Brand. A powerful strategic tool

Davy & Chapman | Brand Presentation, Fiji 2015

As Co-founder and Creative Director of Davy & Chapman, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at a client conference in Fiji last week on brand, it’s importance to the success of their business, how their customers perceive them, and understanding the next steps to fully integrate the refreshed brand across all the touchpoints of their business.

Early 2014, we started initial discussions and began working with them to transition and refresh their logo and identity which had remained the same, visually for some 20 years. Our approach in this situation is always to understand the intricacies of their business; their vision, brand promise, key objectives and business drivers. Only after we had exhausted a list of questions and tackled the ‘Discovery’ work, was it time to look at their brand strategy in closer detail. After several discussions, in-depth meetings and conversations with various stakeholders and clients alike, It was time to prepare the new strategy, capturing the essence of who they are and what they offer to their clients. As a successful company in their own right, they recognised the need to revisit their brand, engage the experts and lay the foundation, understanding how important it was to the growth and future direction of the company. It was a chance to remind and excite their audience about what remained unique about them, why they remained a credible and trusted provider in their industry, so not only did it give the opportunity for their clients to connect on another level, but it provided a great foundation for them entering new markets and for those that had yet to experience their brand, their associated services and their distinct point of difference.

Central to any brand is how your audience feels about your company, product or service - that memorable experience, the emotion, the gut feeling. This feeling they experience is your brand. A current opinion is not to consider these people as ‘consumers’ but to consider them as ‘humans’. We are such a marketing driven society that sometimes we forget that we don’t like to be spoken to as ‘consumers’ but as ‘people’ that actually make informed and educated decisions - this forms genuine connections and relationships. We always need to ask the question: how do we want to engage with a brand?, what do we want that experience to be like?. I don’t want to be sold something, I want to buy something and experience a deeper level of engagement in doing so. I can be a real sucker for a great brand and that experience is always what I’m after, making it memorable and therefore making it a ‘no brainer’ to return time and time again.

I was excited! An amazing opportunity to talk about a topic that not only I’m extremely passionate about, but one that is clearly what Davy & Chapman is built on. What it does is constantly challenge my thinking; ‘thinking differently’ and excites and drives me. Sometimes when a topic excites you, you tend to try and cover as many exciting points as possible, but what I needed to do was clearly articulate the main points - get the basics right, express our passion and approach and get them engaged as an audience, to think, to react, to question and to challenge. In essence, understand what my audience wanted to know and why - that good old ‘What’s in it for me’ approach, taking a considered view on any topic or subject, but especially one that is at the heart of any successful business.

Brand has a lot of mystery about it. Often questions about where to start, are we doing it right, how do we define it, could we be doing it better, so it was an opportunity to really de-mystify ‘Brand’ and in simple terms explain why I believe its one of our most powerful strategic tools as a business. Whilst I had been preparing the conference presentation I was re-reading ‘The Brand Gap’ by Marty Neumeier and this influenced my approach considerably. Such a fantastic book that should be the ‘go-to’ for any business wanting to bridge that gap between logic and creativity.

As a creative agency we’ve certainly experienced clients that ‘get it’, that recognise the value that great creative offers their business, clear examples that it improves business performance but more importantly how their customers experience them as a company. An insights led and design driven approach is consistently proving successful for businesses, locally and abroad and really gives the opportunity to express their individuality, their point of difference - which is exciting to see! no matter what industry you represent, design has a place, an important place in your success and it should never, ever be under-estimated.

What Marty articulates is how to bridge the gap between business strategy and design. This is often one of the biggest challenges we face as ‘creatives’ or ‘creative agencies’ - talking to our clients about how important it is that strategic thinking under pins not only just the creative expression of their brand but all the brand touchpoints. We’re not just about typography, colour palettes and crafting beautiful creative - we’re passionate about truly understanding business and business thinking to ensure what is developed really addresses ultimately the pain points of their audience - their clients, their customers and what their current challenges are today and what they potentially look like tomorrow. Creative must have purpose! it must serve to make things easier for business to move ahead and when you have the fundamental thinking right, each step becomes easier to driving business success as you can align every decision back to the vision for the business.

Given it was one of my first ‘official’ speaking engagements, it was critical to distill key points, providing some clear action points on ‘how to’ and ‘what to do next’, manageable steps that serve as a guide to heading in the right direction. In my mind, it’s important as an agency partner to ‘keep it real and authentic’ for our clients.

Learning, growing and challenging yourself excites me and has reinforced my passion for strategic thinking, creative design and execution and re-affirmed my passion for my company and how we help those businesses that need support, advice, and a guiding expert in their field. I’m super excited about the future, doing something I love and helping others leverage this extremely powerful strategic tool, called ‘Brand’.


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The Steelworks, Studio 19, 13 Coles Avenue, Mt Eden,
Auckland, New Zealand

Davy & Chapman

45d Normanby Rd, Mount Eden
Auckland, New Zealand