Brand Manual – building brands inside out
Thursday mid-afternoon, in an elevator, somewhere…
He says: “So where do you work?”
“I work at Brand Manual.”
He: “What’s that?”
“It’s a branding and service design company.”
“You do logos?”
I take a deep breath and explain: “We help define a company’s competitive advantage and bring this advantage to the attention of both employees and customers through a common and unique identity, applied throughout the business using communication through signage and information systems. We develop new ways to deliver services and products and help lower business risk providing you with a more stable income in times of turmoil and faster growth in times of prosperity.”
“That’s interesting. So you don’t do logos?”
“Here’s my card. Yes, we do logos, but only if this solves your business problem,” and I get off.
Brand Manual is a branding and service design consultancy established in 2009 by four partners, each with a decade or two of experience from the advertising and design industries.
“The decision to build our own company was motivated by our frustration with our existing jobs in large design and advertising agencies“, admits one of the founders, Markko Karu. “We became increasingly aware of the large gap between client and customer expectations, as we were often hired to cover up underlying product problems with a cool campaign or sleeker package. We were rarely involved at the front-end, where we could have solved the problem and made customers happy without wasting marketing support.“
Doing the right thing
The founders state that their goal with Brand Manual is to build brands from the inside out. “Working with the client we start by clearly defining the point of competitive advantage, or inventing it if necessary, and we go from there to develop the look, the feel, the way the service is delivered,” explains Karu, adding – “From our perspective, only by doing the right thing instead of just doing things right will we be growing our clients’ businesses and our own. Nor do our recommendations remain theoretical or channel-centric.”
In 2010, Brand Manual submitted four works to the ADC Estonian Design Awards. Three of them claimed prizes in different categories.