Brand Definition

Development of audience insight, brand proposition and values


Defining the brand is fundamental to its success.

And so getting it right is important. It requires an understanding of what makes the product / service positively differentiating and the needs and values of the audience.

So an element of insight and an element of product knowledge is needed. But most importantly a degree of vision and recognition of the potential for a brand proposition to inspire, to stop the brand definition being prosaic and lazy.

We despair at many of the propositions and values we come across: undifferentiating, generic, untrue, and frequently meaningless. We’ve lost count of the number of financial services receptions we’ve sat in looking at their proudly displayed values, including ‘Trustworthy’. If they all say it, is it differentiating? And is it credible? And shouldn’t it be a hygiene factor, even though it isn’t?

We work in the cultural sector. We’ve seen the propositions for two quite different museums. They are almost identical. That’s because they are so generic they’re really just proposition’s for  museums generally, rather than each individual museum.

Some brands we’ve helped to define:

Propositions should be true, specific, desirable, differentiating and deliverable


Look at the transformation in Tesco’s business from trashy down market retailer in the doldrums to one of the great business success stories (save for some recent wobbles) of the 20th century by committing completely to their ‘making everyday shopping better’ proposition.

Sometimes clients have brand models (onions, keys, pyramids, etc) already and we work with those. Sometimes we work with clients to identify what about their brand needs to be defined. We know a client whose brand model has 12 components. We suggest that is too many.

Whilst exactly how we work depends on client culture and need, at the very least we will define the brand proposition, personality and target audience: for less experienced businesses we find that less is more.

Sometimes our clients have sufficient audience insight to start thinking about proposition options straight away, sometimes they don’t. If they don’t we’ll conduct insight generation research. Then idea generation is required to develop proposition options based on brand truths and audience insight. This idea generation may comprise of a couple of us brainstorming ideas or it may comprise of a series of workshops involving clients and potentially other agencies.

Then those need to be evaluated: are they relevant to consumer need or desire, are they inspiring, are they deliverable? Probably they’ll need to be refined before being finalized.

For an example of our work on brand definition and the results see our work for the author Minette Walters HERE

Examples of our work

(Click on the image to find out more)


Nestle impress us. Of the multinational FMCG businesses it is the most flexible and adaptable, maybe along with Pernod-Ricard.

We were appointed to identify portfolio priorities and define key brand propositions.


Our first publishing project.

Defining audience, brand, and communications plan.

Very successful.


Stella Artois has long been one of Britain’s most successful beer brands. But it hasn’t always been plane sailing. It has gone through several periods of decline.

We got involved during the last one. A repositioning was planned. The ad agency wasn’t sure that was right. They suggested we have a look.


Big initiatives hadn’t resulted in big growth in visitor numbers.

We were appointed to find out why and propose actions.

About the title image:

The Spirit of Soho mural at the junction of Broadwick St and Carnaby St.

It depicts the facets of Soho on the dress of St Anne, framed by the famous figures of Soho such as Casanova, Dylan Thomas and George Melly. The dogs and hares that intersperse the figures represent the time when Soho was a Royal hunting ground.