It’s a cold, wet, winter morning in December, and we are fortunate enough to seek refuge and conduct our interview at the beautiful Central Square, Leeds. Just as we shake off the rain we are met with the warm radiating smile from Deborah O’Grady, Brand & Business Consultant.
Our creative Director, Sonya Bachra-Byrne, settles down with Deborah along with two extra warm Lattes before delving into our first interview promoting women entrepreneurs at the heights of their industry.
S.B-B // I suppose the first question should be how did you get started in branding?
D.O’B // I worked hard and was fortunate enough to achieve a graduate placement in an ad agency. It was an amazing experience where I saw brands being brought to life in print, TV and press…from that moment I was hooked and loved every moment.
S.B-B // What were the main challenges to overcome in the beginning?
D.O’B // …Going against the big agencies.
Although the best bit of advice I received came from Clive Gott, a motivational speaker, who said that;
“…whether you are Deborah working on behalf of your previous agency or Deborah working for the small one you have started – they still buy into the same Deborah.”
S.B-B // looking back, what would tell your younger self?
D.O’B // Simply…Believe in yourself – don’t doubt things so much; just go for it. Progress, not perfection
S.B-B // and again as that younger self; what style or trend from your childhood would you welcome back in 2019.
D.O’B // I grew up in the 80’s, let’s not go there!
S.B-B // Yes, let’s say the 80’s was a unique decade to say the least.
…Since the beginning of your career, from your point of view, how has branding changed over that time?
D.O’B // Branding was more considered; lasted longer and had a lengthier and more expensive process – the rise of the digital age changed all that.
S.B-B // For those who don’t know or wanted clarity when approaching an agency; what is the difference between design, branding and marketing agencies?
D.O’B // A brand agency is a specialist agency – research and planning is key when creating a brand to discover key insights, so brand strategist and planners are needed.
A design agency can specialize in branding, but also create brochures and sometimes packaging.
Marketing agencies are multidiscipline and help market the brand.
All 3 can offer branding, but its best to find out if they have a strategist and their research and planning process, otherwise its often guesswork.
S.B-B // When speaking to a new or established company what 3 main points do you consider when planning a branding strategy?
D.O’B // 1 – Always work on the brand goal, what does success look like for the brand, so you can measure success of the brand.
2 – It’s not enough knowing who your target market is, it’s about understanding what motivates them so you can communicate in way that they listen.
3 – Uncover meaningful insights to be able to create a company’s brand truth, the essence of what the brand is about what makes that brand stand out and be different.
S.B-B // Another fashion to keep you on your toes…If you had any designer to choose from who would you wear?
D.O’B // Ooh, I like Isobel Marant – I love her bohemian style, her items are so easy to wear.
S.B-B // What is the best advice you would give to new labels when thinking about their branding?
D.O’B // Find the value that you are giving to your customers, consider the customer journey. Are you delivering your brand promise through all touchpoints: products, messaging, marketing, your staff?
Do the groundwork; research is key – Understand your competitor advantage.
Be true to yourself and what you stand for, brands can lose their way once they grow.
S.B-B // and what does branding signify to you and how do you support brands to stand out in a crowded market?
D.O’B // It’s not just about the logo, the logo is just one-way of communicating your brand. Each brand offers something different in a different way, it’s crucial to find out what that ‘thing’ is and communicate it consistently.
S.B-B // Aspirations for the future? What would you like to achieve next for Deborah O’Grady agency?
D.O’B // My mission for 2019 is to help more entrepreneurs gain clarity and help them build successful brands with a sound strategy for growth.
I’m excited to be launching workshops within Yorkshire in the new year the first one is a Brand and PR Masterclass and the following Saturday a Brand styling workshop.
S.B-B // Final question and it relates to fashion once again. It’s awards night, and your celebrating reaching all your personal and career goals as a business woman; what’s your go to outfit to display your inner strength.
D.O’B // Something bold and bright
A Perfect answer to end a friendly and fun interview with a strong and professional woman, rocking our Biker 1.0 with effortless confidence.
It was a true pleasure meeting and getting to know Deborah.
We are honoured to provide you all with links to Deborah’s upcoming events in addition to her contact information in case any of you out there want to get in touch to discuss any help you might need.
And a big thank you to Richard Clarke and all the staff at Central Square, Leeds, who I am sure we will be collaborating again with in the near future.