Brand DNA and a slightly off-piste dream project

April 2012

It’s been an especially interesting and enjoyable last month at Hughes Consultancy, with work being dominated by a brand and marketing strategy project for a high-end kitchen manufacturer who sells direct through their own showrooms. And how has such a project contributed to the enjoyment and to a point over and above most other projects I take on? Because, culturally, this is a family business that is not only everything a family business should be, but actually everything any business should be.

If you work in big business and have only ever done so, then you might think that family businesses are fairly cosy affairs. Yes a few inevitable family-driven disagreements, but none of the politics and other unhelpful shenanigans you get in big corporates. Well think again, because I can assure you that all those negative things can exist – and more. This less-than-ideal working culture is often also not helped by individual family members holding positions which, in any other type of business, they simply wouldn’t be considered for. But back to my new kitchen client…

Rarely have I worked with a client where there is so much genuine enthusiasm, commitment, and single-mined focus on being the best in their markets. It’s a culture which is so evident that every touch point with the business and brand seems to be a positive one, so therefore I recently described it as their ‘brand DNA’. And a DNA which ensures that dialogue – and bear in mind that much of what I do involves a degree of criticism – is open, non-political and viewed in the spirit it should be.

If I could package this brand DNA and instil it into the working cultures of other businesses, I think I’d become a very rich man. But of course, DNA is something you’re born with, and that’s the very reason that the founder and owner of the kitchen business has been able to create the outstanding working culture he has.

So as good as it gets from a project point of view? Well nearly, but then in the same month I also landed a project to research a potential microbrewery start-up and produce a business plan for it. It’s a bit off-piste for me because I wouldn’t normally take on a largely non-brand and marketing project (though a key element will of course be about branding), but no problem for me to deliver it – it’s a project and I’m dead good at projects.

If you know me then you’ll fully understand my excitement around anything beer-related, and if you don’t know me then imagine an avid football fan being paid to become friends with the whole first team of their beloved Premier League club. Bring it on.

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