MSc Brand Leadership Students visit EY-Seren and Lambie-Nairn Branding Agencies – Part 2

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, in the second part of the Brand Leadership blog, MSc Students Lauren and Two talk about their experiences.

Top 10 takeaways from our brand safari – Pt. 2


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 an 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. We have compiled a list of the top ten insights we gained from our time in London with the help of our course mate, Anna Shokolenko. This past Saturday, Anna posted the of our first 5 insights on her website Beyond + Brand, which can be found here.

And now, here are the next 5 insights we gained from that amazing day in London…

6. The Importance of Experience Design

Remember that time you tried to buy something from your favourite shop and their customer service was slow, confusing or just downright rude and your perception of the brand tanked? Such experiences are why experience design is so so important. Especially in this digital age when people can voice their opinion, be heard on social media and expect instant gratification, a brand’s ability to design a fluid consumer experience is key.

Customers have become much more critical and demanding of brands. Every touchpoint counts. Like we said in our previous post, “It only works when it all works,” so no touchpoint is too small.

Just remember, when every touchpoint counts, you need to make sure you’re not touching people in the wrong way…☺

7. Design sits between Art & Science

Thursday morning, Joris Beets, Head of Service Design at EY-Seren, walked us through the detail-intensive process of understanding – and then designing – customer experiences and we were struck by how precise, yet completely subjective the task can be.

Just when you get caught up with data analysis and statistics, you will have to place yourself in the customer’s shoes, with the goal of understanding how they think, feel and act.

Experience design, as a whole, is an intriguing combination of data-heavy research, anthropology and problem solving. To truly step into the customers shoes, you need to be an artist and a scientist.

8. A brand needs to ask: “What’s essential to life?”


Now that may seem a bit extreme, but asking that question is how Lambie-Nairn was able to take O2’s brand from mediocre to amazing. They tapped into an insight that showed them the future of communication: that cell phones and other communication devices would be as essential to consumers as their keys or wallet.

Brands need to make sure they understand how and why they fit into their consumers’ lives, and not just what features they can offer them. Lambie-Nairn is actively practicing this with their clients by making sure that they “lead by customer insight and benefits…not features.” This demands a shift from selling a product, to defining and delivering an experience – showing how the brand aligns with the consumer’s life.

Brand’s need to ask themselves: how can we fit into/contribute to/enrich our consumer’s life?

9. Promise TODAY, but always look towards TOMORROW

Brand promises need to be big enough to inspire, but real enough to deliver.

Yes, the brand should always be reaching, growing, adapting but you don’t want to make the consumer feel like they’ve never arrived. If the promise is always of the future, you brand will lose credibility when you fail to deliver. So be realistic – the consumer can tell when you bullshit.

10. A brand should be something you feel


At the dinner, Gary Bramall, previous Chief Brand Officer of Skype, and a member of the Experience Design team at Apple, and now CMO of Hailo, shared with us his opinion of the role of brand in successful businesses.

He verbalised the common thread that had brought us all together, which is the way that branding makes us feel. Branding brings humanity back into business, and that’s why we all love it. Whether we knew explicitly what branding was when we started our careers, or we had no clue [which is the case for most of us], it was the feeling behind branding that led us to pursue this course. It’s what linked us all together and what makes branding such an impactful part of business.

We want to say and extra thanks to Rose Bentley, our networking coach, for helping us understand that we don’t need to ‘network’, we just need to make friends. Last Thursday, we made many new friends and we now truly feel like part of the bigger Brand Family.

Have you had any revelations on branding in the last week? If so, please share!



Kindly re-blogged with permission of Lauren and Two.

Originally featured on their website



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