I’m here to talk branding. Anyone who knows me knows it’s my Mastermind subject.

And, if you don’t know me, I’m Natalie Bell, Chief Engagement Officer at Verve which means that I’m responsible for all things, well *ahem*, engagement.

Externally, that involves telling the Verve story, our positioning and marketing (or what’s known technically as ‘EB – Employer Branding’) and internally, that means the culture and experience we build for our teams (what’s technically known as EVP – Employee Value Proposition). Broad right? The sweet spot for me that pulls both remits together is the power of a brand.

We have lots of people ask us what agency we use for our design, marketing, or events as they like what they see (the greatest compliment – I love receiving them) and I’m always proud to say that it’s in-house talent – talent that we’ve attracted (through the power of EB) and which we’ve nurtured (through the power of our EVP). See the link now?!

I’ve had a few calls the last couple of weeks with both new and established advisers (a couple of them are currently on the Adviser Incubator with The Verve Foundation) as they’re after some support in building a website, either creating from scratch or refining what they already have. All of those conversations have started with me exploring, ‘Do you have a brand’? Of which the answer has been ‘yes, I have a logo’. A logo is important, but it’s just one step (usually comes much later) in the branding process. A brand is your identity:

– it’s your tone of voice (and choice of language)

– it’s the imagery you use (or don’t use)

– the colour palette you choose (and how and where you use it)

– the use of typography and fonts (another of my Mastermind topics/soap boxes)

– the story you tell (and how you tell it)

It’s all those things blended together, that make up your visual identity first. Not a logo, no matter how clever it is. The true test of a strong brand is the ability to remove your logo, and yet still be able to say what company it is. Do the test on your website / marketing collateral and see if stands up. Better still, do it on your competitors too – I’d love to know how you get on.

Of course, there’s so much more than a strong brand that goes into building a great website – SEO, engaging content, impact case studies, marketing campaigns to drive traffic – but in true Mastermind fashion, my two minutes is up.


Natalie Bell, Chief Engagement Officer

The Verve Group