A resurging economy coupled with fresh optimism in the business community has seen many companies feeling comfortable enough to start investing in a wave of branding exercises. It’s one of the most common requests we get these days. But when you sit down with many companies, you often find that there can be a marked difference between your interpretation of a branding exercises and their idea of one.
The problem for a lot of companies is that whilst they start out with the best of intentions, they actually only want to paper over the cracks in their business and a token rebrand is often seen as the best way of doing this. They don’t see the value of investing in employee engagement projects that shape cultural change, focus management and align organisational thinking, attitudes and action around the core values critical to the successful launch and rollout of the rebrand.
Over the years we have worked with a diverse range of companies ranging from Silicon Valley start-ups to multi-billion-dollar global organisations. In that time we have identified some universal truths that are often overlooked in the excitement and rush by companies to get a new logo out there and in front of customers as quickly as possibly. Chief amongst these observations is that inspiring and educating your staff to deliver on your brand’s mission statement/promise is of a much higher priority than the ascetics of the new logo and the size of the brand guidelines document.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is to involve your employees and create a multi-disciplinary team. Tap into the wealth of knowledge that already exists within your business and learn from it. Involve your HR and internal comms teams as part of the driving force in implementing and championing change throughout the organisation.
Introspection can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience, but taking the time and having the courage to face and address internal issues is also a crucial step in creating a relevant and truthful brand that will be embraced by your staff. Talk with your people and be open to their ideas as to what it will take to live up to the promise you are making as a brand. We have found that workshops that involve all levels of management coupled with having teams create customer experience maps, aspiration books and involve them in strategic initiatives, setting achievable brand mile stones all help keep people motivated, focused and committed.
The challenge therefore for companies is to transform a rebranding exercise into a rebranding action that starts from within.
Take Taconic Biosciences for example. When the company rebranded last year, central to the strategy was a synchronized worldwide staff engagement campaign that set out to ensure everyone within the company clearly understood the core brand values of the organisation and their individual role in delivering those values in the real world on a daily basis in all of their actions and interactions – both internally and externally.
It was only then that the company introduced the brand to the rest of the world and Taconic’s external communications strategy was deployed – secure in the knowledge that each and every individual within the company, regardless of geographic location was fully embedded within the company culture and a motivated and informed brand ambassador.
Another example of a highly successful employee engagement strategy was the Kingspan Environmental ‘People First’ initiative.
As with the Taconic Biosciences rebrand, prior to the external roll-out, the Kingspan Environmental ‘People First’ employee engagement strategy engaged with staff at all levels of the company from the newest office junior to divisional director to foster and encourage a shared vision and commitment rooted in sharing and understanding the brand vision and mission of an organisation at the cutting edge of the sustainable and reusable energy technologies.
‘People First’ adopted and made use of a number of internal touch points including emails, workshops, information packs and a series of posters that were localized to each of the separate states throughout Europe, North America and Australasia that boasts a Kingspan Environmental facility. Key to the success of the campaign was the inclusion of employees at all levels throughout the organisation and the fact that they were educated and empowered to deliver the brand promise to all customers and suppliers.
So what’s our point? Well, that’s simple. Don’t cut corners. Yes you can do a 60-minute makeover and have a shiny new logo that may or may not get you a few lines in your local paper, but real and meaningful change starts within a company and is radiated outwards like the heart of a mighty oak with deep roots.
Creating a brand name is a very personal and emotive process that can take months of research and introspection, not to mention a considerable investment.
But with an increasingly noisy digital marketplace and a shortage of words for brands to draw upon, many companies are going old school and opting for simpler naming conventions that connect with people in a more meaningful and straightforward way.
When Apple first introduced its “i” naming convention back in 2001, the world quickly followed suit and the cult of “i” everything swept the planet. In 2014 however – Apple quietly dropped the “i” convention for a much simpler product descriptor giving us Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Pay.
Another notable convert to a simpler naming convention has been Google – with its straightforward approach encompassing Google Glass, Google Play and Google Wallet.
What is perhaps most interesting about this new trend in naming is that the companies taking the lead in this brand revolution are market leaders who have historically always been ahead of the curve on the marketing circuit.
So as we move forward into 2015, the challenge for companies and brands will be to embrace this elementary approach to naming and navigate its integration across all audience touch points in a way that ensures brand stand out without falling into the trap of being generically bland.
One of the most interesting things about working in the creative industry is that you are constantly learning about new things. In this case it was a field of science that has massive implications for human health and wellbeing.
Our mission was to work with the client to create a brand that would act as a beacon for the scientific and research community to discuss and share information relating to translational micorbiome.
Originally created for the launch of a blog in the United States, we have subsequently created marketing collateral for the blog in Europe also. Drawing inspiration from the colourful animations used to illustrate the subject matter within the scientific community, our response provided TMRF with the ability to colour coordinate specific sections within the blog as required.
The brand also sought to add a vibrancy to the subject matter which is reflected in the energy and trends set by those leading the breakthroughs in the area.
The Bite Group has appointed The Mission Control as its lead creative and strategic agency following a comprehensive brand review that began in January.
The retail manufacturer who produces brands for Starbucks and Dunnes amongst others has been in substantive discussions with the agency for months but only awarded the business earlier this week after a final round of presentations from agencies in both the UK and RoI.
James Killoran from The Mission said: “It was obvious from the first meeting that the Bite team shared out appetite for amazing work. Bite has gone through a very open and honest internal journey over recent months to get clarity on their brand. That’s a very brave process and one of the things that endeared the brand to us. It proved a genuine willingness to explore the retail market they operate in and not simply follow the herd.”
The Mission’s first work for Bite is due to break pre summer.
You could be forgiven for thinking that it sounds like the plot for a CS Lewis story, but 2013 really was a fairy tale year for The Mission Control.
It started with a Royal visit from Prince Andrew, who came to check out a brand that we’d launched in New York just a few months earlier. Then we had the news that our Creative Monsters campaign had taken gold at the An Post awards in Dublin. We don’t normally get excited about awards and leave them for our clients to collect, but it really was very humbling to be recognised by our counterparts from across the border for our creativity and effectiveness. So thank you.
The next chapter in our fairy tale year came with the news that Prince Charles was coming to visit and that we had to prep for his arrival at the Prince’s Trust. Working with some trusted suppliers and in complete secrecy, it was soon another case of Mission Complete coupled with some very well practiced curtsies. Oh – did we mention that we were also award Recommended Agency Register status for the fourth consecutive year? We were really proud of that one.
But the real crowning achievement of the year wasn’t the opportunity to meet people with more impressive titles than Creative Director or admire our nice new shinny gold award, it was getting the opportunity to work with some pretty talented marketing teams within our clients’ ranks.
So thank you to all of the marketing managers, directors, presidents, coordinators and executives that have made 2013 such an amazing year.
Happy New Year!
What a fabulous month. We’re delighted to announce that we have just picked up not one, but two new clients in a single day. Our first win comes following a competitive pitch for a new chain of gourmet fast food restaurants. The win will see us create a new brand identity for the chain including naming, fascia and internal design as well as an extensive marketing campaign to introduce the brand.
Our second win hot on the heels of this is for a service that is close to our heart. We will be working with one of the UK’s leading care home providers to not only enhance their branding, including digital presence and internal wayfinding, but also creating engaging content that will help families facing the difficult decision of having to place a loved one in a caring and secure environment to do so with informed confidence.