It’s not every day that you win GOLD at the Sydney Design Awards, so we thought that we would share with you a little of what goes on behind the scenes to create an award-winning brand.
A little bit of history
Independent copywriter Melinda Leyshon from WriteCopy had developed a reputation as the go-to specialist for business awards submissions with an outstanding track record of a 93% success rate for her clients.
With so many businesses lacking the expertise or resources to develop quality submissions, Awards Agency was born. However with a budget befitting to a sole trader, we faced an enormous challenge – how do we create a brand identity that would excite both large and small businesses, communicate expertise as well as enthusiasm and excitement, and motivate and engage potential clients to back themselves when we had less than $10,000 to work with?
Melinda wanted a brand that immediately resonated. That would stand out and be remembered for all the right reasons. And that would convince clients that she was the authority and best person to meet their challenges while delivering results.
However, during our brief, we discovered that she was hung up on a pre-existing concept that was all about the colour blue. To her, the concept of ‘blue ribbon’ represented first place. Quality. Winning.
Our first response? It’s playing it safe. It’s not where she wants to be, but it was all she could conceptualise. And to us, it just didn’t connect with where she wanted to take the business.
With a logo, brand voice, website and associated digital collateral to develop, and all for less than $5,000, we needed to develop a solution that met the budget while also packing an absolute punch.
We had some work to do. After all, she was after a brand that stood out but mentally locked into a concept that blended in.
A consistent design challenge is often convincing clients to step outside of their comfort zone. Like Melinda, they often had concepts in their head that played it safe.
To remove any pre-existing notions, as well as align their business with a brand that genuinely reflected their industry positioning, we developed Brand Personalities.
Based on the philosophies of psychologist Carl Jung and his 12 Personality Archetypes, it’s a word association process that’s taken us three years to refine. Determining the right personality enables us to strategically create a brand that’s meaningful and relates to the organisation and the customer. The attributes of this personality are then used to develop all elements of the brand, from language and tone through to visuals and even communication mediums.
Why? We recognise that branding is a key component of consumer buy-in. After all, why does Apple have a far more loyal client base than IBM despite having products that are more expensive?
So we took Melinda through the Brand Personalities process. The result?
Awards Agency was the Hero Personality. Words that resonated with the Hero were warrior, competitive, principled, rescuer, proud, brave, courageous.
This was no ‘blue ribbon’ personality. This was a personality that was achievement-oriented, full of excitement and movement. A personality that demonstrated a winning attitude and was a motivator for others to achieve their goals. And a personality that was excited and challenged by the opportunity to prevail against the odds.
Melinda was beyond excited. She wanted to see where we could take it. Best of all, for the first time, we had a client that trusted us enough to say, “Go for it. You’re the experts – go forth and conquer! Create me a brand that absolutely rocks.”
With an incredibly excited client and a motivated design team, our main design challenge was coming up with a concept that could be delivered on a very tight budget.
To do this, we developed a project plan that spent the money as wisely as possible while best leveraging our design and digital skills. This included the following approach:
- Strategy: All strategy, design and development were done internally, with absolutely no outsourcing, to minimise costs.
- Prioritising: We broke the project into needs and wants. This enabled us to get the essential elements of the logo, website and social media to launch. We were then able to provide additional collateral and digital tools once income started being generated.
- Design: We couldn’t afford complete custom illustration, so we illustrated a number of elements which were complemented by purchasing a suit of stock illustrations.
- Products: We primarily focused on developing a digital footprint. This included an organically optimised website, social media (Facebook and Instagram), email signatures, and a Powerpoint template. Print items (Post-It notes and coffee cups) were produced for a conference that coincided with the business launch.
- Copywriting: All SEO and copy was provided by the client. As a copywriter, she understood the need to align the language and tone with the brand personality.
- Launch: Melinda was speaking about Business Awards at CopyCon, Australia’s first Copywriting Conference. We leveraged off the conference to launch the brand for maximum exposure at minimum cost.
We launched on 29 April at CopyCon where:
- 21 Expressions of Interest from copywriters keen to write for Awards Agency were received (five have since been engaged)
- The main sponsor of the conference began retainer discussions
- 12 separate copywriters sent direct client referrals.
The brand was clearly exciting, innovative and motivating. At a conference focused on copywriting, where it would be easy to lose your message among similar topics, they were engaged. They were inspired and wanted to be a part of it. And they remembered.
In that same time, organic SEO has seen brands such as LendLease and the Accor Hotels Group, as well as small businesses, contact Awards Agency to develop submissions.
And what’s absolutely critical is that those leads are also being converted. Over 85% of new visitors landing on the site put through an enquiry, subscribe or follow on social media. This is undeniably due to a strong and consistent brand, with content and design working hand-in-hand. The language and tone reflect the bold colours and strong movement – the copy is full of personality and almost tongue-in-cheek (like a Marvel comic) while retaining complete professionalism.
In just over two weeks the initial investment had been paid back. Profit is currently being invested in developing further collateral including an awards finder database for the site, client communication templates, and digital and print advertising campaigns.