YOUR BRAND IS NOT YOUR LOGO
It's far bigger and more powerful than a logo, a set of fonts and some colours...
I define "brand" as the “meaning people attach to you and your offering”. You do not own your brand. Your audience does.
“Branding” is the “management of meaning”. It is the strategic analysis, planning and delivery of experiences designed to give the right meaning to the right people.
I help businesses manage meaning using storytelling and design thinking.
Define your brand
The first step to "manage meaning" is to define it and ensure that this definition is understood - especially by leaders. Aligning the leadership team around clear inspirational answers to the following 'big brand questions' is usually an important first step:
Why do we exist beyond making money?
(e.g. what is your Brand purpose / Vision / Mission / Big idea)
Who do we exist to serve and why should it matter to them? (
(e.g. what are your Audience Personas /Proposition / Differentiation)
How should we show up in a meaningful way?
(e.g. what is your Brand Values / Personality / Archetype)
What do we offer?
(e.g. what is the Offer / Descriptor / Proposition / Narrative)
My ‘Brand Strategy Triangle’ featuring the ‘big brand questions’.
A one page Brand Strategy Summery allows for the definition of a brand to be swiftly communicated internally.
Operationalise your brand
Once defined, the principles of a brand need to flow through a business - inside out. Brand-thinking is the glue that sticks reality to strategy. Operationalising branding and leveraging it's power through all business functions should not be under-estimated. It means that all business activity connects with the desired meaning that ultimately leaders want customers to attach to the brand.
Brand thinking should therefore engage, inspire and motivate those focused 'within' the business as well as those focused 'without' as well as customers. It should govern decision making - both the 'micro' and the 'macro' decisions. This is not done by accident. It requires design and thought coupled with collaborative, engaged and energised leadership.
Some of the core areas which you can deploy brand thinking to create meaningful experiences include:
Culture & employee experience
Brand thinking helps you to align leadership, staff, HR, recruitment, routines, rewards and your workplace environment. It encompasses what behaviours you encourage, how your team collectively behaves and how they interact with each other and the outside world. It encapsulates who you exist to serve and how engaged everybody is with serving the. It includes your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and your Employer Brand (How your brand appears to current and potential employees). Use the principles of brand to define and articulate your purpose and values - and then design your employee experience and internal comms to ensure they are engaging with it.
Product, services & innovation
Businesses exist to serve customers but many are not developing unique products or services which truly help customers with their goals or needs. What a brand actually does, what and how it provides it, ultimately brings meaning to a customer. Branding cannot simply be a coat of paint at the end. We need to get serious about innovation and customer-centric product development. We need to make better things. Branding should influence business innovation and how products or services are designed and created to make people feel.
Having a clear, mapped out customer experience that is constantly being improved is essential to the modern business. Having a system which can enhance the brand in an audience's mind at every step is a powerful tool. Use brand principles to keep on top of ever-changing customer behaviours and desires. Make your customer stronger and increase their loyalty.
How a business articulates itself and how it dresses is crucial to ensuring communications are rooted in its story and the longer term meaning a brand wants customers to connect to it. Creative and strategic design should embody the character, tone of voice and style needed to build recognisable and distinctive meaning for an audience. Comms should communicate purpose - why and not simply what.
I offer consultation to leaders of businesses of all shapes and sizes. My services span these four key areas of branding helping leaders to manage meaning. Let’s talk about how an outside consultant can have a positive impact on all of the above and get you building a powerful customer centric brand. Find out about my services.
“Matt helped breathe real life and energy into projects I have delivered at both Boots and Specsavers, helping me and my team to really consider and articulate the brand/tone of voice we wanted to create.”
Design Manager | Specsavers
“Some people think brand is just a logo. Well you won't when Matt's finished with you. Matt brings a rare energy to his work. Not only does he operate with an unwavering belief in the power of brand but he also grounds his work in empirical evidence that is collaboratively captured and expertly delivered in an appealing and engaging way..”
Chief Strategy Officer | SCAPE
“A fantastic brand session. One of the best business experiences I’ve had.”
Managing Director | Income Max
"Matt is awesome at curating and is a zen master at getting teams to where they need to be...”
CEO | Newfound