At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?
This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.
We spoke with Matt Desmier the Branding Chap who also speaks at conferences and events across the UK and beyond. Here we pick up on a few things; messaging, re-branding and being consistent with your content.
RISE: Branding is crucial to the success of a business, it changes the way that customers engage with the company and whether they want to stick around. With this of course comes the task of creating a loyal audience that want to be a part of your brand on an ongoing basis. What brands do you think have got this right and what is the pinching point that made them work so successfully?
Matt: The thing with brands — or branding — is that it is a constantly evolving thing. Brands that might be getting it right, right now, may soon get it wrong. Audiences have changed. We’re a fickle bunch. There was a time that once a brand earnt your loyalty, you hung on in there through thick and thin. The same can’t be said anymore. The ones that are getting it right have learnt that it’s a careful balancing act of people and product, promise and purpose, and process and principles.
Globally, right now Nike are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else. Locally, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are still killing it.
RISE: If a company is looking to ‘re-brand and reinvent itself’ is there any really handy tips or tricks you would suggest before they dive in head first (without giving too much away of course!)?
Matt: There’s a process. It’s not rocket science, or even a secret. And it’s not the logo. The logo is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s starts with the product – is it right, is it different, does it work, could it be better? Then look at the people, inside and out, who works there, who buys from you and why? Why do they work there and why do they buy from you? Then you need to think about the purpose, the promise, the processes and the principles…
Your company brand is the point at which the identity you portray, meets the image your audience receives and the reality their experience. You can’t reinvent it, you can only help steer the narrative and to do that you need to know who all the protagonists are.
RISE: Messaging is often the tricky bit that companies get really right or really wrong. When you are talking about your company or even you as an individual on your own CV or LinkedIn is there anything in particular that you should keep in mind? How important is consistency with this messaging and is that difficult to keep up?
Matt: When it comes to messaging, authenticity and integrity are way more important than consistency. Companies who understand their position, find it easy to be authentic with their messaging. And companies who operate with integrity don’t need to think about consistency because it’s imbued in everything they do.
RISE: Outwardly a brand might be bang on, but how do brands make their staff and internal operations live and breathe that brand?
Matt: The staff and internal operations ARE the brand. The outward expression of the company brand, the identity, is only half of the story. In fact it’s less than half. A logo is easy. A pithy, well-articulated purpose isn’t too hard to conjure up. But an authentic, well-articulated purpose, delivered with integrity and demonstrated across every experience an audience engages with, is much harder. But should always be the aim.
RISE: As an individual looking for a new job what are the tell-tale signs that you would/wouldn’t fit within that particular brand/company that you are going to interview for?
Matt: Do your research. We’ve all got a multitude of tools at our disposal, Google, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, friends, family and acquaintances… It’s not that hard to find out whether a businesses’ values meet yours.
RISE: Over time we have slowly become a society of wanting to be individual and unique rather than all wanting to buy, wear and show off the same things. Brands have had to adapt to this change in what an individual wants from them; they want to build their own personality rather than just being/wearing the logo. What techniques have brands had to adapt and develop to keep up with this new culture? And do you think that brands have had to relook and assess their companies’ culture and messaging to be able to adopt this new way of appealing to their audiences?
Matt: I’m not sure that opening statement is true. The world of luxury doesn’t appear to have suffered too much from societies desire to be seen as individuals. Chloe, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Louboutin, Rolex, Gucci, Ferrari, Porsche… these are still brands people aspire to own and be seen to own. The purpose-driven likes of TOMS and Patagonia have an army of fans who all proudly wear their goods. And with the recent Kaepernick campaign and their support of Serena Williams, Nike have a new legion of obsessives who are keen to be associated with the brand.
That being said, as I said previously, branding is an ever evolving thing. Brands need to be aware that their every move is under scrutiny, that what they do is easily replicable; so it’s super important to have a point of differentiation. That might be why a brand does something. It might be how a brand does something. It’s most likely a mixture of the product, the people, the promise, the purpose, the process and the principles.
A huge thank you to Matt for answering all our questions, and should you ever want to connect or chat with him about branding here is the link to his profile!