Branding That Enables $100M Exit

Jordan Richards

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Table of Contents

  1. Why Branding is Important?
  2. The $100M Brand Identity
  3. What 2023 will bring for Branding

*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.


Arek Dvornechuck: Hey, what's up? Branding Experts Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast and on today's podcast, my guest is Jordan Richards is the co-founder of RCCO which is a digital creative agency from London, UK. So Jordan and his team have worked on some big projects. For example, they were tasked with creating a new brand identity for a company that eventually led to exit for over a hundred million dollars So on today's podcast, we are just gonna talk about that, the value of branding, why it's so important for any business. Hello, Jordan. Thanks for joining us.

Jordan Richards: Hey, nice to be here, and very excited to be talking about branding with you today.

Why Branding is Important?

Arek Dvornechuck: thank you so much. I just wanted to start with the basics. Because there are so many options that if we think from the perspective of a startup, so you work with startups and also with tech giants, right? So you have a lot of experience and you previously worked with Google, right? Can you talk to us a bit about the importance of branding and all these options that, nowadays startups or bigger brands have on the market, and but why it's so important to get this right why design is so important.

Jordan Richards: Yeah, of course. I often talk about branding being super important and it's the foundation of any project we work on. I think I learned a lot when I was at Google about how such a solid foundation of a brand can then spread and scale into such a huge business and why it's so fundamental.

And our CCO, we specialize in working with tech and SaaS companies, and this is really where I realized that when you are scaling fast and there's a huge amount of change your brand is that fundamental anchor which kind of holds everything together through really fast change. And so I think in tech specifically, like with Google and people growing scale up towards that there's a huge amount of competition.

And your brand is that competitive advantage. So you've gotta work out how you can not only set up for scale, but go beyond that and create that competitive advantage. You can have a great product but if you don't have a clear brand and story that people are gonna remember, you're gonna start falling short.

So I think what we try to do is always take from the giants and really aspire to the level they're at. But with growing brands in the tech space

The $100M Brand Identity

Arek Dvornechuck: Right now this is awesome. It basically summarize this. So just for our listeners the takeaways professional bigger than you actually are, so you can enable that growth in the future, right? So it's all about. Consistent branding with consistency, with good visuals, good storytelling, and so on. So you can scale up and keep growing and keep building at that brand.

So you can compete with bigger brands, right? That's probably the major reason for good design and good branding. So now let's just jump into this case study because you've, designed a new brand identity for this company. So can you just talk to us about some of the process, about the challenges how did you get this client, what were some of their goals, and what are some of your challenges and solutions?

Jordan Richards: Yeah, of course. So the brand that sold for a hundred million is a creative management platform. So they're in advertising, kind of ad tech space and they've got quite a complex product. It helps brands to produce and personalize and optimize their advertising at scale.

And so when you're faced with a client like this, the brief often is how can you create simplicity in quite a complex world? And of course, where you need to start is the brand. And so we really wanted to strike a balance with this project of being getting across their bold and playful personality, but actually solving their goal of communicating their products value.

And kind of going back to what I said a minute ago with brand being that thing the stable foundation that goes from two people to 200 people. we were lucky enough to start working with Ad Lib when they were just literally a few people. I worked closely with their founder Oli to really learn the vision of his product because that was fundamental in how everything looked and was communicated. And we were working as a creative hub across their journey. So we like a retainer style. We bolted on our creative team to their business and we scaled as they scaled. So it was a really nice relationship.

They even let us work from their offices. We were super integrated so that we could live and breathe and feel what the business was doing. And as they were growing we really noticed that this relationship was a win-win because they got easy and fast access to our creative resources to help their brand evolve.

And our business kind of grew with them from all the learnings of it because we went through all those key phases of the scale up together. Yeah. And what we is when the brand scaled through the round of investment from maybe to a hundred and then over 200 employees, the brand that we set at the start it's not fair to say it stayed the same, I think often we can think that brand strategy and brand identity has to remain completely consistent for it to be successful. And actually we evolved It a few times over that journey because if you can imagine how much the business changed from. Being two or three people to over 200 and solving huge challenges. We had to adapt it as we went.

And I think that the key part of the success of this was that for Ad Lib to be able to sell, don't get me wrong, they had an incredible product team and leadership team who really drove a great product vision. But they needed to communicate that in a creative way for all of their teams to go out and win.

When I talk about branding, I often like to think about brand activation because brand strategy and identity is setting the foundations, but if you don't activate your brand in the right way a lot of the stuff you've set up at the beginning will fall flat because I see activation as, all the touch points that your brand evolves into, whether it's a website, a sales presentation, the marketing video and these are the things that people actually see and experience as the output of that brand fundamentals. So what we like to do as business is we have some skill sets in these different areas and we were kind of the brand guardian across all of it.

So we made sure that the identity. And the messaging across all those touchpoints was really nailed. And what that meant was that the brand could scale because we were only less than 20 people and they had over 200 employees, so we couldn't do everything for everyone. But what we did was we looked at the key parts of the business.

So sales, for example. How can we create the core foundations of a presentation that all the team can take and build their own versions of, but keep it on brand and on the message. Or with product, for example, how can we give our design fundamentals to the product design team and then they can evolve the product UI to align with the brand.

And with marketing, we looked at the video and the website and how can we, again, apply what we created at the start, but in the, all these different channels and so where we got to in the end was actually the brand became. a huge amount of different touch points that the consumer was experiencing.

But it all was tied back to that initial work we'd done because we were able to be across that all as the creative hub for Ad Lib.

Arek Dvornechuck: No, that's a great that's a great point you are making actually. So it's not only about setting that setting up that foundation with the logos, the colors and the font and the style guide right?

But also about brand activation as you call it, which is, executing on all those touch points. And it's a very good point because I can see even, my clients obviously you are a relatively small design agency as well. But I'm a really small agency. I'm just myself and a few designers, right?

Arek Dvornechuck: So I set up this foundation, but I often times can see these startups come back to me and ask me questions, or they work with other agencies who totally messed up different touchpoints. And now they had this great start guide and all different logo, and everything is defined. The colors, the color palette, the fonts, and so on.

Arek Dvornechuck: But when it comes to touch points, they don't look on brand as you mentioned, right? So as you point out, it's all about that strong partnership. You were able to work for years with that brand so that you could, help them in different areas, as you mentioned, UI design sales presentations websites, and so on.

Arek Dvornechuck: So I think that's a , very good point that you're making here. For you guys who are creatives it's a big opportunity because if you get a client at an early stage who is a promising startup, and you work with them, they can grow to a hundred million dollar brand. That was great.

Arek Dvornechuck: So I just wanted to talk to you because you work with different, you specialize in working in with tech companies.

What 2023 will bring for branding

Arek Dvornechuck: But so what do you think branding in 2023 will look like and especially for this industry?

Jordan Richards: I think that's a really good question. Something I have really enjoyed through this kind of activation experience, a lot we've worked with Google on video and motion and how, thinking about the brand, right? The brand for Google was recreated probably five, six, maybe more years ago, and. We have no power over changing that.

Jordan Richards: But what we do is have power over the communication of that in the day to day through all the marketing channels. And something I love thinking about is that brand isn't just static. Brand can be experienced in lots of different ways. So for example, thinking about how does your brand move, you know, what are those looping visuals that people experience?

Jordan Richards: How does your brand sound? What is the audio jingle that goes with your logo maybe? How does your brand feel in real life? So like, if you were to go to an event or to that brand's office, What are the textures and the objects that they have in their office that kind of all play a part in your perception of what that brand is, feels and, kind of looks like?

Jordan Richards: So for me, we've created, a video production team, in the last couple of years. And that has enabled us to go beyond, again, looking at just the static brand, actually looking at what is the brand in the real wildlife and what is the brand in movement and those different aspects is really fascinating to me.

Jordan Richards: So I think for 2023 with video playing such a big part across social media and advertising. Again, thinking about how can you communicate your brand's personality and tone of voice, through different kind of mediums like movement and motion and kind of audio.

Arek Dvornechuck: Okay so basically motion movement. And I love your work by the way. So you bring movement to, in interactions and animations on websites for the clients that you work with. You are big on that. So you suggest that in next year we just gonna move towards, making brands like working more on, on the video, on motion, on movement and things like that.

Arek Dvornechuck: And you also mentioned sound and how the brand feels in the real world. Not just the visuals, not just the static logo but how this logo can move. Maybe logo animations. Maybe other animations, some video presentations about the brand and so on.

Jordan Richards: Yeah, I think just as well to add to that, is I think , if you think about a brand the purpose of it is to make someone feel a certain way.

Jordan Richards: And actually for me, I think that through video and emotion and through the actual physical experience, that to me is a great way to change someone's emotion to really connect with them. So I think building a bit deep on what I said, I, it's a way that brands can actually go beyond.

Jordan Richards: Static kind of lockup, which everyone thinks, is the basic form of a brand and logo. It's how can you actually create those touchpoints where you can really connect with people through your brand kind of channels.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right? And connect with them on a deeper level, right? Because if you involve those emotions like, Touch, feel, those textures, as you mentioned, sounds we know there are many brands and new brands who use sound in their branding and things like that. Yeah, that's a great point you're making. And so as we are approaching the end of our episode, of course we are gonna link to this case study so you guys can check it out for yourself Ad Lib.

Arek Dvornechuck: So your website is RCCO.Uk so you guys can check out really beautiful website, a well designed and beautiful working portfolio and also well described. I must say, these are great case studies.

Arek Dvornechuck: So, How can we connect with you where we can connect with you on LinkedIn?

Jordan Richards: Yes, please. I'm actually on a LinkedIn accelerator right now, so been posting a lot of content. So yeah, it's R C H D S or you can just search for Jordan Richards on LinkedIn. And I'd love to connect with you guys

Arek Dvornechuck: Okay. Thanks Jordan. Thank you so much for your time and for coming on the show. I appreciate that.

Arek Dvornechuck: Amazing. Thank you so much for having me.

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