Blog - August 5th, 2019

Branding communication workshop at Moda

Branding | Communication | Marketing | Workshops | Reading list

This weekend we spoke at Moda, a bi-annual fashion event taking place at the NEC, Birmingham. Our workshop looked at how businesses can use branding to improve their marketing.

Fashion is constantly moving, and it can be easy to get left behind. The same thing can happen in business. Traditional advertising doesn't work anymore - people are so bombarded by adverts every day that they're conditioned to filter them out. Adverts get in the way, they frustrate, and they do not help to create a positive impression of your company.

Woman at MODA

So how do you reach people and get them to buy your stuff? We believe the answer is through branding, and what we call cultural marketing. It's all about building relationships, creating a community, and attracting the customers who believe what you believe. Engaging with people along every single touchpoint will give them a remarkable experience that they will remember, and turn everyone who encounters you into a brand ambassador for your cause.

At Rusty Monkey, we love nothing more than helping people build remarkable brands. Speaking at Moda was a great opportunity for us to reach new audiences and get our message out there. Our visual communication experts, Matt and Chris (and hosts of our successful #MonkeyMondays vlogs), took to the catwalk on Sunday to strut their stuff, but more importantly to share their insights into using your brand as a marketing tool.

Woman at MODA

If you missed our talk, don't worry! Here's quick overview of all the topics we crammed in. If you're looking to work on your own branding and marketing, check out the challenges at the end - they're designed to help you move on with your business, whatever industry you're in.

Does advertising work?

In short, we don't think it does anymore. Traditional advertising - the sort you would see in newspapers and magazines - has been replaced by an advert-saturated world, where we are bombarded by adverts constantly.

From billboards to TV, from pizza boxes to coffee cups, advertising is everywhere. You literally cannot get away from it. It's impossible to read an online article without having to scroll past embedded adverts - and the intrusive pop-up is the most malign of its kind.

In the boom of the 1950s, advertising was optimistic and aspirational. Ads promised you a better and more fulfilling life. Now they do nothing but frustrate us. 

But what is the alternative? For many, it's Google Ads.

Paying to secure advertising rights on Google can work to get your product out there. But there is a cost.

Imagine you are selling a product for £100. It costs £50 to make. That's a nice profit per unit.

Google ads profitGoogle asks you to pay £1 per conversion. You're happy to do so, because you're still making £49 each sale.

Google ads profitThen Google asks your competitor to pay £2 per conversion. They do so, of course, because it seems a small price to pay to outbid you.

So you pay Google £3. Then £4. Then £49.

Google ads profitGoogle has eaten nearly your entire profit. You're still making £1, but unless you're selling huge amounts of your product, that really isn't a great return.Bidding for Google Ads can easily turn into a race to the bottom, where whoever is prepared to sacrifice the most profit wins.

We think there's a better way, and that way is branding.

What is branding?

Simply put, branding is everything.

Your brand is not just your logo, your typography, your colour palette. It's every single touchpoint in each user journey you have, every little part of your company that comes into contact with the world. It's how you answer the phone, how your delivery driver is dressed. It's your product, your marketing and your after-sales support.

what is a brand?

So how do you create a great brand?

Check out our vlog on brand and communication success, where we talk about 4 videos that are a great starting point for creating a successful brand.

What these videos have in common is an emphasis on making a meaningful connection with your audience. Create a brand that stands for something, that brings people real value, that gives back to the community, and you will be rewarded with customers who will follow you anywhere.

This will help generate loyal brand ambassadors who will do a lot of the legwork for you. Here are some brands we think are doing a great job at this.

Based on the principles outlined in these videos, we have put together three low-risk challenges that you can try out to help strengthen your brand and cultural message.

branding is the answer

Task #1 Define your 'why' message

First watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk (if you haven't already). Then determine what your 'why' message is. What is your core value? What is the reason your company exists? What do you believe?

According to Sinek, the aim of business is not to sell to people who want what you have, but to sell to people who believe what you believe. People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Task #2 Identify 2-3 touchpoints you can improve

Check out our vlog introduction to user journeys (if you haven't already). Think about all the touchpoints your business has - all the points at which your brand is exposed to your customers. How does your customer feel at each of those points? Are there any points where they feel negative? Is there anything you can do to improve their experience at that touchpoint?

One place where most businesses fall down is in the post-purchase phase, where the customer experiences buyer's remorse. How can you make them feel immediately better about their purchase?

Task #3 Take the 70/30 challenge

Take 30% of your current marketing budget and assign it to something cultural. Invest in a local project, make a cool video, run a giveaway. Push it on social media and measure the engagement you get back.

The aim is to get that remaining 70% of your budget working as hard as your 100% did before. Boosted by the active engagement your cultural marketing should generate, you'll find that your 70% budget goes a lot further than it used to.

If you try any of these challenges, get in touch to let us know how it went. If you'd like more information or guidance on anything you've read today, give us a call or drop us an email. We're always looking for people we can help along their branding journey.

Rusty Monkey at MODA

We really enjoyed our time at Moda. Thanks to those who stopped to hear us speak. We'll be taking the Rusty Monkey show on the road again soon - watch this space and keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook to find out what we're up to next!

Who wrote this?



She / her; red / blue. Mel is a writer, editor and designer. Equally happy hiking a muddy trail as playing tabletop roleplay games by candlelight. Will seize any opportunity for a party, as long as said party features copious food, prosecco and hits from the 1980s. Her true passion lies in words. A student of literature, she is fascinated by enduring myths, etymology and science fiction. Kurt Vonnegut is her hero. “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”

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