Opinion: How do brands measure the emotional value of design?
We are living in an age in which measurement is top of every marketer’s agenda. It’s no surprise that even in the design world, clients are becoming much more analytical about the value of rebranding. Whether it’s measuring a shift in awareness or tracking hard targets like an increase in sales, more and more clients are asking whether a redesign or rebrand is delivering a good return on investment.
I’m always keen to understand the effect a brand refresh has had on a client’s business, so when I heard that Adrian Ware, the chief executive of Cavendish Ware, a wealth management company that we had recently rebranded, wanted to talk to me about ROI around the business’s new visual identity, I was ready for spreadsheets and pie charts.
The quantitative results were there – turnover had increased by over 50% in the 12 months after the redesign, and the company had grown its most important target client segment by more than 100%. But perhaps surprisingly, that was not what impressed Adrian; it was the dramatic impact the rebrand had had internally, across staff at all levels within the business. Immediately after launching the new identity, he had noticed a tangible uplift in energy amongst employees, which has been sustained and grown ever since.
At the start of any rebranding exercise, we immerse the client in a brand workshop to define their points of difference, which ultimately drives our strategy for the redesign. It helps them to hone in on what makes their brand different from their competitors, and allows us to dig deep into what the essence of the brand is to find the most interesting story to tell.
In the case of the Cavendish Ware team, the brand workshop had uncovered a key phase that summed up the essence of the company: ‘The hum of excellence.’ Adrian told me that this had become a mantra imbedded within the brand’s ethos; something that everyone in the organisation now strives towards. It helped unite the company, increased the understanding of its vision and values and imbued a clear sense of pride in the workplace.
As a result, he said members of staff were speaking with greater authority and belief. This, in turn, had led not simply to an increase in new client acquisitions, but also to a significant increase in the quality of those clients. He was confident that the rebrand had elevated the perception of the company to such a level that it had allowed them to recruit new members to the executive team who would have previously been out of reach.
To hear the chief executive of a wealth management company acknowledge that hitting the refresh button on the brand was the single largest contributor for the growth and success that the company had seen that year underscored what I’ve long believed: that when it comes to visual identity, we should not only be measuring against hard results.
In fact, the softer side of the business – areas such as staff motivation, retention and recruitment – are just as likely to have a long term impact on the health of an organisation. As branding experts, we should insist that our work is evaluated and measured across these areas accordingly in order to gauge the true impact of our efforts.
Simon Wright is the managing director of Greenwich Design and co-founder of the Chemistry Works