There’s an age-old saying that still rings true today: ‘Brand isn’t one thing, it’s everything.’
Look after your brand, and the pounds will look after themselves
Brand isn’t just about the cosmetics of your business. It’s about growth, client retention, strategic positioning and so much more.
21st January 2021
21st January 2021
Estimated Reading Time 7 Minutes
It informs every decision you make and influences everyone involved with your business. Whether that's cleaners or CEO’s, customers or corporate partners; it will always have a commercial impact on your business.
Undertaking a rebrand or identity project is a big decision for any organisation, but inevitably it’s something that will be needed at some stage. As well as making sure you look and feel like a true representation of what makes you unique, your brand has the power to provide a strategic guiding light and measurable return on investment.
Finding your place
Your brand can be a catalyst for growth. And that growth can be influenced by a number of factors; perhaps none more so than strategic positioning. Making sure your brand is well-informed and clearly defined will help you identify and own a clear space within the market, with this position influenced by things like your points of difference, customer demands and market conditions.
A strong brand will not only influence how you talk about yourself, it often helps define or refine your proposition. A recent example is our work with insurtech innovators, Send. The London-based insurance platform had seen rapid growth over the past few years, and needed a brand to reflect who they’d become and where they were heading. As part of their BetterBrandBuilder™ journey, the senior leadership team realised the way they were selling and pricing their platform was outdated and not in sync with what the potential of their platform. As a result, they restructured their product to act as an agile and composable platform while overhauling their pricing model to bring clients transparency, efficiency and a no-waste approach.
Matt McGrillis, CTO at Send, said: “If I’m honest, being techies we were initially apprehensive and probably a little sceptical about investing our time in branding workshops — as it turns out we found the process incredibly structured and insightful.
"Not only from a brand outcome perspective but also because it really helped us focus on how we wanted to sell and market the platform and the components we had built.”
For other brands, it might be about elevating their look and feel to target a key audience, or changing perceptions within the wider marketplace. As Matt suggests, the process of building a relevant and strategically strong brand can also serve as an opportunity to facilitate senior leadership conversations. We often hear how the Discover phase — in particular our workshops — provide a unique chance to bring key decision makers together all in one place. While some of these conversations will fall outside the remit of brand, they undoubtedly offer the opportunity to open dialogue and discuss direction.
Keeping friends and making new ones
Another crucial impact of brand is customer or client acquisition and retention. With the majority of businesses undergoing a brand process to help position themselves in a specific market, the ultimate aim is usually to attract new customers and impact bottom line.
For most businesses, growth is defined by retention and acquisition; two of the biggest contributing factors towards a whole host of KPIs such as turnover, client list, and average client value. And where strategic decision making and positioning can be directly informed by brand, customer retention and acquisition comes as a direct result of your brand.
One of our most long-standing clients is Active Chartered Financial Planners, who we’ve worked with on a number of brand projects. For Active, a key aim of their recent brand refresh was to propel their proposition to appeal to a higher value client. On the back of a refreshed colour palette, reimagined logo, updated brand story and a new brand device called the ‘Active Spirit’, the independent financial advisers are benefiting from an identity that not only reflects the firm they’ve become, but has also provided measurable return on investment.
Managing Partner at Active, Karl Pemberton, said: "Our key KPIs, including recurring income and number of clients, are all up between 40% and 60%.
"What this shows is that we are now attracting and retaining a significantly higher value of client, which was the ultimate objective — the investment in the rebrand project worked a treat!”
While service and cost are the two typically most influential factors affecting client retention, brand loyalty is becoming increasingly important. In the age of COVID-19, political uncertainty and environmental crisis, purpose-driven brands are thriving. In contrast, those who’ve got their message wrong are already stagnating or falling by the wayside. Alongside key messages and a well-oiled marketing machine, a cohesive brand that shouts loud and proud about its values and resonates with clients will provide measurable commercial impact both now and in the future.
Growing, growing, grown
The defining metric for business success is turnover and growth. That might sound a little simplistic — and of course for charities and not-for-profit organisations, it won’t be the case at all — but ultimately no organisation can survive with a negative cash flow.
Yet brand is rarely associated with cold-hard sales and measurable growth. Instead it’s stereotypically filed next to colours, cosmetics and intangible ROI. In reality, it can be the driving force behind growth, offering a new lease of life to a company, product or service that’s previously failed to hit the spot or in need of a refresh. In the world of FMCG and DTC, consumer decisions are made in seconds often on both conscious and subconscious levels. Distilling everything a brand stands for and expressing that visually, to intrigue and convince in this narrow window of opportunity is critical to sales.
One such example is Dropps — the leading US household cleaning and care challenger. Over the past few months we’ve been working with the non-toxic, plastic-free detergent company to evolve their brand and packaging to help them scale, meet growing demand and go head-to-head with major cleaning brands. Alongside aligning their mission and packaging, the identity refresh has seen both brand recognition and sales soar.
Director of Marketing at Dropps, Sydney Waldron, said:
"The day after the new brand and website launched, we saw our best sales ever. Our loyal customers expressed joy over the new look and feel, but still recognised it as the same Dropps they know and love."
It was a similar story for fellow FMCG company, Equinox Kombucha. As the UK and Europe’s best selling kombucha, Equinox needed to create a credible, relevant soft drink brand capable of not only championing an emerging category but growing far beyond it. After deconstructing existing iconography and rebuilding a mature, sophisticated, calm and most importantly, balanced brand, complete with its own iconic bottle shape, Equinox have started to develop new nationwide retail partnerships.
Daniel Spayne, Managing Director at Equinox Kombucha, said: "We had grown up and it was time to change our brand look and feel to reflect this. 2018 was the year of rethinking, redesign and repositioning for Equinox. With the new brand complete, the big boys started to take notice. New partnerships with Holland & Barrett, Co-Op and Mitchells & Butler and investment from Yeo Valley.”
But such tangible growth isn’t just restricted to organisations within business to consumer markets. Casper had grown from simply a port agency into a fully-fledged, all-encompassing shipping group. As a result, they needed to not only update their brand but also rationalise its architecture.
Following the brand refresh, which saw previously disparately branded offerings brought into one cohesive family under the Casper banner, Managing Director, Michael Shakesheff, said: “The brand work undertaken by Better was a catalyst for our business and has helped take Casper Shipping from an effective, profitable regional business to a corporate, national structure with multiple operations.
“Revenue streams have seen a 60% growth on turnover over two years, with a further 15% growth predicted for the current financial year.”
From unifying separate regional divisions through to strategic positioning and tangible business growth; the BetterBrandBuilder™ journeys and resulting impact for Casper, Dropps and Equinox Kombucha show the power that brand can harness.
On a mission
Aside from the tangible impact, there’s a whole host of other benefits that your brand can bring. Even though some of these are harder to directly measure, they can all have an incredibly powerful impact on bottom-line and business growth.
A stronger and more informed brand story and toolkit is a key element to improving the culture of your business, which in turn improves employee buy-in and its subsequent impact on delivery and efficiency. The same can be said for recruitment, with a focussed brand helping to attract the right type of people that are so critical to business success and growth.
Whether they’re tangible or intangible benefits, they’re all defined by your core brand purpose and values. As we touched upon earlier, with consumers increasingly turning to businesses to solve societal issues, your brand’s ‘cause’ or ‘why’ has never been more important.
As a result, the businesses that cement and ultimately live by their values and brand DNA will be the businesses that are best positioned for long-term success. And it’s these powerful and well-built brands that not only look remarkable, but deliver real results across every key metric of a business.
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