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Practicing what we preach: we believe in brand!

BY Baines

At Barley House Group we live and breathe brand. In fact, we believe in brand so much that we are always telling our clients that great branding is the key to marketing your business more effectively.

It's the very reason why we developed our BrandCheck service and it's now become a successful and valuable research tool for helping our clients gain a clearer understanding of the brand values, image and perceptions of their businesses.

But how good are we, as an award-winning brand communications agency, at practicing what we preach? Does our brand identity truly reflect who we are and who we want to be? Are we clear, concise and consistent in our communications? Do we project our ethos when engaging with our stakeholders? And do they understand what the Group offers and stands for?

So, after a period of rapid growth over the past 18 months, it seemed the perfect opportunity to turn the spotlight upon ourselves in order for us to better understand the effectiveness of our communications, marketing, processes and relationships in reaching new clients and serving existing clients in the best possible ways.

The BrandCheck process involved consultation with internal and external stakeholders on their perceptions of Barley House Group and its constituent divisions: Kanga Marketing, Baines Design, Outstanding WebBarley Print and Shades Display.

The combination of research, focus groups and a client survey resulted in the BrandCheck illuminating our position, strengths and weaknesses. It revealed that, while the vast majority of our clients have strong recognition of one or more of our indidivual divisions, our five brands were not recognised as part of a larger group, an integrated agency. Most importantly, the report provided clear proposals for moving forward and informed our decision to rebrand.

The report was released internally and staff were consulted on key issues, such as the decision to rebrand in order to more easily convey the five divisons as five specialist companies, identifiable both as separate entities and as elements of a Group. New branding and brand guidelines were designed by the Baines studio and continue to be rolled out across external and internal implementations, starting with a new website and company brochure.

Our new website, designed and developed by Outstanding, used our freshed branding as the starting point. Its structure is intuitive, deceptively simple and allows clients - new and existing - to find what they are looking for quickly and without fuss. The focus is not on what we provide, but how our skills, expertise and services benefit our clients.

Our company brochure reflects the Group's specialisms while exemplifying the benefits of quality control and convenience in the combination of marketing tools under one roof.

The refreshed branding is rolling out across every touchpoint, from business cards and email signatures, to invoices, exhibition materials and signage around our building and car park - you name it!

And because we understand that brand is more than just what you look like, we are also looking inward at our working practices and processes to ensure the essence of our brand filters down through every layer of the business so it is at the heart of all that we do now and everything we hope to acomplish going forward.