Tim Heard, Founder of Not Another Design Agency On: The Key To Creating A Compelling Brand Story


In 2013, working with founder Arjun Seth, Tim Heard Founder of Not Another Design Agency helped to create the Protein World brand from a single idea. Then, in just three weeks in the spring of 2015, by asking one question  “Are you beach body ready?” Protein World went from an unknown brand to a household name. Despite controversy regarding the loaded question and accompanying imagery — which brought attention to the responsibility wellness brands have in communicating positive body images — the campaign generated 970 press and TV articles in the UK and US alone – and hit record sales.

The brand employed the same strategy to launch in New York and now sells to over 50 countries. Marketing magazine described the campaign as ‘one of the most effective and innovative pieces of brand marketing in living memory’.

Heard, who has over 25 years experience working in brand, creative direction and implementation for clients, including The Body Shop, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Design Council, continues to specialise in the nutrition and wellness space.

Having launched Not Another Design Agency back in 2009, in pursuit of better ways of working for both creative teams and their clients, he’s an expert in brand innovation and implementation for entrepreneurs and business founders. 

Here, he explores the importance of branding and how wellness businesses can create a compelling story……..

A brand is what your target consumer thinks of when they see or hear the name of your business. 20th-century advertising pioneer, David Ogilvy famously described this in academic terms as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”

Building a brand enables business owners and marketers to create a specific perception in customers’ minds of the qualities and attributes of their products or services.

This remains largely true today, certainly when launching a new business, but be prepared, the world of brand has shifted enormously since the advent of social media. Once launched into the public domain, today consumers are empowered to continually influence and shape the brands they engage with, in equal measures to the brand owners.

However, there are some key steps that every founder can adhere to, to help mould their brand into one consumers truly connect with.

Tim Heard, Founder of Not Another Design Agency On: The Key To Creating A Compelling Brand Story

Image: Protein World

Differentiation & Creativity

Virtually all business owners, unless you’re Elon Musk setting up shop on Mars (we think he’s the only one), start life surrounded by competition in varying degrees. So, creating clear and unequivocal brand differentiation is fundamental when developing your brand. 

However, even as brave and determined entrepreneurs and innovators, we can subconsciously slip into the comfort of the familiar and conventional, when bringing our brands and products to life.

Conventionality is certainly easier and quicker, which are both appealing when thinking about how to maximise your time or budget, so to help clients combat this, we break the brand development into separate and manageable items. Simply put, we ensure that every one of these brand ‘touchpoints’ is better or different, (ideally both) from the competition; product, packaging, fulfilment, content, consumer engagement etc.

For example, when developing the packaging for Protein World, we were the first brand in this category to use transparent tubs – until that point all protein brands ha been using heavy opaque packaging. Now the majority of brands in this space have followed suit –– so, when it came to Free Soul, we shifted to packaging its protein in specially adapted coffee bags.

Read More: Discover: Free Soul

Not following the crowd takes longer, but the benefits are immediately tangible.

Naming & Branding

A brand can be based on and inspired by a single image or word.

Consider your brand name, brand aesthetic and top-line messaging as all one thing –– not separate tasks to be carried out individually.

Don’t focus too long on a logo at the beginning. We always design logos after the look and visual tone-of-voice have been thoroughly resolved.

Explore lots of options and set them out digitally (or on paper) against the competition to see where you can sit. Keep doing this, until you feel you are ‘winning’ the page.

And, invest in good photography. The majority of your target audience’s first introduction to your brand is likely to be on a small, mobile screen measuring only 10cm x 5cm.

A note on naming – obviously, the most challenging part of naming is securing a good and usable URL with matching social handles. Although there isn’t a secret method, apart from dogged determination to keep going with ideas and options, until it all falls into place, Namechk is a helpful resource.

You will also need to trademark brand, product names and marques etc. You can do your own legwork here www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark.

Tim Heard, Founder of Not Another Design Agency On: The Key To Creating A Compelling Brand Story

Image: Free Soul

Choosing A Creative Partner

When choosing a creative partner, business founders should expect ‘good design’ as the bare minimum.

Simple, aesthetically pleasing design is easy to buy, even with modest budgets and there are many talented designers working independently and within teams at agencies large and small, all of whom do good work. 

Beyond that, you may choose a team based on direct experience in your category, personal recommendation, location, personal chemistry, or simply select someone who will do what you want for the money you have to spend. However, the most elusive but vital element required to maximise your goals and ambition is to find a designer that shares your vision.

When building a brand from scratch, there is very little tangible context, so a shared vision is hard to assess. But, if you can find someone who is genuinely in tune with your commercial ambition and is emotionally invested in helping you achieve financial success, the greater your chances will be.

Launch & Post Launch

Even with substantial marketing spend, do not expect success to be quick or easy – no matter how good your brand and products are. Be prepared for any number of frustrating trials and tribulations along the way, but maintain momentum: speed to market is vital.

Achieving the perfect marketing mix is largely trial and error and a lot of hard work, but bear in mind: social advertising, including remarketing, is harder and more expensive than you imagine and costs per sale can rise steeply.  And remember — influencers don’t always convert sales.

For more information about how Not Another Design Agency can help you build an incredible business in wellness, head over to our Business Services Directoryan easily accessible platform representing high-quality and specialised providers of services that can support your goals.

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