Paul Rouke
Founder & Director of Optimisation
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  • User-Centred Design

21st May 2014

8 min

Brand values… What are they? Do they matter? Is it just some marketing fluff? Do customers care? How do you develop them? Is it worth the effort developing them?

Back in early 2013, if you would have asked me what are the brand values of PRWD I wouldn’t have been able to give you a clear answer. We certainly hadn’t developed brand values which were visible either within the business or for people looking in.

It was in April 2013 that Katie Brunt came back into the business after around 5 years and this was one of the first questions she asked. Katie was brought in to take the business through a complete rebrand process, something which was long overdue. Here’s a little bit on how we answered this question and an explanation of what each of our four brand values mean.

Developing PRWD brand values

We started the process where we start all of our client projects; with our users. We designed an anonymous online questionnaire to gather some initial insights into our consumers, their drivers, wants and needs and what our target audiences perception of us was and what their perception of us was after working with us. We got some great feedback with some strong themes coming out. It was great to see the data visualised as it helped to illustrate to the business why there was a communication issue in how we were perceived vs how we were regarded after working with clients.

Perception of PRWD from those who had worked with us

Clients use us

 

Using the consumer research along with a competitor and market overview we  undertook an internal branding workshop with the whole team to take what we believe makes us special and condensing it into a few lines to represent what we stand for. We did a range of activities, most seemed on the odd side but it allowed us all to eke out what was important and how best to define it.

This process not only helped us to write a brief for the rebrand so our communications would represent how we work, but it helps us make decisions both business and marketing, as to how PRWD operate. So here’s our core values and what they mean to us.

Quality, then quantity

Here’s three examples of what this means to PRWD

Team

Our team is growing quite significantly and we are continually recruiting, but one thing that is crucial in our recruitment process is that we identify and bring into the business genuinely exceptional people. This isn’t just a numbers game of having more people in the business to do more work, it’s about gradually building up a team where I can look round at everyone and think “you are a genuine asset to the business.” To find Emma our newest recruit we spent months meeting potential colleagues, many of whom were very good, but not exceptional. The quantity in terms of team size is coming, but first and foremost our focus is on quality.

Clients

Since I started PRWD back in 2004, one of the areas I focussed on was working with quality clients, quality in either their size or credibility within their industry, or quality in terms of the type of relationship, or opportunities to deliver exceptional work. It’s never been a revolving door type approach to winning and then losing clients – its been working with quality clients over the long term.

As we continue to grow the quantity of clients we work with is naturally growing, especially as we have a very high retention rate. On saying this, when a potential client first makes contact with us we are looking for signs from them that the potential opportunities to make an impact on their business are significant.

A/B Test Hypotheses

Within any online experience, there are countless opportunities to run an A/B test. This applies not only to the top 5/10 landing pages, or the top 5/10 exit pages (or bounce pages), but within your key pages, where there will typically be a range of elements that can be tested.

Prioritisation of what to test and in what order is therefore an extremely important part of any ongoing optimisation programme, particularly if you want to build momentum and get buy-in for a data driven culture of testing.

For PRWD this is where our brand value of quality, then quantity comes in. One of our primary key performance indicators is the % of tests we run that deliver an uplift in our clients primary conversion metric. At the time of writing, evaluating the last 30 A/B tests that we have run across all our clients optimisation programmes, the % of these 30 tests that delivered an uplift in primary conversion metric (purchase, lead, enquiry, information request, appointment) is 82%. This demonstrates the importance we place on developing quality test hypotheses with a high probability of positively impacting user behaviour along with our clients primary conversion metric.

The quantity of tests that are run on any programme is an extremely important factor, as the more tests we run the greater compound effect we are having on the overall site performance – but before quantity always comes quality.

Test assumptions and continually learn

Being a conversion optimisation company, who are running A/B tests every single day, you would expect us to be testing assumptions, and you’d be right. When we developed this brand value, it was important we made it clear that we have assumptions, rather than just ideas or random thoughts of what to test.

How ever much we learn through testing across sectors, verticals, devices and overall online experiences, we as a team and our clients are continually learning. One thing I know from working in this industry is that our KPI of % of tests which deliver an uplift in the primary conversion metric will never be 100% – users are just too damn unpredictable for that!!

Continually learning also applies to how we go about our jobs day-to-day. By having a high quality team, we can continuously learn from each other. Personally I love working with people smarter than me across many different areas, as they provide me with opportunities to continually learn and become more experienced.

Work openly and transparently

For those who know me personally, I’m a very down to earth and open person so this has naturally been the way we have always operated. Probably the defining moment when I realised this was so fundamental to the business was when Katie (who was at the end of a three month summer placement with PRWD back in 2008) presented to me her marketing strategy for the business. It was the first time we had ever carried out things like competitor analysis, industry evaluations and other market research activities.

Here are the 4 key things Katie recommended we started doing in 2008:

  • Speaking at events and conferences to share actionable insights and expertise
  • Writing on influential industry blogs to share actionable insights and expertise
  • Develop a full day training course on our core areas of expertise, to deliver both publicly and in-house
  • Set-up and start tweeting out high value, interesting and genuinely useful content from both a personal twitter account and an official company account

The sharp amongst you will probably spot a trend towards working openly, sharing valuable insights, and not being afraid of being transparent about what we do and the techniques we use.

Fast forward to me writing this article and these four recommendations Katie made back in 2008 are fundamental to our approach in business, both to the outside world and when working with our clients.

Enjoy working together

Let’s cut to the chase. If you are employed full-time (and you don’t work remotely) then you are going to be spending a significant amount of your waking week with your fellow colleagues. As we grow the team, one of things we look for from those applying is whether there is a natural feeling that we will enjoy working with them. So far this focus has worked well, with a very positive working environment and on a few occasions playing environment.

ping

Enjoying working together doesn’t stop at the internal team. When we meet with potential new clients, in addition to us getting an understanding of whether they fit in to our “quality” bracket, we are also looking for signs that we will genuinely enjoy working with them – both individually and at a business level. It means we look to work with ambitious and progressive clients that share our values e.g are they happy to collaborate and work together with our team? When I look back on some of the business opportunities that have come and gone over the past few years, some of the companies and people who we would have been working with don’t leave me with any sense of disappointment.

In summary

Back in early 2013 I had no idea what PRWD’s brand values where. To now be able to write this article fills me with immense satisfaction and I hope it has provided a useful insight into the values that are driving PRWD forward.

Useful links

There are a number of links which you may find of use which compliment a lot of what I’ve shared here…

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