While a poor brand strategy seeks to please everyone, a great one is about making choices, often tough ones. It identifies what to focus on and do, and what not to do.
In the end, though, a great brand strategy keeps it simple. It distils complexity into simplicity and allows you to confidently say: ‘This is what matters’. The biggest compliment anyone can give you is: ‘That makes sense’.
Tell us about a recent project that speaks to that ‘a-ha’ moment of uncovering what really matters to a brand.
It would definitely be our work with Nykode, a biotech with ambitions to become a global powerhouse. What they did was complex: at a top level, they provided superior vaccine efficacy through tailored targeting. But that was a common story in the category and didn’t do justice to their unique technology and potential.
During the insight phase, we realised that while vaccine efficacy via tailored targeting was certainly true and important, the really interesting angle was that their tech was a modular platform – which meant they could scale and flex to different therapeutic areas.
This realisation informed all aspects of the brand we then developed, from positioning (‘The vaccine platform that unlocks unlimited possibilities for the future of medicine’) to name, visual identity and key messaging. It was a massive unlock and allowed the brand to become a strategic asset in the transformation of their business.
We know you’re a pretty accomplished photographer – tell us about that.
Photography is where I focus my creative energies when I have spare time. I have lots of ideas but limited creative skill so it’s the perfect hobby! I’m drawn to the mechanical nature of it, too. There’s something indescribably satisfying about the tangibility of holding and manipulating the heavy lump of precisely-machined metal that is a camera.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to photography?
For me, it’s about taking pictures that are interesting, not necessarily beautiful. If you’re open to looking for it, you’ll find something fascinating in even the most everyday and mundane of situations. And I love that when you find it, you’ve experienced – even in a small way – a new way of looking at the world or relating to something in it.
In this regard, photography is like strategy: it’s about finding what makes something interesting and identifying the angle that unlocks a new way of thinking.