When I launched Mystery, my brand design agency, 14 years ago I wanted to do one thing above all else – create brands with compelling character that consumers would be able to connect with, understand and fall in love with. We specialise in the food and drink sector and have helped fantastic businesses in this industry build lasting and effective brands.
We’ve worked with brilliant restaurant clients like Za Za Bazaar, the UKs biggest restaurant, The Factory House in East London and the Giraffe group, helping them develop their business from their first site to a 50ish strong national brand. And we’ve also shaped and launched great consumer brands for FMCG products like G’NOSH, the gourmet dip range, and Masala Masala and have created cult brands like Bubbleology, the bubble tea concept that’s taking the UK by storm.
With each blog, I will give my thoughts and insights into the latest developments in the industry and share my years of experience. I will explain why I think effective branding is so crucial to a business and give tips and advice on how to get it right for your brand.
For my first post, I want to share an anecdote from a party I was at recently, which I feel says a lot about the importance of branding. At this event, I ran into an old friend, or at least he seemed to think we were old friends. Embarrassingly, I had no idea who he was. I bluffed my way through, blaming my extremely poor memory, but I’ve always been proud of my visual memory for faces. Either I’m getting very old or this chap had simply never made an impression on me.
As someone passionate about branding and design, it wasn’t long before I was comparing this situation with the way successful brands create a memorable character that consumers, friends and followers connect with.
Everyone knows that in this climate, with budgets tight, the level of competition is mind-blowing. Any business that wants to be successful has to be able to stand out in the crowd and the character of a brand is key to this. Branding is not just a logo or how a business is perceived externally, it should be at the heart of everything that organisation does.
The benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are immeasurable. Such a brand enables the target customers to connect on an emotional level with the business because they share the same values and beliefs. In turn, this leads to higher sales, better brand differentiation, loyalty, advocacy and can even protect a product’s prices at times when competitors are relying on promotional discounts to drive sales.
If you’re at a party and meet someone who has no distinguishing features, doesn’t engage with you or share any insights, values or jokes, doesn’t even flirt with you or make you feel special, how likely are you to remember them? Those are the ingredients that a compelling brand has. I began by wondering what people I meet at parties remember about me. It can be a sobering thought, so perhaps I’ll keep it focussed on helping brands that hope to stand out from the crowd.