We are theological about brands: we believe that they are more than just the sum of their parts.
It’s through this promise of more that deep connections are made with customers. And it’s because of this promise that customers value you for more than just your product.
But that belief can be shattered by a single wrong step.
So, it’s not brand assets alone that create value in the mind of your customer. Everyone in your company needs to understand how a consistent brand builds a consistent promise – and consistent value.
And in a fast-changing and complex world, brand guidelines need to be more than guard rails. They need to be the platform that inspires the right decisions in unpredictable situations.
In order for everyone in an organisation to understand how a brand is not the superficial expression of the promise (that’s ‘branding’) and how it can flex to seize new opportunities, we show that a brand is built on 3 levels: 10,000 ft, 1,000 ft, and Ground Level.
10,000 feet is your brand’s narrative. It is the overarching story of why the brand exists and why the world would be worse if it were to disappear. It represents the kind of people who are behind your brand, what they stand for and what they are against. When this is clear, then almost all decisions are made in accordance with the brand.
1,000 feet is your brand’s personality. It’s the tonal qualities that determine how a brand expresses itself: how it looks, feels, speaks and behaves.
Ground Level is made up of the specifics, the lexicons, the structures that are characteristic of the brand.
We create inspiring brand books, films and other assets. We build pragmatic guidelines, in different, accessible forms that are as easy to use at ten to nine on a Thursday night as they are at ten past nine on a Tuesday morning.
We run audits, skills gap analysis and training for all internal and external partners.
Because our work is focused on real life, we have seen significant changes in behaviour.
We’ve seen highly dysfunctional client-agency relationships, on the brink of termination, be turned around and work regularly approved first time.
We’ve seen increasing writing loads handled by an unchanged level of writers.
We have seen team members moved to tears as the brand’s purpose is brought to life.
Best of all, we’ve seen how clear brand guidelines and training have inspired people inside and outside the brand to form a new, long-lasting ‘contract’, sharing a better understanding of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we stand for’.