Last week I attended an Innovating for Growth (I4G) project workshop on Maximising Your Brand. It was presented by Alistair Bullen and Rory Muldoon from ABA | The Business Brand Agency, in a very chatty and informal style.
The idea was to introduce some of the key elements of
branding, and to indicate how they will be able to help companies on the I4G
program in one to one meetings.
After introducing ourselves and delivering our thirty second
elevator pitch, Alistair and Rory explained the difference between a corporate identity
and building a brand.
They used the analogy of a car to explain the role of
branding. Until you lift the bonnet you can’t fix the car, and until you know
what the other cars are on the road are, you can’t start the race. Also you
need to be clear on what kind of car you want to be.
The first stage for ABA is to get under the skin of the
company - not straight into ‘fixing the logo’.
They asked us all to write down our ethos, and our
competitors. This is what I put for the Business & IP Centre.
Ethos - To use our collection of business information to
help start-ups and small companies
Competitors - Other libraries with business information
(City Business Library), London Enterprise Agencies, University business
Then they introduced the concept of how each companies Raw Ingredients feed into the Blend of Positioning, Personality and Brand
architecture) which helps to define the Brand Essence.
Without working out what your Brand Essence is, you can’t
There are four vectors of your brand:
- Products and services - How people feel about
the things you produce
- Environment - The way people feel when they
enter your office
- Behaviour - The way that you answer the
- Communication - How you speak to your audience
You should find out what your customers think about your
service by asking them using a straw poll using Survey Monkey etc, but don’t be
defensive about the results.
We then spent some time reviewing a set of brand personalities to see which two or three most closely matched our brand essence. I chose Sage and Explorer for the Business & IP Centre.
Next we watched an interesting TED talk from Simon Sinek on how
great leaders inspire action. He said great brands start with the Why, not the
What. For example Apple aim to make products that challenge the status quo, they believe in thinking differently. Because of this they make great products.
You should always start with Why you exist, then follow with How you
operate and then What you produce.
The why is always much more compelling than the what, so
make sure you use it in all your brand communications.
We then looked at models of brand architecture:
- Monolithic - a single name that is master on all
products or services in a range - products are identified by alpha or numeric
signifiers - e.g. BMW
- Endorsed - individual brands supported by a
corporate master - working in tandem e.g. Kellogg’s Cornflakes
- Branded - product name is king e.g. Persil from
Alistair and Rory recommended a book called Fascinate - Your 7 Triggers
to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead.
Why are you captivated
by some people but not by others? Why do you recall some brands yet forget the
rest? In a distracted, overcrowded world, how do certain leaders, friends, and
family members convince you to change your behavior? Fascination: the most
powerful way to influence decision making. It’s more persuasive than marketing,
advertising, or any other form of communication. And it all starts with seven
universal triggers: Passion, Mystique, Prestige, Power, Rebellion, Alarm, and
TEDxAtlanta - Sally Hogshead - How to Fascinate
Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete
Against Brand Leaders by Adam Morgan.
I found the workshop challenging, but also engaging and fun, and
I could hear the attendees animated discussions about their brand values as
they left the session.
If you want to apply for £10,000
worth of bespoke advice and support for your business, have a look at our Innovating
for Growth programme and see if you qualify.
Innovating for Growth is part-funded by the European Regional
Neil Infield on behalf of the Business & IP Centre