Today is the 1st of December and I am on a mission to make sure this December isn’t wasted.

Far too many people and businesses start to wind down for Christmas and put off the important stuff until next year. That’s a 12th of the year being wasted!

Brand Satellite and Brands Start Here are offering special #DontWasteDecember offers (see below), to make sure you, well, don’t waste December.

Defining your brand, what makes your business unique (your DNA), really understanding what it is about what you offer that engages your customers and planning for the year ahead are all the important stuff you shouldn’t be putting off.

As Simon Sinek articulates so well: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Your brand is your ‘why’. Identifying ‘why’ will give you the focus and confidence you need to ‘smash’ next year!

If you have already defined your brand, you will know how focused it makes your business activities. But, I can bet you know someone else that would benefit hugely from defining their brand. Please forward this page on to them. You will receive an early Christmas present from us, for anyone you refer that takes up an offer. And, a massive thank you from them, once they have gone through the process.

I hope you have a very productive December, oh and a Merry Christmas at the end of it.


20% OFF the Brand Satellite Brand Workshop

This is the starting point for any business wanting to establish or develop a brand.

A Brand Satellite Brand Workshop will take a strategic look at your business and ascertain where you are, where you want to go and how you might consider doing things to get there.

It will help you position your business in a way that your customers will find engaging. It will help you attract new customers, retain existing customers and turn customers into advocates for your brand.

It will give you a focus, for all business activities and confidence that what you do is helping to develop your brand and grow your business.

Book a Brand Workshop during December and get 20% off this investment in your business. Complete the Brand Workshop day before Christmas and we will guarantee your Brand Workshop report is sitting in your inbox the day you get back from the festive break.

10% OFF the Brands Start Here 1-2-1 Brand Creation Package

BRANDS START HERE is our new service offering 1-2-1 brand advice for startups.

We have created BRANDS START HERE because, we believe, no-one is offering 1-2-1 brand advice to startups.

The 1-2-1 BRAND CREATION PACKAGE has been specially designed to help startups to start their business as a brand. To help them understand what it is about your business that is attractive to your customers.

Purchase the package during December (using ‘#DontWasteDecember’ at checkout) and get 10% the price of the package.

Brand Satellite

The people make the brand: The John Lewis interview

John Lewis interviewWhen the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce put on one of their Premier Business Dinners with Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis as the keynote speaker, I was going.

John Lewis is a brand I very much admire. And it’s not just me. John Lewis has remained one of the UK’s most cherished brands, even through the huge changes that have occurred in retail over the last couple of decades.

I went to the dinner with high expectations and I was not disappointed. Andy was entertaining, informative and inspirational.

During the evening I engineered myself into a seat next to one of the other John Lewis attendees at the event. He very kindly answered my barrage of questions and put me in contact with Barry Blamire, the Head of Branch of John Lewis Edinburgh. In turn, Barry very kindly agreed to be interviewed by me.

The John Lewis interview

Armed with a few dozen questions, I made my way to the Customer Services department at the St James Square store.

I was very keen to find out about how they indoctrinated new staff into the culture of John Lewis. I asked how the brand was articulated? Did they have a staff handbook or brand guidelines? I was expecting a three inch tome to be dropped on the table. I didn’t expect the answer I received. They don’t have any sort of brand induction. The brand is so deeply rooted in the culture of the business, new staff, or partners as they call them, are immersed in the culture on the shop floor from day one.

Barry stressed how important recruitment of new partners was. Getting the recruitment right. And recruiting people with the right values was paramount. If they got that right, then getting them to ‘buy into’ the culture was easy.

The power of partnership

Another benefit of the right recruitment and the right culture is staff retention. The partnership culture creates a bond between people. By providing a working environment that is based on the importance of individuals, you have a work force that a) want to do the best for the business (after all, if the business does well, they do well), and b) want to stay.

Barry has been with the company for fourteen years and Andy Street had been with John Lewis for over 35 years. Paula Nickolds, the incoming and first female Managing Director, has been with the company for 20 years. Andy has decided to leave the company run for mayor of the West Midlands.

To hear someone talk about their primary purpose being to create happiness for the people working within the company makes a refreshing change. Most retail businesses mantra is the customer is king. At John Lewis they understand that if their employees are happy, they will make the customers happy.

We talked at length about the relationship between the management and the partners. How important is was to keep them informed and, equally, how important it was to listen to them. They have Partner Voice meetings four times a year, were the agenda is set by the partners.

This posed another question. Why don’t more businesses work this way?

Our conversation also included how they review their branding roughly every 10-12 years, how they review their brand messages every 4-5 years, how they have recently introduced paid-for advertising and printed catalogues (while many other retailers are doing away with them). We also talked about their huge success moving online (the UK’s fourth largest online retailer with £1.5bn revenue – Source: RetailWeek) and, of course, the John Lewis Christmas ads.


The Star Wars films that nearly got made

C3P0 - Star Wars scripts for PersilWith Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting cinema screens later this week, my mind drifts back to some great Star Wars scripts that nearly got made.

And when I say nearly, George Lucas had personally approved them.

Let me explain. A long time ago in a galaxy very, very near (1996 in London to be more precise) two advertising agency creatives sat in a briefing for a new TV campaign. The client: Persil. The brief: Get a mum to talk to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

As you can imagine, we struggled. Who on earth was ever going to believe this?

Then, inspiration struck. It was a Monday evening at the offices of JWT. We had been working on the brief for a couple of weeks and had, so far, resisted giving in to writing scripts with a mum to talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

We found ourselves where we normally found ourselves when creative juices weren’t flowing: on the pool table.

Then those unforgettable words were muttered: What about C3P0? Of course! You can’t get any more mothering than this shiny gold protocol droid designed to serve human beings.

He can talk about technological advancements until the cows come home.

And wait for it… What if we swapped R2D2 for a mischievous washing machine called WA5H? Genius.

We’d cracked it.

If we needed to talk about ‘Grease Releasers’ that removed stains like lipstick, suntan lotion and motor oil, we could set it in a garage, where a mechanic was repairing their crashed spacecraft.

Or, if we needed to talk about low temperature ‘Stain Shifters’ that removed stains like coffee, grass and red wine, we can have a humorous sketch involving WA5H getting a little tipsy after too many red wine tests.

My favourite was the script about the EC Ecolabel the product had been awarded. C3P0 and WA5H were standing on a cliff overlooking the most glorious sunset. WA5H beeped. “Yes,” replied C3P0, “I like this planet too.”

The characters could cover any scenario. We were so confident, we got the Account Director down to our office. He had a reputation for ‘unselling’ an idea, even after the client had bought it (I will spare him the embarrassment of naming him, but anyone working in the agency at the time will know exactly who I am talking about). We gave him a week to find a problem, any problem, with the campaign. Five days later, he came back into our office and said he couldn’t. Great. He was now allowed to sell it.

The campaign was presented to the Brand Manager at Persil. He loved it.

I need to explain something about how marketing mutli-national brands works. There are many levels of client management. Each level’s only real power is to say ‘no’. If they say ‘yes’, then they lose their power and – like us – are hoping the next level says ‘yes’ too.

With this campaign however, there seemed to be nothing to worry about. It sailed through the next two levels of management.

Even research was on our side. The concept was researched with ‘real’ mums and they gave it a big thumbs up.

We were getting excited. We were getting swept away on the wave of enthusiasm for the campaign.

But wait a minute. Screech! We had to get permission from Lucas Films! Bump!

The agency producer managed to get their contact details. The scripts were sent off to Lucas Ranch. We waited. And waited.

While we waited, the concept was getting a resounding ‘yes’ from every level of client management and every round of consumer research.

We eventually heard back from Lucas Films. George loved the scripts! He liked them so much that he agreed at lend us the C3P0 costume to have a word with Anthony Daniels (the voice of C3P0) about doing the voiceover. Result!

So, what went wrong? Why is this article called ‘The Star Wars films that nearly got made’?

Well, remember the original brief? Remember the myriad levels of client management? The man at the very top said “Where is my mum talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid?”

The dark side was strong in him!

Enjoy the film on Friday.

Brand Satellite icon

Communicating the ‘Why’

“People don’t buy what you do: they buy WHY you do it.” (Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek).

The Golden Circle (©2013 Simon Sinek Inc)Simon Sinek’s Start With Why theory is encapsulated by his Golden Circle (© 2013 Simon Sinek Inc.).

You know ‘what’ your business does. You know ‘how’ your business does it. Hopefully one of these is different to what anyone else does or how anyone else does it, giving you your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

But do you know ‘why’ you do it?

Why is the ‘why’ important? Because we are human beings. And what makes human beings unique is that we allow our emotions to dictate our decision-making.

There may be loads of rational reasons for picking one product or service over another, but it is the ones we create some sort of emotional connection with, that get our attention. That get our money.

Branding and marketing experts have been trying to persuade clients for decades that creating successful brands is about creating an emotional connection with your consumer.

Thankfully science is now backing up this theory. The latest catchphrase in the pursuit of getting ‘buy in’ from your target audience comes with a snazzy name; Neuromarketing.

Over the last decade, neuroscience research has shown that affection (emotions, feelings) plays a much more important role in decision-making than most people had thought.

Our brains process much of their sensory input subconsciously, generating affection toward or against objects. Signals that don’t generate positive or negative affection are filtered out (seen as unimportant) and never reach our conscious mind. So, avoid mediocrity.

As much as 95% of our decisions are made by the subconscious mind. As a result, the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies are applying the latest advances in neuroscience to create brands, products, package designs, marketing campaigns, store environments, and much more, that are designed to appeal to the emotional part of our brains.

And research backs up the science. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising analysed data from the 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns submitted to their IPA Effectiveness Award competition over three decades.

IPA ChartThis particular analysis compared the profitability boost of campaigns which relied primarily on emotional appeal vs. those which used rational persuasion and information. The chart shows the results. Campaigns with purely emotional content performed almost twice as well as those with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better those that mixed emotional and rational content.

Smaller businesses, with smaller budgets will have to work much harder to create the same emotional approach as the market leaders. Their name recognition is likely to be much lower and consumers may not even associate their company with its product category.

But, by creating a brand and thinking creatively, they should be able to segment the market to find a group of consumers that will respond to a different appeal.

Creating a brand is about giving your company, product or service a personality, which will help you make that emotional connection with your customers. But, branding isn’t about thrusting a personality on your business, it is about extracting one from it. Its DNA. Its ‘Why’.

Once you have discovered the ‘Why’ for your business, you need to communicate it in a way that will attract attention, raise awareness and create familiarity. In turn, this will increase recognition, improve sales and promote customer loyalty.

If you would like help discovering and communicating the ‘Why’ in your business, contact us.

Click-let brand identity

Click-let show off their new window displays

Click-let Shop Windows 3 Click-let Shop Posters 2 Click-let shop posters 1 Click-let shop Posters 4Edinburgh letting agents, Click-let, approached Brand Satellite to jazz up the window displays at their office in Leith Walk.

We created a display that worked with their existing branding, to strengthen their brand recognition.

The final solution is also very versatile. Panels can be moved around and replaced with others to keep the display fresh.

More ambitious plans for extra window vinyls, to make the premises really stand out are currently being considered. Fingers crossed, we’ll have more to show you soon!

Brett Investment - Bettr branding

Brett Investment unveil a bettr branded website

Brett Investment new websiteWe have just created a new website for our client Brett Investment.

The new site continues the ‘Bettr’ branding concept we created for the independent financial planners and investment advisors a few years ago. The Bettr concept comes from a clever rearrange of the letters from Brett and allows the company to talk about its services in a uniquely branded way: BettrPlanning, BettrInvesting, BettrLife and BettrValue.

We work with Brett Investment on a Brand Consultancy relationship. “Working with Brand Satellite on a regular ongoing basis has been hugely beneficial for Brett Investment. As a small company we neither have the resources or the expertise to run a properly co-ordinated marketing and communications campaign.” explains Managing Director, Jeremy Brett. “With Giles at our side we have been able to deliver a far more professional, coherent and consistent message to both prospective and existing clients alike.”