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How can I HELP?

Positioning a research agency or brand consultancy is a nightmare.


Anyone can promise to define the problem, discover the insight, devise the strategy, focus the messaging, follow the science or unleash the potential.


But many others are saying the exact same thing.


What’s generally missing is any indication of the client’s need, not in relation to their brand but to themselves.


Let’s take my agency, Closer to Brands, as an example.


The name itself is the end benefit. It reflects my belief that brands have to make an emotional connection. The strapline may be ‘moments of closeness’ but that’s simply a more System 1 way of putting it.


Need maps, strategy workshops, Closeness programmes, they’re all product features.


Need insight and brand positioning, that’s what I mainly do. Functional benefits at best.


But what can I do for you, my dear potential client?


If I look at the testimonials that people have written over the years, some themes do emerge.


Mark Evans, when he was at Direct Line, said my work for them on the deeper needs in insurance “helped to unlock our thinking”.


Simon White, when he was at Grey London, said something similar about us working together on Dairy Crest’s spreads portfolio, how understanding the unconscious needs different brands answered “completely unlocked the category for the first time”.


And Kate Ludwig, when she was at Premier in South Africa, described how I assisted her with “unlocking a unique positioning” for her confectionery brand, Manhattan.


So, helping to unlock something. A kind of empowerment.


But Amanda O’Brien, a client at United Biscuits and Heinz, talked more about me being “extremely flexible to work with, particularly on budgets”.


Febronia Ruocco, when she was at Heinz and Premier Foods, also stressed a strength in “work(ing) with the client closely to meet timings and efficiency needs”.


So, helping to run a tight ship. In control.


Then again, Gareth Helm’s take was that my “extensive expertise, brand know-how and smart techniques made (me) a good guy to have as part of your marketing fire power”. He’s been a client across MoneySuperMarket, Zoopla, McDonald’s and Checkatrade.


Sounds like helping to strengthen the team. A partnership.


Nicole Duckworth put it differently again, when she was Head of Consumer Insight at Heinz Frozen & Chilled Foods. “(Richard) was also my cheerleader from the sidelines, giving me the tools to be successful and coaching me along the way. In that part of my career, it was about security. How do I prove myself, how do I build myself in the business?”


Helping to build her reputation. As Nicole herself said, security.


And always helping.

Helping you get closer to your consumers. Helping you move consumers closer to your brand.


Whatever kind of help it is you need.


That’s the point we forget on the agency side.


It’s not about us.


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