Brand, Startup, THE BLOG

BRAND: What is it and why do you need one?

1 Comment

waitroseI have worked with many startups that still don’t understand the power of the brand.  Now, dependent upon what your company actually does and what you want it to do it will need an identity before it goes out into the big wide world.

Like a teenager when they first start secondary school, in those years before they leave to start work, they develop, find their individuality, likes and dislikes work out how they want to look, feel and think and then embark out on their journey into the real world with a set of associations that make them who they are, still learning, developing and growing. This is brand.

Now a brand can be built in a day, contrary to most professionals, but to ‘create’ a brand with a beginning a middle and an end takes time, a lot of creative thinking and experience and with this comes cost.

Many startups do not realise the importance of having a solid brand as a foundation to their ideas. I am telling you it could make or brake your wonderful idea and determine whether it succeeds or ends up being forgotten like yesterdays news.

Brand is perception (other peoples views of your brand) identity (brand), attitude (brand) and language (how your brand speaks to its markets) it has to sell your USPs (unique selling points) and is an intelligent use of design, advertising, marketing, service proposition, corporate culture and the basic principle of being clear about what you stand for always applies.

The Design Council put’s it plainly;

Branding can help you stand out from your competitors, add value to your offer and engage with your customers. Effective branding elevates a product or organisation from being just one commodity amongst many identical commodities, to become something with a unique character and promise. It can create an emotional resonance in the minds of consumers who choose products and services using both emotional and pragmatic judgements.”

It’s true that folk will pay more for a brand, yet the ‘unbranded’ brand has been highly successful over past years in top supermarkets.  These ‘unbranded’ brands are still ‘branded’. Are you following?

Again, The Design Council presents this information well.

“Tesco, for example, began life as an economy supermarket and now sells a wide range of products, from furniture to insurance. But a consistent application of the Tesco brand attributes, such as ease of access and low price, has allowed the business to move into new market sectors without changing its core brand identity.

This obviously adds value to the business, but consumers also see added value in the new services thanks to their existing associations with the Tesco brand. Of course, this can work in reverse too: if consumers don’t like the Tesco brand in one product area, they’re less likely to choose the company’s offer in another product area.”

Logos for Tesco Opticians; Wine Club; Travel & Leisure; Compare; Car Insurance and Flowers

So – everyone’s a winner. Well, Tesco’s wins!

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • How can you stand out?
  • What is your offer?
  • What makes you different?
  • What is your personality’?
  • What do consumers want or need?
  • Is there a gap in the market?

A brand expert will look at the following:

The idea, Vision, Value, Connection, Personality and Stretch (to see how your brand across sectors and give it room to develop) the key elements are as in the following examples:

Colour (example: Orange) Where colour is the main reference point used for a brand.
toilet duck
Shape (example; Toilet Duck) Where shape is used as a main reference point for a brand.
Name ( For example; Egg) Where the name is the main reference point used for a brand.
Touch/materials (For Example; iPhone) Where materials and touch are the main reference points used for a brand.
Sound (For example; Intel) deh deh deh deeeh! – We all know it right?
Illustration (For example; Lloyds TSB) Where illustration is used as the main reference point for a brand.
Typography (For example; BBC) Where typography is the main reference point used for a brand.
Environment (For example; Guinness Storehouse) Where environment is the main reference point used for a brand.

If you are a startup – it would be beneficial to read through The Design Council’s article here. The piece describes how a ‘challenger brand’ (new brand in a start up environment) can operate and it also gives solid examples of such. For example;

gu logo“Gü: start-up brand”

Gü was launched into the chilled desserts market as a premium product whose name (an invented word) simultaneously hints at a European origin and evokes thoughts of gooey chocolate or treacle.

The name and graphic black and white packaging all broke the ‘rules’ of design and branding in the desserts sector and the product consequently stands out strongly in supermarkets.

The brand has subsequently been extended with the launch of Frü, a range of fruit desserts.” c/o Design Council.

I hope you find this helpful. Please explore these ideas when starting up a business or brand and research the market.

  • Is your brand a Sainsburys? Would a Jamie Oliver type be your ambassador? Do you present quality? friendliness? environmentally friendly, health? Sainsburys PLC Brand Stats
  • A Waitrose? Would Heston be your man? Do you look at responsibly sourced produce? care about exceptional quality? and redefine ‘value for money’ to ‘values for money’?  Waitrose Brand Stats
  • Or are you an Asda? Would we see the folk behind the scenes producing product for the consumer? The peoples brand? Asda Brand Stats

If you are realistic about where you sit, then your goals will be realised and your business will be a success!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Online PR and Marketing, Small Biz, Startup, THE BLOG

The Joys of a #startup…Will it make money!?

No Comments

delboy and rodneyScrolling through People Per Hour and looking at the start up networks online, as I often do, I constantly wonder how many of these people have really thought their business through properly. Although I have had many successful jobs from them and had work done for me by utter professionals, there are roles for this and roles for that and People Per Hour are unfortunately classic for asking a qualified designer to design a logo for £50 (cough) or an online marketing expert (that would be me!) to work for under the minimum wage! I mean, really folks!  How on earth do you think us qualified people are meant to put a roof over our heads!?  I have a growing son that needs shoes every month! (yes he has big feet).

I’m not driven by money at all, never have been and so I am very used to sticking my neck out on a startup that I have passion, knowledge or curiosity for. If it’s challenging or creative, of course, I would totally consider getting involved. I therefore get that most may not have budgets like you hoped for when you first dreamt up the idea, but you should always pay the going rate to someone worth their salt. You’ll never know when you may need them again and good working relationships are worth building and holding on to. The easiest thing to do is set a max budget and ask them what they can do for you with that budget. You may just be surprised!

The problem is, there are too many startups and of course, not all of them will win – because some ideas are absolute rubbish! And this then promotes low budgets and ultimately skilled freelancers/companies working for under their actual wage or sometimes, even for nothing. You think to yourself;  “This one will do it. It’s going to work. It’s a great idea, I would buy it!!”…Sound familiar?


And then of course, it’s back to the drawing board.  It’s like my dad says to me, even now – ‘this will be another one of your projects that come to nothing Andrea’. Little does he know that society has changed and ideas are what make the world go around.  I would rather keep having ideas that don’t pan out to none at all!  And some ideas are well worth the pain of course!

I am of the mindset that there should be far less failures in start ups nowadays as information is so readily available. But alas, it seems that people still make mistakes. So – that in mind, should we find another strategy for nurturing these wonderful balls of creativity that come pouring through our wonderful brains? There’s no way we could stop someone throwing their hard earned cash down the drain on a weak business idea, but what about the really good ideas that don’t even get off the ground? The ones that get away!? (I’m convinced I’ve had two!) Everyone deserves a fair crack at the whip and so I think there should be a better system in place so the successful brainwaves reach their potential and the non-starters don’t lose too much of their hard earned cash. Don’t you agree?

I love The Apprentice.  I want to be on it. (But I’m scared!) This is a great process to be involved in if you are an entrepreneur. Ok, if you park the fact that it is a TV show and folk are chosen to make good telly, the actual incubation and focus driven tasks they have to go through week by week are all set to test them and put them through their paces.

I especially love it when they come with their own business plan to go into partnership with Alan Sugar. Or as one did this season, come with someone else’s!! (that did make me laugh!). There was one that was particularly surprising, who showed consistent brilliance throughout the process and his business plan was pants.

So back to my original question, do they honestly look at a dodgy business plan and convince themselves that it will work? Have they asked someone for advice? got a second and third opinion to see whether it could be viable? Made a mock up of the product? ask friends their opinion? researched the idea enough to know whether it has even been done and if not why???

Is there an obvious place Joe Bloggs can take his business plan and get all these answers at the same time apart from getting on a TV show?

A word to the wise…Before you shell out for branding, marketing, online pr etc. get someone’s opinion first and go see a bank or 2! Ask friends, family, strangers – suck the juice out of everyone you meet and try your startup idea out on them. Of course, make sure you copyright it first, just in case it makes you mega rich!

You never know Rodney, this time next year, we’ll be millionaires…


PRESS RELEASE: Introducing Coopers Restaurant Consultants. @wercoopers

No Comments


Real “Kitchen Nightmare” situations occur without Gordon Ramsay.

Drama? Yes, High octane drama? Probably not. But lives are turned upside down nonetheless when investments fail.

Philip Cooper launches Coopers Restaurant Consultants (CRC) with partner in crime Arno Marsman (Executive Operations Manager for Marco Pierre White) and Andrea Britton (Chart-Topping Singer Songwriter, Events, Food & Online PR/Social Media Guru).

Together there is nothing they have not seen, heard, experienced or tasted, in the Events, Hospitality & Food and Bev industry.  Already having a string of restaurants, startups and bars across the UK on their consulting books, they are keen to make a clean, subtle but provocative splash on and offline on the restaurant scene.

Experienced restaurateurs and the contrary are falling short of customers and cash. They’re not delivering what is expected of them and customer influence is prevailing therefore owners cannot take chances.

This is one of the many reasons why a quarter of restaurants fail in the first year in the UK alone. In New York in 2012 they hit a 90% failure rate.

The unrivalled Philip Cooper, Michelin Star, established himself within the Food & Beverage industry with the likes of Mark Hix, Marco Pierre White, Michel Roux Jnr and Raymond Blanc.  His somewhat legendary yet mysterious 30-year career has spanned many Michelin Star restaurants and fashionable, bespoke eateries across London, Europe and beyond. Not yet has he stepped out into the spotlight. Until now!

To mark the occasion, they are launching their first Pop-Up Food event in July. The first of it’s kind. Proving that their skills will translate ubiquitously and guaranteeing there is no reason why a restaurant serving good food, can’t be successful.

More information on Coopers email:

Media, PR & Marketing: Andrea Britton: |