18705A strong brand is one of the most important assets a business can own. Whatever your size and whatever your industry, how your buyers perceive your organisation, the products you sell or the services you offer, is all down to branding, or lack of it.

So who has got it right during the last 12 months?

Unwritten Creative’s directors Lisa Eaton and Amy Jackson give their verdict on the best branding campaigns of the year. 

This Girl Can – Sport England http://www.sportengland.org/our-work/national-work/this-girl-can/

Branding campaigns should always start with the needs and desires of your buyer and not with the brand or business. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign did this brilliantly, focusing on strong, talented, fit women and girls to show that sport is just as much for the female population as it is for the men. It told the real stories of real women who exercise and play sport, whether professionally or just for fun. 

Ikea, The Power of a BookBook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOXQo7nURs0

While it may seem old school in this digital era, to send a catalogue out to existing and potential customers, it is still very effective for the right buyer. Ikea took at tongue-in-cheek look at its own strategy by calling its catalogue the BookBook and making a video about it. At Unwritten Creative we design leaflets for The Original Factory Shop, which effectively act as a mini catalogue. Although we also developed a strong online version, for this particular client it’s our leaflets that generate millions of pounds worth of revenue each week.

Heinz, Get Well Soup http://wearesocial.net/getwellsoup/

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is definitely Heinz’s philosophy when it comes to its regular winter campaign. This is another great example of not focusing on the business, the product or the services, but of concentrating on your buyers. Heinz teamed up with the Starlight Children’s Charity to raise money for seriously and terminally-ill children by creating special tins with get well messages on them. Recognising that when people are poorly they generally want a warming bowl of soup, the multi-national has brought its message back for the fifth year running. 

“It Happens Here” – Ogilvy & Mather for 28 Too Many/FGM http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11699603/FGM-Ogilvy-campaign-wins-Cannes-Lion-awards.html

There are times when a campaign needs to deal unflinchingly with tough subject matters and Ogilvy & Mather’s It Happens Here is just such a campaign. It uses national flags, sewn together, to make the hard-hitting point that female genital mutilation happens all over the globe and is not just a problem in the third world. 

Impact Echo for Honda http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2015/honda-voice-guidance-vs-confusing-locals/

Any project which nods to the Mr Men books has to be good. Honda’s campaign features people from around the world giving directions with elongated arms that wouldn’t look out of place on Mr Tickle. The task was to let car buyers know about a new navigation system which would cut out any need to stop to ask for confusing directions.  

Grey London for The Sunday Times http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/04/13/victoria-beckham-sir-elton-john-and-more-reimagined-yo-yos-sunday-times-rich-list

The Sunday Times tapped into our national obsession with celebrity culture when they launched a project to encourage readers to pick up their copy of the Sunday Times rich list. Graphics featured yo-yos emblazoned with celebrity faces, including Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger to galvanise interest about how famous designers, singers and entrepreneurs have risen or dropped in the ratings.

Newcastle Gateshead Initiative / Visit England http://www.newcastlegateshead.com/englands-north/vibrant-cities

Of course, a run-down of the best branding campaigns of 2015 wouldn’t be complete without one of our own. Earlier this year, we created the ‘New’ campaign to promote the launch of the United Airlines direct flight from New York to Newcastle. This campaign was the first part of the Northern Tourism Growth Fund, a £10m government-funded international tourism programme managed by Visit England. 

We set to work developing concept, campaign name, branding and marketing collateral that encouraged US travellers to visit the North of England via Newcastle International Airport. Our campaign concentrated on the history, heritage and world-renowned friendliness of the region and supported a media partnership with Lonely Planet and media visit programme to raise awareness of the North of England.