Working with big brands

Ever wonder what it's like to work with big brands?

I can tell you one thing: it's a big responsibility.

A major part of working with big names is understanding how to manage the potential risk that comes with a high profile brand. Because if something goes wrong, or there is consumer backlash, it's very visible.

Over the years, I've worked on a tonne of iconic brands like VW, XXXX, Asahi, James Squires, Schweppes, Astra Zeneca, BHP, Cadbury, Caterpillar, Uncle Toby's and the list goes on. I've learned a thing or two about dealing with and mitigating risk when working with these big names. 

With big projects, it's so important to recognise the weight and gravity of the work โ€“ and make sure that your processes support that.

For example, when we were working on the consumer brand, Dairy Farmers, it was a critical project for the business and all stakeholders. The Dairy Farmers brand has a special place in people's hearts over many generations โ€“ not just the families who consume the product, but the farming families and communities who produce the milk. 

When we started the project, we did our due diligence with extensive research, stakeholder interviews and working with national archives to really understand the origins of the brand., its people and semiotic history:

๐Ÿ”น What's the history of the visual identity?
๐Ÿ”น Who's owned the brand at different stages?
๐Ÿ”น How did the brand look each time it changed hands?
๐Ÿ”น How did it perform over that period of time?

This in-depth discovery process meant that when we went into a presentation, everything was backed by research.

When working with a big brand, I can promise that you will face criticism (even with a flawless discovery process). So, you have to feel confident in your decisions. A thick skin helps, too.

You've probably seen those clickbaity conceptual rebrands that supposedly look better than the original.

But it's a simplified view of rebranding. A rebrand isnโ€™t just about the design looking good. Effective designer practitioners are those who also consider:

๐Ÿ”น What does it mean to the audience?
๐Ÿ”น Does it respectfully pay homage to the brand's origins?
๐Ÿ”น Does it look familiar?
๐Ÿ”น Are we seeking to change consumer behaviour?
๐Ÿ”น Will it work on packaging, in a digital world, on a truck etc?
๐Ÿ”น Does it fit with the future vision and purpose of the brand?
๐Ÿ”น What are the ambitions of all stakeholders?

You make these strategic decisions collaboratively with great marketers, researchers and innovators, and you go to market with confidence.

Any other big brand marketers on here? Would you add any other insights to this based on your own experiences?

This post is part of The Edison Agency 10 year reflection series. Read the blog here: 

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