Your expert insights. Your brand views.

What are the issues your brand is facing? What are your priority areas for 2020? And if you were given €50k for free to inject into your brand, where and how would you spend it?

The best part of our job is working with some of Ireland’s top marketeers and innovative entrepreneurs. We recently reached out to a selection of them to get their views on these questions and more. Their responses made for some interesting reading. And we wanted to share some of their insights and nuggets of advice with you below.

And maybe get you thinking. Where are you heading this year and beyond?



1. How strong is your brand?


We asked our clients how they ranked the current strength of their brands on a scale of 1-5. With one being very weak, with little awareness. And five being excellent.

The average score was 3.6 – fine but getting stronger.




And what was really interesting, was when we delved into these scores and mapped them against when our clients had last updated or refreshed their brands, we found that the average scores were highest amongst those who had rebranded two years ago.

Those who had most recently updated their brands in 2019, had an average score of 3.0, because they hadn’t had a chance to fully implement their new branding yet. Typically, this can take six months to even a year.

The year after a refresh the average scores increased as the new messaging started to gain traction. And for those who’d had two years for their brand refresh to bed in, they’d an average score of 4.0 – strong and getting stronger.

They were seeing their awareness campaigns get real cut through with their customers.

But that’s not to stay their branding has not evolved at all during that period. One of our longest-standing clients, mentioned how even though they haven’t visually refreshed their identity since 2017…





2. What are your brand’s key strengths?


Our clients’ responses to the question of their brand’s key strengths also reinforced this idea of branding as a journey that evolves over time.

For those who’d refreshed and invested in their brands a few years ago, they were now able to cite brand recognition, reputation and being well-established as key brand strengths.

For those who’d repositioned and updated their brands back in 2018, as well as awareness and reputation, strengths like honesty, clarity and authenticity were referenced. Their consistent communication of their branding was gaining traction. They were building trust.

And for those who’d most recently launched their branding it was attributes like their unique offering, their clarity of messaging and the fresh and innovative nature of their brand that were referenced as key strengths.



3. What are the issues facing your brand?


While the issues varied from brand to brand, and industry to industry – there were some common concerns facing our clients.

Almost 60% of respondents cited building brand awareness as a key issue. There is increased competition and it’s getting harder and harder to cut through the noise and get brands in front of the people that matter.

For 20% of respondents, while their existing brand awareness was strong, they were concerned that it was for particular elements of what they do only and not their broader service offering. And there was a fear that they could end up pigeon-holing themselves.

For others the issues were further afield. They may have very strong brand awareness in Ireland, but now need to expand that to continue to grow.




4. What are the priorities for your brand for 2020?


Given the issues, it was no surprise that increasing brand awareness is a key priority for over 60% of the clients we surveyed. With many planning specific projects in the digital space like website refreshes and the investment in and promotion of quality content targeted at decision makers.

Building awareness and converting new connections into actions. As Ruth Murphy, Marketing Manager of Schivo Medical put it…




5. How important is your brand to achieving your targets for 2020?


86% of our survey respondents saw their brand as having an important, if not critical, role in achieving their targets for 2020. With many unable to separate one from the other.



However, this is not the case for everyone. Some organisations are at a totally different stage of development – where the effectiveness of their branding won’t really have an impact yet – it is the success of their product development that will be key.




6. Is Employer Branding part of your 2020 strategy?


Employer branding is fast becoming an integral aspect of business strategies across all industries. With full employment and increasing competition, to attract the best talent and retain the best employees, companies have to actively sell their workplaces and what they can uniquely offer.

43% of those we surveyed had employer branding embedded as a key part of their future strategic plans and a further 21% were hoping to do more of it. For them, building an excellent reputation in the talent market was critical to success.




7. What are your thoughts on personalised customer experiences?


In the modern era it’s about offering customers more than a product or a service – it’s about offering them memorable experiences. We asked our clients whether they agree with this view and approach. And how they go about delivering on it.

For the majority, it came down to offering consistent and exceptional customer service. It was those one-to-one personal interactions with people that can’t be beaten. But how do you actually deliver and monitor them?

This is critical for one of our clients. The very essence of their brand, what they offer, is a collection of exceptional and unique experiences. So, to ensure every element and experience lived up to and surpassed expectations, they had to find out more.





8. What do you believe is the best platform to showcase your brand?


One thing that came out loud and clear from our survey is that there is no one best channel or platform for showcasing your brand – website, social media, events were all mentioned, but overarchingly the message was that it was about integration.

Our clients have seen again and again, there is no point in investing in one area, to the neglect of others. It’s about having a consistent message that’s tailored for each platform and connecting the dots for your audience.

It’s about making that journey from social media, to the website, to the in-store experience as seamless and consistent as possible.




9. What’s your favourite brand?


Of the 18 brand names mentioned, only one brand name was repeated! Highlighting the incredible diversity that exists amongst our clients.

In no particular order, those mentioned included Hubspot, Content Marketing Institute, RNLI, Elizabeth Warren, Mercury, Ted Baker, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Travel Department, Epicure, Aer Lingus, Spotify, RTE, SuperValu, Sezane, Dunnes Stores, Soho House, PMU and Revolut.

And the only name that multiple clients referenced… a brand we often reference ourselves – APPLE. And the reason cited was consistent amongst them all.




10. If you received €50k to inject into your brand, how would you spend it?


Last, but definitely not least, this final question was the one we were most excited to ask and find out the answer to – what our clients would do if they were handed €50k to spend on their brand, no strings attached.

While there was some variance, with some clients looking to spend it on sponsorship, trade shows, employer branding, product trials and training their people – there was a huge amount of commonality too.

78% of our clients would invest in some sort of digital content creation – with video and its promotion as key. But again, our clients are savvy marketeers and talked about how rather than being swayed by the latest fads, it’s better to take a measured approach and look at what’s right for you as a brand…




So, how would your answers match up?

I hope you found our clients answers and insights as interesting as we did. And a huge thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy days to share their knowledge and views.

I think what we at TOTEM took away, more than anything else, is that although there are similar themes and experiences that are shared – each one of our clients’ strengths, challenges and priorities for the year ahead are unique to them.

And we’re looking forward to another exciting and diverse year as we accompany you on your individual journeys.



Interested in discussing your brand and where it’s heading in 2020? Learn more about our process and get in touch. We’d love to chat.