What Is This Page About?
First things first. The reason this page exists is that this is an exercise we ask our own clients to do (not publish a page, but to consider what their brand IS in an existential way). They always want to know what this looks like in practice, so here is one version. Huge caveat, though, because this section of a “brand book” – as it’s known in marketing – looks very different depending on the company. They are as unique as the brand they describe.
So this is really an example of practising what we preach. This is the Engage version of brand definition.
As we developed this page, we realised that it offered some insight into what working with us is like, so you will also find those thoughts sprinkled in. We hope it helps. If there are questions we don’t answer, let us know!
OUR BRAND VALUES
Brand values are the foundation of the building we call a “brand”. Without values, how could any serious decision about the business be made? These fundamental beliefs define what we consider to be good and worthwhile about the business we’re in. At Engage, our values are:
Equality is a human right. Treat every person equally. No exceptions. In the workplace, the very least this should mean is equality of opportunity and pay.
Diversity is a social and economic imperative. Discrimination on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, skin colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital or social status, religion, lifestyle, or sexuality is not acceptable and must always be challenged.
We are feminists. We want gender balance, but we also believe every woman – in particular women of colour, trans women, and disabled women – should get the kinds of opportunities that are thrown at young white men in the name of meritocracy.
We want to see more women on panels, committees, and boards; in politics; and at every level of every type of industry. We want gender-specific data collected in surveys, studies, and medical trials.
Conducting business in an ethical way is core to our operations. We are completely impartial in our advice because we do not, and have never, benefited from any kind of kickback, referral fee, affiliate discount, or “partnership” scheme for any product or service we recommend.
We set our prices fairly, based on the value we know we can bring, and work pro bono on some projects. We make several charitable donations every year – typically around 1% of turnover.
Part of our ethical code is that we must agree morally with the business conducted by our clients. This means we will refuse to work with businesses if we feel misaligned with what they do (the tobacco industry, for example).
We believe in sustainability. We believe it is the duty of every individual and organisation – no matter its size – to be proactive in protecting the environment and tackling the climate emergency.
We look for eco-friendly options when buying products for the business and consider the environmental impact of any business decisions we make. We recycle wherever possible and avoid buying products with single-use plastic packaging.
We buy from local or Irish suppliers whenever there is an option to do so. We buy second-hand. We reduce, reuse, repair, rethink, and recycle.
We try to always act in the best interests of the client or potential client. This means nurturing our ability to see the world from their point of view, being open-minded and receptive to new concepts. We aim to do this for both clients and the people our clients are trying to reach.
Core to our way of thinking is that the best marketing is about great communication; we believe in understanding people, not selling to them. This is the approach we encourage our clients to take as well.
We work hard to continually develop our skills and share our insights and experience freely. We don’t see our knowledge as something to be locked away so that no one else benefits from it. We are not gatekeepers.
So those are our founding values, or at least the ones we aspire to. Sometimes, of course, we fail. We are human after all. But it would be so boring if we were perfect. Honestly, this is better! The reason we have written these values down is so that we can remind ourselves what they are and correct our course when needed.
Our values are our own, but not unique to us. We certainly do not use our values to stand in judgement of yours. It would be impossible to only work for organisations whose values fitted 100% with ours – we have bills to pay like anyone else!
The reason we share these here is because it helps to know something about the people you work with, or may want to work with. To see if we’re a good fit. Because that’s how long-term relationships are built, and those are the best kind. #notacult
That said, we won’t be a good fit if you use tactics like clickbait, high-pressure sales, spam, black-hat SEO, or green-washing. Swipe left.
OUR BRAND PRINCIPLES
Brand principles are the walls of our building. These make up our guiding philosophy and shape what kinds of spaces we work within. Our principles are:
- We want to work with great clients doing good things, whose values align with ours.
- We want to work with clients who trust us and will give us the space to experiment but also challenge us and keep us on our toes.
- We want to work in a collaborative, supportive environment with like-minded people.
- We want our colleagues to feel safe, secure, and fairly treated.
- We want to enjoy work and not dread it. When work is more stressful than rewarding, something has gone wrong.
- We want business owners to feel in control of growing their businesses, more informed, and more empowered from their contact with us.
- We want young marketers to learn practical, pragmatic skills and knowledge through our career development initiatives.
- We want to earn our money honestly, feeling proud of our input and the value we have created.
- We want to be helpful to our network of local businesses and collaborators.
- We want our business to be a net contributor to society and the environment.
We hold our principles dear, but it would be fanciful to believe that every project is a fairy dust-sprinkled marketing party where everything is easy and goes according to plan. This isn’t the movies! Sometimes projects start well but evolve into something other than we had imagined. Sometimes the results we expect simply don’t turn up. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes our client just doesn’t get it (that’s on us, we should have explained it better).
What About You?
You can see what we want, but what about you? Are you looking for someone to take care of problems without you having to even know about them, or do you need to control every minor detail? Somewhere in between?
Do you already have marketing knowledge? Will you want to be upskilled as we go along or do you not want to know how the sausages are made? Do you trust in the process or are you a sceptic waiting to see results before you commit?
We’re not cheap, so if you are going to hire us and then allow your 22-year-old in-house marketing exec to micro-manage us then you are not getting any value from our decades of experience (true story). We will fire you as a client, and that’s a waste of everyone’s time.
OUR BRAND POLICIES
Brand policies are like the furnishings that fit inside the spaces defined by our principles. Policies are what we use in our day-to-day work. But “policy” is a cold word, so think more patchwork throw cushions than New Labour manifesto. Our policies are:
Search is everything!
Don’t be afraid of new ideas
Transparency and (radical) honesty
Give more than expected
Look at the bigger picture
Create good user experiences
Focus on communication
Be generous with your time
Growth should be sustainable
Nurture your creativity
Measure KPIs or die trying
Celebrate life (with wine)
As you can see, we put an emphasis on good relationships where everyone benefits. We work hard, care about individuals, and always tell the truth. Sometimes we will disagree with our clients, but remember that we have peeked inside HUNDREDS of businesses and our advice is not just opinion but real insight based on hard business facts and actual marketing results!