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“Always sweat the details. ” With Fotis Georgiadis & Andrew Leger

Always sweat the details. They matter, particularly when creating and building a brand. Small mistakes like that can quickly torpedo any well-researched and built out plan. As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Andrew Leger, Director of Account Service at Serendipit Consulting Andrew is the Director of Account […]

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Always sweat the details. They matter, particularly when creating and building a brand. Small mistakes like that can quickly torpedo any well-researched and built out plan.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Andrew Leger, Director of Account Service at Serendipit Consulting

Andrew is the Director of Account Service, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the account service department. He also leads the branding department. As a core team member, heʼs experienced the growth from a small, five-person agency to the full-service 25+ employee agency Serendipit is today. His expertise lies in content strategy, project management, brand creation, strategic media buying, and overall brand strategy — all leading to projects that are on time, on budget, and on strategy. Andrew brings both right & left-brain thinking to the table with a blend of high-creative as well as practical problem-solving. A natural storyteller, Andrew leads a team known for engaging consumers in unique and unexpected ways. Andrew has used his years of branding experience to develop the proprietary Serendipit Brand Workshop, a uniquely creative experience for clients. Andrew serves on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix Connect Board.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s always been marketing and branding for me! When I was ~10, I created my first brand…”The Lawn Ranger.” It was a lawn-mowing business I ran in my Missouri neighborhood, with the horrible accompanying Microsoft Word clip art on the flyer. That creativity stuck with me and has helped me along my entire career path as a brand marketer.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was just a young coordinator, I was in charge of collecting and sending t-shirt design/printing quotes to a client. In my rush, I named the subject line of the email “t#*@t quote update,” forgetting the all-important “r.” I’m pretty sure the client never even noticed, but it hurt me deeply every time I opened that email thread.

Always sweat the details. They matter, particularly when creating and building a brand. Small mistakes like that can quickly torpedo any well-researched and built out plan.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

To be completely honest, there hasn’t been a “tipping point.” It’s super cliché, but when you work hard, you work smart, and dedicate yourself to continual learning and research, you’re going to get the results. I love branding, so having a passion for every project we take on is a huge factor in success — you need to love what you do.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re working on creating a virtual iteration of our brand workshop, which is going to be PERFECTION in the new normal. We’re all used to the new ZOOM world, but our plan goes well beyond fun virtual backgrounds and virtual face-to-face interaction.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Don’t work 24/7. I don’t dedicate every minute of my life to branding/marketing. Read non-branding/marketing books. I love Shea Serrano’s work — it’s hilarious, surprisingly insightful, and always leads to insane — in the best way — ideas. Watch movies. Go hiking. All that work will stay in your subconscious and you’ll be amazed at the great ideas that spring out of nowhere.

Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Brand marketing (branding) is building and developing your identity as a company. Branding is everything from your voice and behavior to your design style and yet, it’s so much more. It’s drilling down on precisely HOW you want to be perceived by the marketplace and matching up to your key values as an organization. Those are the things that make you unique.

Brand marketing is very much about telling your story, your way. It’s creating and weaving together an entire experience for your consumers. Ultimately, you lay the groundwork for how people FEEL about your brand. Your brand values should resonate at every touchpoint, whether in person or virtually.

Product marketing is focusing your marketing efforts around the product itself. For example, X product is THE BEST because it has these benefits, etc, etc. The brand takes the backseat to the product here. We’re throwing down stone-cold facts of why the product is the best and how it will change your life.

Important to note here — these can intertwine. Brand marketing might be the main focus of a campaign by using that storytelling aspect, but it can include product marketing. For example, we’re promoting Coca-Cola as a brand by telling our story and emotionally connecting with the consumer, but we’re featuring Diet Coke woven into the branding.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

Consumers connect to brands. Are their products/services a big part of that? Sure. But, one of the biggest hurdles every business owner will come to face is how to make their brand stand out from the competition while staying consistent with messaging and standards. When you build a brand, you have to humanize your brand. It’s simple. People respond best to people. Your consumers want a personality, and they want to relate to your brand and message. They don’t want a robotic, faceless message and would prefer to connect with you over shared ideas. We value connection — it’s how you build a loyal following of brand loyalists shouting your praises. Finally, let me hit you with some stats:

  • 86% of consumers prefer an authentic and honest brand personality on social networks. (Source)
  • 65% of people have felt an emotional connection with a brand. (Source)
  • Consistent branding across all channels increases revenue by 23% (Source)
  • Customers who have an emotional connection with a brand have a 3x higher LTV (Source)

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?

Does your logo still look like it was drawn up in the 60s, but you’re an innovation-driven company? Time to rebrand.

If someone asks you what your purpose is and you either don’t have an answer or it’s complete BS, it’s time to get authentic and rebrand.

If your answer to someone asking you what you do is “sell product x”, you don’t have a brand, you have a product. It’s time to rebrand.

Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?

Don’t rebrand just for the sake of rebranding. You can evolve as a brand without scrapping everything and starting from scratch. Each brand should be as unique as its respective industry. Let’s say you have a brand that’s 80 years old and only changed your logo once. If your messaging is still on point with your target demo, you’re building brand loyalists on a daily basis, I wouldn’t touch it. A big piece of your brand may be that 40-year-old logo that your consumer base LOVES.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re a 5-year-old brand that’s pivoting along your path to success. You might need a full rebrand (or at least brand updates) more often as you determine your “brand path.” It’s all dependent on circumstances.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.

Designate a Personality and Style

Every brand should have some sense of brand personality and style that is easily recognizable by its consumers. If multiple consumers were asked to describe your brand, they should all have similar answers. In one of my branding blogs I wrote that crafting a great brand personality is a lot like wearing deodorant — it’s something that everyone should do, and it becomes apparent very quickly when it’s not there. I stand by those words.

Here are a few examples of big brands and their personalities that we all know:

  • Disney — the most magical place on earth, family-friendly, childhood memories, a positive persona that works for all ages
  • Tiffany & Co. — timeless, sophisticated, elegant, charming, blue box, true love
  • Apple — innovative, creative, tech, way of life
  • McDonald’s — quick, family-friendly, convenient, variety, consistent quality

Write and Share Your Brand Story

  • Take your consumers through your entire journey and be transparent. Share the highs and the lows. Telling the story will help make your brand more relatable, and your consumers will appreciate your product or service more by understanding the story behind it. If you take one thing away from this, share the obstacles you’ve overcome — if it’s been impactful in making your brand unique, people will connect with that.

Make Sure You Have Brand Guidelines

  • 95% of companies have formal brand guidelines. Only 25% consistently enforce them. (Source) Take every essential piece of info about your brand, its personality, its aesthetic, and create your brand guidelines. Now share it with everyone who touches the brand. Tell them; this is your creed. This is the way. You don’t build a brand personality with just a “modern, clean logo” and an “honest, strong, bold” voice. You turn a brand personality into a differentiator by making a concerted effort to create consistency across all your marketing tactics, on every medium.

Don’t Play It Safe

  • Don’t be afraid to be unique. Don’t be scared to “go there.” TFortune favors the bold, as the old saying goes. The BOLD stands out from the masses. Chances are, you have stiff competition. Be true to yourself and create a memorable brand. Playing it safe won’t get you remembered. Take that leap — we always tell our clients we want them to be the ones pulling us back.

Don’t Take It All On Yourself

  • Yes, you know your company best. But do you know your brand best? As brand marketers, there is a push and pull here. We push what we believe our brand is in our story, messaging, logo — but sometimes our consumers and ground level people can give us great insights. Focus groups, surveys, etc., all have their place in branding and brand development. Learn and understand what people are saying about your company — and that doesn’t mean just the senior leadership and internal team. Hearing what’s being said outside your walls is what really matters, otherwise, you’re dwelling and operating from inside a bubble, and it’s only a matter of time before it bursts.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

We had an absolutely amazing rebrand project with a company named “Roadmaster Group.” They brought all their stakeholders to the project with an open mind, which is one of the biggest things you can do, along with listening to feedback from their drivers and consumers. We took their logo and made it into something that fully represents their new brand story — and then created everything from their key messages to the tagline. Today, they’re on a fast track to new heights of success.

Bring a creative, open mindset to any branding exercise and you’ll reap the results.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Eh, let’s go with medium influence. See, humble is part of my personal brand traits. I’m a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs Of The Valley Connect Board. So, shout out the amazing people over there, I’d love for everyone to realize the AMAZING amount of good they do for the communities they serve. They truly change kid’s lives. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have a bit of an active brain, so my favorite quotes change on a weekly basis. This week, it’s “Throw Your Heart Across The Line, Your Body Will Follow.” Everything you do should be done with passion — your employees, co-workers, clients all gravitate towards that.

How can our readers follow you online?

Check out Serendipit on all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, LinkedIn)

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