MSc Brand Leadership Students visit EY-Seren and Lambie-Nairn Branding Agencies – Part 1

MSc Brand Leadership Students have compiled a list of the top ten insights they have gained from visiting EY-Seren and Lambie-Nairn branding agencies in London.

Below, MSc Student Anna Shokolenko talks about their experiences in the first of a two part series of student written blogs.

On Thursday, our Brand Leadership team made our way to London to visit two influential companies in the branding industry – EY-Seren and Lambie-Nairn, followed by the annual Brand Family dinner where we had the chance to meet and make friends with previous Brand Leader Alumni and top experts in the world of branding.

As a class, we have all agreed that this has been one of the most influential days in our course so far. My course mates, Two Nguyen, Lauren O’Brien and I have compiled a list of the top ten insights we gained from our time in London.


  1. The shift from Policing to Alignment

Branding is no longer about a ‘great logo’ or a static design. Instead, it is more important to make sure all communication aligns with the values of the brand. This, in turn, allows brands to be dynamic and flexible and yet maintain the essence of what the brand stands for.

  1. The need for Coherency & Consistency

Brands are stepping out from the marketing department, and infusing into the entire company. In a constantly changing world it’s all about dynamic brands, that are flexible enough to adapt to environment, yet stay true to the brand’s core. It’s about the importance of purpose that helps brands to stay true to their values and make their business decisions in align with that. It’s about brands having a consistent core and coherent story.

Like Claire Holmes (The Head of Strategy at Lambie-Nairn), said ‘To reach brand nirvana you have to allow for ultimate creativity within the brand while making sure that people can still recognise who you are’.

3.The Importance of Visual

The key deliverable for masses is a strategic toolkit that encapsulating what the brand is really stands for, but its also a set of visual assets that can effectively communicate the essence of the brand. If you take the image, the headline and the logo out, is about as much as they will remember. As Adrian Burton (Executive Creative Director at Lambie-Nairn) noticed, messaging has become diluted – brands are talking about recycling, priority, price points… talking about too much stuff all the time, and that’s because people in the business want to get through. We are not as single minded as we used to be.

The key aspect of visual toolkit is about telling a story. If you get the story right, everything becomes easier. On the other hand, it is important to show but not to tell what to think. Giving the space to think and to live the story contributes directly to the brand relationship and makes them meaningful and personal.

4.How to Visualise the Invisible

Brands that are embracing the emotional side or ‘heart’ side, provide customers with better experiences and add directly to the brand’s value. When developing idea, it is important to create it in a way when customers can personally write lines to it. The key principle that Claire Holmes identified is ‘when ideas have legs, even if it’s clunky – its there, and you can work on it’. One of the main ideas of brands is to inspire and to unite, thus embracing the ‘invisible side’ of the brand, can end up as visible achievement and engagement. These invisible details are meant to work as glue, holding the brand story together.

5. With Great Brand Comes Great Responsibility

Building honest and open relationships is not an easy task, and the more you have, the more you have to give back.

Great brands put their customers at the heart of everything they do, they are nurturing those relationships, which turning customers into brand advocates.

One misstep which is not delivering all brand beliefs can be fatal for success. But brands are quite the same as humans. And humans make mistakes. So, those relationships are not about being perfect, is about being authentic, human and open.

In order to be successful, brands have to be the one who really understands their customers. As small things make a big difference, big things make a really big difference to people. Nurturing the customer relationships on all levels is the key of how good brands become a great one.

Adrian Burton summarizes this idea eloquently when he said, “It only works when it ALL works.”

Part 2 – Coming Soon.

Kindly re-blogged with permission of Anna Shokolenko. Originally featured on her website


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s