I'm a small business - why do I need a brand?

If you are a small firm or a sole trader, you could be forgiven for thinking that branding is not for you. "Big names spend money on branding, small companies just get on with the job" is a typical response when small businesses are asked about their brand activities. But this perception is wrong, as Rachel Miller writes

Even if you do "believe in branding", it may come low on your to-do list after vital day-to-day tasks that keep your customers happy and keep revenue coming in. That's understandable.

Why do small firms need a brand?

So how can I convince you that branding matters - whether you are a window cleaner, a solicitor or run a restaurant?

Perhaps the first thing to do is to tackle the wording. If you were to replace the word "branding" with "reputation" I might get your attention. You care about your reputation, right?

Well branding is all about the impression you make. If you want to succeed, that impression should do two jobs - it should convey what is special about your business and it should show you in a positive light.

Of course, many small businesses make a good impression most of the time without ever giving a thought to their brand. But think how much more successful you would be if you gave a good impression all of the time.

What I am advocating is that you think about the impression you want to make - your brand - and actively take steps to manage it.

There are two parts to this process. Firstly, you have to decide what you stand for - what your USPs are, who you are aiming at and how you want to position yourself. Then you need to make sure that all aspects of your business are in line with this.

It's about applying your values to everything you do, clearly and consistently.

There are many small firms that have seen real financial benefits as a result of improving their brand. Fiona Humberstone, managing director of Flourish Studios, has worked with many one-man-bands and small businesses. "For instance, we worked with a plumber on his logo," reveals Fiona. "He used it on some new business cards which he distributed in his area and immediately got three new jobs. We've also helped a management consultant with her branding. We redesigned her proposal document as well as providing a new logo and website. As a result, every proposal that she has made that year was accepted - a 100% success rate."

Mark McCulloch, founder of Spectacular Marketing says, "You have a brand whether you like it or not. It's best to embrace that and find the best way to connect your brand with your target audience."

Mark worked with a company called Exhilaration some years ago that sold experience days out and was run by a husband and wife team that loved sky-diving. The business came to a crossroads when it had to develop its online presence.

"It was a tiny company with a tiny marketing spend," says Mark. "The name was good - Exhilaration summed up what they did - but their communications were very dry and didn't convey the excitement of what they were selling at all."

Mark transformed the company's literature and their website and injected the excitement that was missing. "Personality was everything, so we gave all the communications a new tone of voice," he says. Not only did customers respond but suppliers and investors also sat up and took notice. The result? "Their turnover rose from £1 million to £3.5 million and they became second in the market," Mark reveals. Exhilaration went on to be bought by Lastminute.com.

Creating the right impression

But if you don't think branding is for you, you are not alone.

"Many small business owners I meet think that brands are something that only large companies need or can afford," says Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing. "But your company name, the way you answer the phone, what your customers say when they're asked about you - these things all build to create an impression of your company and what it's like to do business with you - and that is your brand. So, you can either just let whatever impression you give happen haphazardly, or you can take control and manage it to your advantage."

One small firm that has benefited by developing its brand is Gradwell, the Bath-based small business ISP. "I tended to pick marketing up on the rainy days, and then drop it again. I'd never really given it much focus," reveals managing director, Peter Gradwell. "We had grown organically among tech enthusiasts, but knew that for major growth we'd need to appeal much more widely."

Bryony undertook market research and discovered that Gradwell's existing image was off-putting to less tech-savvy small business owners. A new brand identity addressed this.

"It was a really tough decision to spend money on something that wouldn't directly generate leads.  It was about building the foundations," says Peter. "But, I'm absolutely sure that it was the right thing to do. It has had huge benefits across everything we do. To give a tangible example, we were approached by Hewlett-Packard to appear as a pretty high profile case study, and I'm sure they wouldn't have shared a stage with us if we hadn't looked as polished as we now do."

It goes to show that your brand may be just as important to your relationships with partners and suppliers as it is to your customers. Take Best Years, a supplier of knitted toys to independent and high street retailers. " Brand is extremely important to us," says commercial director, Gaynor Humphrey. "We have worked hard to put a distance between ourselves and our price-driven competitors. A strong brand boosts traffic to our website. And if our brand values chime with the values of retailers they are more inclined to buy from us. Our foot is halfway through the door before they have even met us!"

Dee Blick, author of Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for Small Businesses, has worked with many small businesses on their branding. "Branding doesn't take shed-loads of money. It takes passion and time and thought," she says. But you neglect your brand at your peril, she warns. "Businesses don't own their own brand, they are custodians of it. Perceptions can alter quickly. Brands are constantly evolving and they need a lot of tending."

The message is clear. If you've got a business, then you've got a brand. What you do with it is up to you.


9 tips for starting out in design

 

19 hours agoComments

We ask a panel of top designers: if you could give one tip to a designer just starting out, what would it be?

When you're just starting out in you design career, everything can seem like a struggle. You can ease the pain by having the right drawing tools and learning from inspiring design portfolios, but even so there's bound to come a time when you find yourself asking whether it's all worth it.

Everyone's been there, though; even the mightiest creative director has found themselves considering jacking it all in and running away to become an accountant at some point.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFER

And so we asked nine leading designers to come up with their top tips for anyone starting out in design. Read them and see your career in a whole new way.

For further career-enhancing tips from more top designers, take a look at Computer Arts issue 250.

01. Know your niche

Creative director Mads Jakob Poulsen says: "Think about what you can contribute to the world of design. What's your niche? What's your special secret weapon? Don't be like everyone else – do what you think is fun."

02. Have a singular vision

"If you make things the way you think they ought to be, they're more likely to be what you'll be asked to make going forward," says Spin's Tony Brook. "It took me a long time to fully understand this."

03. Be versatile

Anagrama's Sebastian Padilla comments: "A designer needs to be versatile, like a Swiss Army knife. You need to be comfortable with working in broad fields such as typography, composition and copywriting."

04. Refine your skills  

"Hone your skill set," says Matt Howarth of ilovedust. "Whether digitally orby hand, work hard on your craft every day and in time you will find a style that you are comfortable with and, most importantly, enjoy doing."

05. Follow your heart

Dawn Hancock of Firebelly says: "None of us really know what the hell we're doing, but if you think with your heart and go with your gut, it will all work out in the end."

06. Lose the attitude

"My tip for a new, young designer starting their career is to lose any sense of entitlement you may have," says Steve Simmonds of weareseventeen. "Just because you've studied for three or five years doesn't mean you can come into the industry and expect it to be easy. This sounds harsh, but I get young designers all the time telling me what they are and aren't willing to do from day to day.

"You must remember that it's not just graduates fighting for their place in this industry; seasoned pros and entire companies are fighting too and good attitudes make all the difference. Be keen and enthusiastic: it goes a long way. Bread and butter work is a staple in any studio, so expect to be heavily involved in a lot of this at first. Don't expect to be working on all the bigger studio projects. This will happen in time; just approach the bread and butter stuff with bags of enthusiasm and make those projects shine unexpectedly. Do this and your rise through the ranks will be swift."

07. Stay the course

Becky Bolton of Good Wives and Warriors says: "Our general tip for people is to just try and stick with it! A creative career is going to be peppered with rejection and potentially confusing times. Without sounding too trite, it's important to try and believe in the value of your work and keep pushing through the times when you feel like quitting!"

08. Take risks

Ady Bibby of True North says: "Stand for something. Take risks. Don't be happy to merge into the mediocrity of creativity out there."

09. Only work with people you like

Designer and teacher Fred Deakin comments: "Biggest lesson: only work with people you like on projects you care about. If you take your time to make great work then eventually the money will come."


How to write a successful blog that also promotes your business

Using a blog for your business website can be a great way to connect with customers and strengthen your brand
 Read more content on winning new business

Write for your customers

Your blog, like your website, is not for you. It's for your customers, so write for them. Ideally, your blog should aim to either solve a problem for your customers or provide fresh insights into your industry.

Plan your content

Lack of time and ideas are the most frequently cited reasons many small businesses cite for not having a blog. However, with a bit of planning, you can have enough ideas to keep your it running for weeks or even, months ahead.

Your posts can be answers to the questions most frequently asked by your customers. For example, if you are a jeweller, you could write a blog post on what to look for when buying a diamond.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool is another great way of finding keyword phrases that people are using to search for your services. The keyword phrase, once you've identified it, could be your blog title. It's a simple and effective way of driving traffic to your blog and letting the world know about your services. So, for the jeweller mentioned, his blog title, based on keyword volume research via Google's keyword tool, would be 'how to buy a diamond'.

Create valuable content

The key to a successful business blog is giving your readers valuable content. That is how you establish your website's authority in your industry. In addition, if you give your readers valuable content, they will reward you by becoming return visitors and also parting with their money.

If lack of time or lack of writing skills is an issue, you could outsource your blog to a blog writing service. These do exactly what it says on the tin – write your blog to meet your customers' needs and also drive sales for you.

Frequency

Opinion is divided on how frequently you should update your blog. Aim for a frequency that you can maintain. Fortnightly or weekly is fine. The key is consistency. Don't start a blog and then abandon it halfway.

Search engines like fresh content and the more frequently you update your blog (and by extension, your website), the more likely your website will climb up search engine rankings and also gain visibility for your target customers.

Develop your blogging style

Blogs are meant to be informal, so let your blog reflect the human face of your company. Give it some personality and try to keep the sales pitch down. You'll find that people are more likely to respond to you and also buy your services.

Word count

As a guide, a blog post should be about 400 words. If your post is longer than this, think about serialising it. People tend to scan web content, so make every word count.

Interaction

Just because your blog is not getting any comments does not mean that it is not being read. Think about the number of articles you read or blogs that you visit. Do you always leave comments? Many people don't. However, you will find that you get more comments as you slowly build up your readership.

Make your blog shareable

Links are the lifeblood of the internet, so make it easy for your readers to share your blog. The easiest way to do this is by using share icons. These are social networking icons (see example to the right of this article) that make it easy for people to share your post and consequently, drive traffic and potential sales to your website.

Measure your blog's performance

If you haven't already done so, make sure you have a web stats tool to measure your website's performance. The most popular one is Google Analytics. It's free and literally takes minutes to install. Over time, as you add more posts to your blog, it will give you a clearer picture of how people are finding your blog and, most importantly, which of your posts are popular so you know the kind of content your readers like.

There are many benefits to having a business blog and with these tips, you should well on your way to creating a successful blog that also promotes your business.

Abidemi Sanusi is the founder of Ready Writer Copywriting. The company can be found on Twitter @readywriteruk


Reasons Why You Need a Website in 2016

 

1 : Increase Sales and Revenue

Any professionally run business will make up the cost of a website easily over the course of the first year. And after that, the low annual running costs mean increased profits in the future.

2 : Cheaper Advertising

A website is the most cost–effective form of advertising you could buy. Compare a small advert in the Yellow Pages or Thompson Local with a small website, or compare a large advert with a large website: the website will generally be cheaper.

And a website’s running costs are much lower — just an annual fee for the domain name and hosting. With a paper advert, you pay the same large amountevery year.

A paper advertisement can only give customers a brief overview of your services. Your website will contain all the detailed information your customers need, at a fraction of the long–term cost of a paper advertisement.

3 : Give a Professional Appearance

Most people now expect a business to have a website. Even if a customer doesn’t visit your website, seeing a web address on a business card or in an advertisement gives the impression that you are a solid organisation.

Perhaps you work from home. Perhaps you have just started a small business. With a good–looking, professional website, you can show that you are just asserious as a larger, established competitor.

4 : Your Competitors Will Have Websites

Very few products or services are bought on impulse (apart from chocolate biscuits, perhaps). Customers like to do a bit of research first. Today, a large proportion of sales begin with an internet search, and that proportion is only going to increase. A business without a website is out of the game.

Actually, there is one exception to this rule. For a business, having anamateurish website is often worse than having no website at all. Find out about the dangers of using a cowboy web designer.

5 : Save Time Dealing with Enquiries

How often do you find yourself saying the same thing to prospective customers — describing your services, your products, your prices? If the information that people need is on your website, they can check it out easily, any time it suits them.

How much time do you waste fielding enquiries from people who are nevergoing to buy your products? Give them an easier way of getting the informationthey want, and you won’t have to cope with enquiries that don’t lead anywhere.

Put the information on your website, weed out the tyre–kickers, and concentrate on the serious enquiries!

6 : More Customers, All the Time, Everywhere

The internet doesn’t open at 9 o’clock and close at 5:30. Your website will be attracting customers 24 hours a day, from all over the world.

 


Do i really need a website? Here are 21 Reasons why

Why Do I Need a Website?

 

Reason #1 – Online brochure

Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Your potential customers can find out about you and any of your products online. If you get most of your business through networking and personal connections, then they will want to check out your website.

Reason #2 – More customers

More than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day, and some 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company, online in the last 12 months. So by not having a website, you will be missing out on a big piece of the pie.

Reason #3 – Business value

Have you tried getting a business loan recently? It’s not easy, but if you try and the bank manager asks to see your website, you better have a pretty good one. It doesn’t just stop with the bank, the perceived value of your business will be lower in everyone’s eyes – especially your customers.

Reason #4 – Influence

By having a website potentially thousands of people are going to see it. You are able to influence people’s decisions and educate them.

Reason #5 – Time to show off

You know that great feeling you get when people recognize your work? Well, by having a website you can show off what you do and take pride in your work.

Reason #6 – Helps with business goals

That’s right! When it comes to writing the content for your website you are going to revisit things about your business that you haven’t in years. You will most likely reassess your business goals.

Reason #7 – Low barriers of entry

Ever wanted to start a business? Well, now you can do it with virtual space. In fact, by using this service and by clicking here, you can get decent rates on full branding, website and CMS for start up companies

Reason #8 – 24 hours per day

Your website runs 24/7 without any supervision or need to lock it up. You can always be there for your customers.

Reason #9 – Communication with customers

By having a blog or even just a feed on your website, you can update customers on your newest offers, products, promotions, events, photos, or any other content.

Reason #10 – Marketing

The internet has opened up a whole new world of marketing that didn’t exist before. Your website can attract new business by using a whole host of low cost marketing techniques.

Reason #11 – Customer support

You can greatly reduce the cost of customer support by have a ticketing system, or even just an FAQ on your website. I can think of about 5 companies off the top of my head that streamline your customer service straight from your website.

Reason #12 – [email protected]

I know there are other ways to do this, but by having a website you can have your own email [email protected] It is more professional and easier to remember. I know you love your [email protected] , but it doesn’t really resonate with customers.

Reason #13 – Press releases

I know that sounds a bit far out, but it is true. You can run really cheap press releases online about your business, but to do it you will require a website. In fact, I have had clients who were absolute nobodies get one million views on YouTube because of online press releases.

Reason #14 – Stick it to the man

The best answer to “Why do I need a website?” would be that you can stick it to the man. It is the easiest way to quit your job and earn a living.

Reason #15 – Any topic or hobby will do

Do you love sports? How about ballet, alternative dance, photography, holidays, Kit-Kats, cars, skateboards, science or animals? Well, then you have a business idea just waiting to happen. The internet has room for an unlimited number of niche blogs that can attract traffic and revenue. Just pick something you love and start writing about it.

Reason# 16 – Connect with fellow web masters

On a little side note, if you own a website you get to call yourself a ‘web master’. Pretty cool! But reason #16 for ‘why I need a website’ is that you can easily make new business and personal connections with other website owners. This can lead to extra streams of income for you!

Reason #17 – Gives you a voice

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and said “Well, I have written an article about that on my website, and actually, that isn’t the case.” It feels great! For some reason people don’t want to argue with you if you’ve written about something on your website. It also gives you a place where you can voice your opinion without judgment. If someone leaves you a comment you don’t like you can just drag it over to the spam folder.

Reason #18 – Do business your own way

You don’t need permission from your boss or company lawyer. Ash Ambridgedrops the ‘F-Bomb’ all the time because she can, and no else is asking her to stop. Now she has a world class business with thousands of customers.

Reason #19 – Beat the big guys

Have you ever wanted to get into business, but don’t know how to compete with all the big names out there? By creating an incredibly beautiful website with a solid strategy behind it you can smash the big guys to pieces. You have no chance of building bigger skyscrapers, but your website can break down the perceived wall between you and them.

Reason #20 – Instant credibility

Have you ever had difficulty making that sale? Or convincing someone that you are the real deal. By having a well structured website you can foster instant credibility with anyone. You can provide the ultimate proof that you are, in fact, the realest of all deals (couldn’t resist that phrase).

Reason #21 – Helps you to find a new job

I bet you didn’t see this one coming. I have been harping on about how a website can help your business, but it can help you personally too. Not only can a website host your resume or CV, but by owning and managing your website you have demonstrated tons of hard and soft skills. Having worked in HR once upon a time, I know it is valuable.

So… why do I need a website?

Can you think of a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t? It wouldn’t be a balanced argument if you don’t.


7 Reasons to rebrand in 2016

Rebranding can either be 'Evolutionary' or 'Revolutionary' but regardless of the process, the intention for rebranding is always the same: To differentiate the business or service in the minds of their target market.' 

Rebranding can also be one of the most rewarding and transformational undertakings an established business can make. However rebranding a business needs to be done for the right reasons:

Good Reason to Rebrand No 1

Coming of age.

In the life cycle of a business - a business will often begin, and experience growth, without necessarily having a professionally designed brand. However Rebranding becomes a crucial step for businesses to be taken seriously as they expand into more aggressive markets.

Good Reason to Rebrand No 2

Due to a fundamental change in the business, it's product or service or a change in direction or thinking. eg to reflect a new "green" corporate focus/citizenship.

Good Reason to Rebrand No 3

Need to differentiate the business from competitors. Many industry's are very competitive and have a large "middle tier" ie; where the majority of businesses sit in terms of competitive advantage. Usually the Mid Tier is undifferentiated and most businesses struggle to demonstrate an advantage in service. eg The Financial Services industry.

Good Reason to Rebrand No 4

To remain relevant to consumers in a changing market place. This is particularly appropriate to retail businesses. To shed a negative perception of image from the past.

Good Reason to Rebrand No 5

Relaunch of a product or service. Again this is often associated with remaining relevant to a particular consumer group. 

 

Good Reason to Rebrand No 6

Product differentiation

Rebranding can also be used as a way of retaining an original product brand while introducing a competing product in a different market segment or price point. Another form of product rebranding is when a business sells a product manufactured by another company.

Good Reason to Rebrand No 7

Rationalisation

As a business grows it develops or acquires various products and services, some of which develop into company brands. Often this organic brand growth can result in a complex and confused brand clutter not to mention a fragmented and expensive trail of advertising and media proliferation.

Rationalisation and consolidation through Rebranding has the power to transform this cluttered brand mish mash into an effective marketing tool and achieve renewed brand impact and strong growth.


Dear freelance designer, from a freelance designer

My names Jake and i have been freelancing part-time for the past 2 years on and off whilst working full-time for my local design agency in Warwickshire #middleoftheuk

I am not here or writing to tell you how you SHOULD or SHOULDN'T Freelance, i am basically here making the pit-falls and hopefully some success throughout and documenting exactly what tools and products i use to help me & ultimately you through the day.

without further ado let's get started with something i use at least twice a day...

Product Hunt is a curation of the best new products, every day where you can discover the latest mobile apps, websites, and technology products that everyone's talking about.

This is an absolute must as you are able to completely tailor your products into collections for future use, you can view my personal Freelance Graphic Design Starter Kit to get an idea on the sort of products which may notice in the next couple of posts.

Searching through products or collections makes it easy to find out if there's an app to make my life easier or more productive. "Hunters" "Makers" and general public are intwined to make it a very personal visit where you can improve, comment and chat with the creators of the products.

I would normally visit this first thing in the morning to checkout the previous day's top rated and curated products, and in the afternoon straight after cheeky nandos lunch to check and see what's trending.

I would seriously consider you try this place first, if you're thinking of something that can better your position or just after a website that can resize multiple photos in one go (coming soon) then check out ProductHunt


CREATING ILLUSTRIOUS BRANDS: STORYTELLING THROUGH DESIGN

A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Paul Wearing is a commercial artist who has applied his distinct illustrative touch to many projects, from large-scale architectural installations to campaigns for brands including Herman Miller, Elsevier, IBM, Bang & Olufsen, Neiman Marcus, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Often reflecting a passion for food, fashion, interior design and travel, his illustration agency’s work regularly appears in design annuals, art magazines and mass-circulation publications including The Wall Street Journal, M Magazine, Le Monde and bon appétit. He spoke with BrandingBusiness Chief Creative Officer Michael Dula, about his creative process, the power of colour and the role of creativity in branding.

Dula: As an illustrator, an artist, an image-maker, can you describe the look of your style for our listeners?

Wearing: I guess the essence of it is, it has a contemporary look. A lot of the influences that arise in my work come from mid-century type of styling — my interest in things like Charles and Reims furniture. Some of the artists who were working in that period come through my work in one way or another. What I guess it has is familiarity, in one respect, and, hopefully, freshness in another.

Dula: Tell us a little bit about your creative process. Do you create for yourself or do you create for your client's audience?

Wearing: I produce work for myself, whether or not it has an application anywhere or not. What is great is when you work with a client who has a view and wants to harness your work and take it further forward. That way, there's an interaction between the two. They'll bring something towards what you do and you'll add something to what they want to achieve.

Dula: How does your mind think when it comes to reaching your client's audience and drawing them in?

Wearing: I’m looking a lot to what the client talks about at the initial briefing on where their position is and where they're leaning, in terms their product or brand, and look at what's going on in the existing market with their competitors — trying to do something which doesn't repeat things other people do, so they have their own distinct, individual characteristic and they tell the story that is relevant to their company — their history or their characteristic¬ — and try and get across some of the essence of what the company or the product is about.

Dula: Do you spend a lot of time researching your clients, researching the background?

Wearing: As much as possible. I also try and keep abreast of current affairs and things that are happening in retail or fashion or anything like that.

In a previous life, alongside illustration, I used to work as a design consultant — advising retailers on trends, colors, products they should be developing. That involved going around the world, basically looking at what everybody was doing, going to various trade shows to see the newest colors that were coming in, and reading a lot.

That kind of background feeds into what I do now. As well as the artistic and creative side, which may be more powerful to me, there's also an awareness of the commercial aspects and socials trends manifesting themselves across a broader spectrum of areas.

Dula: How does color play out in your work?

Wearing: For me, color is absolutely key. Taking back to one of my first art history teachers, a fantastic, charismatic man who liked to tell you, “Color is the first thing anybody sees.” Essentially, I think he's right. After that, you see form and then line.

One of my earlier trainings was as a print textile designer, and color is so key in that area.

One of the most wonderful things… you can almost tell a story with color. If the colors aren't right in something, it never quite works for some reason. If they're right, things fly. And you'll see how much care people put into that when they apply it to areas of business like branding — the enormous amount of energy and focus on detail in trying to get people to have their individual look and individual color and individual stamp.

Dula: When I look at your illustrations, there is color harmony and balance and color complexity. It does seem fundamental when I look at a Paul Wearing illustration, whether you're using three colors or 100 colors. There's a certain harmony. Does color come naturally? Do you go through a lot of experimentation?

Wearing: I work almost exclusively on the computer now. When I begin a job, into the file that I'm working in, I'll bring in several pieces of work… images and colors that I think are pertinent to that particular job. Then I'll just begin playing. The beauty of working in digital media nowadays is the ability to recolor things. It's just fantastic.

Dula: It's amazing to me the vastness of your work, in terms of the application — whether it's on the side of a building, in an ad, on a website. Is there a difference between working with consumer brands and corporate brands?

Wearing: Sometimes just because of the pace of things with retail brands, things move faster. They're slightly more predetermined.

Sometimes with corporate brands, there's a more organic growth or a development period, probably because a lot of parties need to be involved in the decision-making. Also, there aren’t the pertinent deadlines you might get if you’re launching a product.

Dula: So many stories and ideas pour out of your imagery. Whether they'd be minimalistic, whether they'd be more complex, each one seems to hold a story. When you think about storytelling, how big of factor does it play?

Wearing: I think it's quite a big factor — not necessarily in a straightforward type of narrative like a storybook. A lot of my work will involve layering of imagery, subtle patterns and sometimes patterns which tell a story. They may not be immediately obvious.

For example, I had a great commission for Cedars Sinai Medical Center to develop a book promoting their child acute-sickness ward. In that, we had a child being picked up. And within the child, there was a repeat pattern. You got the sense that it was caring not just for one child but numerous children.

Dula: I've gotten to know you and your work through our client Elsevier [a leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services]. Can you talk about your recent work for them?

Wearing: What a fantastic job, to begin with. It's not that often that a client will come to you and want to base their whole look and brand around a lot of the graphic handwriting that you produce.

One of the things about the job… they liked what your colleague Drew [Letendre] termed “visual wit”… the idea of a tree within a head that signified knowledge. But because it had to do with digital downloads, the tree's roots were then made out of circuit board.

It sounds slightly trite when you say it, but when you illustrate it in the right way, it can be beautiful and it can work so nicely and tell a story in a very succinct way.

Dula: In your experience, what role does creativity play in the world of B2B branding?

Wearing: I think creativity everywhere is important, but especially in branding. To differentiate your company, get your company to tell its unique story. To have somebody come in with a creative spark and add a creative idea of how you can do that, I think, is so important.