Welcome to Episode #1 of Botanical Content Unleashed!
We had a conversation with Co-Founder and Branding Expert, Bernard Kassab from Ucidity about building a brand people care about and want to buy from. During this chat we talked about:
- Key elements and steps to building a strong brand, beyond having a logo designed
- How to get started with branding
- How to use brand guidelines to set the foundation of your brand, restrict creativity within the brand
- The styling of your office and treat your staff affects your brand
- Branding strategies for organisations to look and feel more authentic and transparent
- What kind of brand content organisations should be producing
- How to let people inside your brand so you can build trust with your audience
- Why you don’t need to ‘Start With Your Why’,
+ + Bernard also lets out a little secret about the products we are so often impulse buying on Instagram.
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Alicia: Welcome to the first episode of Botanical Content Unleashed. We’re here with Bernard from Ucidity, a marketing company that helps accelerate your business to where it’s supposed to be and beyond. Bernard is the Co-Founder and head of branding and design Ucidity. Today we’re talking to Bernard about how to build a brand that people care about and want to buy from, so let’s jump in. Hi Bernard, thanks for joining us.
Very welcome. It’s an absolute pleasure.
So Bernard, can you talk us through the key elements or steps and dot points involved in building a strong brand beyond the logo.
Yeah how long do you have? I think there’s there’s a lot of key things that you need to align within a brand to then bring it to market in a way that customers really resonate with what you’re producing and I think the key thing is and especially when you’re first starting off a lot of people get caught up in the them in this brand rather than thinking about the customer and how they will see, connect with, resonate with the brand.
So I think like the logo becomes just an outcome of how you learn what your customers want and need out of that business and how they’re going to connect with that visual element and the logo essentially is a visual element it’s like we describe it often as as the face of a company.
You know if you think about Nike you probably have no idea what the guy who runs it looks like but you definitely know what the tick looks like right. That is the association that you you have now built with that company is with that branding so what you really need to think about is is not so much what the logo looks like for you and how much you’re going to fall in love with it but, how does that logo look like for your customers and how essential is that to connect with them and what does it say about the brand that you’re trying to connect create and how you’re going to position it in the market, who are these key essential customers that you’re going to look at. So it should be more strategic than just creating a really pretty icon that uh that people will remember you know, and then you look at consistency so I think that’s like the next really essential thing is how does that on flow from um you know a lot of people still don’t even take a website into consideration when creating a logo. Like how is it actually going to sit up there how is it going to flow through the rest of the site, how does it sit at the bottom of the site, business card any other kind of printed promotional collateral that you might do. Eventually, shirts maybe one day you want to do socks. Take it into consideration the broader aspects of what the brand itself will transition into and how it might apply and look across those different media types. And when we think about you know building a brand it’s obviously not just the way that that brand looks it’s the way that that brand acts and how it talks so where do you start with branding? I think, look there’s something actually that came to mind when you were saying that and I think one of the really really essential things as you grow a business is is the people that are behind the business and you said something about kind of like the personality what is what is that you know the elements of that that’s, that’s what people forget they forget the people aspect like not just your customers like I spoke about customers a second ago right, but what about the people who work for you, how do they represent your brand how do they come off how do they pick up the phone what is the experience throughout the entire process it’s not just the one email they receive, or jumping on your website ,or seeing an ad in in the paper it’s the experience they have from one end to the other right, and that’s how you form a community of advocates for a brand. You know, you could bring up apple you could bring up Nike again Coca-Cola right it they actually McDonald’s they’ve formed communities around these brands it’s not just people know the brand, they know the logo, they know the people, they know the process, they know the formula, they essentially fall in love with these brands you know, and and that’s because they created a community around it and that they feel that the people, the process, the product authentically resonates with how they want to be seen or or how they perceive themselves, and that’s why they interact with these brands. Why they connect with them and that’s why when you look at them you go how do they amass such a massive network of people when there are other burger places, there are other shoes, there are because they didn’t think about the shoe as the end game they thought about the community as the end game and how do they build a community around it, and it’s that consistency right. Yeah it’s the same thing again and again, so um you know what do you suggest um having, do you suggest like having branding guidelines? that’s a challenging question. I think essentially yes, but not to restrict creativity within the brand. I think one of the greatest brands out there is MTV or even look at Google. Google is like the new MTV, they’re constantly changing their logo, they’re constantly changing their brands to stay relevant to things that people associate with right. Key dates, celebrations. MTV was always about um trends. You know, what’s in fashion, what’s what’s what’s in the in the now, and by doing that having a brand that stayed very central to what it meant but was able to adapt and be playful meant that people could connect with it on so many more levels. And Adidas actually kind of did this quite well with with a resurgent of its retro branding back into its clothing lines and its brand lines. It was awesome because then people could then reconnect with that but then there was also that growing trend of retro coming back so then people knew people young people were falling in love with the the throwback and people who are who are older who saw Adidas growing growing up fell in love with the brand again because it can come back. So I think yeah brand guideline is great to set the foundations I think every brand should set the foundations especially um when it comes to styling fonts even language a lot of people never put language in there how do you actually sound and speak within your brand within promotional collateral, even within emails. Like what is the language type that you use. Are you casual are you more formal, how brave are you, how risky are you in your language, and the same with photography and videography, people don’t put that in a lot of their style guides. They’ll say don’t use pictures like this you know, don’t skew your pictures. Okay, we get that but what pictures are we allowed to use you know. What styling are we allowed to go for, how playful can we be with the brand and imagery and integrating them or associating them. I actually saw the brand guidelines for Deloitte’s recent rebrand and it was beautiful because they took that green little dot and they turned it into a visual element that they then used across all their imagery so when somebody would load up their computer the desktop image would be something integrated into a green circle shape, so it would be a blend of images that they had assembled together into this shape and then there would always be some relevance like a new department or a change within the business and it would be highlighted within that green dot. I thought that was such a cool way because now the people who are part of the business are now part of essentially the growth and the change in what’s happening inside the business, so they feel more bought into. So it’s not just what you put out there it’s what what you do internally as well and how you integrate the people that work for your business with your brand to make them feel a part of your brand as well. Yeah 100. I had a conversation just last week in regards to interior design and that a lot of people don’t focus on the extension of the brand through the interior of their own staff experience, right. They’re going to be coming in every day to this office do you want this office to say we are you know the fun brand that we put out to the market or do you want to say we’re just another corporate brand. And it’s I think it’s become a bigger and bigger thing now and I know that Cadbury uh decked out one of their offices like a little um Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type thing so there was like a fireman’s pole and and beanbags and grass. They did like artificial grass and I was like, that feels like Cadbury to me. If I walked into the Cadbury offices that’s what I would want to see, and so do the so does your team you know. Google does this probably better than anyone right, they have like little game rooms and stuff. You can essentially live at Google if you wanted to I think. But when you walk into a Google office you feel like you’re already part of the culture and that’s huge for the people inside because the people inside are the people outside’s first point of call. If you work for the business and you tell somebody this is my experience with the business and it’s negative you can guarantee that person the next time somebody builds up that brand be like oh I had a mate that works there and they said this, this, this about the brand. You don’t want that you want somebody to walk out tell people how great it is and when they go tell their friends oh man you should hear about x you know. I know so much about Google because one of my friends invited me down to Google and then I got to see the office. I was like there’s food on every level, this is the best place in the world and then it just made my connection to Google even more even more enhanced because now i’m like oh wow the culture is so great there the way they treat their people is so great. I want to associate with that brand more you know. I’m more passionate about it because of that, so I think people undervalue how much an office and how much their teams experience inside the office affects the way that people interact with their businesses. Yeah and the output of their work. And the output, yeah for sure, motivation, engagement. If you came into a space like that where you felt like you were in control of of your space, you had the freedom and flexibility to do things that kept you motivated, kept you engaged, allow you space to breathe, then quality of your. Yeah quality of your works gonna improve yeah, 100. Awesome so um let’s move on to um authenticity and trust. So a report from Stackler in 2019 suggests that 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key decision-making factor. So tell me how can brands be more authentic? That’s that’s an interesting stat. I was, I’m quite surprised that it’s so high because you think about how many like dodgy Instagram businesses there are out there that people just go buying stuff like just out of impulse. Impulse impulse impulse, impulse, and so many times. I’m gonna let our little secret okay, so many times if you just take that product title and you put it into eBay you’ll find it for like a quarter of the price. You don’t know this but just Google it before you get too too excited about you know that new unbelievable lighter that you’ve never seen before. It’s a great business model for those businesses but uh essentially you know they’re just selling products that that you can get anywhere. I think the only brands that get. I think the two places you’ll see this the most is if you’re a brand that’s growing and trying to grow people will look at everything they can look at about your brand for credibility and this comes for brands when you’re trying to sell what I would call a considered purchase So a consider purchase would be anything that is of high value that takes time for you to make a a decision on whether you want to buy that product. And it goes into consumer products as well and usually at the higher end of consumer products, like you wouldn’t just on a whim be like Mercedes, I’ll buy one. You know what I mean. You’d be like, which Mercedes will I buy, and it’ll take a little bit of time. It’s a bit more considered right whereas when you need a new family car you would go okay I know what the affordable brands are it’s got to be one of these three different cars i’ll pick that one, seems to be the right fit for me. It’s a little less considered but then when you’re looking at Instagram impulse buys it’s not considered at all, you’re just like whatever click it’s $20 it’s not going to kill me.
But with considered purchases when you’re going to consulting services or SAS you know software as a service or any kind of subscription they’re usually more considered and I think that’s where authenticity and trust really come into it, so if your places where people get credibility, so your website, promotional collateral, content that you put out at your messaging and the messaging of the people that are seen to be leaders within, whether it’s that industry or that particular business that’s where it really needs to transcend and allow people insight and depth, and I think now more than ever we actually call on our big brands to let us in, let us in a little bit and get let us know the people who are behind the brand, and the more the businesses do that, I think Adobe does that phenomenally with Adobe Symposium and when they livestream it and stuff like that you really get to meet the people you’re like oh, these are the people behind Adobe – this is so cool, they actually know what they’re talking about, great you know and it just builds a higher trust level and
on the kind of consistency side of things that you mentioned before as well. I always say this this line, imagine uh your next door neighbour every time you you saw him he would have a different face, you’d be like hey James no not quite James. Who are you, how easy would it be to build trust with that person and it’s the same with a brand if a brand is inconsistent, whether it’s through its people, whether it’s through its product, whether it’s through the brand application, content, then people start to lose faith in it they start to, the trust gets fractured and the more you do that the more the trust gets fractured and it becomes harder and harder to convert somebody or you get the wrong kind of people through the door because they’re expecting one thing and you’re delivering another you know. So from that side from a brand perspective more than experiential perspective, those are the things to look out for. Don’t don’t create bright cracks in the sand you know I mean, just keep it consistent. Yeah, keep it real yeah. So what sort of
strategies can people employ that will help them look and feel more authentic to their audience. I think that that can be quite the biggest challenge for people. That’s a that’s a great great question. I think events like that where you get to expose people from inside the brand allow people to get to know the people who have built the brand helps build that um I think from a process perspective
um time. Take time with your people. If you’re going to hire new people build in new processes, implement them properly. Don’t half implement a process, don’t half interview somebody, don’t half employ somebody and don’t half train them you know.
Because then all you’re going to get is only ever half their best you know. At best you’ll get half,
you’ll probably get a quarter and then you’ll be like this person just doesn’t fit in, they don’t get along with everyone, they don’t, no no no no I’m like yeah, well what did you do to make sure that was gonna work you know.
So set up a system that allows them kind of an end to end point of course. So what we do with our team is we have them actually write the procedures for the business so whenever we make a decision about how we’re going to go through the process of the business we actually have them as part of the meeting and then they go off and write them themselves, and what that allows them to do is actually buy into what we’ve agreed to as a
company, and that means when we approach something or when we do something, whether it’s internally or externally, it always feels the same. And I pride myself that people can’t tell the difference between me doing the work or somebody in my team doing the work. It’s great for me because I’m like awesome, I’ve brought them up to a level where we’re all playing the same game, and that’s what your customers look for. How does that experience stay as consistent as possible, so you have to build a strategy around it and ensure the rollout is is thorough so that every experience they have with the brand feels the same, you know.
Amazing. So right now anyone can sell anything which is kind of scary the opportunities are endless but unfortunately that’s a lot of get rich quick schemes, questionable sources of materials and cheap labor being used to produce products. S o my question to you is how can brands that are authentically producing products or offering services that people genuinely need be transparent about the sources of these materials. How it treats employees and what they care about beyond profit motive.
I have a good answer for this. I believe, and I’ll use the Thank You range products as an example. So if you’ve ever bought a Thank You product right. Great business model, people-centric, produced authentic sorry not authentically what’s the word i’m looking for ethically, produced ethically. And I would then, with all the other ethical brands what they don’t do is what they did really well, which is market themselves like they are essentially the best kept secrets and you will see ethical brands get into Woolworths and Kohl’s. You just have to look for them. They’re just like hidden on the shelves with everything else. There is a huge drive in the community for more products like this and the truth is, if you build the right kind of processes around manufacturing, around systemisation here in Australia you can afford to manufacture in Australia. It’s just really poor business ethics and the fact that they just want to make as much as possible out of out of manufacturing that they choose not to manufacture here, it is not impossible to manufacture here. There are plenty of brands that will surprise you every day and if you ever flip around like a shampoo bottle in in Aldi, of all places, you will see an Australia, little Australia kangaroo sticker on there, so if they can do it and they can still make it cheap enough we can all do it okay, so let’s like pretend like let’s stop pretending like it’s so bloody hard I think what it really comes down to is stop being a best kept secret. Thank You went out there and just blitzed it they blitzed it and the product exploded and it’s everywhere. There’s another one a toilet paper one I don’t know if you know the name, Who Gives a Crap mate what a great like you don’t even have to market it because the name is so great that people would just be like what is this I gotta get in. Uh my um my brother’s wife gets them because it’s so easy like you don’t have to go out and buy them, they come to your door and then you feel good about making the purchase you have to tell people though. You can’t say, hey I produced this amazing product I hope people buy it and then never tell anyone to except your friends, because they’ll buy it only for a certain amount of time and then you’re out of clients so you have to go hard into the market and put the message out. Video content’s the best way. 76% better engagement on any content online is video content so if you’re not doing it then get out there you know. And what kind of video content and video content themes would people produce to get that message out there? Yeah look I think it’s what my uh gran Tom if you if you’ve seen any of our our um blog podcasts um under bite-sized branding he likes to call it edutainment and um and I think you should always look for edutainment so don’t just inform, um find a way to put your message across in an entertaining way and that’s what Thank You did really well they walked you around the warehouse and this guy was just kind of like throwing things, and like I’m gonna make nappies, and he’ll throw out the nappies, and then he’ll keep walking around, and we make soap and he’ll just you know, and throwing things around the warehouse. It was just, it added character, it added fun and added a positive energy so people just like really fell in love with the brand and they fell in love with the personality of the guy behind the brand you know. That’s what I would recommend, so find an entertaining way to convey a message don’t just stand in front of a camera like this and just say what you want to say, find a creative way of putting it out there. We were actually talking to a brand that creates the sensor toilet flushes but for residentials and not for commercial so if you want one in your house and you can just sweep your hand over it it’ll automatically flush the toilet. And we thought, instead of putting together just like an informational type video, we would show people there’s actually a whole bathroom fit out, so like the hand soap, the tap everything that you can get done in sensors and we were thinking we would set it up like a challenge and that would be like you know hey everybody we’re here with Jeff today, Jeff is gonna get in and out of the bathroom without touching a thing in five minutes or less you know. Hey Jeffy are you ready to go kind of thing and then he would run around the bathroom just swiping his hand over everything and hygienically getting in and out you know, and it’s just an interesting way of posing the exact same message but for social media for people’s engagement. It’s entertaining, it’s educational so it just grabs people’s attention a little bit more So we can’t talk about branding without talking about Simon Sinek’s famous book, Start With Why. I think a lot of business owners get stuck on what is their why so I just want to ask, what’s your opinion on Start With Why? On finding your Why? My opinion is get started because you won’t know. You can guess or you like you could spend the next four years guessing why people might want to buy your product and you will spend the next four years just burning through cash, and burning through time, to what means and to what point. The worst thing you could do is try it and then work it out and refine it and make it better. I can tell you in our brand, we knew what we wanted to create for our customers and this brand is a new brand. Ucidity just launched in February this year (2020) and it’s new but essentially the concepts we had done before. But what we wanted to change was for the industry, is clarity. That was our main thing which is where Ucidity came from so clarity led us to lucid, lucidity and then we dropped the L and created Ucidity and we have a tagline that says we we dropped the L to Focus on You, Ucidity. So that is the that’s the clarity we want to deliver, but that didn’t tell us the why we’re in business and what did was learning the kind of customer that we wanted to work with, and we only learned that by working with customers. I can’t, you can guess all you like and hope for the best and try and just nail it on the, but you won’t you won’t, and then you’ll only get disappointed that you spend so much time trying to work out this perfect perfect thing that you wanted to create and work and perfect clients that you wanted to work with, and not know why it’s not working. The real why is established over time. It’s a journey, it’s a process that you go through. You know so you have to learn it, you have to experience it, and through that experience you refine it and you understand okay, these are, this is what i’m really in business for and these are really the people that I want to work with, so it’s more about thinking about that why and how it ties into what people really need as opposed to your personal why. Yeah and personalise a great start I’m not saying don’t you know, don’t don’t have a passion that you’re passionate about, but I can guarantee there’s been a million passion businesses that have that have fallen over, in fact you’re probably looking at that 80 20 rule where 80 of those businesses are all passion projects that just fall over because they don’t think about the customer and what drives them to want to buy and that’s a huge struggle that we have. For most our projects in fact all our projects we recommend a content writer come in. A lot of our clients don’t take it on and we’re like because as being inside the business you think you know what your customers want because you’ve sold to a bunch of customers, but you don’t actually understand the deep need of that customer, for the reason for choosing you or for choosing whatever the product was that they chose. Bringing somebody external to look at your brand, they start thinking about well why would anyone want to anyway, why should anyone buy from you they could buy from anyone else or maybe they can’t buy from anyone else but still, why do they need your product then if you’re the only one doing, you know. What they do is they really extract that and understand okay what is that that deep need that they have that’s going to change their lives. Like one of our clients is a chiropractor and he fixes people’s pain you know, and his passion is that he loves to see that people get out and are able to live a more fulfilled life right. I guarantee nobody is sitting on Google saying, looking for more fulfilled life and a chiropractor comes up you know like it just doesn’t happen you know, it’s never happened. What they might be looking for or trying to understand or what they want to get out of it is a better quality of life. They might be into their sport, it might be a passion of theirs but they can’t get their golf swing perfected. It might be, so they might be typing that in, improving my golf swing and then chiropractor comes up right, unexpected but once you then understand the context then you could actually find, you know, better mobility, better balance, better stability for your golf game – that’s a whole different way to look at the chiropractic industry rather than just saying I’m passionate about people’s pain you know, so those are things that you just, i t’s hard to identify when you’re in the thick of it you know. Absolutely, and now in your opinion what is one thing that can really kill a brand? Ah, just one thing? A heap of things. Look I think the one biggest thing is there’s a couple different things I think the the really essential thing comes down to that consistency piece and that consistency piece expands across the entire brand. So you as the owner have to be congruent with the brand, you have to really understand why you’re in it, why people would want to buy from you and why your people are following you as the leader of that brand. Then that has to bleed through both its its physical distribution, so like through its media, marketing, its marketing presence, its digital presence, its printed presence and then how does that filter through on the people side of things. And at the centre of that the core of that is always is always your customer, so then how do you create systems around your people in your business to be able to offer that same that same environment, that same feeling with every touch point across that brand, and I think that’s what’s really essential, and I think that essentially is what kills a lot of brands or um gets them to plateau or makes them stilted right. They reach a certain height and then they’re just like you know, it’s a dull, it’s a dull raw and you know, and I think the other thing is and it’s not exactly your question but challenge the market, don’t just do the same thing that everyone else is doing and then hope to be better than them because then you’ll only ever challenge them on price. A great example of this which probably no one’s even thinking about right now is Uber. Diddy has come in and Diddy has has fortunately got a partnership with Google which is what kind of all those other guys um what was it called, what was that other brand called, I kind of remember now, Taxify and Ola, where they failed was that they couldn’t get on Google’s maps you know what I mean, because when you Google something and then it says you know ride options and then there’s just Uber there then you’re like, okay over it, done. Open the app and it really knows where I need to go, order. Now Diddy’s doing that but in this market there’s only one way to compete which sucks because Uber came in to only offer one thing, cheaper rides. That’s that’s a crappy place to be in because that all it takes is another person to come in and say well I do the rides slightly cheaper, and then we’ll go okay fine I’ll go with that guy because he’s slightly cheaper.
You’re not competing on anything else. At the beginning of Uber, which is what they lost through the growth of Uber right, which is also like a bit of a fracture in the brand I would say, is the quality of the ride – so bottles of water, candy, gum, tissues. Just stuff that people need, that it’s just nice to have available to you and what does it really cost, a couple pennies here and there. Like come on, don’t don’t worry about it but that gave you a differentiation from other people on the market. Now if somebody else comes in there says my rides are a dollar more expensive than Uber, but I provide all of this for you, I can almost guarantee people will start booking with those guys just because the quality of the ride is nicer and the difference in price is nominal, so I’ll take the quality of ride you know. When you’re competing on price because you’re not challenging the market then all you ever do is compete on price and that it’s never a good position to be in. Awesome, what’s your number one branding hack branding? Hack um who’s a hacker branding um um they call me a branding hack. The number one hack I think is uh that people don’t realise is systemisation. So we bought on with this new business CRM as part of our offering. This has allowed us to now manage and handle the customers experience inside the brand and a lot of people don’t think about that, they think about what they put out to the market – the logo, the website. They didn’t think about how I’m going to manage these customers when they actually start coming through the door. What if you explode from, like you go from you know, five customers a month to five a week how are you gonna handle that how are you gonna ensure the consistency of the service you know. That if you think about it, if you were to, if you were to drop 60 of those customers now let’s say that is five five per week what does that make that’s like 10 so that’s, wow i’m doing quick maths now, that’s 12 people a month let’s say okay 12 customers per month who all know 50 people all of a sudden you’ve got 500 and what is that 600 people that don’t like you that much anymore you know what I mean like very quickly those numbers get quite negative for a brand so what I would recommend is is systemise as much as you can Get help because you won’t be able to do it on your own. It’s a lot harder than it seems and it’s also not as expensive as you think it is, and once you get it all set up it basically ticks in the background and just helps you manage to continue to deliver the experience that you would like to see out of your business, um and always test test your system you know. Grant again always says, have you ever called your own brand, have you ever called your own business just to see what they answered the phone like, because you have no idea that could be where you’re losing your sales. They pick up the phone like, hey how you going right, uh not exactly what I expected you know, hi welcome to etc you know, so test your brand, see what the experience is like for your customers/ If you’re not doing that then chances are that’s where your you know whether where your drops of water are coming out of the business you know. And if you had to create one piece of content that supports your brand what would it be? Video, a lot of video. I think everyone should be doing video and I think people got to be more expansive with their video as well. Think about animation, think about not just explainer videos in the simple context but how does somebody experience the brand through the stages of working with you, and then creating fun projects like if you think you’re fun and funny I can guarantee your emails aren’t you know what I mean. But if you put out a video, chances are you could actually put that message out so live and breathe it you know. And video allows you to expose that to the market, to actually be who you want to be, you know or who you really are is actually better and I think yeah if you’re gonna put some investment in, if all your other ducks are in a row you know, you want to make sure you have a good website that your brand is focused and targeted,
that their content is well produced. If you add video on top of that you’ll engage people, they’ll pay attention, especially if the content’s good and then when they come to find your other content they’ll already be part of your community, they’ll already be sold on the idea you know. But you can’t let things lag behind – you can’t be like old website, great video because by the time they hit your website they’ll be like oh credibility gone you know. So yeah, but if you’re if your brand if you feel strong about your brand and you’re not doing video right now you’re wasting a golden opportunity for sure.
Awesome thanks so much Bernard. You’re welcome, thank you.