Sarah Fulford is the founder of Our Own Brand. Her 16-year marketing career spans music, media and tech across in-house, startup and agency side roles. She co-founded Our Own Brand in 2018 with Richard Williams out of a desire to do things differently. She’s hugely passionate about sustainable and female-founded businesses, offering a discount on OOB’s services to better support brands in those spaces.
Starting a business is easy, but standing out in the crowd and breaking through the noise of tough competitors requires great effort and an effective branding strategy.
You may have a great product but that won’t ensure your business success.
In today’s competitive landscape where consumers have so many options to choose from, businesses that want to thrive need to invest in developing a strong brand.
In this interview, we talk to Sarah Fulford, co-founder of Our Own Brand, a London-based award-winning creative agency, about the key elements that help brands stand out and the effective ways businesses can communicate a bold brand story in today's digital world.
Spotlight: Our Own Brand “specializes in creating bold brand identities.” What are the key elements that make a brand stand out in today’s landscape?
Sarah Fulford: The key is to always be authentic and stay true to a brand’s story and values and truly understand the target audience. There has never been more competition for our attention, so standing out from the crowd and doing things differently is key.
How do you ensure the brand stories you create are true to the company’s mission and values while still being bold and impactful?
As much as we’re a creative agency, we’re very analytical and data-driven. We spend a lot of time in the research phase working to understand what makes a brand who they truly are: who they are for, why they are here, how they are different and why people should choose them over others.
A brand’s mission and values act as the compass in the positioning process, working to guide us as we select the appropriate brand archetype that best depicts their personality. We create brand personas to embody their target audience’s traits, habits and motivations. These profiles help us create impactful, cohesive identities which resonate with these audiences because they’ve been created with them in mind.
For which types of brands do bold storylines work the best?
As a general rule, the best storyline is the one that’s true to that specific brand, so the more authentic, the better! However, bold and impactful storylines work well for rebel brands looking to make waves.
Rebel brands want to change the status quo - they believe rules are made to be broken. Think of the rebelliousness of Oatly or the brazenness of Harley Davidson. These are brands that want to be remembered.
Please share some of the cutting-edge campaigns you’ve done so far and why they best represent your approach to branding.
We’re really proud of the ongoing brand work we’re doing with a cardless credit company, Bip. Our contemporary approach to design and content creation has kept campaigns fresh and exciting, driving 50% more conversions for the brand as a result.
We’re about to launch a super exciting brand project with a new player in the dating space that’s going to turn the industry on its head. The brand was born from a desire to be a black sheep - to stand out and do things differently. We’ve created a cutting-edge identity, slick digital home and social content that embodies those values from the ground up. Watch this space over the next few weeks!
How do you measure the success of your brand campaigns for clients like O'Neill and CAT?
An increase in sales and revenue are the obvious metrics, but it comes down to brand sentiment and uptake - how consumers engage with the campaign and what they have to say about the brand as a result. Social listening plays a big part in how we measure a campaign’s success, using specific tools to evaluate sentiment and awareness across social and digital channels.
Above all, we pride ourselves on great relationships with our clients that are built on communication, transparency and trust, so we’re always working to stay aware of how campaigns perform long after they run.
In your experience, what is the most effective way of communicating a bold brand story in today's digital era?
Keep it real and be authentic. Be present where your target audiences are and be open. Communication is a two-way street, so creating space in your brand for relationships to be built upon is key.
What are your key storytelling tips for agencies wanting to create a bold storyline?
These days, our attention spans rival that of a goldfish. It’s important to take audiences on a journey by highlighting the problem in your industry and how you’re going to solve it. Use facts and stats to back up your story, and keep it clear, concise and engaging. And remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression!
Thank you for your time, Sarah Fulford. Best of luck to you and Our Own Brand!