In 2006, NZ Marketing interviewed ‘long- term brand strategist’ Brian Richards, in his all white offices in Newmarket, for an article that presented the views of successful brand strategists on how to build brands. Eleven years later the company name has changed from Brian R Richards to Richards Partners but the white walls are still there, representing the blank slate where each Richards’ strategy begins.
In the intervening years, the library housing an unenviable myriad of strategy documents has grown much larger, and the building next door now houses Chrysalis, an innovation studio that has added greater firepower in the continual battle to transform the businesses of a number of local and global marketing clients.
“The work we get involved in is extremely diverse,” explains Richards. It operates across a number of different platforms. We’re not experts in every one of them but we have a view of how to capture a company’s soul.”
The curious minds at Richards Partners and Chrysalis delve for the powerful insights needed to establish where their clients are and where they need to go to fulfil their untapped potential. The process is a lengthy one, designed to help articulate a client’s journey with a clear strategic vision and a collaborative plan for how to achieve it.
“You need great design and great storytelling, all part of a whole suite we offer,’ says Richards. “We move from strategy to implementation, including storytelling, design, and visualisation. We build a huge set of toolboxes for clients so agencies in different countries can use those tools – graphic guidelines, tone of voice guidelines and so on.”
Richards is determined to provide world class work and believes that any New Zealand business doing more than $2 million worth of business has to be looking to sell offshore.
“All too often small, myopic companies fail to compete when they try to move offshore,” he says.
“There is so much good IP in NZ that is undervalued because it’s not properly storied, it’s not properly branded,” says Richards. Customers have to be constantly reminded of the fact that you have a good brand, you’ve got to keep in touch and you better be listening.”
Earthwise is an example cited by Richards. They specialise in household cleaning, body and baby care. Richards Partners worked closely with Earthwise on the initial pricing model and their initial marketing plan. The brand 4 years on has grown rapidly, the company winning a Deloitte’s Fast 50 award in its maiden year and now established in most Supermarkets throughout Australasia.
“We looked at the category with our strategic skills and said: ‘it’s too elite, too high brow, this product could sit at a lower price point’. We developed the econometric model and won the Deloitte Fast 50 award. More importantly, the brand is growing in 2500 supermarkets between here and Singapore.”