Mobas MD Adam Tuckwell shares his thoughts on why the well-known proverb ‘Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches’ captures a vital truth about the relationship between organisations and their brand and why only those living and experiencing a brand offering can truly understand its unique essence.
In a world where brands are more crucial than ever, it might seem counterintuitive to claim that brand agencies, the very people who specialise in branding and marketing, should be the last ones trusted with a company’s brand. However, this assertion is rooted in the need for genuine understanding, empathy, and listening to a company’s stakeholders – both internal and external – to accurately and authentically represent what makes a company unique.
At Mobas, we’ve been helping organisations unleash the power of their brands for 20 years. It’s given us first-hand experience with broken brands and firms poorly advised by brand agencies whose creative approach doesn’t run deep enough.
While brand agencies are well-versed in the art of creating compelling stories and eye-catching visuals, the danger lies in their potential to overlook the heart and soul of a company – the very aspects that define its brand. At Mobas, we’re vocal believers that branding is not just about aesthetics or catchy slogans and end lines: it’s about capturing the essence of a company and its values – particularly those (often overlooked) elements which are the reasons why a customer chooses and stays loyal to the brand. Therefore, unless brand agencies are fully committed to truly understanding a company’s offer and purpose, they risk creating a brand that lacks authenticity and fails to resonate with its target audience.
At Mobas, we champion the view that the single most effective way to develop a brand is to tap into the wealth of knowledge held by a company’s stakeholders, from employees and leadership teams to customers and partners. By actively listening to their stories, feedback and insights, brand agencies will define the brand in a way that truly reflects the true identity and values of the company – and critically why customers of today and tomorrow will buy. At Mobas, our process is designed to help uncover what the business looks like and stands for on its best day and how that might evolve over the next ten years.
Unfortunately, not all brand agencies recognise the importance of this approach. Some may be more motivated by the creative challenge – making a brand look exciting – than genuinely understanding what lies beneath it and how that should be communicated through the visual brand yes, but also messaging and language. The result? A superficial, hollow brand that fails to inspire loyalty or convey the company’s unique strengths. That’s why we focus on business impact and outcomes over a logo that stands out but doesn’t stand true to the firm.
So, how can companies ensure their brand remains true to their essence while still reaping the benefits of a brand agency’s expertise? The answer lies in finding an agency that is genuinely committed to insight. The best brand agencies are those that prioritise research, active listening, empathy and collaboration, fostering a strong working relationship built on trust and mutual respect.
Before you launch headfirst into a brand review, make sure you find an agency that can demonstrate a sincere willingness to engage with and learn from the company’s stakeholders (internal and external). A successful brand is born from within the company, and it takes a truly committed and empathetic brand agency to help bring that brand to life. To ensure your company’s brand accurately reflects its unique identity, seek out a brand agency like Mobas which values the genuine insights only your stakeholders can provide.