Local brand reflections – a matter of survival and revival

The last seven months have been eventful. For us and our clients. We work with brands of all shapes and sizes in a variety of industries. And since March, supporting our clients has been everything from amazing to heart-wrenching.

We’ve been collaborating closely with our clients to help them respond and adapt to the ever-evolving changes of the new normal. Some organisations have been hit really hard. Others have been incredibly resourceful, and some have successfully embraced new opportunities.

An interesting picture has emerged in terms of how different industries have been affected and which of our services have been critical in helping our clients weather the storm. Here is our story of the past half year.

Beauty & Wellbeing

During lockdown, many of us suddenly had more time to give our beauty and wellbeing regime some extra attention. We started our own home facials, hair dressing or sweated in from of the telly following Joe Wicks’ daily workout.

Our clients in the beauty and wellbeing industry also used this opportunity. Body care brand RuffStuff® expanded their ever-popular range of scrubs and launched a brand-new body oil. Likewise, holistic physiotherapist, Kai, launched an entire new range of natural food supplements. We’ve got to say, it was fantastically uplifting working with both brands on their product packaging concept and design.

Home & Garden

As we spent more time at home and outdoors, we made some home improvements. We sorted and decluttered, painted and decorated, and turned our gardens into beautiful outdoor spaces.

Vale Designs, who create bespoke designed and hand-built kitchens, have seen a steady stream of new enquiries as lockdown started to lift. Similarly, our friends at local nursery, Kiln farm, kept adjusting to all stages of lockdown and were busy suppling their customers with homegrown plants and local produce.

With their current momentum and confidence, both are investing in their brand development. So much so that we’re working on a full brand and website refresh for Vale Designs and a website re-design of Kiln Farm.

Ecommerce

With businesses shut in the intense phase of lockdown, it’s been vital to be able to sell goods and services online to generate an income. Not surprisingly, we’ve had numerous enquiries for building or improving ecommerce platforms. We’ve helped beauty salon Purity open up a new revenue stream by building a fully bespoke online shop to sell beauty products, electronic gift vouchers and be able to offer online skin consultations.

Now, more than ever, brands with online and offline shopping environments need to make sure their clients and customers have a seamless brand experience. Purity’s website communicates and reflects the brand’s look and feel coherently. We’re also helping our client Frobishers to realign their ecommerce user experience with that of their new shop with a new set of on brand images and website updates.

Usability & Accessibility

With social contact extremely limited and the world moving even quicker toward digital and online solutions, awareness of website usability and accessibility is also increasing. We place a strong emphasis on meeting website accessibility standards. This is so that people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive impairments can access website content just as well as everyone else.

During lockdown, we’ve worked with the Suffolk Learning and Disability Partnership to improve the structure of their website to make it easier and quicker for their users to find the right information. We’re also currently updating an American post-grad career platform to help them achieve web accessibility standards.

Not-for-profit

Whilst some of our clients’ businesses could adapt and open up new streams of income, we’re seeing how some of our charity clients are struggling. Whilst the demand for their support has increased, fundraising has proven challenging. Sadly, we’ve had to say farewell to our long-standing charity client Age UK Suffolk.

To help and support local charities through this difficult time, we’ve delivered a free webinar and pro bono hours to Suffolk Pro Help – an organisation that connects professionals with non-profits in need of help and support. We’re also happy to join the events of local ethical networking group Do Good again. Do Good rallies local business owners who provide hands-on help to voluntary and community organisations.

So, what does the future hold?

The digital space will continue to evolve. With much more speed. Lockdown has shown what digital brand experiences are like. It has amplified issues and discrepancies. Organisations will need to invest in optimising digital brand experiences to meet customer expectations.

Brands with physical sales environments will continue to become more flexible and adaptable and open up revenue streams online through ecommerce platforms. That might be in the form of online shops, e-learning platforms, video streaming and conferencing software etc.

As a result of this, we’ll also see usability and accessibility become non-negotiables.

With some brands fundamentally changing, there’ll also be a surge in rebrands or businesses refreshing their identities. Whether it’s making sure their assets work sufficiently and consistently in digital environments. Or whether their strategy aligns with a brand’s look and feel, it’s part of ongoing brand development.

If you are looking at investing in your brand and digital development, we’d be happy to discuss how we can help you move forward.

About Franzi Scheithauer

Franzi is Creative Director at Studio Brand Up and specialises in brand strategy and identity design.