The question we get asked the most is “Why are you called Guerilla?” It happens so often that we have a quote on the wall of our office that we can simply point to in response. It reads “a small, yet dedicated group of individuals that employs highly creative solutions to overcome more powerful adversaries.” We often find ourselves in competition with agencies much bigger than we are, and we consistently punch above our weight because we realised early on that we could use our competitor’s size to our advantage by being more focused, more innovative, more agile and reacting faster than they could. It’s a philosophy that defines us, it’s at the heart of everything we do.
A good example of this philosophy in action would be our work on BENU, a pan-European pharmacy brand we created and launched with the PHOENIX Group headquartered in Mannheim, Germany. We pitched against agencies from all over Europe to win the business and were so pleased with the results that we entered it into the Drum Marketing Awards. On the night we were up against some big London agencies working for big brands with bigger budgets like Mercedes and Glenmorangie and we ended up walking off with the Global Brand Strategy of the Year Award! We didn’t hang around for dessert just in case the judges changed their mind.
Running a business, in fact any organisation, can be a lonely and challenging place. We’re working increasingly as strategic partners directly with MDs, business owners and marketing directors to enable change management of their business. It’s an interesting and collaborative way of working that encourages genuine insight based on clarity, logic and objectivity and ensures they are involved with the key decisions that shape their strategies and develop their business.
The discipline of branding has changed profoundly. The days when sticking a logo on an item with the right colour are long gone. We still talk about brands as a set of values, a personality type, but if we are serious about effective branding, the challenge is to translate this into a set of beliefs and behaviours – not rules. Modern brand communication demands consistency of spirit as well as uniformity of style.
A lot of our work is in internal communications. It is often overlooked, but in our experience, employee engagement is absolutely key in the success of any brand in the real world. Employees must understand and buy into the brand and its values, only then will the customer experience live up to the brand promise – and translate to the bottom line.
Marketing is a conversation between your brand, your customers and potential customers. Not only can customers talk back, but they can talk to each other. And if they don’t like the conversation, they can walk away – and take their friends with them. The art of good conversation isn’t rocket science, it’s combining the right information and the right services or products into a cohesive marketing message communicated through the right channels to the right audience. Marketing isn’t just about price. It’s about the conversation.
Empathy is an essential part of what we do. It’s not as fluffy as it sounds. People make decisions with their heart then justify them with their head. Understanding our audience, their motivations, attitudes and behaviours, allow us to see things from their perspective and connect with them on an emotional level to create strong, long-term and mutually rewarding relationships that place customer engagement at the centre of business.
Less is definitely more in our book. One clear, simple, memorable message has much more impact than many all clamouring for our attention. To get to this point demands real understanding, though effective communication takes hard work and sometimes compromise. But clarity and confidence are what count if we want to cut through the noise of a modern communication environment. Our approach is based around a three stage process – ‘understand, simplify and communicate’.
A lot of agencies tend to over-complicate branding and marketing, we see our job as clarifying objectives, solving problems and simplifying the process for our clients, when it all comes down to it, a lot of it is logic and common sense.
Photo: Geoff Foots (creative director) and James Allen (managing director)
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