Why is branding so important and is it just for the big leagues?

Branding is just as important to small businesses as it is to huge globally recognised companies. In fact, most become so huge because of their branding.

For every product, system or design there’s often a multitude of similar ones available on the market. In a world where your offering can be copied and launched in a matter of weeks, brand is more often than not the only thing that differentiates you from your competitor. It’s the only thing that can’t be copied, it’s the only thing you truly own.

Most people think of branding as just a logo and a snazzy colour scheme on the website. But that’s just the beginning. Your brand influences the way your customer sees you. Your brand should speak to them before you actually speak to them. It’s not only embedded into websites and adverts, it’s engrained into employees, social media, email…even in the way you answer the phone.

With all of the ways for people to consume their media, consistency is key. You need to be memorable and avoid getting lost in the sea of companies sending emails and promoting social media posts. People prefer to do business with companies that they feel familiar with because they feel at ease when confronted with familiarity – regardless of whether they’re seeing the same tone, the same underlying message, whether they’re browsing the website, seeing a social media post or reading an email.

Does ‘brand loyalty’ exist?

Just take a look at the Apple/Android divide. Each has it’s loyal, dedicated customers that year on year upgrade to the latest smartphone from their preferred brand – often regardless of which is actually the better device at the time! Brand loyalty is very real…do you prefer Nike or Adidas? Heinz or HP? Pepsi or Coca Cola?

nike-addidas-branding

If you think of the advertising for most of the brands above, the focus shifts from the taste/look/quality of the product to the lifestyle and attitude it offers the consumer – ‘Just do it’, ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ and ‘Diet Coke Break’… they focus on your potential success, your family unity and the potential romantic outcome of choosing a certain brand over another.

Discussing the shifting focus of advertising, WDA’s managing director, Lee Waterhouse previously wrote:

“Suddenly the focus was taken OFF the product and its features and benefits and onto how a brand made you feel inside and how others viewed you. One of my favourite ad campaigns of all time is considered the first of this ilk. Created by my hero Sir John Hegarty for Levis rebellious Black Label jeans, this ad was the very first Levis advert NOT to feature the product – revolutionary at the time. Instead this was about a lifestyle statement, the copy boldly declaring ‘When the World Zigs, Zag’. (You can read Lee’s original article here.)

Don’t just talk the talk…

So, brand discussions should not only cover how you want things to appear, but how you want to be. This isn’t just applicable to those big globals. Small business are now more than ever, able to build their brand and stand apart from the crowd in a way that has ever been possible before. This is solely down to the digital era we’re in.

Gone are the days of only having billboards or TV and radio adverts! The power of social media and consumers having access to a wealth of information at their finger tips with smartphones and other mobile devices has meant that even the smallest of companies with the right digital strategy can have an excellent presence at a fraction of the cost.

WDA are not only experts in branding and design, they can also help with a full package of digital marketing, web design, social media, email marketing and much much more! Get in touch to find out how we can help today!

Successful brands have all found a common thread to their communications: simplicity. To been seen and heard above the daily clutter and clamour and gain instant recognition is the unifying goal of all brands.

It’s not a new thought given it’s summed up in a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, namely ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. In a world of marketing clutter, bold brands apply this approach consistently across all their communication to convey a clear differentiated message which connects with their customers.

When we first spoke to Peppers, a company who set the international standard in the cable glands industry, it was clear continued growth had led to a complicated brand and message. Taking a ‘simplicity’ approach was what was required to re-define who they were, what they did and the relevance of that to their customers.

simplicity of message and identity

“More than just a visual refresh, this has been very much a strategic branding exercise. Peppers has gone through significant change since its inception and this rebrand was commissioned to bring the firms brand identity into line with its industry leading product and service proposition.

The process identified and defined core areas of service advantage which can sometimes be overlooked in favour of straight price comparison. However, it is the totality of our offering which truly sets Peppers apart within the marketplace and supports the Company’s hard earned ‘best value’ rather than ‘lowest price’ reputation.”

Managing Director – Peppers Cable Glands

The resulting new ‘Peppers Globe Logo’ brand identity is striking in its simplicity, but all the more impactful because of it. Designed at the client’s request to retain echoes of the old identity, it also needed to reassure customers that whilst the business was developing and evolving, it wasn’t losing or moving away from the quality, service and delivery it has become renowned for.

Indeed, the distinctive new ‘End-to-End Performance’ brand positioning underpins the focus on product delivery, industry expertise and the customer journey, literally from start to finish.

To find out more about how WDA’s unique brand marketing approach can help your business grow please get in touch with our Business Development Manager Anna on 01332 372 728 or e-mail directly on [email protected]

Could refreshing your brand or more in-depth rebranding be good for your business? The more important question is would rebranding help drive sales?

If you’re considering whether you should update your brand, don’t be put off by thinking that means a complete or costly overhaul. The majority of rebrands feature small (but highly pertinent) changes, focusing more on re-defining what the brand stands in order to retain stand out and desirability to customers.

There are many reasons why household name companies through to small specialist ones decide to rebrand, but arguably the most important ones are to ensure ‘the till keeps ringing’ by staying relevant to existing customers, whilst also maintaining and increasing differentiation and desirability from competitors.

One prominent example which many might consider doesn’t need to update its brand is Starbucks. Since its launch in 1971, Starbucks has continually developed and evolved its brand well beyond coffee or its coffee shops, having developed non-coffee specific consumer goods from tea to ice cream. In this way it has expanded not just its product offerings, but its routes to market and potential customer base.

The evolutionary rebranding of Starbucks has provided the successful foundation for the company’s exceptional business growth, expansion and diversification. That’s been driven by CEO Howard Schultz identifying long-term goals wouldn’t be met by just “selling coffee”, but by delivering what he calls the “third place experience”, that place where we spend some of our time outside of home and work, and Starbucks becoming as he puts it, that “refuge of choice”.

Starbucks’ rebranding is more about re-defining the business it’s in and re-focusing how it is perceived to create the broadest opportunities for future business growth. Key to that was quietly dropping the word “coffee” from their brand identity a few years ago, which even Starbucks devotees may not have actually noticed.

Might now be the ideal time to look at the opportunities re-branding or re-focusing your brand could open up for your business?

  • Maybe the demographics in your market have changed or competitors have upped their game?
  • Has technology or service delivery in your sector changed customer’s expectations?
  • Perhaps your business has evolved, but your brand hasn’t in the same way so you’re missing out on leveraging the real differences or advantages your products/services deliver?
  • Or are you so flat out on sales, you’re not actually 100% sure who your customers are and therefore if your competitors are taking sales away from you?

”Branding is what people say about you when you’re not around”.

This is well known and simple quote that’s useful to understand your brand is based more around what people say about you, than what you say to them. Your business is a brand (whether you like it or not) and how people perceive who you are, what you do and why they should care, is actually what defines it.

You may have already built a strong brand but would welcome help on how to develop it. WDA can work with you to identify how best to leverage, evolve and differentiate it.

Maybe you just feel your brand has lost its way a little or competition is increasing, in which case WDA can help you re-define it. If more than that you don’t feel your current brand truly reflects your business at all, we can work with you to create the brand that does.

For an informal and non-committal chat on what re-branding could do for your business, talk to WDA. And yes, we’ll supply the coffee! Get in touch with our Business Development Manager Anna on 01332 372 728 or e-mail directly on [email protected]

We’ve seen many top brands mining their past, with ‘The Co-op’, ‘Guinness’ and more recently ‘MasterCard’ having returned to form with logos each echoing their 1960’s predecessors, but all for very different reasons.

Heritage and history are valuable commodities for any brand; a history is distinct and ownable. They can be used to re-dress a business to change the public’s perception. Although there is now a climate in which any company with a decade under its belt is proudly declaring its provenance, in good branding, heritage is more than a battle of ‘who has been around the longest’. Authenticity is what roots itself in the consumer’s mind. No wonder many businesses are chasing a ‘heritage brand’, trying to unearth their own engaging story. Storytelling gives a brand a platform to speak to us on emotional level, a recent article in Wired even argues that a well spun tale side-steps our reasoning and normal defences.

For a brand like The Co-op this sort of re-brand seems  like an obvious move.  In many ways – seeking to resuscitate a tarnished reputation – their hand was forced. ‘North’ the design studio behind the re-brand surmises as “evoking nostalgic memories of local shops and dividend stamps”, in this way it’s is harkening back to a fondly remembered time. It is not as much about telling ‘it’s own story’, but rather trying to buy into another. The Co-op is using its heritage to once more try to position itself and it’s values to an idealised past – where no one locked their door and the postman wore shorts. As it happens The Co-op has a longer and richer heritage it can mine, dating back to the early 19th Century, but that doesn’t align with the message and values that they want to project now, but in reality no one cares about a brand’s uncurated history. What matters is story telling. In essence, branding is about sowing seeds in the imagination.

A good example of this is the recent Guinness rebrand, working with an illustrator who had drawn their iconic Guinness harp of 1968. The logo evokes notions of craftsmanship. It is textured and complex and is a breath of fresh air going against the current trend of minimalist design. Compare it, for example, to Mastercard’s recently unveiled logo  – minimal to the utmost. Guinness’ logo is distinct and physical, the hand process is trying to reconnect with a 250 year old brand. The beer market finds itself in a time where every label is emboldened with the word “craft”, Guiness’ re-brand is about differentiation they are attempting By contrast, Guinesss are trying to tap into  the idea of traditional craftsmanship. The same idea is behind the medieval heritage of Stella Artois’ Chalice design.

In a saturated market many brands are staking their claim as ‘the originals’, using their heritage as a tool to reposition themselves with storytelling. Heritage is an important factor to establish a consumer trust, but it is no longer about who planted their flag first. A trustworthy brand is not simply the one that has been around longest but rather the one crafting an engaging tale, a story that reflects that brand’s values. Today’s motto appears to be, If you don’t have a story these days, make one. In design terms we can safely predict a few more brands drawing upon the hand-crafted imagery, moving away from the clean lines of digital, yet as The Co-op and MasterCard show its not just about rejecting the contemporary ‘flat design’ that surrounds us. Branding appears to have fixed its gaze on ‘heritage’, is this a trend that’s set to continue?

If you need help creating an effective brand for your event or organisation contact Anna Buonaguro on[email protected]

Following a successful pitch, WDA were appointed to help one of the UK’s fastest-growing independent property groups to rebrand and reposition themselves to accommodate major expansion plans over the next five years.

Founded in 1989 as Direct Valuations and known as Shepherd Direct Ltd, the group comprises a comprehensive range of property related services including Estate Agency, Surveying, Risk Management, Lettings, Mortgages and Finance; each with its own brand identity all operating as independent trading divisions from Shepherd Direct’s Nottingham HQ.

The rebrand was part of a group strategy to create awareness for and to cross-sell these complementary divisions to customers by creating a common brand platform and a level of brand recognition to reflect the scale of the organisation which employs over 400 staff and has an annual turnover of £60m.

Referred to internally for many years as SDL, the choice to adopt the SDL prefix to unify the businesses was made strategically to simplify the complex group structure that existed within Shepherd Direct.  This simple prefix has also allowed acquisitions to quickly adopt the new group identity whilst retaining historic recognition and brand equity.

Whilst moving away from Shepherd Direct Ltd to the SDL acronym supported the desired new brand architecture, we wanted to retain a link to the decades of history, heritage, and core brand values of the original businesses.

SDL Website Design | Branding Derby | WDA

“During initial discussions it became clear that creating lasting partnerships was at the heart of what Shepherd was all about. Words like trust, honesty, loyalty and commitment kept cropping up time and again when talking to senior members of the team and the board.”

Said WDA’s Lee Waterhouse

“These words are not ones you might automatically associate with this sector, but are certainly highly desired by our audience, and were qualities which we felt should definitely be a part of our new brand story.”

That brand story came to life with the birth of ‘Shep!’, our trusty Border Collie which now sits at the heart of the new brand and has been adopted as the SDL mascot, creating a visual link to the previous name.

The traditional companion of the Shepherd; Border Collies are considered highly intelligent, hard working, and very loyal animals, famous for  herding and protecting their flocks. In just the same way, SDL businesses direct (advise) their valued customers whilst helping them protect their financial interests and investments. In addition the breed has a very characterful personality and is incredibly expressive, enabling us to convey lots of emotion within the brand and its marketing communications.

Apart from giving marketing a broad canvas and lots to work with, Shep and the new branding gives SDL a strong platform for growth and a unique brand differentiator within its market. Since the rebrand expansion is happening at a rapid pace. SDL has already gone on to acquire CP Bigwood, Graham Penny and most recently Humphreys of Chester, the new brand structure allowing these businesses to ‘hit the ground running’ under the new SDL name.

You can hear group Commercial Director, Rob Clifford discussing the brand here.

To find out more about how WDA’s unique brand marketing approach can help your business grow please get in touch with our Business Development Manager Anna on 01332 372 728 or e-mail directly on [email protected]

SDL - Shepherd Direct ReBrand - WDA

SDL - Shepherd Direct ReBrand - WDA

Status Social are an award-winning agency who have long established themselves at the forefront of professional and innovative social media strategy.

They came to us to discuss the launch of an exclusive bespoke new service and needed to find a new voice in a new market. ‘Social Media Weddings’ is the first of its kind in the UK, a pioneering service that creates an engaging atmosphere capturing the moment and preserving memories of ‘the perfect day’.

 We initially established that Social Media Weddings is a premium service, but much more importantly, it is a personal exclusive experience ensuring that the wedding is truly memorable. Social Media Weddings needed to be a brand in its own right, which is supported by Status Social’s reputation of expertise and experience. Status Social proved to be the ideal client for WDA’s ’Brand Box’; a product that works by creating a distinctive bespoke identity, turning businesses into brands – essentially a ‘brand in box’

The team here at WDA were able to identity a clear demographic, a market, and a style which would invest people with the brand. The positioning platform ‘Share Your Story’ focuses on what is at the heart of social media: the opportunity to express your individuality, your moment, your story on what is for many one of the most important days of our lives.  Graphically, the brand is an elegant marriage of tradition and contemporary design; the refined logo and accompanying iconography would be aptly situated alongside any high fashion or jewellery brand. We have created a platform that compliments the digital nature of social media yet with its eye fixed on classical sophistication.

Find out more about Brand Box

Contact WDA’s BD Manager Anna Buonaguro

Brand Box used to create a new kind of boxing experience.

A Chesterfield gym came to WDA for assistance in launching their own charity boxing event.  Full of ideas for the event itself, but with no name, no identity, no brand – and a very limited budget. After an initial discussion it became clear that the client qualified for our Brand Box product – effectively a ‘brand in a box’ aimed squarely at SME’s looking to drive business by creating a competitive brand advantage.

Working with them WDA were able to develop a totally unique brand positioning that has given them the tools to occupy a distinctive place in their market and become one of the fastest growing boxing events in the UK. 

The Power of 4

The inspiration for the new name came at one of our famous ‘Off the Wall’ creative session with the team where we brainstormed the reasons people new to boxing might want to get involved. We whittled these down to four core motivations;  determining people would do it either for the challenge, the fitness, the skills or for a great charitable cause (and hopefully all four!).

As with any branding project, inspiring people to engage with the brand was critical; and linking the event to Help for Heroes was the key to giving the brand a purpose the audience could connect with and gave the brand the latter part of its name – Boxing4Heroes.

The Boxing4Heroes visual identity was developed graphically to leverage everything the new brand stands for: The four stripes representing the four ropes of a ring, and the angular arrangement also hinting the ribbon of a medal (which will be developed in the future). The brand ethos of sporting achievement and personal challenge gave the identity its sportswear feel, something which elevates  it above and beyond just the boxing to allow for future diversification and also the retailing of official Boxing4heroes apparel. The ////4 symbol and impactful colour palette allows the identity to comfortably sit alongside the likes of Adidas and Nike in terms of brand quality perception.

Brand Box

Thanks to WDA’s Brand Box product, Boxing4Heroes now has a clear focus and has captured a very clearly defined space within its market allowing the audience to fully connect with the brand, get behind it and feel part of its purpose, all of which adds to the value of the brand. In a short space of time the boxing start-up has been awarded Help for Heroes Charity of the Year status and has events being planned nationally, with £thousands being raised for the charity.

What the client says

“Without the help of WDA and their brilliant Brand Box product we would just be another boxing event and would be back to square one every show. Brand Box has given us affordable access to the expertise of an award winning branding agency, and without the brand they have created for us we wouldn’t have been able to see such fast growth in such a short space of time. Their understanding of how to differentiate us and make our events truly unique was inspiring, the brand has become bigger than the event and has been fully embraced by our public. Having been involved in other boxing events businesses over the years, it is clear that boxing4heroes is the most engaging boxing brand by far within its space.

Brand Box – A professional branding solution for SME’s

A Coca-Cola executive was famously quoted as saying: “If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.

Brands are not just for big businesses likeCoca-Cola, effective branding is a critical deciding factor when consumers are choosing between products and services at all price points, from all business types and sizes, and in both B2B and B2C environments. WDA’s Brand box product has been specifically designed for SME’s of a certain size who appreciate and desire the competitive business advantages a brand driven marketing approach delivers, but find it either prohibitively expensive or too complicated to understand.

Brand Box has been designed to offer a ‘big brand’ solution to businesses looking for a quick and simple solution.

WDA’s Lee Waterhouse explains:

“Brand Box is a brand new product from WDA. It was conceived to satisfy a clear gap in the market for start ups and SME’s looking to turn their businesses into brands; and all the commercial benefits that brings. With Brand Box, qualifying SME’s get to work alongside an agency with a proven track record having working on some of the World’s biggest brands. You get the same people, access to the same expertise, and ultimately end up with a great branding solution for your business. Brand Box is designed to be easy to understand, quick and affordable.

Brand Box is not for everyone. For starters, your business has to qualify based on size. The reason is simple, WDA has always been very committed to delivering branding solutions which have a direct impact on driving clients business and as a result our services are charged on a value – not time – basis. Therefore a very large multinational client stands to gain a much higher commercial return (in absolute terms) than a start up or SME. Brand Box addresses this by finally offering something of real value to SME’s – the pricing pitched to allow qualifying businesses to enjoy a solid return on their investment.

We’ve also been able to offer a lower cost by ‘packaging’ our process somewhat. This has been done both to make the process easy to understand, but also to limit the deliveries to just those things necessary to create a great solution. Whilst the process is ‘fixed’ (you get what it says on the tin as such), the solution is very much bespoke – this isn’t like buying stock imagery!

Bigger clients tend to be more complicated. Their needs are very different, and WDA are often dealing with a large marketing  department; often with a dedicated brand manager. Typically the projects are much more involved and require a host of additional expertise and deliveries. For example, a large client may well invest the total cost of Brand Box into international brand name searches and trademark registrations. Or they may require us to deliver in-depth market research and organise focus groups. It really is horses for courses and these things are typically not needed for smaller businesses.

Find out more about Brand Box

Contact WDA’s BD Manager Anna Buonaguro

WDA have delivered a global rebrand project for a leading software business based on Pride Park.

The new positioning will enhance Strumis’ emphasis on directly benefiting its clients’ bottom line results by bringing better order and control to their business systems and processes. The positioning also reinforces Strumis commitment to the Structural Steel Fabrication Industry.

‘Bringing Structure to Steel’
The new positioning ‘Bringing Structure to Steel’ will additionally help unify communications globally and is accompanied by a brand communications platform developed to ensure Strumis can consistently but flexibly communicate its brand message – and critically within that its brand and bottom line delivery difference – to a wide audience of both existing customers and those new to Strumis. A new visual toolkit has also been developed to leverage this new positioning and platform.

Strumis Managing Director Simon Inman presented the new strategic brand positioning and platform at the company’s global sales conference held at the group HQ in the UK to key Strumis managers from countries including the US, Canada, China, India, Australia and the Middle East.

“This was a strategic exercise,” explained Simon “which aims to create a clearer positioning for Strumis ‘the brand’ together with a flexible and targetable brand platform which supports all our future product development and marketing plans.

Going into this process the consensus was that whilst we’re great at doing what we do, we’re maybe not as good at explaining that to everyone within the market! For that reason we didn’t just want a lick of paint or any old ’tag line’. This was about delving into our DNA and uncovering the things that differentiate our offering and clearly resonate with our audience.

Our global HQ in the UK is the company’s cost centre, being the place where all the software development takes place [Strumis employs a much larger team of specialist developers than anyone else in the sector]. For this reason It’s easy occasionally for us as a business to get caught up on the technicalities of the software we create and develop. Of course we are extremely proud of all that code! Likewise the software solutions we offer are we believe the best on the market today. A claim we feel is backed up by the fact that we enjoyed 47 active ‘swap-outs’ from competitor software last year alone. [To date Strumis are not aware of a single swap-out going the other way]. Indeed we are especially proud of our 3D BimReview module and our unique mobile app technologies. We also have an all in one license model which customers love.”

Bringing an expert external perspective
However after enlisting the help of renowned UK branding experts WDA, Strumis began to reappraise its proposition. WDA’s external perspective and insights suggested that perhaps Strumis weren’t really  in the software development business at all.

“Working with WDA we realised that the technicalities and features of our software were only part of the story, and due to the rapid rate we are developing new components, a (very fast) moving feast. When we really started to think about the Strumis brand offering from the industry’s perspective, it became clear that we are actually in the Steel Fabrication Business Solutions business.

The bottom line for our clients, and the reason so many remain loyal (and so many switch over) is that ultimately our solutions create highly desirable commercial business benefits – directly boosting revenues or profits – most often both.

They do this by connecting, streamlining and simplifying clients business systems and resources. And this is at the heart of what we offer – whether customers are big or small, whichever software edition or modules they use and wherever in the world they are located – Strumis brings the same core commercial advantages,  the same significant client rewards  and the specific business benefits  required.

We have truly brilliant solutions for businesses from small fabrication shops, right through to the giants. Of course their needs vary considerably, but we realise that whilst on a different scale [and often achieved in a different way] both customer groups are essentially partnering with Strumis for the same reasons: We understand their sector better than anyone else; and our solutions bring structure to their systems – which in turn cuts costs and increases efficiencies, effectiveness and profits.”

Taking ‘New Strumis’ out to market
In addition to the global rebrand WDA have created a host of ‘route to market’ collateral both digital and tangible, from stand and launch campaign (including animation) for the recent NASCC Steel Show in Orlando Florida; to assistance with the launch of the company’s most important software release to date – V10.

Following a successful competitive 4-way pitch (including a national PLC), WDA were appointed to drive new business for one of Derby’s biggest law firms. WDA won the Smith Partnership Rebrand project after demonstrating a deeper commercial understanding of the sector and the business; and outlining a sound strategic approach to the complicated task of creating a unified brand platform which would work across all sectors of the firm.

This was to prove an incredibly demanding project from the off as we liaised with a whole host of stakeholders across many different departments, all with their own perspective on how the firm should be perceived, promoted and marketed; and all with different objectives.

After many months of consultation, WDA revealed a brand positioning and brand communications platform which was distinctive, memorable, and which strongly differentiated Smith from its competition; whilst working firm-wide to promote all parts of the business including both commercial and private client departments.

The new ‘In Your Corner’ brand positioning is the essence of being on someone’s side and of giving someone support and encouragement. Just the reassurance anyone needing legal services (often a ‘distress purchase’) wants to feel and the epitome of what sets Smiths apart; they work with you rather than for you and the service they deliver is built around individual needs rather than a standard one size fits all approach.

Exposure to a huge new audience

Almost immediately the rebrand went public, the most visible campaign being extensive Derby County Football Club promotions following a partnership deal which WDA helped secure – a substantial investment for the firm at the time. As Derby County’s preferred legal services partner the new ‘In Your Corner’ brand positioning was a perfect fit for the club due to the obvious parallel football analogy.

The new branding adorns the entire Family Stand area and other key parts of the stadium including external signage and even pitch side LED boards, exposing the new brand to tens of thousands of fans per match, plus many more viewers of the televised games. The work we did with DCFC also caught the attention of Derby’s No.1 estate agency Hannells who were so impressed they approached WDA to help out with their own club partnership programme.

In addition to DCFC, the ’In Your Corner’ brand positioning and visual identity has been rolled out across multiple channels and has been applied to lots of different marketing collateral including advertising, literature, display, online communications, event materials, signage, newsletters, and both partnership and sub / co-branded promotions (like HRLAW24 and @Claimsagainst – both also created by WDA). All this has helped leverage the rebrand and helped return a tangible commercial benefit to Smith Partnership.

WDA: Highly recommended by Smith Partnership

“Lee and his team at WDA are dedicated, committed and professional. Their creative skills are second to none. There is a constantly high level of dedication to ensure that all projects are delivered in a timely manner and achieve the brief set.

Lee has assisted my firm to deliver pitch documents, advertising, carry out research to seek to establish market share and brand awareness. Networking and awareness campaigns have been carried out by Lee and his team and all have been fantastic. Lee and his team have also assisted my firm to create online presence and developed online products in niche market areas.

Lee and his team at WDA are professional and dedicated. I highly recommend them.

– Claire Twells, Partner

The emissions scandal has propelled Volkswagen to the fourth spot in a list of brands most hated by NGOs, while Shell retains the top place.

Energy companies dominate the list of the most criticised companies in the world.Shell’s Artic drilling plans made it a particular target for criticism in 2015, according to research by NGO tracker Sigwatch.In the UK, companies including Barclays, Nestlé, HSBC, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda-owner Walmart and Amazon were among the least popular firms.Confusingly, Barclays, Tesco and Nestlé also appear on the UK’s “most praised” brands list.Sigwatch said this was down to firms being strongly criticised by NGOs in one area, but pleasing NGOs in another and responding quickly to pressure.

Sigwatch founder and managing director Robert Blood said: “Nestlé’s top place is a remarkable achievement. Not many years ago the firm was viewed by most NGO’s as simply too obdurate to deal with.

“Then in 2010, Greenpeace hugely embarrassed it over palm oil sourcing, effectively accusing Nestlé of murdering orangutans. Nestlé clearly used this ‘learning moment’ to rethink its relationships with NGOs.”

M&S second most praised firm globally

Marks & Spencer was the second most praised firm globally due to it working closely with NGOs on sustainability and ethical sourcing issues. It also claimed the most praised title in the UK.

Other companies in the top 20 most praised firms include Apple, Unilever, H&M, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Walmart.

Sigwatch believes NGOs like retailers due to their sensitivity to ethical criticism and willingness to act fast to rectify issues.

Research was put together through an analysis of the campaigns of 7,500 NGOs, covering a range of organisations including charities, watchdogs, research-driven policy organisations, industry lobby and pressure groups.

Examples of the types of groups tracked include Friends of the Earth, WWF, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Greenpeace, and PETA.

Most praised brands in the UK:

  1. M&S
  2. Unilever
  3. Nestle
  4. Associated British Foods
  5. Tesco
  6. IKEA
  7. Sainsbury’s
  8. Coca-Cola
  9. John Lewis
  10. Barclays

Most criticised brands in the UK:

  1. Shell
  2. BP
  3. Rio Tinto
  4. VW
  5. BHP Billiton
  6. Standard Chartered Bank
  7. Barclays
  8. Nestle
  9. HSBC

first published on http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1379579/vw-challenges-shell-worlds-most-hated-brand-emissions-scandal