A journey from profit to purpose
The Underscore journey began in 1999, when 3D was mostly the paper glasses you got at the cinema, the internet was still predominantly dial-up and the digital world was a mere speck of what it is now. It was a world more focused on outcomes than connections, with success mostly measured in sales, and of course profitability.
It’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since then. The whole industry has gone through a period of wholesale change where digital has transformed the way in which we can share messages and reach the people we are trying to reach. Branding has become a far more circular process where businesses are focusing on their people, their purpose, their personality and their planetary obligations.
So what about Underscore? After a year where businesses everywhere have all been forced to reflect on their own purpose, we’ve also re-discovered our own. As branding has become a more emotive and meaningful endeavour, we have evolved our position, where we now exist to better connect brands to audiences, insights to ideas, places to people and data to digital. Why? Well, people care about the people behind a brand. It’s this shared common vision and the deep, meaningful connection that drives those sales and builds a loyal community of people who are in it for the long term, and choose your brand over the thousands of others – time and time again.
So what really matters in 2021?
1. Audience First
This is a simple concept. It comes down to knowing your audience better than they know themselves.
The rise in digital means brands now have access to a wider pool of potential customers, meaning it’s even more important to understand and connect with the right people; the people who really care and will benefit the most from your service or product.
Test your assumptions. Be open-minded and be curious. If you get this right and make that real connection, the rewards will be boundless, as loyal customers are worth ten times their original purchase.
2. Purpose Driven
Having a greater ‘purpose’ is undoubtedly one of the most talked about topics in the branding world right now. As brands step up to meet the rising demands of the new generation, the movement towards businesses using its collective power for good is definitely here to stay.
We’ve been working with a growing number of brands to help them uncover their ‘why’ and help re-introduce a new sense of clarity. This clarity will inform everything your company does – from how you communicate with your audience, to the actual products you sell. It also makes hiring easier and celebrates the bigger picture motivation for employees.
As brands and companies think full-circle, we have too. Our recent partnership with Ecologi is helping us become more climate positive, as we invest in worldwide projects and begin to grow our own ‘Underscore forest’. It’s no longer enough to say we’re committed to issues like sustainability – it’s time to show it and take action.
3. A focus on digital
Digital has transformed the services we offer, the way we work and has placed an acute focus on the people we are trying to reach. It is no longer just a side channel and with more than half of our population now online, embracing new technologies can do more than save time – it can bring new customers, improve efficiency and allow your brand to race ahead of your competitors.
Brands must therefore ensure they keep their messages consistent across the various digital channels, so that the personal connection to your brand cannot be lost amongst multiple narratives. Mixed messaging and un-targeted content will hinder a brand’s impact; harming potential brand loyalty and recognition.
When we created a digital suite for Insignia to reach their ultra-high net-worth members with unique offers and benefits, we tested every potential touchpoint along their various customer journeys, ensuring we created a user experience that was both authentic and importantly far more personal.
4. It’s all about the experience
With so much noise, customers today are moving toward brands that listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. In fact, 80% said they’d be more likely to do business with a company that offers a more personalised experience.
Adding a sense of personality to a brand is invaluable – especially in the rapidly emerging world of technology. Our team recently worked on adding multiple layers of personality to the AI pocket travel assistant “SAM” which is an app that uses data to predict the user’s needs before they’ve even thought of them. This personalised offer helped to forge a more emotional connection with the app users and this in turn developed a renewed sense of brand loyalty for this award winning new development.
A more lasting connection
If all of the above steps are considered and followed, the connection a brand can make with their customers will be hard to break. We’ve certainly felt a strong connection to all of those who have been part of our journey so far…. and we’re excited and optimistic to see what now happens as we move into our collective future.