20 Oct The making of brand Sherpa
When starting Sherpa Brand and Design in 2006, I didn’t want another brand and design studio but something that meant something externally and internally.
The starting point was deciding what we wanted to mean and who we would have meaning to, understanding that a brand cannot be all things to all people.
Our target audience was pretty simple. We wanted to work with clients – business owners, CEO’s, marketing managers, and brand managers – with the ambition and bravery to stand out or differentiate in their chosen markets. It does take ambition because it’s not an easy process. And it requires courage to stand out because it’s human nature to ridicule those who stand out.
A strap line – well, more of a promise – was created. Stand Out. Be Found. The first part has been discussed but Be Found is about making sure that people looking for you actually find you, mostly in the digital space. It is interchangeable because there’s no percentage if your brand differentiates but nobody can find you. Similarly, there’s no point being found if there’s nothing that makes you stand out from your competitors that seekers are also considering.
I struggled until I sat down with a good friend over a beer or two and his simple question was: “What do you want to do?”
The response was not about the services offered but how we wanted to go about our business. In a nutshell, I didn’t want Sherpa to be a wise-arse agency but partners that guided their brave and ambitious client to leader brand status.
He immediately responded “Sherpa – you’ll use your stamina, passion, experience, knowledge and skills to guide them to the top, a place where very few people get to reach – Mount Everest”.
Initially, we way overplayed the fact that we were only supportive to the client and started with an innocuous logo. Your logo design has got to reflect what you mean and Stand Out is not about being shy. We quickly changed the logo design. And the colour.
The structuring of Sherpa took some years to unfold but ultimately the features of the business were resourced to reflect our brand.
Authentic – we employ down to earth, real people. Never bigger than the client as they get to plant the flag on the top of their Mount Everest, not us.
Savvy – whether we’re working with clients in cyber security, healthcare, financial services, petroleum or pharmaceutical cannabis, we had to have the savvy to quickly grasp industry nuances and dynamics. In doing so, we often add value to our clients’ business strategies.
Simplicity – brands are complex but we needed to a way to demystify it because many people still think that brands are logos or vehicle signage. In constructing a brand our approach is collaborative, getting buy-in along the way.
Creative + – The graphic designers had to not only be great at design, but also understand brands and marketing strategy.
Digital – The final piece of Sherpa’s puzzle was building a digital marketing platform, fulfilling the Be Found part of our brand’s promise. We also made a call that if we expected our clients to invest in digital marketing, we would do the same. In the hurly-burly of COVID’s lockdown, we were still marketing (which paid dividends).
You’ll note that the brand architecture consists of three traits and two services. Brands have more meaning than just the services and products offered.
Your brand values is that space where you connect with likeminded people who become your clients. Your Features ‘ladder up’ to Brand Values.
Let’s have a look how this works.
Sherpa’s brand values arise naturally from our primary features. When we look for a ‘connect’ between Sherpa and our audience – ambitious and brave business owners, CEO’s, Marketing Managers and Brand Managers – we know that they represent these same traits or would like to be associated with such traits.
Interestingly, when we look at our clients we see those same traits in them. Like associates with like. And their stories are of bravery and ambition.
CEO Sherpa Brand and Design
If you’d like to work with Gary and our Creative Director Claire on giving your brand new meaning please contact Gary for an introduction.