As the saying goes, "First impressions are the most lasting."
They last beyond the moment of first consideration or judgment and are vital to developing brand loyalty.
Almost half of the consumers are more likely to become loyal to a brand during their first experience, which underlines the importance of creating a professional and trustworthy first impression for brand success.
A company’s distinctive identity is one of the key elements that factor into creating a good first impression with potential customers. This urges businesses to ensure their prospects perceive their brands properly.
This is where branding and rebranding come into play.
Alex also pointed out the role of customer experience in rebranding and discussed the tasks the process entails.
Alex Pollard is the founder and head of creative at Pithy Studios. His design philosophy uses solution-based design fused with unique commercial thinking. Alex learned the ropes while building the design arm of what went on to become the UK’s #1 social media firm and when combined with the rest of Pithy now allows them to bring big agency knowledge to the brands that need it the most.
Spotlight: Research says customers only take seven seconds to make an opinion about a brand. How can businesses make the right first impression when rebranding or launching a brand?
Alex Pollard: When making the right first impressions as a brand it's always important to start with the foundations. Ensuring you have done your homework to really understand your brand values, what you’re out to achieve, and the target audience you’re looking to communicate with. These will act as your guardrails to ensure you connect with the people most likely to engage with your brand.
The trap that some people fall into is creating it to their own personal taste or someone they know that isn’t in their target audience. It’s also important to understand your niche and not target everyone, as this often leads to work that resonates with very few. Leveraging your brand foundations to form a strong visual identity that is consistent across all touchpoints goes a long way to building brand recognition.
In addition, pushing your brand personality in a clear and compelling message that quickly communicates the unique value proposition of your brand will give you the best opportunity to make that right first impression. To summarize — start with the foundations, be consistent and communicate it clearly.
Rebranding is often misunderstood. What does the task truly entail and what role does customer experience play in the rebranding efforts?
First, let’s clear up any misunderstanding around rebranding. The overall process involves updating or changing the image of the brand which can include things like the logo, name, TOV and general visual identity.
The aim of the process is to better align with the company’s foundations including its values, mission and target audience or to distance itself from any previous perceptions about the brand, in turn resulting in some form of positive gain.
Customer experience plays a vital role in the rebranding process, as ultimately it will be the measure of success. Companies should always think about how embarking on a rebrand will affect their customer experience and how it will be received by their target audience.
It’s crucial to conduct research with your existing customers to understand how it will affect their perception of the brand and your offering. This information will help to make educated decisions about the rebrand and ensure your customer will receive it well. It’s also worth considering how the rebrand will be communicated to these existing customers.
To recap — rebranding is to align the brand image with its foundations to ensure it still resonates with the target audience. Customer experience is vital to keep in mind throughout the process, to ensure the existing customer base isn’t alienated and is positively received by the target market in general.
Ideas don’t always strike when needed. What methods do Pithy Studios use to break free from a creative rut and keep the juices flowing?
Ah, the age-old question of how to break the creative rut. I’d be lying if I said we’d never been there, but we have a few cards up our sleeve to help keep things on the move:
- We focus on solution-based design. Coming from an industrial design background, I’ve always been keen to identify the problem or the end outcome that we are looking to achieve. From here we can start looking for solutions on how to solve it, no matter how wacky or weird. Spreading the net wide to start with and then reeling it back in to find the best solution for the client’s needs.
- We are fortunate to have a studio that works with a vast array of clients, meaning we get an insight into a number of different industries. This allows us to act as a bit of a sponge and soak up all the knowledge of our clients and apply fresh new angles in different industries. A great example of this (while not one of our own) is the work done for Farmyard by United Us. They combine a traditional and disruptive aesthetic more so aligned with the fashion and beauty industry, but for a food brand to really make them stand out.
- The classic taking a break and working on something else also helps in a similar vein to the above, as you never know where inspiration may come from.
- Changing your scenery can help break the routine and offer some space for the mind to find new connections.
- Collaborating with others. No matter what comes from a brainstorming session, if you look deep enough there will always be useful aspects to take and explore.
- And finally, books. The internet is a great place but leaves endless gateways to get distracted. Books are a great way to step away from the screen and revisit what’s worked well in the past. As any skill, creativity isn’t a switch that can be turned on and off, but something that is practiced and developed. It’s important to have a few methods that you’ve mastered and over time you’ll find you won’t be stuck in that rut for long!
Aside from your branding services, Pithy Studios is also known for social media creative strategies. What actionable strategies to help businesses stand out on popular social media platforms?
Social media is where I really got to cut my teeth with graphic design, and early on in my career, I was fortunate enough to develop the design arm of what went on to become the UK’s No.1 social media agency.
Here are a few things that worked well for me in the past:
- Bringing through a strong visual identity from the brand. Ensuring the brand visuals are consistent across all platforms makes it easy to recognize and remember your brand, no matter where your target audience finds you.
- High-quality content. This isn’t necessarily about being the most polished as sometimes the UGC style does perform better. However, having quality content that is engaging and relevant to your target audience helps keep people sticking around.
- Leveraging hashtags and keywords helps keep your content visible and easy to find.
- Collaboration with influencers in your niche. Sharing or piggybacking off of influencers' followings is a great way to share content with a demographic that resonates with your values.
- Remember the first part of the medium you’re using… Social! Engage with your community, get them involved and form relationships with them. It’s never been easier to speak directly with your audience.
- Always be consistent where you can, stay active and post regularly.
- We have access to so many metrics now. Analyze the content that performed well, adapt and develop, and there will likely be a learning curve before you hit your sweet spot.
- Be authentic and genuine. It’s a lot easier to create content that is true to your brand than to create a facade.
- Utilize the full features of the platform and don't be shy to sponsor a post that performs well to increase its reach. Bear in mind that each platform has its own unique features and audiences with the algorithms always changing. Stay open to experimenting and adapt your approach as needed, but allow time for your content to be found, as not everyone will be an overnight success.
Speaking of social media platforms, TikTok is taking over the world by storm. Can you share some tips and best practices that seem to work for this booming platform?
TikTok, and short-form video in general like Reels and YouTube Shorts, is rapidly becoming the medium of choice. Our core services still heavily lay within branding but here are some tips that worked well for our team and clients.
- Like all aspects relating to your brand, it’s important to keep your target market in mind. Having vanity metrics means nothing for your bottom line if the audience isn’t generally interested in your brand and what you’re selling.
- Like other platforms, leveraging trending music and hashtags leads to increased visibility.
- Again, similar to other platforms, being consistent is key.
- Ensure your content is engaging and make use of the features that TikTok provides.
- Ensure all of your content is providing some form of value, whether that’s motivational, inspirational, educational or entertaining.
- Collaborate and engage with your audience, make sure you are keeping it social. Reply to DMs and comments, and create quizzes or polls to get your audience involved.
- Add subtitles for viewers that consume content with the audio off. Like other platforms as stated in question five, the algorithm is always changing so be prepared to pivot and leverage the latest trends that work with your brand’s tone of voice.
You’ve been fortunate to work with some impressive brands, such as Google and ASUS. What were your collaborations about and what results did you achieve for them?
It’s been amazing to work with some of the biggest names out there, from creating infographics and social media content for Google to supporting ASUS on their latest laptop release with ad campaign support, but in all honesty, the most rewarding projects have been working with SMEs.
When you work with industry giants, the overall impact of a campaign tends to be quite marginal in the grand scheme of things when compared to the impact of working with a smaller setup. Collaborating with small and medium-sized businesses really allows you to connect with the founders and feel the passion behind the brand, not to mention the work completed often shifts the needle a whole lot more, really allowing us to help benefit someone’s life and add value.
This was the main reason why I set up Pithy, to be able to bring big agency knowledge to the brands that often need it more. We’ve helped brands like The Cultured Collective go from a market stall to nationally stocked in hundreds of stores, and an app development platform start-up where we supported them with investment decks to secure multiple millions in funding. That’s why we are truly here to help bring new life to brands and get them to the next level.
Lastly, how would you define successful online branding?
Successful online branding is the consistent implementation of brand visuals and brand strategy. The result of which helps build brand recognition and trust within your niche and target audience. There is an array of elements that this includes but when done right, the logo, colors, messaging, TOV, social presence etc… is clear, consistent, easily recognized and helps build that positive reputation for the brand. Ultimately, successful online branding leads to increased customer loyalty and sales.
Thank you for your time, Alex Pollard. Best of luck to you and Pithy Studios!