The Senator Group’s ‘Teal Living’, A Brand Journey Interview

Chew PR interviews our Creative Director, Andrew Squelch for an article in Designer Insider.


Q: How do you start work on a new brand?

The process starts with a detailed briefing session between the client and our directors. My role is to ask the right questions and ensure we have enough information to commence our internal briefing sessions with key strategists and creatives. The branding process follows briefings and comprises of four key stages prior to launch.

Stage one of our brand process is Insight. The objective is to gain a rapid overview of your organisation, your business strategy, your product, the needs of the various stakeholders, the market and the competitive landscape. Our approach is a collaborative analysis of ‘The 4 Cs’ namely, your Company, Customers, Competitors and Context within the real world. Deliverable outcome from this stage is a presentation to articulate our key findings, trends and insights that enables us to agree together on the best territory for positioning your brand.

Stage two is Brand Strategy (Positioning & Architecture) where the objective is to gain clear articulation of what we want the organisation to be famous for and agree naming strategy. Our approach to this stage includes analysis of our findings and key insights to decide the best way to articulate the brand’s ambition in a distinct, desirable, deliverable and durable way. A brand architecture document that clearly articulates our point of view, purpose, promise and personality is delivered.

Stage three is Brand Personality (Visual & Verbal) with an objective to develop a visual and verbal identity to bring the positioning and personality to life. Three potential brand personalities are developed, each reflecting the new positioning across a range of touch points, followed by refinement of the chosen route. A distinct visual and verbal identity is brought to life across various example applications including brand guidelines for a range of applications.

Stage four is Implementation & review. The objective is to ensure that the brand is delivered to the highest standard across all touch points. We work collaboratively to prioritise and ensure the identity is rolled out in the most effective and on-brand execution. Production ready files for both printed and digital applications are delivered to complete the pre-launch process.

Q: Why is visual brand so important?

A visual brand is very much the definition of an organisations attention to quality. It installs trust with external stakeholder and adds value to products or services.

Today it is common for the first touchpoint to be visual. It more than likely is web based either on your website or a social media platform. The potential customer first sees your brand visually and a judgement is made immediately based on the aesthetic.

Although a visual brand is very important, your brand is in fact a set of associations that a person or group of people make with your company, product, service, an individual or your whole organisation. If your brand results from a set of associations and perceptions which people make in their minds, then branding is your attempt to engage a customer, harness them, generate, influence and control these associations to help your business perform better, and more importantly increase revenue or awareness.

Q: What process did you take Teal through to achieve the right brand strategy for them? 

A series of detailed briefing sessions and brainstorming meetings were followed by a positioning workshop which includes members of Teal’s sales team, Managing Director and Sara Jane.

We also participated in an interesting workshop which included Sara Jane, OC&S and Jeanette Percival from Rees Interiors. The thorough exploration of a proposed brand position led to a selection of products for launch, cleverly styled by Jeanette using hers and Sara Jane’s vast knowledge of design for both care and hospitality sectors. Sketches, cuttings, photographs and a sea of notes all contributed to a set of mood boards which became the foundations of hero photography.

Q: The message ‘design-led’ became part of the brief but how did you translate that?

Brand identity, language and tone of voice became the key drivers of this message. We created an elegant brand identity accompanied by a secondary marque to add a stamp of quality to marketing literature. The marque is structured using a set of four hearts representing care. Fashion inspired typography plays a key part in achieving the required visual standard for a brand which reflects both design and quality.

Copy sections with literature are cleverly headed with titles combining adjectives and nouns such as ‘Affordable Luxury’. The adjectives use Gill Sans, a modern classic sans serif typeface and nouns use the elegant italicised serif font Essonnes.

A range of design-led products were selected and dressed specifically for hero photography to be showcased within the launch literature. A series of creative compositions and simple product shots with a decaying mill backdrop provided us with a library of stunning launch photography for use both full page and with generous borders.

A series of luxurious patterns were designed to be used as supporting graphics for large areas literature and exhibition stands.

Q:  The Care and Dementia Show was a huge deadline for you, what did you complete for the deadline and in what timescales? 

It was imperative that the brand and all launch materials were ready for the Care and Dementia Show as this event was to double as the launch for Teal Living.

Initial discussions and brainstorming commenced in March 2016 (followed by the birth of my first child, Max on the 26th!). The first workshop was carried out at Teal’s head office on 26 April. This gave us roughly 5 months to complete everything.

During the five months we designed, developed and produced the brand, location photography and post production, launch brochures, teaser campaign including press, social and html platforms, pre launch campaigns also including press, social and html platforms, exhibition graphics, set designs, promotional gifts, bags and more.

Q: This is a high quality brand identity, how will it improve customer experience?

The brand is designed to promote a feeling of luxury and comfort. It was our goal to make the customer feel special by purchasing quality products. We want the customer to feel that they are creating luxury for their clients, giving them the feeling they are staying in a five star hotel.

A positive customer experience makes you return to the place you made your purchase. You want to go back. You enjoy the experience. This is reinforced with a good product. Teal Living provides excellent, design-led products.

Q: You put your research into the market, in your opinion why does the Teal Living branding set them apart from their competitors?

To my knowledge there are no brands truly like Teal Living. Teal Living’s products are built to a very high standard, especially since coming from a group of companies with such pedigree. The identity gives the appearance of a fashion brand or luxurious boutique hotel. Photography uniquely contrasts the feel of a British stately home with the urban decay of an old mill. Combine these elements with the vast amount of skill and experience and you have a unique challenger brand for the Care Home Furniture market.