What makes an enduring brand? We ask Spinach Branding to share their expertise

Building a brand that lasts is complex. It requires understanding the present market as well as forecasting the future, which, in today’s fast-moving world, isn’t always easy. But there are tried and tested methods that will ensure a brand stays fresh and relevant for years to come. And one of the most powerful of these building blocks is storytelling. By this we don’t mean crafting a fictional tale, but rather weaving a narrative anchored on reality and with a genuine brand promise.

Here Leigh Banks, Spinach branding director and partner, shares our approach in creating successful brand narratives.

What in your opinion makes for a powerful brand narrative?

I see it as a compelling story which explains the unique characteristics of a business, including its personality, backstory and its reasons for being. A strong narrative will enable a brand to connect with clients and customers on an emotional level. This is extremely important since we tend to make decisions based on emotions rather than rationality. Of all the emotions, love, respect and desire are the most powerful. Strong brands will be aware of this and are able to create meaningful and authentic stories to stimulate these emotions.

Does it matter how small or big the company is?

Not at all. A good example is Richard Branson. He is the master of creating the challenger brand narrative, taking on the establishment, and testing the status quo to great success. Branson started his company Virgin by selling records from the back of a van. So, the size of the company isn’t as important as the belief and purpose – without either there would not have been a compelling narrative for Branson to platform on.

What recent projects has Spinach been involved with which can highlight your approach?

We’ve been working with a number of clients with unique brand narratives, which we have been able to tap into. From the ones I can talk about four spring to mind: Soho House’s wellness products Cowshed, Italy’s iconic Campari, the east London housing and mixed-use development Barking Riverside London, and fine wine merchant Maze Row.

With all four commissions we established extensive project teams from across multiple disciples and channels to deliver in-line with our initial positioning work. And although these are very different products, they share a vision for creating powerful and timeless branding and design rooted in brand narratives that are unique to each one of them.

With today’s consumers navigating a complex web of communication channels, how best should businesses tell their brand story?

The old rules remain the same: who are the target audiences, and how do they consume information. Then based on this knowledge we would assess which mix of channels offers the best returns. For instance, an engineer who spends his working day out of office in a transit van is much more likely to be moved by strategically-placed radio advertising than the latest multi-platform social campaign. Likewise, there are generational and cultural differences. Understanding the customer, applying common sense and then thinking outside of the herd, will go a long way to providing the strategy for an effective communications campaign.

Communication platforms are also ever-evolving, as is technology. What are the challenges for a consultancy like Spinach in keeping up with the pace of change?

The amount of expertise needed to effectively operate across all channels is always a challenge, especially as the various platforms are constantly evolving. Whether you are a consultancy with all the expertise in-house, or one who partners with complementary agencies, the main narrative still needs to be managed across multiple teams.

And the risks?

I cannot stress enough: the brand narrative must remain consistent across multiple channels. This includes the language, the photography and the design. As ever, the risk is that the messaging platform becomes diluted as it is distributed out across agencies. This is where it is vital for the lead branding consultancy to be the guardian of the brand proposition and the narrative. Ultimately, the team will have a greater understanding of how to communicate this.

Images: VOICES publication further communicates the Maze Row brand, Barking Riverside London © Spinach

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

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