Today we’re sharing the wondrous wisdom from our head creative, Helen.
With 20 years of experience in marketing, Helen’s specialism lies in branding, making her a brilliant voice on building a successful and powerful brand. She’s also an incredibly talented designer and art director. If there’s anyone who knows their way around these questions, it’s her.
I'm Anna, one of the copywriters at The Brady Creative and today I'll be picking Helen's brains on all things brand. I hope you enjoy!
Hey, Helen, how are you today?
I’m well, thank you. We had a great shoot in London yesterday, but it’s back to the desk this morning. I'm looking forward to going through the final results of yesterday.
They say that your logo is not your brand, so in your opinion, what is?
This is such a great question. I think every communication and every touchpoint with the wider world is what becomes your brand. The logo is just the tip of the iceberg, really! Think of your brand as the thumbprint for your business. Understanding your brand values is vital, and making sure that every time that you communicate or connect with future or current customers, you’re delivering on your brand values, so that people really understand who you are.
What is the best piece of creative advice that you use to this day when creating brands?
I’ve got a couple, really, that I tend to share with people and follow myself. One of them is to not be frightened to look at everything from a different point of view. Don’t be a sheep. It’s so easy to be a “me too” brand. Saying you’re reliable, you’re trustworthy but anybody can say that… so how can you cut through that and say something different?
The second one may not go down as well in a corporate world or in a large team, but it's important. A good idea is just a good idea unless it’s benchmarked against your brand and benchmarked against your values.
If it doesn’t sit with that, then it’s a great idea, just leave it for someone else. And that goes back to that idea of don’t be a sheep; they’re a bit intertwined, I’d say.
What typically catches your eye when you see a brand you love?
They’re not huge brands as not everyone will know them, but I’m perfectly in their demographic! Look at Nkuku’s logo – it’s almost a non-logo, it’s so minimalistic… but as I say, it’s not about the logo, it’s about their overall branding and them as a business.
I quite like what some of the smaller brands are doing where they really understand who they are, they really understand what their brand values and what their ethos is, and everything about them delivers on that.
The thing is, you could say Nike and you could say Apple – and I’m a big Apple fan, I’ve used Apple all my life – but the reason why I haven’t said them is because I think Nkuku and Nordic House have stayed true to themselves because they are small and relatable.
Businesses that we are talking to and that we work with are just like them. Nike have sold themselves down the river if you like; most folks that wear them aren’t wearing them for sport, but I loved what they did in the beginning.
What you tend to find is that the core people who started a company are the ones who truly get it, but people who get brought in see the periphery and think that’s it, that they know the full depth. So many big brands sell out as a normal part of business… a recent example would be Tiffany’s, who were just purchased by Louis Vuitton. In my opinion, they stand a good chance of totally killing the essence of Tiffany’s.
The White Company are interesting too: I love them as much as Nkuku, but they’re just on that tipping point where their scale could start compromising their brand too.
What can we all learn from some of the larger brands in our industries?
Consistency, absolutely. Nothing else. Even though people say Apple aren’t the same as they used to be, they are still ahead of the pack and innovation is still at their core.
What is your favourite brand of all time and why?
It actually is Apple! That’s partly because their products are key tools in my industry, but I loved that they mixed cutting edge technology with user experience and they still haven't moved away from that. Even with their phones, it’s all about user experience; who cares that their batteries aren’t as good as Samsung when we are only going to plug them in again later in the day!
One to mention, though, is Virgin; they’re one of the best examples of brand-stretching in my opinion. If you wanted a lesson in how to expand a brand across industries from anyone, look at Virgin.
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So interesting 👌🏼
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Keep your eyes peeled folks as we might start to do these pieces with the team more regularly.
If you have any questions for Helen, please do let us know.