Blog Oct 15, 2015
Confessions of a Brand Agency Owner
Insights every marketer must know about their brand
OK I admit it, I’m a brand junkie. But I’m not apologetic. Simply put, helping rebrand companies is what I live for. There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a client’s reaction to the solutions we present—and sharing the new visual and verbal expressions of their brand. That’s the ultimate payoff for all of the collaboration, analysis, strategizing and creative.
So, if it’s my passion, why was it so hard to brand my own agency—Rocket Science? Too close to it? Perhaps. Is it the typical “cobbler’s children have no shoes” scenario? Most definitely. We’re so completely focused on our clients’ needs; we inadvertently neglected our own brand.
One thing was for certain; we had to practice what we preach. Recently, we rolled up our sleeves and got our hands dirty to redefine Rocket Science’s brand and I’m truly excited with the final outcome—Rocket Science will now be LEAP Matter.
Our new name, Matter, ultimately stands for what matters most to you—receiving exceptional creative solutions that get to the heart of your brand and customer.
With our new name and mission ready to go, it’s time to launch and celebrate. But before the balloons drop from the ceiling, I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts I’ve been reminded of throughout this process. Here are my key takeaways every successful marketer must employ to develop and keep their brand relevant and connected.
The 7 Essentials for Developing a Strong Brand
1. Identify the problem.
Many times, a client will come to us asking for a redesign of their logo. Once the brand audit is complete, we realize that’s just a symptom of a bigger problem. The real issues often times live in their messaging. They’re not positioning themselves to best resonate with their customers. It's important to step back and look beyond the symptoms to determine what’s at the heart of the problem.
2. Know your audience.
Have you sat down and clearly mapped out everything about your ideal customer? Their pain points, what keeps them up at night? What solutions are they searching for online? What are their goals? This is your buyer persona and will help you see the world through their eyes. Get your team to focus on your ideal customer and everything created will speak to their needs.
3. Treat yourself like a client.
Use the same process you have in place for your clients. Engage an Account Manager and lead Creative on your staff to own the account. Create budgets, timelines, milestones and goals, etc. Your brand development is a REAL project, so be as collaborative and demanding as your clients would be. Don’t feel guilty that you’re taking your staff off of “paying work.” Don’t streamline it because you “know better” and you want to save time. You may think you know your brand, but the insights garnered from working through the process will be enlightening. Trust me, it will pay off.
4. Be committed, no matter what.
Too many times, we get through Steps 1, 2 and 3 and then something happens – that BIG project comes through the door and all hands are needed on deck. All of the sudden, your brand gets placed on the back burner and the next thing you know, three months have passed and you're back to square one. Would this fly with your clients? I didn’t think so. If this happens, you’re not serious about Step 3. Shame on you. Repeat Step
5. Trust your team and their voice.
Yes, you’re the client but you need to trust the expertise of the talented people that work for you. That’s why you hired them in the first place. It’s the same trust you want your clients to place in your hands. Let go of the reigns a bit and you’ll see your brand flourish. Your brand is more than just what YOU think it is.
6. Pull the trigger.
A brand is never finished. There is always room to improve and fine tune. But you’ll never know what you need to improve upon until it’s launched and you’re getting feedback from your audience. Put it out there and see how it resonates. As Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
7. Brand autopilot, bad idea.
I once had a client tell me proudly that they were going to put their brand on “autopilot” because they didn’t have competition and wanted to focus “downstream.” Say what? If you’re not controlling your brand story then your audience will. Your brand has a reputation whether you’re driving it or not. Monitor and evaluate it. Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Steward it, refine it and strive for conscientious improvement.
Of course, a good brand agency will ensure these practices are put into place and if they’re not, then perhaps it’s time to make a change. Feel free to reach out to LEAP Matter with questions or specific challenges you’re facing with your brand marketing. We’re always here to help and love a good discussion.