July 30, 2019 / Director's View

PURPOSE & PROGRESS

The link between strong values and scale

This month we have seen a series of articles asking why some major beauty conglomerates are struggling to crack the start-up.

As an agency we are lucky enough to work with a range of clients at different stages of their development, supporting as they transition from one to the next. In doing this we get insight into the inner workings of both sides of the story. The extreme differences between the two are represented by their respective strengths. In a nutshell – the most successful start-ups have a strong passion for their cause and major beauty conglomerates hold the keys to reach, scale and efficiency.

It is as honourable to start a business on the basis of good intentions as it is to find a way to put its products in hands of as many people who will enjoy their benefits as possible. What the evidence continues to suggest when it comes to collaboration between brand purpose and scale is that each must value the perspective of the other in order to succeed.

The fact that a group with one of these sets of strengths is not able to easily imitate the other is a lovely reminder that multiple perspectives coming together is at the core of what it means to be human. It also tells us just how fine-tuned the consumer’s thirst for and ability to seek out a deeper relationship is becoming. We are all seeking an emotional connection.

So what is the magic that sits somewhere between one and the other? Integrity.

Integrity comes in many forms. In this instance, it means defining the principles behind the brand the ensuring that every decision is made with them in mind. Every time this happens you create an opportunity to create a stronger connection. Every time this fails to come through you create a chance of alienation or more often dilution.

Now is the time to assume that everyone, your current and potential customers all possess a Master’s in Integrity.

So if the challenge here stems from the scale then what do the people behind brands need to keep in mind at the development of the different stages?

  • OUTSET // Integrity must exist at the core of the offering. Customers must be able to find and connect with the positive principles behind your business.
  • EARLY GROWTH // Clearly communicate your principles. Work to (or find a partner who can help to) define the story behind your brand that explains your brand values in a clear, concise and engaging way.
  • REINFORCEMENT // Ensure that all new initiatives become an opportunity to reinforce your brand values. People like to be reminded why they fell in love with your brand. The values do not change but the way that they are expressed can feel fresh and interesting.
  • PARTNERSHIPS // Ensure that everyone genuinely understands the purpose behind your brand. Be realistic about the fact that you will always know more about your brand and product than the people or businesses that you partner with. If every initiative should be an opportunity to express what makes your brand different then the people you trust to work with it must possess a deep understanding. Invest time early in the relationship to get them up to speed.
  • TRANSITION // Take no shortcuts when passing the principles on.
  • SCALE // Be conscious of balancing practical choices with maintaining integrity. This dilution is often most common when brands are looking to balance the strength of an initiative with the cost. Questions like; Do we really need the experiential moment? Can we simplify this element as much as possible? Is using sustainable materials really worth the additional cost? When this is the case we ask brands to consider the true cost of short-term savings.

And what does this mean for us as an agency when working with a brand?

  • BRAND IMMERSION // Must be deep and effective. Every new relationship starts with an in-depth immersion at the home of the brand to ensure that we have a clear understanding of what makes your offering special. We look to understand the history of the brand, your products in detail and what customers can gain from a relationship with your brand beyond the products themselves.
  • AN ONGOING INTEREST // We value our partnerships. When that is the case it makes it a pleasure to keep up with the development of your business and recognise activity in other areas that could have a positive impact on those that we are progressing together.
  • THE STORY // How are we communicating your values in this particular instance? Whether we are looking to tell your story to potential customers for the first time or find a fresh approach to demonstrating your values, every project should be built upon the foundation of a clear story.
  • COLLABORATION // Must be at the heart of every initiative. We understand that we are here to facilitate on your behalf but we never fail to recognise the value of your view in shaping the projects that we are working on together. Our process is designed to find the right balance between progress on a timeline, a respect for the value of your time and to ensure that people will feel your touch on the project the same way they did when the founder worked on everything directly.
  • A FOCUS ON PEOPLE // Most initiatives can be judged by how well we engage new people without alienating your current customers. With this in mind, we work to gain direct insight into what your current customers love about your brand at the same time as defining what will interest new tribes or profiles.
  • BUDGET // Balance cost with impact. We work hard to ensure that any investment represents the best possible value without diluting clear communication of brand purpose.

 

No matter the stage your business is in, we would love to talk about how we can support during the current and future stages of growth. Please contact f.sheridan@sheridanandco.com to continue the conversation.

All the best,

Freddie.