Where ten years ago, clients and their brands were looking for a vision on which to build their brand, the tide has turned massively in favour of now articulating a purpose. Being able to answer the age-old question of ‘why do we exist?’, is as tough as ever. But get it right, and the results can be significant.
Brands with a strong purpose perform better. It’s a fact. Nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose. Consumers also want brands to speak up – 62% want companies to take a stand on social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to their hearts.*
*Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Research Dec 2018.
Authenticity clearly matters, and that applies to us as an agency as much as it does to our clients. We exist to help our clients fulfil their own purpose, helping build brands in a way that not only ensures customers believe in them, but are also motivated by what they do and say.
The annual design awards are one of the measures of our success. They come in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately, they’re there to recognise how agencies help tell their clients’ brand stories in the most compelling and successful way. As this year’s award season draws to a close, we’re pleased to report some major wins for the agency.
Unlike other ethical waters, Thirsty Planet guarantees a donation for every bottle sold. Every donation goes to UK-based, independent charity, Pump Aid, who use it to install water pumps in sub-Saharan Africa, providing communities with access to clean, safe water. A clear and authentic brand purpose.
But, when sales slow, donations are hit, and the best-laid plans of the charity cannot be delivered. After listening to the customers, it was clear what their motivations were. We needed to really understand what it is that Thirsty Planet stands for, and be clear with its messaging. The design needed to be serious, but not earnest; fun, but not frivolous; so, we created a friendly, campaigning message board, giving the brand a strong personality, and an identity that extends well beyond the packaging.
The results since the rebrand was rolled out in early 2017 have gone way beyond the client’s business objectives. With like-for-like annual sales increasing by 38%, and as a result, like-for-like donations increasing by a whopping 64%. Thirsty Planet out-performed the sector, leaving them in a position to donate a significant amount more money to Pump Aid, where it’s needed most.
“This is wonderful news! Congratulations to you all for this award and the recognition of the superb design; we loved it of course! It’s a real win win win for you, our fab partners and for more people in rural Malawi whose lives are saved and transformed through the donations.” – Pump Aid
The Thirsty Planet rebrand took home a silver at the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards in London. Silver means that we’ve proved that our work has a significant impact on business performance, and in this case, directly delivered on their brand purpose.
Severfield plc is the leading structural steel manufacturer in the UK. They pride themselves on world-class engineering and design excellence, making steel components for buildings as impressive as the Shard, the roof of Wimbledon, and iconic football grounds including The Emirates, Anfield and the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Severfield’s purpose is to solve problems brought to them by engineers and architects, to help build buildings that shape the new world.
In 2014, the Severfield-Rowen group of companies, as it was then, was suffering from confusion over its four operational brands; customers didn’t realise each was part of the whole. Cross-selling opportunities were not being taken and the constituent parts were not combining effectively in their approach to sales. On top of that, the identity of the business was failing to portray the quality, experience and market-leading skills, instead making the company look tired and old-fashioned.
As a result, 2013 and 2014 saw poor financial performance. The business was loss-making, dividends were suspended and the brand couldn’t deliver on its purpose.
With a simplified name, single operating brand and a more confident outlook, Severfield returned to profit. Internally, the business pulled together as a strong single entity, improving efficiency, centralising sales functions and maximising opportunities with existing customers. Externally, a raised profile helped to secure new contracts, including some of the most iconic construction projects in the UK. The turnaround driven by Severfield’s desire to deliver on its brand purpose.
Again, our work was recognised with a Silver DBA Design Effectiveness Award. We helped the business define and simplify its brand, the impact of which was huge. In the three years after the rebrand, revenue was up 36%, the company had returned to profile – generating a staggering £49.9m of profit in those three years. The business was also able to reinstate dividends to keep shareholders happy.
Fontsmith – Brandfont
Fontsmith is a leading global type foundry, supporting the brand industry with a complete font design and production service. Brands and businesses alike require fonts to aid the creation of distinctive positioning and communications, which motivate their customers. Fontsmith is an expert in this field, with a purpose centred around enabling brands to stand out in our evermore congested world, through the provision of font and type services.
In order to achieve this purpose, Fontsmith needs to do more than design great fonts, they need to understand how brands work, alongside a real understanding of what customers require and how to meet their creative needs. Their customers are often the agencies creating some of the biggest brands in the world, so the stakes really couldn’t be higher. Client brands include, Colgate, Jaguar, Cadillac, Champions League, Renault, Lloyds Bank, Glenfiddich and Channel 4.
We’re here to help clients like Fontsmith achieve their purpose and express themselves in the most positive way. Our support came in the shape of developing a new service, known as Brandfont – a way of making the development and licensing of distinctive fonts easier, and an integral part of the brand development process.
To market the service to the creative directors of the world’s best branding agencies, we knew that we had to make an impact. Insight suggested that a piece of beautiful print was still the way to get noticed and remain in their consciousness for when the time was right. Commissioning new typefaces isn’t happening all the time, so being in the right place at the right time is even more crucial.
The Brandfont set of books are substantial, they not only set out how the service works while examples of how the library of fonts could be used as a starting point, they also evidence how successful brands have benefitted from the Fontsmith service. In short, those books make it easy to buy Brandfont and stimulate the imagination for the customers to make those purchases.
Measuring the success of the project was always centred around achieving aesthetic excellence in the design world. And so far the results have been excellent, winning a total of four awards in the last two months. Most recently at The Drum Design Awards, where we won awards in both categories entered – Typography and Print Design. To top things off, the work also received a nomination at the D&AD Awards, the world’s most prestigious creative awards.
So, when our purpose is being measured in terms of creativity, these design awards are great evidence of success. The awards are also a great motivator for the team, and great fun to pick up in front of our contemporaries.