Anna Cowie is a founding partner of The PixelPusher Ltd and an expert member of The DecorCafe Network, supporting our home business members to define and create their brands.
We met up with her recently to find out what she means by brand DNA and what makes her own brand unique:
D: What is Brand DNA?
A: I established a Brand DNA system to help companies create and evolve their brands so their customers will want to engage. Branding isn’t a collection of colours or a favoured font; it’s an integral digging deep into how you want to be perceived. It’s about finding that nugget, that something unique that speaks to your audiences. To stand out from the chaos, you need to communicate a brand message in simple, clear elements. By delving into your brand’s DNA, you reap a design blueprint to match the look and feel of your products to your brand’s attributes.
D: What does Brand DNA mean for you personally?
A: Design is literally in my genes! My great-great-grandfather, Henry Lewis, was “Keeper of the Jewels” and was entrusted along with William Morris to return royal treasure that included jewels, paintings valuable linens and even furniture to Hannover after the Neapolitan wars ended.
Henry designed elaborate cylinder book stands on tables for King George IV and Queen Charlotte in 1822, and lived within Windsor Castle grounds with his wife and five children as “Upholsterer in Ordinary”. Henry’s father was Head Court Decorator at Hannover. Later, Henry’s family with a royal warrant moved their business to No. 26 High Street Windsor to the Goertz shop (postcard image). Henry’s tables, carved from rose wood with brass knobs and tumbler locks, measured 3’2” by 5’6” with tiers of revolving bookshelves and decorated by claws and embossed casters. One of these tables was destined to become a writing desk and send to the Prince Regent’s London residence, Carlton Palace.
With this family background, it’s perhaps no surprise that I went into design. I have experienced some amazing career highlights including flying out to Dubai for the branding of the Emirates Airlines head offices and winning ‘Freelancer of the Year’ amongst design and advertising recruitment businesses, of which I am very proud. It was very exciting to walk into a Virgin Megastore and know that the day to day design and branding developments were all my own work!
Spencer and I worked on the “Turn Camden On” revamp for Camden Town, which led to a project for Croydon, creating infographics and branding documents for the town’s development plans.
D: Do you have a DNA story from The DecorCafe network?
A: We helped Jane Michell, to launch Jane Plan diet delivery, with her vibrant and unique packaging designs and illustrations. In Jane’s words: “…They were absolutely fantastic. Their creativity speaks for itself, their keen eye and attention to detail are incredible and their ability to completely understand the brand is spot on!”
D: So how does a home business get started with your DNA system?
A: It’s good to get to know your own personal drivers, and those of everyone in business with you. Build vision boards in order to inspire and motivate everyone so that in turn they give their very best to the brand. Not everyone is driven by career climbing.
Part of the Brand DNA process is getting to know your customer also, and what their drivers are. Then align your brand to brands they aspire to buy from. Get personal: does your ideal customer walk to work or drive a BMW? Do they drink coffee from the corner cafe, or tea at the Wolseley? This will help you to speak to them about your brand in a way that connects.
Palm Springs Wedding at the Viceroy.
D: Thank you so much for sharing your expertise
A: I have found my niche in the DecorCafe Network. It is in my DNA to help home businesses just like me and I am looking forward to going on more journeys with DecorCafe members to help them discover their Brand DNA and fulfil their branding and marketing wishes.