Brand experiences for Start Ups — PRontheGO expert interview with Creative Digital Agency owner Katy Rea
Katy Rea founded the creative digital agency Battalion in 2012. Today, she runs branch offices in Manchester, UK, and Berlin, Germany, and has helped over 100 technology companies and startups to achieve a unique brand experience.
Her team of marketing strategists is responsible for the creation of authentic and bold websites, events and campaign material, online and offline. Recent clients include Soundcloud, Swisscom and Rocket Internet.
We asked Katy to give our readership of startups an insight into her work, and the latest digital trends.
Please tell us about your latest projects.
We have recently completed a full rebrand for a company called Coherent Labs that creates advance technology solving the most difficult of problems for game development studios. This project was super exciting as it covered the full process from brand positioning and messaging to art direction for branded collateral and a new website. With a brand that was going to be used in a variety of environments across a range of different channels, one of our main challenges was hereby to ensure the new brand identity would be extremely adaptable but stay consistent at all times.
Another fantastic project is the design and development of the new website for APX, a VC owned by Porsche Digital and Axel Springer Digital Ventures. The company was looking for a modern and consistent website design reflecting their core values such as diversity, inclusivity and being ‘tailormade’. It has been great to work with such and talented team and being so close to their unique network and startup community.
What makes Battalion’s work unique? What is your approach when it comes to branding and creating brand experiences?
We aren’t afraid to bend rules and challenge the status quo, as well as our clients when it comes to our output. Our clients don’t chose to work with us because they want a standard experience. Often they are looking to us for something a little different, to help them to stand out from their competitors and have a wow factor. This comes from living life on the design edge so to speak, and we are lucky to have talent who are constantly pushing boundaries which comes out in our work. Importantly however, we are not just doing things to look cool or pretty and we create with purpose, with strategy at the forefront of every creative decision that we make. We are always asking ourselves why we are doing what we are doing and ensure our choices fit.
What are the steps when a startup decides to work with you?
We have a kick off week to get to know each of our clients as much as possible. This initial discovery phase is a real decider on how successful a project is going to be so we take particular care to make sure we know our clients and their mission and vision inside out. We also try to make things a little more interesting by playing some games and trying to pull a different angle from the usual topics, such as turning the brand into a person. Where would for our for a drink? How would it act in a party and things like that.
Following the initial discovery we put a detailed brief together, O.K this with the client and then the work can begin. Each project and client is different and there is no size fits all process unfortunately, we have to continually adapt to the different industries, personalities and end goals, which ultimately keeps this work interesting.
Which industries or startups excite you most to work with? In which areas can you be the most creative?
That’s a hard question. We specialise in working with technology companies so in general it is really exciting to be working with people who are building products with the goal to change the world. I think that we are very lucky to be working mainly startups and scale-ups which means that the teams are small and super passionate about what they do and that of course rubs off on us.
Regarding creativity It’s funny as sometimes you can start a project which seems massively boundary pushing but in the end because of company hierarchies and client restraint what we end up with is something quite standard, alternatively a client can come to us with a more traditional product and they can give us free reign to really push our creativity. I think from a creative freedom standpoint it is more reliant on the company’s culture than an industry thing.
What is your best advice for startups when it comes to branding?
Do your research. Understand your market but make sure that that you love it. You are the one who will have to look at it every day.
What are the latest digital marketing trends to consider?
I think that AR is obviously the big one. Understanding how major consumer experiences like retail are going to be affected. Trying to understand how these technologies might affect the industry you are in also and trying to stay ahead of the game.
What’s your advice for startups to make themselves stand out?
Be real. Don’t focus on marketing lingo and buzz words to message your brand. Speak from the heart. People know when they are being sold to rather than communicated with.
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