Our Creative Director Oliver Hall sits down with brand strategist, Collette Philip to ask about her concept of brand and her extensive experience working with a multitude of businesses.
1. Brand is a big word. Are you able to summarise your understanding of brand in one sentence?
Your brand is who you are, what you stand for and how you deliver it ownably and consistently across EVERYTHING you do. Having a strong brand means that your audience understand all of the above and experience it in a way that adds value to them.
2. What is your role within the development/ creation of a brand?
Throughout my career, I’ve played many roles – from agency client services person to brand manager, to brand marketing lead. But my favourite role has always been the one I’m doing now - brand strategist – I work with my clients to develop and define their brand framework and then apply this across their business.
3. What informs the creation of a brand strategy?
It starts with a really clear brand framework. There are 4 elements – purpose (why you exist), personality (how you do things in your ownable way), values (the non-negotiable principles that drive how you work) and vision (what the future looks like if you’re consistently living your purpose). From there (as with any strategy), it’s about using these key elements of your brand framework to establish the very clear direction that you will move forward in and then putting in place specific and long-term activities that will continue to build and deliver your brand.
4. We work with many of our clients in navigating through the process of organisational change, how do you feel brand help in this process?
A brand is a brilliant catalyst and tangible demonstration of organisational change. It can help explain why you are changing, it helps you define how you deliver it (and what good looks like) and then it also helps you embed it because it sets criteria for your organisation to live up to after undergoing the change.
5. Do you have examples of where brand has assisted in a successful transition?
Yep. When I worked at Everything Everywhere, the business realised that neither of their existing brands (Orange and T-Mobile) were strong enough or the right vehicle to launch the UK’s first 4G network (which the organisation had the exclusive ability to do). So the launch of the EE brand was about enabling the organisation to reframe the role of a mobile phone network in facilitating and enabling technology – by giving customers the ability to live truly digital lives.
And I led the rebrand and repositioning of WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) after the new organisational strategy changed the way the organisation needed to deliver its work and it’s theory of change. Becoming World Animal Protection wasn’t just about a new logo and brand identity, it was about helping the organisation deliver its mission and purpose – to move the world to protect animals.
But ultimately every brand I’ve worked on or for has been about helping the organisation change or transition because that’s what brand strategy is all about. It should never be solely about visual identity or external marketing. For example changing perceptions about their food (McDonald’s), or helping articulate who they help and how they work in today’s society as opposed to their Victorian heritage ( Barnardo’s).
6. How does an organisation recognise the need for a fresh look at their brand?
I wrote a blog post called ’10 reasons to invest in your brand today’ which is all about the benefits of building a brand. And I always recommend that it’s time to refresh your brand when it’s stops working for you.
When you find that it’s a barrier to, rather than supporting, driving and enhancing organisational change. When your audiences are confused about what you do and how you do it. Or when you have to work round it to deliver innovation or try new things – and as a result as an organisation, you appear inconsistent and fragmented. All of these issues are signals that it’s time to look at your brand again. Practically I advise that you should audit your brand at least once a year and refresh (this doesn’t mean a full rebrand) every 3 years or so.