What does it mean to work at the boundary between strategy and creativity? Here Tom Moloney and Dan Radley from London-based branding and communication studio NB discuss becoming the consumer, how they tackle their biggest challenges and finding the 'holy grail' of the brief.
01. Listen to the client
"The first stage of the process is about listening. It's a chance to use your empathy," begins Tom Moloney. "Hear everything, understand the client's ambitions and aims, and leave room for a bit of: ‘Forget everything you've told me. What does it make me feel?'"
02. Articulate your aims
Once the client has explained its goals, come up with a logical series of steps leading to the achievement of those goals. "Try to match what they tell you they want – what they're saying they're trying to do – and articulate it into a programme of work," says Moloney.
03. Roll in a hand grenade
"We try and get creative work started soon, and roll hand grenades into the room," says Dan Radley. "‘You're a red brand: what if you become a blue brand?' We throw everything up in the air early."
04. Find the balance
"We balance a systematic and logical [process] with some craziness," says Moloney. "The net result is people know we've really listened and understood [their brand]. They know we're passionate about it."
05. Be authentic
"The rigorous side of what we're doing as strategists is: 'Okay, what are the truths about this brand, this product and this company?'" says Radley. It's about being realistic about the market, the trends and the competition."
06. Cook on different hobs
"Do as much different work as you possibly can," adds Radley. "The more perspectives you've got, the more your brain starts to solve problems in your peripheral vision. If you're cooking on a number of hobs, you start to solve problems in more interesting ways."
07. Take risks
"There's a bit of risk-taking involved [in branding]," says Radley. "That's the job we're doing, so we've got to be brave. We've got to stick our necks out sometimes."