“What we do is very, very simple,” says Sammy Mansourpour, the founder of leading marketing communications firm AgencyUK. “We help brands become smarter, more beautiful and more valuable.”
Easy to say, perhaps, but hard to do – which is why AgencyUK’s expertise is so in demand, and why it has grown in reputation to become the UK’s number one rated independent agency – an official ranking bestowed by The Drum National Census.
“Our philosophy here is very much about creating a meaningful difference for brands,” Mansourpour explained to Business Leader.
“Meaningful difference is an important philosophy. If you look at the most successful brands in terms of growth over the past two decades, they have been brands that have very successfully exploited their meaningful difference.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean they have products that do different things or have the classic, unique selling point, but it means that as a brand they are able to differentiate themselves and therefore engage with consumers in a way that is more relevant.
“So when we talk about brand, we are talking about how we position companies and their brands so they can grow, so they sell more products or services and they can increase their market share. That’s why organisations come to us.”
The team at AgencyUK are masters at helping brands to do exactly that. The firm specialises in supporting challenger brands to disrupt their markets and seize the top spot in their sectors.
Industry-leading data insight – built by a regularly-reviewed system of performance metrics – helps build brand and audience profiles which AgencyUK uses to help companies identify and exploit new opportunities.
Mansourpour said: “We believe – we know – from all of the data, the performance media, and the spreadsheet approach to marketing which is steadily taking over due to marketing automation, that the big differentiator for brands is creativity.
“It’s the one thing that can set them apart, which helps them engage with people. This consistent differentiation of a brand is what really lands on the balance sheet for many of the companies that we work with.”
The process may be designed to help brands build an emotional connection with their customers, but it is one shaped by a firmly scientific process.
However, the rewards are obvious; ownership of a renowned and respected brand can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.
Mansourpour continued: “If you’re Coca Cola, the value of your company is exponentially larger than the revenues you generate, as brand value and goodwill makes up a huge part of the balance sheet. Most large companies and brand owners will have brand as a numeric value applied to their company.
“For example, if you’re a motor insurer, you know the value of your brand because if you’re on a price comparison site, you know that being the cheapest doesn’t necessarily secure you the most business.
“If you’re a number one unknown brand, say White Label Car Insurance, and your policy is £90 a year, you will be aware that being the cheapest isn’t enough. Typically consumers will opt for an insurance brand they recognise, as long as the price sits within a tolerance, usually about around £15 more.
“That means they’ll pay up to £15 more to go with a known branded motor insurer, whoever that is, over an unknown one that’s £15 cheaper.
“So in that example, you can attribute the value of your brand to £15 per policy and then work that out exponentially.
“The purpose of being a well-known brand, and a reassuring brand for customers, does two things – the first is it gets you on the shopping list so that you are considered, and the second is it allows you to charge a premium. Those two things are tangible.”
It’s clear then that building brand recognition is game-changing for the financial performance of any company. But how does AgencyUK help its clients to do that?
“It comes back to the performance metrics that we measure,” says Mansourpour. “Our benchmarking includes analysing and assessing on an ongoing basis, the following five things: brand purpose, innovation, communication, brand experience and brand love.
“Brand purpose. How well is your brand purpose articulated and understood by consumers, staff, trade, customers?
“Innovation. How innovative are you when compared to your competitive set? That doesn’t just mean innovation in terms of your technological capability, it means innovation in every aspect of your business. How you develop your products or services, how you engage with your customers, how you deliver on customer service, all of those things.
“Communication. How well do you communicate with your audiences? And remember your audiences can be customers, consumers, advocates, staff, trade, everybody with an interest.
“Brand experience. How do customers rate your product, service, overall buying and engagement experience?
“Brand love. This is probably the one that’s most open to interpretation, so we try to anchor this where possible in things like net promoter scores, but brand love is about how do your customers, consumers, staff, trade associates, supply chain, feel about you and your brand overall. And how likely are they to speak highly of you and recommend you.
“We use all these metrics to help leadership teams grow their market share, disrupt the market norms, and to provide guidance on which aspects of their marketing and service to prioritise, with the aim of making them a much more powerful, meaningful and differentiated brand.
“It gives you a very strategic and data-driven approach to the marketing and communications you are putting out which goes well beyond the standard assessment of many marketers ‘I spend £5 here, I expect £10 back in sales’, which is of course important – but it’s not the only thing.”