Andy Suggs: The Philosophy of Branding
Andy Suggs: The Philosophy of Branding
Knowing exactly what you’re selling is the first, and most crucial, component of efficient marketing. And 99% of the time, this is not your product or service. To really connect with your audience, you need to sell why your prospective customer should pick you.
For Andy Suggs, creating an efficient brand that really sticks with people goes much further than what you do or sell. Andy believes that efficient branding (and marketing) needs to take into account the entire client journey and your ability to show them the why behind your ideas.
Who is Andy Suggs?
Andy Suggs is the creative director, brand strategist, and partner at Reckon Branding. The company is a full-service branding agency run entirely by creative professionals, specializing in complete brand activation.
Complete brand activation is the lifeblood of Andy’s professional strategy. Simply collaborating with a client to create a punchy, attractive brand doesn’t do it for the team at Reckon. Andy and his colleagues focus on helping their clients define a specific brand focus, then work with them to activate and manage it.
More often than not, brands fail once they’re handed over to the client. Any branding agency can design and establish intricate growth plans, but most never provide any further guidance or support after launch. This is where Reckon is different.
Andy knows that no matter how good a brand looks, it’s pointless if it doesn’t work. That’s why Reckon keeps a continued partnership with their clients, guiding them through the unexpected ups and downs, and providing ongoing support long after launch day.
Clients who join the intimate operation at Reckon not only experience a customized rebranding, but they learn how to implement and optimize their brand strategy for long term success.
Andy’s Views on Media and Advertising Platforms
Andy has been in the business of advertising design since 1997. He witnessed the rise and subsequent takeover of digital media and has a unique perspective on the direction it’s headed.
In an interview with Pinchforth, Andy dismissed the suggestion that traditional media platforms are somehow becoming less effective. Rather than seeing a fault in their foundation or delivery, Andy simply feels that businesses and advertisers just have other, better choices than they used to.
Years ago, traditional advertising in print, broadcast and radio reigned by default. Slowly, Facebook and Google crept in to introduce the world to PPC and SEO. Suddenly, this was the new standard.
Years later, there are even more specific channels where advertisers can reach their customers, and these platforms are a lot smarter. They work a lot better and provide custom, targeted engagement. It’s possible, Andy suggests for some brands the traditional platforms may have never really worked all that well to begin with. We just never knew.
Reckon Brand’s Response to the Pandemic
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t change much about the way Reckon Branding does business. As a small branding agency, they are constantly finding ways to make themselves more nimble and accessible to their clients. When the world went remote, Reckon’s structure and strategy stayed the same, it just involved more screen time.
Andy notes that this ability to stay flexible and adapt to your clients’ climate is absolutely essential in the reality of branding and marketing. If you’re not ready and willing to react and adjust, you miss out on opportunities or fail altogether. Reckon is thriving.
Reckon’s shapeshifting abilities have presented several opportunities over the past few years. The group was able to pass along their firsthand expertise to brands who were looking for new ways to stay afloat in the dramatically changed climate. Andy and his team helped major household names rethink their business strategies and tailor them to fit the changing audience and evolving world outside.
Agencies like Reckon benefit most from word-of-mouth. When human interaction took a drastic turn in 2020, Andy’s crew found a way to pivot and continue driving the trust and positive influence that word-of-mouth supplies.
Currently, Reckon is working on developing online resources to support entrepreneurs and business owners who are struggling with branding. And while the blogs and video tutorials won’t take the place of a partnership with a branding agent, they do something more valuable.
By educating his potential clients on the impact of good branding, and explaining why it’s so important, he’s successfully selling his business. Selling the philosophy of branding, rather than the service, helps consumers understand why they need effective branding. Explaining the why also provides consumers a mentality that allows them to recognize the value of working with an experienced branding partner.
Andy’s Recommendations for Marketing Leaders
Andy’s strategy for selling the why of a brand is his first piece of advice for fellow marketers. But even more, it’s crucial that you fully understand your own why before you even begin. Why do you do what you do? Besides to make money, why are you in business?
Next, Andy stresses the importance of embracing every opportunity you have as a brand, taking time to think about your customers’ journey. When you land a new client or customer, their experience (and your opportunity) doesn’t start and end with a sale. The partnership, from beginning to end, is an opportunity to create an advocate and keep your brand in front of that person longer. Correspondence with team members, the quality of your follow-ups… it all matters, and each step is an opportunity to make a strong impression.
When it comes to branding and marketing, it’s crucial to keep your brand engaged. Don’t just “set it and forget it,” Andy says. Keep your website and your social media busy and reflective of your industry knowledge. These channels are the primary way that clients will verify or authenticate your brand. If you’re stagnant or not paying attention to what conversations are happing in your space, you appear stale and your brand immediately loses appeal. Stay active, respond to new topics that arise and engage with your audiences.
At the end of the day, growing your brand has little to do with your product, your service or the ads you’re publishing. What matters most is your why. When you discover the reason you’re doing what you do, and really understand it, the urge and ability to share your philosophy will follow. Embrace challenges as opportunities to pursue your why, and you’ll be unstoppable.