First up in our new series of quick interviews with Brand Managers from around the world is our very own brand guardian Neil Monahan.
- What is your name, and what do you do?
My name is Neil Monahan, and I am Head of Marketing at Brand Management Software provider Brandworkz.
- What does your company do/make?
Brandworkz provides Brand Management Software to companies around the world to help them improve their brand consistency, manage their brand content and ultimately grow their brand.
- What does your typical day entail?
My days are quite varied, to be honest. We produce 99% of our content in-house so making sure that all stays on track is an essential part of my day, we use our Workflow feature for that, so I spend a lot of time in our version of Brandworkz. I will check in with our sales team to ensure they have everything they need. I love data so will review the stats to see how we are performing in each channel and get to work finding ways to improve.
- What three words would your clients use to describe your brand?
I think they would say we are knowledgeable, hard-working and fun. We are solely focussed on brand management and the technology to make it easier to achieve. We have a small but very dedicated team who are passionate about getting the best software to market. I like to think we throw a good party too, which the team and clients seem to enjoy!
- What is the biggest challenge you face managing your brand?
I think the biggest challenge anyone managing a brand faces is finding the balance between freedom and control. My natural inclination would be towards more control, but this is wrong, in my opinion. You will strangle the life out of your brand if you do not let your creatives and other team members have the freedom to express themselves within the bounds of the brand guidelines.
- What is more important for a brand, look and feel or vision and values?
Haha, well I know in my heart of hearts that the right answer is vision and values, that is what makes a company and a brand. But personally, it is crucial to get the look and feel consistent too.
- What is your favourite brand right now, and why?
I think Zoom is very interesting right now, hearing my 87-year-old granny talk about Zoom was unimaginable a year ago which goes to show a brand can explode into the wider conscious at any time. My favourite brand now, and probably has been since I was a kid, is Lego. The way they have put their customer, the child, at the heart of their brand is something we can all learn from.
- When it comes to brand management, do you prefer the carrot or the stick?
I think it has to be the carrot. We have seen with our clients that when you encourage people within your business to express the brand as they see it, you can get some fantastic results. Internal competitions for branded content, sharing of new content, and the gamification of the process can elevate the brand to a different level. It’s always good to have the stick in the back pocket just in case.
- What is the best application of your brand in your opinion?
We had a brand refresh last year, and one of the leading design elements is an Escher like pattern that we call “The Brandworkz World”. One of our creative, Mel, took the pattern and created bespoke illustrations to use in some white papers we were publishing at the time. It was such a simple application of an important design element; it blew my socks off.
- What is an example of someone going off-piste with your brand guidelines?
Well, it involves the same Brandworkz World pattern. It is a large and frankly very complicated pattern when viewed in its entirety. Our design guidelines state that the full pattern should not be used, tight crops should be taken so as not to overload the reader. So, one of our sales guys, it’s always a sales guy, decided to use the entire pattern as a background on his Zoom account. Needless to say, the stick came out for that one!