The how and why of branding in the digital age

Jack Freeman


A brand is a gut feeling about a product, service, or company. 

It is a person’s gut feeling, because in the end the brand is defined by individuals, not by companies or markets. Each person makes his or her own version of it, and when enough individuals can arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand.

Branding in the Digital Age
Katch case study

If this is the case, how can we begin to develop a holistic approach to brand identity that is enough to encapsulate everything from our core offering to our values and the things we’d like to achieve as a company?

At Pixelfish we work to create truly individual identities – not with reflections of your business in mind – but transparency. Yes, we just used that buzzword “transparency”. Transparency, however, used in the sense that anything created is focussed straight at your ‘why’ and ‘how’ what it is that differentiates you from the rest.

Ask any individual to describe your product, service or company back to you and the chances are that they’d do a pretty good job. But ask them to describe what makes you different from your competitors and this is where you can find out a lot about what your brand means to people, and where there is scope for change in how you want to be perceived.

This is where harnessing your why and how is crucial. Truly great brands are built on ‘why’. Why they do things like they do. All businesses start out on the basis that they have something new and unique to offer or it is their approach that elevates them from the rest. Be it a product or service this inherently means that you have something truly unique to work from when starting to think about a foundation for a brand identity. We call this a differentiator.

A differentiator being a unique perspective that is crucial to your business’s vision going forward, at Pixelfish we work to encapsulate these differentiators into the brand identities that we develop. We start with the why and how. Take a look at the case study below, we worked with Arc – a nationwide event staffing agency with over 12,000 team members and 6 hubs across the UK. With their rapid growth they felt they had outgrown their previous identity and were ready to push their presence further as pioneers in the recruitment industry.

We worked with them from the ground up to initially deconstruct the inner workings of the Arc team and what it is they set out to achieve on a daily basis through a series of discussions and questionnaires. This helped us identify clear differentiators in regards to their “why” and we then worked to sum it up into a small phrase or sentence. Here are a few that we arrived at: 

“We are enabling every individual to access work that is truly fulfilling!”

“To us, work is change. A dedication -not only to a certain cause, but most importantly to bettering yourself.”

“We are working to redefine what it means to be an employee.”

Clearly, there were many nuanced “why’s” that began to spring up but one that seemed to really ring true was the idea of trajectory, that your journey was their mission. With this in mind, we then started to discover their “how”. The how being, how do we fulfil our why, or what practices and processes have we put in place that make it possible for us to achieve our mission. It seemed clear that Arc’s “how” was to do with providing opportunities and becoming a catalyst in terms of creating connections between individuals and jobs. After much more exploration we reduced it to its fundamentals – “Giving people the opportunity to develop not only their skills but also their professional and personal lives.”

We pulled the how and why into a clear positioning strategy and further distilled this to create a central unifying concept that influenced where we were to take their new identity but was also a transparent view directly into the core values of the company. 

The idea being that all individuals have their own trajectory, but Arc are always going to be there to help accelerate and guide you in the right direction!