Matthew J. Hill’s Brand Story

Matthew J. Hill is a US-based business anthropologist, consultant and well-published academic who works with senior leaders across the world to harness the social and technological forces that propel cultural change within large complex organisations.

Placing anthropology at the heart of cultural transformation he unites the whole organisation – from the top team to the front line. He supports businesses in bridging cultural divides and removing barriers brought about by, among other things, organisational transformation, outside environmental, regulatory, or political forces, changes in organisational strategy, corporate mergers, or underperforming teams.

The Brief

There are a couple of reasons why Matthew decided to set up his own consultancy business. As an independent consultant, Matthew currently works in partnership with a colleague who owns his own successful consultancy. To keep continuity and retain existing clients when his partner eventually retires, Matthew is setting up his own consultancy business.

In addition to working with his consultancy clients, Matthew is currently working on a variety of articles on digital transformation and entrepreneurship for Forbes, CUES, the Journal of Business Anthropology, and the Kauffman Foundation. Clearly positioning himself and his consultancy will also help to further establish himself as a thought leader.

The Solution

Brand Strategy

Running several workshops, we helped Matthew to outline a focused brand strategy to clearly position his new business to his target market. We explored his motivations and purpose as a business anthropologist and defined his ultimate goal as “Improving the quality of workplaces so that people enjoy going to work and feel like they can make a difference.”

We formulated a set of behaviours and values that drive Matthew’s process and collaboration with his clients and their employees. We charted his ideal customers’ challenges and needs and how his approach and range of services meet and alleviate them. With the strategy in place, we helped Matthew set objectives for the immediate future to successfully establish his business.

Visual Identity

To visually express Matthew’s strategy, we focused on the core aspect of his approach – to bridge gaps within organisations and join departments and teams together through collaboration. Although Matthew’s methodologies are academically-rooted, his approach in applying these learnings to large businesses is modern and fresh – an aspect we knew we had to bring to life in his visual and verbal identity.

We have created a minimalistic logo that blends Matthew’s initials ‘M’ and ‘H’ and emulates a simplistic bridge graphic to reflect the ‘bridging’ aspect that’s fundamental to his work. We also created a sleek word mark. Both logos can be used together or separately. The simplicity of the symbols allows flexible use in size and colour and can easily be turned into a graphic or used as vessel for images.

To give gravitas and sophistication to the identity, the colour scheme is composed of fresh pastel colours and a refined navy blue. Graphic patterns of lines or circles crossing, marked by little nodes, further symbolise the connecting, joining and community aspect of Matthew’s work.

To place Matthew at the front and centre of his new brand, we defined a natural and colourful photography style and created a detailed story board, which provided a concise brief for the US-based brand photographer who we recommended to Matthew.

Verbal identity

To clearly articulate exactly what Matthew does and the impact that his consultancy has on organisations, we also collaborated with copywriter, Emma, at On Point Content. Drawing from our initial brand strategy work and interviewing Matthew, Emma established a unique, inspiring tone of voice for the brand ahead of writing content for Matthew’s website.

Website Design & Development

Matthew’s positioning, visual and verbal identity were all brought together in his new website. We created a website architecture, content structure and design that allows prospects to quickly grasp Matthew’s approach to cultural transformation and how it differs from well-known corporate competitors. A biography introduces Matthew on a professional but also a personal level, while meaningful statements pique the interest of those seeking to resolve the often invisible factors negatively influencing their organisational culture.

A range of case studies and client testimonials celebrate success stories of large organisations Matthew has worked with and a media page invites people to read his papers, articles and industry insights.

The Result

From the outside, the fascinating academic approach to cultural transformation can feel complex. However, the brand experience we have created deliberately unfolds Matthew’s consultancy offering to inspire professional curiosity and an eagerness to engage.

Naturally, in getting to know Matthew well, we’ve  been inspired by his enthusiasm for applying anthropological learning to modern business culture. In return, we’ve applied some of his concepts to help him create a clear position brought to life by a modern, fresh and empathetic identity. With the website, we’ve created a platform that engages with those leaders who truly want to improve workplace quality and productivity.

“I had a fantastic experience working with Suffolk-based Studio Brand Up who a colleague referred me to. They took me through a brand strategy definition process that helped me articulate (in my own words) a purpose, mission, and vision statement, and what’s unique about my approach to working with clients (a positioning statement). We arrived at this endpoint through an open-ended process of exploration through semi-structured questions and mapping responses on Google jamboards. This branding work has laid the foundation for subsequent web development work. I appreciate the structured discovery process that defines Studio Brand Up’s approach. Franzi and Angie have been great to work with. I highly recommend them!”

Matthew J. Hill

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About Franzi Scheithauer

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