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Grow Strong

If you recognise the need to stand apart from everyone else in order to grow strong, contact our Managing Partner, Lorraine Jeckells, and let’s talk about how we can help.

+44 20 7787 3001
lorraine@freepartners.com

What is a living brand and why do I need one?

Living Brand, as the name suggests, is a brand that is alive.
But what on earth does that mean?
To understand it, we first need to understand the word ‘brand’.

Brand

The purpose of a brand is to build trust and loyalty that, over time, delivers shareholder value. There are some pretty woolly definitions out there for what a brand actually is, so let’s get specific.

A brand is definitely not just a logo.
Your logo is one expression of your brand, for sure.
So is your website.
So is your business card, your invoice, your PowerPoint template.
So is your HR policy.
So are your products, your services, your processes.
So is your culture and your communication.
So are your values.
So is your mission.
Everything is part of your brand.

But really, your brand is more than that.
(Warning: Some readers may find the following paragraph disturbing.)

Ultimately, your brand is the perceptions of your organisation as formed in the hearts and minds of the people who come into contact with it.

That’s right – It exists inside individual minds. Which means two things:

1. There are divergent versions of your brand out there.
2. You’re only partly in control of it.

This can be a difficult concept to work with, which is why we think it’s useful to distinguish between what you can control – the brand vision – and what you can’t fully control (but can influence) – the brand perceptions. To maximise the value of your brand the goal is to align perceptions to the vision.

And for that you need a Living Brand.

Living Brand

A Living Brand is where the vision of the brand is grafted into every part of the business, so that over time perceptions are aligned to it. Building a Living Brand enables you to develop a mindset within your business that guides the people in it. To build a living brand, three things are needed: clarity, consistency and commitment.

  1. Clarity

For your brand vision to be understood it first has to be defined.
In detail.
No fuzzy logic.
No conflicting ideas.

The result of this work is a completed Brand Vision, a 20 Second Pitch and Value Proposition.

The Brand Vision is your brand’s true north, a constant guide and reference for the business.


The 20 second pitch articulates who you are and what you do so that everyone in your business can properly introduce your company.

 

The Value Proposition defines the most compelling value your business currently provides.

  1. Consistency

For perception and vision to align, the same brand experience has to be delivered time after time. From the way you portray your brand visually, to the way you speak, to the quality of your product or service, to the way they’re packaged up and delivered.

We design your identity, website, collateral, stationery and templates – all your touchpoints – to provide the unwavering consistency of vision that builds trust. We provide a style guide so that your team can deliver their products and services in-house.

  1. Commitment

Living Brands have commitment from the very top of the business to actively manage the brand vision into every part of the business. Whether that’s working with us to convert your values into a set of behaviours that form part of your performance reviews, or briefing your people to develop products and services that will advance the brand’s mission, or redesigning your office to reflect your personality.

Why bother?

Take a look at the businesses you admire. The perception you have of them will almost certainly closely mirror the vision they have of themselves. Inside a Living Brand, every department, every process, every role has been filtered through the brand vision, so that everything you do becomes an automatic and authentic expression of it. Yes, it takes a bit of effort, but we believe no business can achieve its full potential without it. Not just the potential to grow the lifetime value of your customers, but the potential for your brand to live beyond the people who established it.

For more information contact derah@freepartners.com

Winner Marketing and PR team of the Year at the Reactions 2019 London Market Awards.