Building brands that work


Jo Addison tells us about what makes a brand successful



Hi, my name’s Jo and I’m the Associate Director of Brand and Change at Crest Advisory, and I’m going to talk to you today about brand. So: what is a brand; what do you achieve if you have a good brand; and how you measure your current brand against what you want to achieve.






For me, a brand is everything that you say and everything that you do. It’s really important that you consider your brand in the round, so you look at your comms, your products and services, your behaviours, and your environments. And all of these elements need to be aligned.




It’s really really tempting to get dragged into this comms space [gestures to ‘Comms’] – to think only about ‘how do we look?’, ‘what do we say?’, ‘what does our website look like?’ – and forget about these things here [gestures to other three categories], because if you don’t get these things right, no matter what you say here [gestures to ‘Comms’], your brand won’t deliver.


So if you get it right, what does a good brand do for you? Well I think it gives you clarity. It talks to people convincingly about who you are, what you do, why you’re special, and why they should choose you. We’re always looking to create a bond between the customer and the brand. It’s the most important thing.




Externally, it’s going to drive things like understanding, appreciation, loyalty and advocacy. And trust is really important. Once you have trust and you have advocates, particularly in these days when we have an awful lot of peer review going on (Airbnb and TripAdvisor are really good examples of this), having a whole bunch of brand advocates for your products or your charity or your services is really important.




If you get it right, internally it’s going to drive staff engagement, it’s going to drive a culture of innovation, productivity and loyalty. And it’s going to reduce those negative factors, such as attrition and absence, and all of those things that build a negative culture within your organisation. If you get this right, it drives customer satisfaction – which again increases sales, increases support – so it’s a kind of cyclical thing.


That’s all very good. So how do we know how our brand’s standing up at the moment? Well, if you’ve got a really good idea of your business strategy and you know what you are trying to achieve, talk to people. Say ‘We want to achieve this – what are your perceptions of our brand? How are we doing?’, and if there are things that aren’t quite in line then let’s talk about how we might fix those.




Look at your competition and your marketplace. How are your competition portraying themselves? How are they talking about themselves? Is there anything we can use as a lever for our own brand to create that sort of space in people’s minds? Every organisation has an enormous amount of facts, whether it be staff surveys, customer surveys, whether it be things like web stats – all of that business analysis stuff. Have a look at that and just see if your brand is helping you to achieve those aims or is hindering it. And I would say, always return to your quadrant. Look at this [gestures to four categories in centre of whiteboard] and say ‘do we have authenticity, coherence, are these things driving our strategy forward, and are these things driving people to support us?’.


I hope that this has been really useful for you. My name’s Jo and I’m the Associate Director of Brand and Change at Crest. We would love to talk to you about your brand – I really hope you get in touch.

Jo Addison

Jo Addison

Associate Director of Brand and Change

Jo Addison is Associate Director of Brand and Change. She has led major international change programmes, rebrands and communications strategies.

12 + 7 =

For more insight like this


Find out more about