On Thursday 3rd June, our expert marketing panel hosted the latest episode in our digital masterclass series: ‘Identifying & communicating your brand values’. The session covered everything you need to know about how to tell your story, align your vision, unearth your values and put what you stand for at the front of everything you say and do.
A brand is much more than just a cool logo or nice colours…in the first of a series of masterclasses, we demonstrated just how important it is. As Jeff Bezos once said, “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
A huge thank you to everyone who attended and submitted a number of thought-provoking questions…we’ve rounded some of them and our panel’s responses up, so you can digest them at your leisure.
If you want to watch an on-demand recording of the masterclass, we’ve embedded the YouTube video below too.
1. What are your favourite brands? And why?
Alfie – one brand that always sticks out to me is Burger King. Earlier this year they had a rebrand but I think the way that they approach as well how they put their brand out there, I think is very clever, and they’re very aware of what they stand for and what they do, and put their message out there with confidence. They’re a great example of not being afraid and being aware of what you are and what you stand for and what your values are…especially when they’re against such large competitors like McDonald’s and others.
Scott – One brand that I look up to is Spotify, who I think have a really strong brand, not just from a visual point of view, which I love, but also from a way that they use the individual user experience to pull out individual narratives to talk about that brand experience.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the billboards in London of “to the person who listened to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” 8,000 times, what did you do?” I really enjoy the way that they play with the data they have of their customers. I feel that they really bring a strong ethos of “they don’t want you to be anything other than you and to have your experience and enjoy listening to the things that you enjoy listening to”.
2. Can you go through Arke’s brand evolution?
We adapted our brand as we grew, which is fairly common. A big part of Arke and who we are, is our location and we’re very much involved in the community of Brighton.
Visually, we really communicate our roots through the textures that we use. All the textures that you see on the backgrounds of our slides and the colours have all been taken from Brighton. We literally went around Brighton, and were doing some rubbing of textures and taking photographs, before converting those all into brushes that we then used to decorate all the digital and physical assets that we have. But as well as that, again to push past the idea of a brand just being colours, textures and logos, a big part of our brand, and staying within Brighton is that we have a Passion Projects committee. We love our city and our community which is why we work with amazing local charities and not for profits, helping them with their marketing by offering our skills and expertise free of charge.
3. How do I evolve my brand visuals while still being recognisable as the same brand?
A very good question! First of all, you need to understand and identify why you want to evolve. Is it because you’re sick of looking at the same colour or has your business service or products shifted in the past 12 months? If it’s the latter, then you need to strip things back and start looking at that USP. If your services and products are changing, then what you’re delivering is also going to change in terms of an experience. And so I would say it’s about questioning why you need to rebrand. On the other side of the coin, if you want to rebrand because no one is recognising your brand, then I have a question about whether the recognisability is still apparent in that instant.
Brands never have an expiry date, instead things naturally evolve. But at the core of your brand are your values, which stem from your mission, which, coupled with your story, should still be the same. It’s just the occasional update – or evolution! Sometimes if you look at big corporate companies, they make small adjustments which benefit the company, whether it’s presentation templates or small tweaks to a logo.
It’s always important to say why you’re evolving. You typically find that big companies don’t go through drastic changes because their core principles and their values are still lived by.
This is why it’s so important that when we do these sessions with our clients, that discovery phase is to really understand what your brand stands for and what you want to do, and we build from there.
4. How can you avoid making a brand story too cliche?
Cliches are cliches for a reason, and there’s an element of truth in all of them.
If you feel that your brand story is perhaps a bit too cliche, you might be operating in an oversaturated market where the products and services aren’t too dissimilar to what your competitors can offer. So to that point, I would then strip it back so it’s not about the product or service, but instead it’s about the people who are delivering that product or service – what do you do that separates you?
If something feels a bit too cliche, it’s probably a sign that you need to dig a little deeper, to strip things back a bit more. Everyone does operate and do things slightly differently.
5. Do you have any recommended reading to further my understanding of what brand is?
3 of our favourite brand books include:
- The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier
- The Brand Handbook, by Wally Olins
- How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (every Once in a While) Change the World, by Michael Beirut
And an honourable mention for Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.
That’s a wrap on our Q&A session! If you have any queries about identifying and communicating your brand values, get in touch with one of our creative experts. As promised the full masterclass is below: