The way we (re)ignite the mojo—the ‘why’, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’
We articulate the brand essence so it will stand out.
Whatever stage you’re at, Fiona will dig deep to discover the brand essence—the ‘why’—that connects you with your customers and that will make your business, product or service an integral and irreplaceable part of their lives. She will personally talk to you, your teams, your customers and your stakeholders and ask the questions that get to the heart of your brand. She is known for her ability to discover the emotional and rational hooks that will make your brand irresistible and compelling. Then she will work together with you to clearly articulate your brand so that you, your whole organisation and your customers will be captivated.
Click to read the story of how Fiona first realised the significance of the 'why' when working for BHS 23 years ago.
“I was just back from maternity leave and working as the BHS client representative with the McKinsey team while they sought to understand the BHS customer and what ‘real choice’ represented to them… It was quite a surprise when talking to customers to learn that more ‘real choice’ could actually mean fewer products. And then to witness fewer products turn into a 20% increase in sales for BHS. It was the moment it hit me that the ‘why’ for the customer was way more important than the actual product—the ‘what’. But, when introducing a somewhat radical idea, success means carrying everyone with you, not only the customer but the internal team too. On this project, my own experience as a buyer meant I could empathise with the buyers, talk their language and gain their trust. Perhaps a little wary in the beginning, they began to turn to me for advice and guidance—a sure sign of their belief in the fresh approach I was proposing.”
We align brand and business from the inside out.
When your brand values and beliefs come from within and are shared, understood and lived by you, your colleagues and your stakeholders, they act as a single motivated and inspired team on behalf of your brand. If your people are ‘living the brand’ in all that they do to deliver your product or service—the ‘what’, they and their work will persuade your customers with ease. Fiona will not create a brand concept as separate add-on to your business, as many traditional brand strategy agencies do. She will seek the heart of your brand in your strengths, in who you are and what you do best, in what you already stand for, or want to stand for. Together you’ll breathe its life into every strand of your organisation, carrying your whole team with you, with impressive results.
Click to read Fiona's story of how connecting the Wallis woman with the existing ‘pattern room upstairs’ got everyone behind the new approach.
“Appointed the first ever Marketing Director for Wallis, I was delighted to be working for a business with so many talented and passionate people, though I knew they were a bit unsure of what to expect from me. I knew I needed to build trust. I particularly respected the design team, some of whom had trained with some of the most iconic names in the design world. But the potential Wallis customer—seeking ‘distinctive design they could enjoy’, we learned through our research—had no idea of the strong design credentials behind the clothes they could be wearing. The Dress to Kill campaign boldly connected the Wallis woman with the sharpness and flair of the existing ‘pattern room upstairs’, and Wallis at last stood out from a ‘me too’ high street, for qualities, values and beliefs it already had. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, the moment when you realise you have the ‘why’, just waiting there to transform everything. And when colleagues start saying ‘I’m excited to come to work’ or ‘this is what we’ve been waiting for’ or ‘this makes me feel proud of what I do’ you know you’re onto something, that the passion for business and brand is alive and kicking afresh—that’s the mojo!”
We shape the customer experience to be ‘knockout’.
It’s not enough to come up with a great brand concept. To convince your customers, your brand essence must inform and be reflected in everything you do: the ‘how’ must be extraordinary and consistent. Fiona believes that the brand is the business and the business is the brand; for success, the two must be one and the same. The product, its price, your people, your service, the selling environment, that bit of extra-special something you might never have thought of or dared to try on your own… Fiona will ensure that every aspect of the customer journey is considered, to deliver a seamless and winning customer experience—wherever and whenever your multi-channel customer chooses to engage or shop with you. Then you can deliver on the brand promise and delight your customers, day in, day out.
Click to read Fiona's story of how a loss of £7m was turned into a profit of £10m at ELC with a kid's-eye 'why' and 'how'.
“My children were 7 and 4 when I was lured to ELC. It was a challenging time as they were losing a lot of money. We listened to the child customer and to their parents—a trusted brand, but not that much fun, and a bit more library than play store. So, we set about ‘enriching the lives of children’. We took the toys out of the boxes in our stores, our customer-facing teams chose to wear T-shirts and trousers so they could get down on their hands and knees and play. We literally took a ‘kid’s-eye view’, and, in what may have seemed a slightly risky move, we even closed the stores to sales one morning a week so the pressure was off to buy, and the fun was to try the toys for real. Parents told us how great it was to know what to buy with confidence, having seen first-hand what their children loved to play with. Other customers told us they could hear the laughter when they opened the pages of our new catalogues. A loss of £7m turned into a profit of £10m through delivering an extraordinary and consistent customer experience—we were incredibly proud of that.”
We leave you confident in your brand’s future.
Brand and business must be one and the same for long term success, so Fiona will give you tools to evaluate your whole organisation in line with your brand essence. She will show you how to measure the progress of your brand and guide you to keep it fresh and relevant to your customers in a fast-changing world. You’ll become brave yet disciplined, outward rather than inward looking, and you’ll instinctively and constantly put yourselves into the shoes of your customers to stay innovative for them and connected to them. Your business or brand will absolutely have discovered or rediscovered its mojo, and you’ll be feeling confident in the strength of your brand and excited for its future.
Want to know what it was really like to lead the team that turned the Ann Summers brand around? Fiona's story tells (almost) all...
“I can only describe my four years at Ann Summers as ‘priceless’. There can’t be another business like it. It was a wonderful opportunity to help a brand rediscover its mojo. With my colleagues and the support of Jacqueline and Vanessa, I led the work to articulate the brand essence ‘Fearlessly Unleashing Sexual Confidence’, aligning it with people values expressed by the teams involved. This gave the business renewed confidence and provided the inspiration for all key strategic decisions, including product, communication and overall direction towards the vision. Even the media feedback became increasingly positive, with publicity turning strong for the brand. I’m often asked, “So what was it really like?” — I can tell you that all the ‘normal’ retail conversations take place… but it’s never quite the same when the product under discussion is a sex toy of some kind rather than something more mundane. And, it seemed that almost every day there was some new ‘breaking story’—never a dull minute. 50 Shades of Grey also had a lot to answer for of course… if you’ve got questions, I’ll be happy to share more in person, if you dare to ask!”
At The Brand Inspiration Co., Fiona draws on her extensive network of specialist collaborators to ensure you get the range of expertise you need, to deliver the results you want. This is not a one-size-fits-all methodology. Rather, the ‘why’, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ is a highly flexible approach that can work for you whatever stage you’re at in the life of your business or brand. Fiona would love to answer any questions you have. She’ll be pleased to explain more of how her passion for (re)discovering the mojo could mean unprecedented success for you.
If you’re ready to talk about (re)discovering the mojo of your brand or business, choose the PINK button to send Fiona a message. If you’d like to know how Fiona is helping individuals and businesses using this approach, click BLUE.
“I believe that most businesses understand very well ‘what’ they do. They know what their products and services are. And, they try to make good work of ‘how’ they deliver those products and services to their customers; they consider the customer experience, and how to make it as pleasing as possible.
“The challenge is, if you haven’t thought about the ‘why’ of your business, product or service, you’ll be unlikely to make any meaningful or lasting connection with your customers. Customer-facing teams will struggle to deliver a compelling and consistent customer experience, and customers will make the first decision to buy on a rational basis—price, product features or convenience. They’ll be likely to go somewhere else next time. Successful businesses work out how to become integrated with their customers’ lives, to become an irreplaceable part of who they are and what they do.
“Simon Sinek, in his famous TED talk How great leaders inspire action, says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. I agree. I believe that the most successful businesses know what they stand for and why it matters to their customers. They understand the common ground between their values and beliefs and their customer’s values and beliefs. They know this creates a strong emotional connection between business and customer.
“This concept—the meaningful and relevant reason ‘why’— is most often known as the brand essence or brand ideal (Jim Stengel, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s  Greatest Companies). Make it compelling, articulate it brilliantly so it stands out, deliver it through a knockout customer experience day in, day out, and it will make your business, product or service first choice for your customer, every time.”
Fiona Davis — MD, The Brand Inspiration Co.
“If you want great business results, you and your brand have to stand for something compelling. And that’s where brand ideals enter the equation…a brand ideal [we call it the brand essence], a shared goal of improving people’s lives. A brand ideal is a business’s essential reason for being, the higher-order benefit it brings to the world. A brand ideal of improving people’s lives is the only sustainable way to recruit, unite, and inspire all the people a business touches, from employees to customers. It is the only thing that enduringly connects the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people the business serves. Without that connection, without a brand ideal, no business can truly excel.”
Jim Stengel — Author of ‘Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s  Greatest Companies’
“Jim Stengel shares his beliefs and his experience…and has the hard, clean numbers to bear his teachings out.”
Sir Martin Sorrell — CEO, WP
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Simon Sinek — Leadership expert (from his TED talk How great leaders inspire action—click to view the talk)