Wednesday 21 March 2018, London

Branding is more than a logo or graphic element.  Cameron Webb from Infinite Global and David Lawrence from Lewis Silkin talked about how brand is the one entity to represent your business.

Cameron spoke from a best practice point of view while David Lawrence talked about his experience when it came to rebranding the firm.

Cameron and David mentioned how the mind-set needs to consider that everything is moving and evolving and needs to be reviewed at all stages.  A branding project is an emotional journey – how you deal with it is key.  There will be moments of energy and creativity, moments of frustration and moment where things are moving forward.

Together they went through seven key points:

  1. Motivation,
  2. Team work
  3. Team + Money + Time
  4. Pain & Pleasure
  5. People are part of the business
  6. Communication
  7. What is the goal

What is the motivation?
There are a number of reasons why these projects start; often small, and could include; company market change, client made a comment, seen an opportunity, just require a refresh, merger, restructure, etc.  Sometimes capital can put a restrain on the amount of change that is appropriate, but sometimes it’s worth considering what is actually needed.  David added that slight changes such as pictures, images etc. should be carried forward across other materials.  David also mentioned how Lewis Silkin’s change was a strategic motivation while Camron demonstrated the example of Amlin which was an opportunity driven motivation.

Team work:
It’s important to look for a balance in a team; creativity, expertise, trust, motivation, etc.  as is the need for a clear sense as to why the individual is in the room, what are they expected to contribute? And how would they add value?  Sometimes you might have some specialists only in certain meetings rather than all.  It’s also possible for the team to change at different stages.  Having a dedicated project manager (a go to person who is always aware of what is going on) is key, not a brand police rather a guardian.  David added how Lewis Silkin had a dedicated project manager who had constant overview of the project.  The overall decisions were made by the management board and the partners were the brand steering group/sounding board.

Team + Monday + Time:
Plan ahead (you can’t spend enough time planning) and be prepared to re-plan.  When other stakeholders get involved expect to re-plan again (it can get frustrating).  Don’t expect things to change overnight, it takes time, it happens gradually, sometimes the budget cycle may mean delays or that the rebrand doesn’t happen in one go.  It’s best to plan and communicate the transition of cost from brand to business.  Some firms do rebrand everything in one go, it’s not necessary, can be done in batches.  It’s always good to have a contingency plan for time and budget.  On average expect higher spend on delivery than you had on creation.  Often the brand team start with a set budget but other parts of the business get budget that can be used.

David added that splitting implementation into two budget cycles can help.  Lewis Silkin had a soft launch in April and from feedback amended and had a full launch in November.

Pain & Pleasure:
Clients don’t see the brand all day everyday so they won’t get sick of the colour!  The pain is felt more internally.  Fonts, styles etc. – how easy are they to understand and how do people feel about it.  It is important to be empathetic; partner’s business cards, portraits, email signatures etc. are personal to them.  On the plus side; pioneer the brand, empower everyone.  If possible consider horizon scanning and test it.  There are touch points for the client – the reception area, the magazines (mentioned how Beano was the most read magazine in their reception as all the guests already subscribed to FT etc.), friendly and open pictures makes a difference.

People are part of the business:
It’s important to set clear expectations – on-boarding people beyond a basic introduction – people are the product!  The people of the firm need to know what the brand means to them and their role.  This includes the layouts used for example in PowerPoint; rather than having a documented Brand Guidelines use a template across the board that is easy to access.  If required you can build on the needs with the individual.  Be open to receiving internal feedback and try not to dodge criticism.

Inform, involve and engage the internal teams.  But little and often, that way it is sustained and on the radar.  There should be somewhere for internal teams to go to get information and ask questions – this could be the website, war rooms, etc.  It is good to recognise achievement where it has been achieved; at individual, group and firm level.  David talked about the constant dialogue through the Intranet they did and how impactful desk drops were as these were tangible.  

What is the goal?
Have a basic measure to tell if you have been successful.  This should be internal and external targets.  Statistics speak louder than words, try to show the analytics which can then open more doors.  This can be internal and client feedback.  Sadly measurement is not done as well and often as it should be. 

Cameron and David suggested some tools that can be used, a few which I noted:

Basecamp – great for project management, chat etc.
Adobe Creative Cloud – brand, colour pallet, fonts
Getty Images – Cost effective images
Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit – good for fonts

Nehar Ullah, Acuigen