For most people, branding is a bit of a mystery, it certainly was for the Telic team. I’m sure we all know what a brand is, but when it comes to branding, we soon found that there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Fundamentally we’ve learned that it isn’t the fluffy nonsense that we sometimes think it is, it’s just unfamiliar territory for most of us accountants and tax advisers and does require a different mode of thinking.
With this in mind, we thought it would be worth giving a quick overview of the process we went through and our subsequent learnings which we hope will give you a little insight in relation to your own business.
The Starting Point
With a new lead in the business, we wanted to signal a fresh approach whilst building on the foundations of 30 years of experience. Our re-brand was aimed at presenting a look and feel that truly reflected our team behind the business, the service we provide and our future motivations. We wanted to capture our desire to be purpose driven in a way that would explain our beliefs in a more granular and tangible way.
Our starting point was as simple as that really. The aim was to position ourselves carefully and to explain why our business and service was unique and had changed names from Godley & Co. to Telic. Unique to us doesn’t mean weird or challenging, it means individual and adding value. At the end of the day, we felt it was important to define what our business stands for and the nature of our culture so that existing clients can feel inspired and new clients have a clear understanding of why we are the right fit for them.
In nailing our proposition, we aimed to attract new clients who were right for Telic and of course who felt that Telic was right for them. A win: win outcome for all.
So, what did we do?
Find a Support Partner
The first step for Telic was to identify external support for this work. Knowing what is within your skillset and what is not, is rule #1 of running a successful firm. So, we put in place a brand specialist to assist us who took us through a process of discovery to uncover what truly defines Telic and the team behind the name.
The journey consisted of 4 stages:
Stage 1: Talk to the Team
We found that this stage was critical. It unearthed the team’s perspective on what is special and defining about our firm. It also helped to explore what their own vision was and their hopes for the business. In a series of 121 meetings, we gained valuable individual insight which meant that everyone had a chance to air their views in a private and confidential forum.
As the meetings progressed, we found that there were recurring themes and those were the gems that we wanted to collect to help us to build our brand story. We discovered that our team, especially following lockdown, had reviewed their beliefs and priorities, and were far more purpose driven in their personal and professional lives. Family and relationships were more important and being part of community was also key. This was the basis for our concept of “A Million Little Things” which has driven our messaging and brand identity.
Stage 2: Collate our Insights
Once the interviews were over, the findings were collated. Interestingly the values were consistent in the team, and the vision for the business. As well as the sense of purpose, it was obvious that our move from Godley & Co. was an important one but needed to be explained a little more. There was a story to be told and a missing link which needed to be filled. Look to our new and improved website and you’ll see that we’ve explained the reasonings behind the change (more for our team and our existing clients’ benefit than our prospects) – there’s a journey and a story which ensures the move makes complete sense and most importantly that we take everyone with us.
Stage 3: Present back our findings
The next stage was presenting back the findings to the team and getting feedback. By working on the findings, and specifically refining the values, the team started to take ownership of the process. As they started to see and hear some of the feedback that they themselves had given being integrated into the process, it began to take on real meaning.
The outcome of this stage was a super excited team with renewed energy.
Stage 4: Design the Brand
This phase started to put all the hard work into something tangible. There were several parallel workstreams going on at once – team photography, design (logo, stationery etc), copy writing, website development. The aim was to bring a concept, the thinking, to life so that we could start to build a brand look and feel based on insight. This was not design for design’s sake, the process had given us our vision for the business, our values and our unique positioning and we were now able to translate this into a meaningful brand story.
The journey has just begun
As we move out of the website development phase and start to communicate our news to our clients and build our strategic plan, we’ve learned that true branding is a 24/7 commitment that keeps us aligned and focused as a team. It helps us to communicate to our clients and our prospects consistently. Branding isn’t just design that gets forgotten so that we can get on the day job, it’s a piece of work that needs to be embedded into the business.
Our “Million Little Things” strategy is part of that, and you’ll find more details of our plans over the coming weeks and months. Suffice it to say, it’s channelled our efforts and given us a framework for our thinking and our activities well into the future.
A lot of work has been done, but the journey for Telic has only just begun.
Key Take Outs
Sometimes it’s useful to ponder the key take-outs from a project or process, and here are ours which we hope will resonate and/or guide you in your own journey:
- Branding should be based on insight and not whimsy. True branding has a story behind it
- Branding takes time to develop and then to embed within a business
- Doing the project is just the start and requires 24/7 commitment to live this new path
- To be successful a team needs to own the new brand story as much as the founder or senior leadership team
- The process can be tiring and “just one more thing to worry about”
- We are learning that brand needs to be incorporated into every part of the business – team meetings, audits, recruitment, team appraisals, client on-boarding etc in order to make a real difference and be more than a token gesture,
- A brand message needs to be repeated (and referred to) again and again. It may feel boring, but repetition is the only way to land the message with clients, prospects, and team members. It also demonstrates that you are serious and committed.
- Brand should act as an umbrella for all your work-streams. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing it in isolation
- Brand can’t be owned by one person in the business, it’s a fundamental part of every job description
In writing down this process and the take outs, it’s highlighted just how far we’ve already come and what we’ve achieved over the last few months. Yes, it’s been hard work, massively hard work, when the usual priorities still exist, but looking back it’s been worth it. As we move forward, we hope to continue our efforts to ensure that our efforts continue.