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The Clientside Podcast

Branding with Megan Matthews

The Clientside Podcast

42.31 min Megan Matthews

Andrew Armitage talks to branding and PR expert Megan Matthews.

Megan explains exactly what branding means, and how this goes much further than you may typically realise.

We discuss the importance of authenticity, especially when it comes to your brand story and why having a re-brand isn't always the solution that's needed.

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Andrew:
Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Clientside podcast, I'm your host, Andrew Armitage, and this is the show for company directors, business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals where we talk about a range of topics. We've had guests on the show talking about brand, marketing, culture, innovation, among other things, all of which I hope leave you with actionable insights for you to apply in your business or your role that will support your brand, your marketing and ultimately your growth. So this is episode 20 of the Clientside, which feels like a bit of a milestone celebration. If you're a regular listener to the show then thank you for subscribing and tuning in, or if you're here for the first time, then welcome. Thank you for checking us out. It's great to have you with us today as we cross over into our 20s. So let's crack on with today's episode. And I really hope you enjoy the show because we've got a great guest lined up this week. She got lots of branding experience, having worked in agencies for much of her career before going it alone and starting her own business a couple of years ago.

Andrew:
And if you think branding is all about your logo, then today's conversation goes way deeper. And we talk about brand story, values, culture and everything that makes it the foundation of your brand and how you can use this to get PR coverage. Now, before I introduce today's guest, unfortunately, the rulers of the internet weren't overly generous with there bandwidth for this session. We recorded the interview with Zoom, and unfortunately, there are a few instances where the connection of audio breaks up. But I hope you can bare with us because there really are some valuable points that emphasize the importance of having a strong brand story. So let's introduce today's guest. I'm delighted to be joined by Megan Matthews. Megan is originally from Toronto in Canada and moved to London via what she describes as a high energy stop in Manhattan, New York. Her experience has given her the opportunity to work with fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands while working in agencies with earned media and PR. She's also a published author. So welcome to the show, Megan.

Megan:
Thank you very much, Andrew. Nice to chat.

Andrew:
Great to have you. Appreciate your time. So, Megan, just introduce yourselves to listeners. Tell us a little bit about your background. You're obviously from Canada, but you've made the move across to London. What have you been doing over here in London?

Andrew:
Yes. So I've been here about five years now, and I run a business called Instinct Brand Coachers, and it's continuing the work that my dad started in Toronto. He started this business about 20 years ago after owning ad agencies and deciding that he felt brands really needed some guidance on determining exactly what they stand for. And I have had my own career focused in the PR world. I've been in PR marketing communications for 18 years now, as you said, started in Toronto, moved to New York and then now to London. I've been agency side my entire career until I decided to go out on my own and continue the work of my dad, as I said, he's now retired. Two years ago now is when I took over the reins. And, yeah, it's it's a really interesting opportunity to focus on my background that is all about storytelling and the need to have an incredibly strong brand and brand story when you're doing PR. And so it felt like the perfect mix to then focus on helping companies understand what their brand stands for. Articulate that in a simple way, find their interesting brand story and then help them tell that story. So it's a mix of, you know, my dad's traditional advertising background, my PR earned media background, and then this idea of brand consistency and and brand foundation. So so, yeah, about 18 years now, I've been in this industry and and two years on my own as an entrepreneur. But I guess you could say also, you know, taking over the reins from my dad so not 100% entrepreneur. But but but I feel like it now, given he retired as I said to you.

Andrew:
I was going to say two years on your own, I think that definitely qualifies as entrepreneur.

Megan:
I'll take that, I'll take that.

Andrew:
Well, yeah, because I was looking around some of your your bios online and so on. You've got a very strong message. That brand is not just about logo, it's not just a tagline. And I guess your experience in PR when you're branding is is it's very much seen as marketing, which I think I would agree with. But if you're looking at trying to get PR, there's a bit of a there's a line, isn't there, between what's PR and what's a good story vs. what's just blatant advertising. And I guess that's where you will have found that brand is more than, brand is more than just your logo, your tagline and so on, you've got to have that story for it to become more interesting to people who want to tell stories.

Megan:
100 percent, and you know what? I cannot tell you how many times, and this is even with some of the massive consumer packaged goods companies that I've worked with in my past agency life. How many times clients came to us saying, OK, we've done a logo redesign or a package redesign, can you do some PR on that? And, you know, it's really not news. The consumer doesn't really care as long as they can still identify the product in-store or online, and as long as it delivers on the value proposition that they expected it to. I mean, they don't care what it looks like and certainly journalists do not. So, you know, it was always an education to even the most savvy marketers to say it's wonderful that you're going through a redesign and make sure that that redesign is is really representing what your brand stands for from a culture perspective, from a values perspective. But it's really not the news about your brand. Instead, let's look at the founder's story. Let's look at the why behind this brand, and let's retell that in an interesting way as opposed to, OK, we've decided to simplify the package.

Andrew:
There's there's a lot of companies that I think still think their own internal itches that they're scratching become public news. And that's just not the case, is it? Rebrand who's that benefiting? Well, it doesn't benefit me as a consumer. Whatever the label, whatever the packaging is on the outside that, you know, I'm not really I don't really care about that, as you were saying that, yes, if if the product still stands up to what it needs to do, it still stands true to what that company is about. Then then why is it newsworthy, as you said?

Megan:
Exactly. And I you know, and there's there's always there's always exceptions to every rule. And and for example, if you're working with a company like Heinz or Dove that has a long history and people might recognize the retro packaging, let's say they've decided as a company to go back to that packaging for a limited edition version of a product that works to tell a story, because there is a story behind that. What going back to the product packaging from a hundred years ago when we launched, you know, there's a story to that. But most of the time, yeah, it's not a story. And I have to still remind clients that, you know, a rebrand as people use that term, it typically means a visual rebrand. And I would just call that an updating of your visual assets. I actually would rebrand looking at a company's overall culture, mission, values that to me is a rebrand, I think a you know, a visual updating of your assets is of your visual assets is is something different and not newsworthy.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah. So it's it's just a term which is a little bit misunderstood and misused and really isn't it. There's obviously nothing wrong with rebranding. I mean we we technically did a rebrand a couple of years ago, but that was that was very much a visual refresh. Rebrands come and go quite a bit. And again, that might just be about that visual refresh. How often should companies, if at all, should they do a deep rebrand where they they revisit their values, they revisit their purpose, their culture, all that sort of thing, because that presumably is a much deeper project than than just giving a visual refresh.

Megan:
Yeah, I think the key is that you never want to, unless your brand is in deep trouble. You really never want to change your brand positioning and values and mission as you originally set out them to be. You never want to change them drastically because it's about it's really about an evolution, not a complete revolution of brand. Because people you know, we always say that just when, just when your consumer is starting to get to know your brand is often when the people internally are getting word of it and they're like, let's make a change. Time for a new value statement. Well, your consumer is just learning who you are. They're not sick of it yet. They're just getting to know you. So, you know, it's really about do we need to make a change to our brand? Because there is an issue out there. And one of the things, too, that we always say is that your brand is what people think of you.

Megan:
So it's really important to talk to your partners, your consumers, your suppliers often. And this is something we do is offer sort of third party interviews. But we go in and interview the magic number we've discovered is twenty eight people, because once you've interviewed, 28. It's funny after this is years of my dad doing this. Twenty eight stakeholders make a cross-section of employees, suppliers, partners, consumers, once you speak to these people, ask some really honest qualitative questions about the brand and their perception of the brand. You get a really good understanding if people actually think of your brand the way you intend them to. And if they're not, if they're saying things that you're like, wow, that is absolutely not what we intended to be as a brand. Interesting that people are thinking this way. That's when you want to look at a brand evolution, how can we change things to either be what the people are seeing us as, or if that's not what we want to be seen as, how can we shift things back on track? So I think there's no magic number, Andrew, to say you should look at a brand sort of evolution every two years. I think it's when it's needed. Otherwise, it's about keeping your brand foundation, your brand positioning really consistent. Consistency is the key to brand building.

Andrew:
Yeah, and speaking to the people that aren't in the room rather than those who are in the room.

Megan:
That is so true. Yeah.

Andrew:
Yeah. I forget the theme of the thread that I saw on LinkedIn the other day, but I really liked the one of the comments was that, you know, you've got a brand when you've put your logo on merchandise and people buy it. I quite like that because I think that's true. You see lots of lots of brands sort of creating T-shirts and hoodies, things like that. You know, as soon as people are willing to pay for that, to have it seen on that desk or seen across the t shirt or whatever, that's the point that you can start and say that with a little bit more confidence. Actually, now I can say that I've got a brand because people are actively wanting to associate with me. And I'm not necessarily I'm not talking of the likes of Nike or Hugo Boss or whatever, but, you know, your smaller businesses. Why on earth would I want to go and sort of get a t shirt with Ben and Jerry's written across the front of it, for example? But at that point, maybe I think, well, actually, you know, Ben and Jerry's, they've got a purpose. It's a great product. There's some quirky artwork that's used in the packaging. Yeah, I do want to be associated with that kind of thing. And I thought that was quite an interesting take on on the strength of whether you have a brand or not.

Megan:
Yeah, that's a really interesting take. And it's become sort of a status symbol, too, depending on what brand you're showcasing. And I think that's happening a lot in the sustainability space because it's now become quite trendy to be sustainable. And it shouldn't be trendy because it should just be something we're all doing. But great that it is trendy because then more and more people will, will be doing it. But yeah, I think people are choosing to carry for certain things because it shows that they are sustainable or to wear certain things that shows that they're aware and socially aware. So, yeah, I think that's really interesting. If people want to spend their money to promote your brand, that's a really interesting measure of success.

Andrew:
So you're leaning into it. When we were talking about that, you're leaning into more sort of culture and purpose. Yeah, we we know that, you know, having a purpose that is beyond potentially just making money or or serving a providing a particular product is is important. How important is is the culture? Because that's a lot harder to define when it comes to brands. So, you know, how important is culture to be associated with the brand? And in many ways, a culture can relate to how people work, the environment that they work in. And that's not necessarily what people on the outside might see. You know, if I'm walking down the supermarket aisle and I might see I don't know, let's just for argument's sake, say something unexciting like cleaning products. Yeah. How does how does culture come through? Because as a consumer, I don't I don't really know what the culture might be at Unilever, for example. It maybe doesn't affect me. Is that is that purely for for sort of internal cohesion or how can that impact in, you know, the sort of the consumer facing side of brand?

Megan:
Yeah, I would say it's actually it really impacts the consumer and it may not be seen, but it's certainly felt. And one of the things we say is that brand, the only word synonymous with brand is actually culture. And the culture of a company or a brand really is everything. And I think. I think it's easy for company leaders to forget that their employees, their people, their partners are actually the best brand ambassadors they'll ever have. So I never understand companies that sort of don't load up their employees with a free product and and lots of things to make sure they're out telling family and friends proudly that they're working for this company. And we really should be. There's a huge focus on social media influencers. And I say that we should be treating our employees as our optimal micro influencer. So make sure they are feeling so positive to be working with the company, and the number one way to do that is have, I keep referencing a brand foundation and this is essentially a one page document, if you can imagine, that operates as the brand bible for that company, because I find that so many companies have a hundred page PowerPoint deck that nobody looks back to that.

Megan:
So you have an active brand foundation that people post up on their home office walls, keep on their desks, keep open on their desktop. If they can reference often and understand I work for this company because of these values and if it's something memorable, simple, usable, people will refer to it and it becomes a very active document. Whereas one hundred page PowerPoint deck, sure, you can have that for sort of the in-depth analysis of your brand, et cetera. The useable document needs to be literally one to two pages so employees can remember it. And culture really is so important. And I think one of the things that is is key right now as we go through this pandemic is culture is built from sort of the space you're working within sometimes. And so how can companies really continue that brand culture when people are working from home? And now you're all of a sudden, I think, of customer service people who were in a space where, you know, it's all about that brand visually. They're surrounded by their colleagues. The executives are walking by. They sort of are you know, immersed in that, all of a sudden they're at home watching their kids play out window with the family dog. How do you remain focused on that brand?

Megan:
So I think it's about it's all the more important to have a brand foundation and values and mission that is very clear so that, you know, you're sitting at your home office. Remembering why I work for this company, what we stand for. And, and I'm proud to be working for this company. And you know that it's really important because, you know, the way a company is internally and I can think of the brand ecover, they make method cleaning products. And I just keep hearing about what a lovely atmosphere it is at that company I work for. And I haven't personally worked with them, but I really feel like their social media and the sort of their the way they speak, their tone of voice is very friendly, inviting. It feels a bit like family. You know, I imagine that's what the company culture is like and that comes through in everything they do. And so, well, I don't see it on store shelves. You kind of feel it as a brand. And so I think it's incredibly important and people do forget that. So. So, yeah, brand, culture and how employees are treated is is really, really important. And I mean, nowadays we have no barriers. And if the employees are unhappy or unclear why they're working for a company, the purpose behind the company, it quickly becomes known.

Andrew:
You can feel it.

Megan:
Consumers find out. And absolutely. Absolutely. So it's really important.

Andrew:
Yeah. I think purpose, again, can be something that's overused because it's easy to say that we have these, we're sustainable. Let's say we put sustainability at the heart of it. But I guess until it starts to come through in actions, words, actions beyond words rather than, you know, it doesn't carry much weight, does it? And it never really becomes a key part of that core set of brand values.

Megan:
And I think the word purpose is I think it's industry jargon. I think it's important because we all have to identify what purpose is behind the brand. But consumers, they don't say we love the purpose behind that company. For example, with Unilever, who I've worked with for many years, they just simply live it through their brands. I worked on the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty back in Toronto and also here in London. And, you know, the Dove campaign just simply lived this idea of redefining beauty for women. And and it just lived it, it never said this is our purpose. It didn't of put that down your throat to say this is what we stand for. They just did that. And it's one of the early examples, I think, of a company truly standing behind its purpose, but simply acting and doing. By featuring women in ads that were not Photoshopped and contributing to school programs to teach girls about self-esteem and body image. And they just simply did this. And so now a lot of companies are doing that. And I think I think purpose is now just the cost of entry to being a brand out there. You have to have, you have to be giving back in some way. But I don't think you don't want to be doing in a way that's like here's our purpose.Buy our product.

Andrew:
It can't be a box ticker can it? It's got to be evident that that you're pursuing these things actively. And I think you obviously have not been close to the Dove campaign. We've seen it on TV and in magazines. That's one that just seems to have evolved incredibly well as society has changed, society is adapted and people's viewpoints have adapted as well. And I guess that's a really strong indicator that they're on the right track with it.

Megan:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it's tough because they were one of the the early ones to take a stance on something through, through a marketing perspective. And now everyone else is doing it. So I think it remains a challenge to stay unique now that so many others are doing it and doing it really well too. Especially around sort of the body image and definitions of beauty conversation. I think lots of brands have tackled it really well since Dove started it. So there's a bit of risk of of not relevant if you don't evolve. But yeah, I think they're doing a good job of trying to evolve and remain relevant and that they just did a recent campaign. I wasn't involved with this, but I don't I don't work with them currently. But around focusing on women as heroes who have been working on the front lines and doing incredible, you know, close up photos of these gorgeous women who are gorgeous simply because they are, you know, blood, sweat and tears in the front line, focusing on keeping people safe.

Andrew:
It's about what they do, not what they look like.

Megan:
That's right.

Andrew:
And that's a fundamental shift, isn't it, in terms of how society is viewing people.

Megan:
That's right, that's right, and so they're really living that, so. Yeah, but now I think a lot of companies are there's a lot of new businesses popping up that are based on, you know, they're they're they're not just about creating a product. They're actually created with a purpose in mind. So purpose simply built into what they stand for. One of my clients currently is called Bagboard, the London based company. It's essentially all about putting advertising dollars in the hands of consumers. So how you do it is you carry a bag, you carry a ecofriendly paper bag. And on that bag is an advertisement for a planet friendly product. So it might actually Ben & Jerry's, which is a partner of theirs. Ben and Jerry's is on the bag and as a result of carrying that bag, you earn money off other planet friendly brands. So you promote a brand. You in turn benefit because you actually get money off other sustainable brands and sustainable brands, planet friendly brands are typically quite expensive right now.

Andrew:
Premium products aren't they?

Megan:
And so the core purpose of this company is truly inherent in what they are as a product. And I think that's starting to happen more and more where it's no longer just about, OK, I'm going to start a sock company instead, it's about I'm starting a sock company that's all about using completely eco friendly, sustainable fabric. And so your purpose is built into what you are as a product. And I think that's starting to happen more and more because that's what consumers are demanding. And that becomes your brand.

Andrew:
And yeah, because I can say at that point, yeah, the the messaging is not about the socks, it's about the the fibers, the the raw materials or the process that goes into making them.

Megan:
Yes. Yes. And then you want to wear those as sort of a badge to show that you understand the importance of sustainable fashion and, you know, eco friendly fashion and not supporting fast fashion and that kind of thing. It really becomes a sort of a symbol of your beliefs as an individual as well. And I think people are looking to brands to have that be a symbol of what they believe as individuals and what they stand for.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. It's interesting. Can brands sort of try too hard with this? Is there a risk that they try too hard with it and actually they become seen just to to be doing it again for commercial gain? Because I think you've got a core set of brands that are genuinely trying to change people's perspectives and generally, you know, trying to create a shift in in the way people see things, in the way people act. I still think, you know, there's I mean, the example that I guess I've got in the back of my mind was with Boohoo here in the UK not that long ago when when potentially it was some some wrongdoing in their manufacturing facilities in Leicester. And I don't know the ins and outs of that, but it's almost you know, you can see in the branding sometimes they claim to have all this right and clearly they don't. They've got to backtrack and and then they almost have to overemphasise their response. And it's too little too late for me by that point. And I think it's it's got to be as you've said, it's got to be baked in right from the outset. You either are or you're not on on one side or the other of whatever purpose it is that you're pursuing. It can't really you can't really hover around in the middle.

Megan:
No, absolutely. I think it's all about transparency as well. And I think, you know, talking about the sustainability space and and and if you're a brand that has a purpose based in sustainability, I think a lot of brands are very scared to claim that they are taking steps in being more planet friendly because they think, they think they have to be absolutely perfect in order to be met. But I think the reality is it's all about transparency. And if you say as a company, we're not perfect yet, but we're doing this, this and this in efforts to be more sustainable, we still have to figure out our supply chain that's been in process for ten years. It's a long shift. It's like turning a cruise ship, to change that.

Andrew:
Yeah, you don't just turn on a sixpence can you?

Megan:
And I think the mistake is some companies are maybe trying to hide that they still are in process or on a journey of becoming more sustainable, if you will. But, you know, with Black Lives Matter, a lot of companies have come out and said, you know what, we need to do better. We don't have enough representation of different cultures on our board as of yet. So we are making a conscious effort to change this. And I really respect companies that are doing that. And I think it's about being honest. I mean. Yes, you should not be having practices in place that are unethical, that has to change immediately, and you certainly don't want to share that you know, there's issues with your supply chain or things like that or you're manufacturing. You have to fix that and you have to fix that fast. But if it's things where you're making a conscious effort, it's, it's you know, it's in progress, you're on a journey and you're being honest about that, then I really believe the consumer can't fault you and they may even come to the door with ideas and nothing better than to sort of crowd source ideas from your consumer and make them a part of that journey.

Andrew:
Yeah, I guess that's the ultimate in terms of getting people engaged with your brand. And, if they're willing to listen and react to that kind of feedback, then you've probably just created yourself a new set of ambassadors haven't you?

Megan:
Exactly. Absolutely. Yeah. So it's an interesting, it's an interesting time for companies. And I think a lot of companies have been afraid to take a stance. But I know Edelman I used to work at Edelman as one of my agency experiences here in the UK, and they did a recent study that talked about how people are turning to brands, expecting them to have a point of view on major world issues such as the Black Lives Matter, discussion around the pandemic, around sustainability. People are expecting brands to have a point of view, and I think it's scary for a lot of brands because you really put yourself out there. But if you're staying true to your brands purpose to who you are, listening to your employees and and suppliers and partners and what they believe the brand stands for and them being true to that, you really can't go wrong. And so yeah, making sure it's authentic to who that brand is, I think you said it. You know, there are some that are being inauthentic and stating a point of view that really has nothing to do with what they stand for or, you know, they're not backing it up with anything they're doing. And that becomes a challenge.

Andrew:
Yeah, I think I think with the court of public opinion these days, brands in some respects almost have to justify their appearance in people's daily lives. You know, once upon a time, we needed certain cleaning products, let's say, from a supermarket. And we picked from what was on the shelf, that power has completely shifted these days, hasn't it? A, we don't have to just look at the supermarket shelf. But there's there's a huge range of places where we can get products from. And and that choice is now in our hands. We're not we're not sort of at the hest of brands, companies and suppliers. You know, it works the other way around, doesn't it?

Megan:
Yeah, absolutely. And something I've heard through this pandemic that's really interesting is that smaller brands have seen a real rise in sales because people are having more time to sort of look for brands that really cater to their values. And something that I find really interesting is that you maybe haven't been able to get your usual cleaning product brand that you love, or your usual go to pasta sauce you've had to switch to something else because it hasn't been available in your Ocado or Waitrose delivery, or it's just what you could get at the corner store and that's as far as you wanted to go. So it's been an amazing opportunity for sort of smaller brands to have a shining moment where people have been forced to try them and end up loving them.

Megan:
There's a brand, a men's grooming brand called by Aaron Wallace that's based out of East London. And it's actually focused on grooming products for black men, very niche, very specific and very specialised in beautiful premium products. And and I was hearing that they have seen their best sales ever, people actually had time to look into the company, understand their story, and they couldn't get their usual products from the big box stores because they were closed or sold out or whatnot. So I love that. It's become a big opportunity.

Andrew:
And there's that warm, fuzzy feeling of supporting somebody different, someone with a story, someone that clearly has been through the challenges, the trials and tribulations perhaps of getting a brand or a company or a product off the ground. And there's that sort of good feeling that that comes with that, doesn't it?

Megan:
Exactly. And I think that's also there's the shop local movement right now. And I think it's going to just continue to gain traction because people want to support these smaller brands and businesses who have survived, their business has survived through Covid, and they want to help them survive through Covid. And that's a really nice outcome of this as well, that these smaller brands are getting a stage finally.

Andrew:
Absolutely. And I think we've not not to underestimate the difficulties that companies and obviously individuals I think we've got to we've got to look at the the positives that come out of this for us to to lift ourselves away from the situation that we're all in, haven't we? So I think there are definitely some some positives that will come out of it. We're almost up on time. But Megan, I just wanted to ask, because you obviously we know that it's important for businesses to adapt and and dare I use the phrase pivot, we talked about rebranding and so on. But I wanted to ask what your view is about companies that feel they are they have done or they need to pivot to react to the new world that we live in. What should they be doing about about their brand? Do they need to to rebrand just because they've perhaps changed their product or their market focus? Presumably you'd say well, actually, no, the purpose and the core brand values need to need to persist in whatever the end product might be.

Megan:
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's about remaining true to what they stood for originally. And, you know, brands want to they want to help. They want to have a role in providing what people need right now and whether that be PPE equipment, whether that be hand sanitiser, whether that be anything that's that's needed to stay safe right now. Brands, A they want to help and B yes, it's a smart financial decision to find a solution to what everyone needs right now. But what I think is key is, it has to be in line with what you stand for as a brand. So I think a lot of fashion brands that have innovative fabrics have done an interesting shift into creating face masks. And I think that's a really natural shift. Your company that's all about beautiful fabric or you Liberty, for example, Liberty London has shifted to create a beautiful line of face masks. And they're all about everyone knows the liberty London print anyone who is into fashion, knows about the Liberty London print and now they've got face masks, and that becomes a bit of a, you know, a status symbol that I've got a Liberty London face mask. But they're also doing something that serves people.

Andrew:
It's a fashion accessory, a legitimate fashion accessory, it's natural. It sits, you know, could sit quite comfortably with a scarf, for example, or other items that might have Liberty prints on or even that don't, but necessarily a fashion item nonetheless. So, it feels like that is a natural evolution just to extend their range to cover face masks.

Megan:
Exactly. And I also know of a, and fashion is a very obvious shift into that space. And then I know of another company in the US that actually makes innovative fabric for awnings that sort of go over your patio, if you will, and they've actually fully adapted to use their innovation to a create facemasks as well. And I mean, that one is not as expected. And I think it's a really interesting shift because it still really works well with what they stand for as a brand and not one. It makes sense, but when I'm struggling with is brands that are shifting into this area that really have no place in it, and it doesn't, it doesn't it doesn't match with what they, with what they stand for as a brand and what they ever made as a brand. And so I think that's where consumers are savvy. They see through if a company is just simply trying to to take advantage.

Andrew:
Borderline opportunity isn't it?

Megan:
Exactly. So I think it's about it's about being authentic and getting creative. What are the things you can do to help people. What do people need right now and you know, and how can you contribute to that? So I think there's there's lots of great examples out there right now. You know, I think fitness brands have done a fantastic job at, again, using the overused word of pivoting, but changing from, you know, in studio workouts to now offering incredible online solutions. And and it's about what was the core purpose that your brand was created for and how can you still provide that. But in a way that suits what people need right now. And that's just the question companies have to ask themselves and not be something they're not.

Andrew:
And I think in many ways, that supports a wider societal view as well. You mentioned Black Lives Matter. There's obviously things like the me too campaigns as well. But they are adapting to deliver the product in such a way that is advantageous to at least allow them to stay in business. Because let's be honest, that's there's got to be a commercial arm to it. But they are they are following or at least steering in some cases, the general direction that the people perhaps want society to shift in, because it will be a lot of people that don't want to go back to the normal that we've come for. You know, they are seeing this as an opportunity now to actually let's reset. We can we don't have to work in the way that we used to. We can do things slightly differently. And I guess some people will be looking for brands to lead the way in that respect, perhaps with that original core messaging. So it stays authentic, but with a view of not going back to to how things were, which in some respects clearly weren't working for us.

Megan:
Exactly. I know. I think a reset, it's almost like, yeah, we're going through an evolution ourselves as a society, as brands often do. And and we're going to come out better in the end. Absolutely. And I think, I think it's a really interesting time. And as I was saying to you before, you know, from a brand and advertising perspective and PR perspective, it's really interesting to see the companies that are doing creative things and creative brand partnerships that are really cool. And it's, again, a silver lining to all of this. And I mentioned, you know, Uber and Unilever's brand Lifebuoy, which creates handsoap and sort of cleaning, like cleaning wipes, I think brilliant partnership there that's launching in August, where every time you get in an Uber, there's going to be these products available for you to use, wipe down seats.

Andrew:
Six months ago, six months ago, you would have been laughed at.

Megan:
You would have thought oh, my gosh, this is a bit overkill. And now we're like this is necessary. Yeah, I just think it's nice to see the creativity that's coming through at a time like this in brands being really creative. So that's the positive.

Andrew:
Definitely. Definitely. Well look Megan, we're out of time. Thanks very much indeed. That's been a really great conversation, really insightful stuff. Where can people find out more about you online? Where do you hang out? Where can people follow up with you if they want to get in touch?

Megan:
So my website is instinctbrandequity.com. And you can also buy we have a book called Brand, it ain't the logo, it's what people think of you. And it's on Amazon UK, actually on Amazon in the US and Canada as well. So people can check that out too. But I'm Megan and I'm at instinctbrandequity.com is where people can find out more. And I love talking all things brand and storytelling. So happy to chat to anyone.

Andrew:
Great. Thanks very much for joining me again, Megan. Really appreciate you taking the time. It's been a great conversation.

Megan:
Thank you. Enjoyed it. Take care.

Andrew:
Great.

Andrew:
So brand stories are important. Marketing has changed so much over the years, we live in an age where being authentic is absolutely essential if your brand is to succeed and connect with its audience, people can see through marketing messages that aren't supported by your values, your purpose, or your story. And I think deep down, we all have a story and it's a case of looking into that, drawing on your personal experience, thinking about your passion and ultimately your why. Why do you do what you do, solving the problems and taking on the challenges that you do. Don't underestimate the value of your own personal story and how that can really resonate with an audience. And I think it's fantastic that we see brands trying to shift the narrative and spread their messages to support movements like climate change and if you're going down this route as a brand, then you really need to wear your heart on your sleeve and embrace everything that that brings. While there's a certain level of tolerance for genuine mistakes, if people can't see just how much these causes mean to you, then trust will gradually be eroded and you risk damaging your brand. And like I say, people will see through this. So if you're planning a rebrand, then as the title of Megan's book suggests, please, please look beyond the logo. It's a mistake I've made once before. So do explore your story, be authentic and look at how this supports your brand before committing to it in your marketing messages. So that's about it for another episode of the Clientside we'll add the references to Meghan, her book and her PR agency to the show notes, which you'll find at adigital.agency/podcast.

Andrew:
And if you've got any questions or want to contribute to the show, then please get in touch. Details are coming up next. Thank you for listening this far. Take care. Stay safe. And I'll be back in a couple of weeks time, so I hope you can join me then.

Andrew:
Thank you again for checking out today's episode of the Clientside podcast. I really hope you found a useful conversation with some actionable steps that you can apply in your business, if you can spare just a few minutes of your time then please do look us up on apple podcast, Search for the Clientside podcast by A Digital and leave us a five star rating. And if you can, leave us a quick review. I'd love to hear your feedback and would really appreciate your support. If you're interested in learning more about A Digital and how we might be able to work together, head across to our website, at adigital.agency and complete our online scorecard so you can benchmark your own digital performance. You'll get a free personalised report since you by email and I can learn more about you and your business and the particular challenges you're facing. We can then follow this up with a free call to map out your priorities, either on the phone or over Zoom with absolutely no obligation. Thank you so much, everybody. I'm really grateful for you tuning in. If you have any comments about this episode or any previous episodes of the Clientside podcast, then drop me a line to Andrew@adigital.co.uk or head across to our website to adigital.agency/clientside.

See you on the next show. Cheers.

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I actually would rebrand looking at a company's overall culture, mission, values that to me is a rebrand, I think you know, a visual updating of your assets is something different and not newsworthy.

Megan Matthews Tweet

Show Notes