual or even a place stand out from its competitors. Take her own move to Middlesbrough for example. She says it was the Love Middlesbrough brand that helped sealed the deal.
“The first thing I did, when my husband Robert got a job as ‘Principal Lecturer in Art and Design’ at Teesside University, was type ‘Middlesbrough’ into Google. Middlesbrough gets a lot of bad press, it always has.” But then came a bit of a surprise. “One of the first sites to come up was ‘Love Middlesbrough’. Suddenly here was a community, where people are proud of their hometown and not only that, they are actively promoting it.” It was on the back of this that Kate agreed to give up her beloved London.
Today, Kate is living and working on Teesside, and she says that she too loves Middlesbrough. She says: “The brand” certainly worked on her and with more than 20 years in the industry working with some of London’s top brand agencies, she knows what she’s talking about. Braun Haircare, Vodafone, Campbell’s, Nike, British Gas, and Royal Mail are just a few of the iconic brands she has had a hand in.
Her CV includes leading agencies including Wolff Olins, WPP-owned SampsonTyrrell and Coley Porter Bell, Identica and Sterling Brands.
She’s no stranger to Teesside, having cut her teeth in the industry managing the implementation of a world-wide re-branding programme for ICI in the late 1980s. And now, she’s returned to the region with a leading role at Better.
“I would never have compromised my career,” she says. “Quite frankly, Better emerged as the brand agency to beat as I realised I was increasingly using them as my benchmark by recommending them before I had even met them. Considering they are only three years old, they have got all the right things in place, a professional business manner and they are an agency with an audacious ambition.” She’s ready to get stuck in and help more businesses develop and truly understand their brand. “There are some big companies out there that don’t necessarily perceive themselves as a brand,” she says. “We want to help businesses promote themselves int he optimum way.”
She says: “Many firms believe they have a brand, but when it comes down to it what they really have is a logo. A brand focuses on what the company stands for, what its aims are and its values.” While they work with companies across the UK, Better – which has just signed up as a backer of the Gazette’s 2020 Vision campaign – has a passion for its Teesside home.
Kate says: “Now I am passionate about Teesside too and passionate about Teesside businesses. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here but I feel like I’ve come home – there is a real sense of belonging. A can-do ambition and perseverance seems to be open conversation in this area – that’s what I love about it, both as a community and a business community.”
My strengths: Inspiring people and helping to bring the bigger picture into focus. Seeing the positive potential in all situations. Telling the story that no-one else can yet see – defining creative narratives.
My limitations: Why have limitations? If there is potential in something, I’ll find a way of doing it… although there is my inability to walking over cobbles in high heels.
Downtime: I find relaxation in discovery so you will rarely find me sitting in an armchair pondering the world.
Fascinating fact: My husband and I create art/fashion projects – ‘Miss Kiki Salon Presents…” and “Embodied.creative” – that are exhibited across Europe.
Article written by Marie Turbill, Evening Gazette.