Building a billion-pound brand

November 1, 2018

As the saying goes, ‘build it and they will come’. But building a successful brand is about much more than just presence. North East Times sat down with Phil Lowery, managing director of local brand agency Projector, and Daniel Harrison, chief executive at True Potential LLP, to find out how their partnership has helped to grow a firm valued in excess of £1 billion

Projector and True Potential have worked together for more than ten years now. How were you first introduced?
Daniel (True Potential): As a business in our infancy with limited people and a need to hit the ground running, we needed a partner who could come on board to give us practical advice and help build a lot of communications – fast. We’d worked with Projector before at a different firm, so we invited them to come in and talk to us once more. The team understood what we wanted very quickly and gave us a credible and inspiring vision of how our brand could support our goals.

Phil (Projector): As Daniel says, our paths had crossed at a previous firm, so it was nice to be remembered and asked back in. At the previous firm, the team was nearly 1800-strong and included a large marketing department, so to be dealing with what was effectively a start-up (albeit with some heavyweight players at the helm) felt very different. But to be given the trust of that team to deliver and the opportunity to get in early meant what we were doing with the brand became ingrained in that business from day one.

What’s changed between then and now?
Daniel: The essence of our brand remains unchanged: Simple. Effective. Unique. However, just about everything else has changed in some way. Our core offer has grown to include more channels, we’ve added more products and services as the market allowed and we’ve moved offices three times as we’ve built a team of 250. The fundamental change in later years was the decision to move from being solely a business-to- business firm to offering a self-invested direct-to- consumer offer without any channel conflict.

Phil: On a practical level, both businesses have grown and matured – and that has brought changes in staff and management. Rather than feed into the board, we now support the marketing team on a day-to-day basis. We’ve gone from working on one brand to dealing with brand architecture with a group of companies, all with different audiences, propositions and marketing channels – none more so than True Potential Investor, the D2C site that was recently relaunched following a strategic review.

What challenges did you come up against when launching True Potential Investor?
Daniel: Because our direct offer is for non- advised sales, it is aimed at a completely different audience to what we’d been used to. We wanted to avoid being ‘another tech firm’ but the technology and processes we’ve built in the last ten years are hugely successful. We knew our financial products are great and have sold really well through financial advisers, but we wanted to appeal to an audience who weren’t being serviced by them. We therefore had to gauge how ready consumers were to make decisions without a financial adviser.

Phil: For us, the challenge was to take a business and brand that is hugely successful and say to them ‘it’s a new market, we need to go back to the beginning’. It’s a brave move that could go either way but, thankfully, our relationship is strong and the team at True Potential backed our approach every step of the way.

How did you work together to overcome these challenges?
Daniel: Projector worked with us to help lift the bonnet on our offer so we could see what makes us different. Phil started the process by running a series of branding workshops, which helped us to define our positioning model, the audience and how our brand should look and feel. Not only did the workshops clarify our brand but it energised our people, too. Our leadership team came out feeling more motivated and with a shared understanding of what True Potential investor would represent.

Phil: As this was a new market for us all, we approached this project with a clean slate. We undertook market research, carried out competitor analysis and, as Daniel says, we guided the leadership team through a series of workshops designed to help us build a vision for the future as well as deliver a positioning model for the brand. Those sessions identified some authentic values and really captured what we wanted the point of difference to be. We all felt more confident about the decisions we were making afterwards.

How has your working partnership contributed to the brand’s success?
Daniel: With the building blocks in place for the brand, Phil and his team then got to work on bringing the brand to life visually and overhauling the existing website. Shortly after the relaunch, we experienced an increase in revenue and our conversion rates more than doubled. Our overall brand is now in line with our target market, which has seen more sales and transfers from more people, ranging from a first investment of £20 a month to people transferring their full pension pots to us. With Projector’s continued strategic and tactical support, we’re also proud to have been recognised with a series of major industry awards.

Phil: I think the success of this project is due in no small part to the trust the client put in us and their willingness to go on our journey. That trust was extended further as we worked side-by-side with the client to create a look and feel that was representative of the agreed vision. This look and feel covered a range of assets, including the front-end of the consumer website, which was a significant project in itself, a refresh of the communications journey for the consumer side of the business and a range of creative treatments for a series of online campaigns designed to raise awareness and increase conversion.

What have you learned from working together?
Daniel: Don’t be afraid to listen to a different perspective or look outside of your core proposition to find what works for you. Standing out in such a fast-paced marketplace will be a continual challenge for us, but having Projector on board gives us the fresh input we need, every step of the way.

Phil: That big changes happen quickly when there’s a clear strategy and everyone is aligned and focused on the same goals.

Projector
To find out more about Projector’s strategic and creative branding services and how the team could help build your business, please contact Phil Lowery on: 0191 265 2400
phil@yourprojector.com
www.yourprojector.com

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