C eye is a privately owned brand and graphic design consultancy founded
in 1985. The company splits its offering into four main disciplines that
can work either together or independently. These are brand diagnostics,
brand strategy, identity creation and design, and graphic design.
C eye's commercial director, Jon Gold, says that being privately owned
has its benefits. "The fact that we are small and independent but able
to cover the whole spectrum of services through our strategic alliances
means that we can keep overheads low and ensure we offer value for money
to our clients." C eye says that while the audience and subject matter
make each client different, it always uses a common approach to its
brand solutions. Regardless of whether it is a logo, a staff magazine or
a piece of sales literature, C eye believes that the commercial value of
the brand must be communicated.
It strongly believes that even the most visually stimulating corporate
identity is worthless if it is part of a marketing communications
strategy that is bland or confusing.
Gold says that C eye's approach involves gaining a thorough
understanding of its client's business. "Successful brands are never
created on a whim.
It is only when you have a fundamental understanding of an organisation,
its culture, vision and the sphere in which it operates that you can
create a truly successful brand." He adds: "Our approach to brand
communications is truly holistic, which makes us equally comfortable
with entering the brand communications cycle at the back end (brand
diagnostics, positioning and strategy), the middle (brand naming,
identity design and management) or the front end (brand communications
design)." Clients include Consignia, Financial Times, NIG, Posthouse,
Powergen, Prudential and Time Inc.
The WPP-owned Enterprise IG is an international multi-disciplinary
branding and identity consultancy, although its roots are in corporate
design. The company aims to span the bridge between traditional
management consultancy, corporate identity design and internal
communications consultancy, bringing together teams of people from
diverse backgrounds with complimentary skills in strategic analysis,
creative thinking, visual expression and the means for putting the brand
promise into action.
The company boasts offices in the eight key economic markets and
specifically offers global solutions to corporations that have
globalised or are in the process of globalising their brands.
Enterprise IG is part of WPP's recently formed group The Brand
This group comprises consulting brands such as Enterprise Experience,
Lambie-Nairn, Coley Porter Bell, The Henley Centre and the recently
acquired internal communications specialist, MCA. The unit is a
dedicated "brand experience" offering that aims to provide solutions for
all brand identity and design needs.
The company has devised the four-step "brand alignment" process, a
business tool designed to help corporations develop and maintain brand
leadership across the whole of an organisation by connecting customers,
employees, business partners and investors. The ultimate goal of this is
to fill the missing link between brand promises and business
Enterprise IG's chief executive, Patrick Smith, says: "An organisation's
behaviour and environment shape its reputation and, subsequently,
determine its brand. Managing your corporate brand is about managing
your intangible assets." Clients include American Express, Coca-Cola,
Ford, Gillette and Merrill Lynch.
Boasting revenues of $100 million, FutureBrand Worldwide has 31
offices across the globe and focuses on delivering solutions to
companies in the fields of aviation, automotive, telecoms and IT, new
media and professional services.
Launched two years ago by Interpublic, the brand consultancy is closely
associated with the ad agency McCann-Erickson and is part of the McCann
Charles Trevail, the chief executive of FutureBrand, says: "The McCann
World Group sees us as a fledgling network. But for us to thrive it is
vital that our sister companies and owners understand the importance of
a single global culture." In March, FutureBrand joined forces with IBM,
a company whose agencies of record are the WPP-owned shops MindShare and
Ogilvy & Mather, to create an e-branding consultancy for Fortune 1,000
companies looking to stretch and differentiate their brands in the new
Headquartered in New York and London, FutureBrand offers brand
positioning, design, management and valuation, as well as packaging,
interactive, retail and industrial brand design. This offering,
according to the company, is achieved by consultant teams with
experience in brand assessment, name generation, brand research,
corporate identity, brand valuation, environments, brand management,
brand strategy, brand positioning, brand architecture, brand finance and
In short, lots of disciplines beginning with the word "brand".
Clients include British Airways, Coca-Cola, Kodak, Microsoft, Motorola,
Tesco, Thomas Cook and TXU Energi.
Imagination has built a solid reputation on the creation and management
of events, environments and experiences. It also boasts gorgeous offices
that are wrapped in a giant ribbon at Christmas time and the fabulous
Gary's Cafe, a staff canteen named after its founder.
The company was formed in 1978 by the current managing and creative
director, Gary Withers, and still is privately owned. According to the
company's marketing and strategic director, Ralph Ardill, the benefits
of remaining independent are three-fold. "Our independence allows us to
make decisions quickly as we don't have to go through the layers of
Second, being independent means that we can focus on delivering
inspirational work that works. And third, our status has allowed us to
develop a more personal relationship with our clients - a bit like a
corner shop mentality." Albeit more of a Dean & De Luca than a
Imagination's activities range from communications planning, retail and
leisure design, project management, multimedia, TV production, films,
touring shows and theatrical events.
The company believes that its strength is the breadth of its in-house
resources and creative ambition.
Multi-disciplinary teams have responsibility for conceiving "the big
idea" and for delivering the product.
Imagination began promoting the concept of brand experience in the early
90s. Its thinking in this area has infused much of its core business in
exhibitions, events and other forms of live communications.
Imagination's first opportunity to create a permanent brand experience
was in 1998, when it created a new visitor attraction to replace the
Guinness Hopstore, the brewer's tourist attraction in Dublin.
Clients include BT, Coca-Cola, Ericsson, Ford and Guinness.
Founded as a dedicated brand consultancy in 1974, Interbrand has
expanded rapidly through organic growth and acquisition.
Much of the organisation's work is management consultancy-based (brand
valuation, research, internal management). The company was bought by
Omnicom in 1993 and now has 26 offices around the world. The London arm
of Interbrand acquired Newell & Sorrell, the identity consultancy, in
"It's odd that when Interbrand first started there wasn't a market for
brand consultancy," Rita Clifton, the chief executive of Interbrand
London, says. "At that time the word brand meant packaging. Now,
however, brands are anything from utilities, football teams, charities
and countries." She continues: "It is interesting to see how many types
of corporate/retail/ marketing/design companies have now changed their
descriptors to brand consultancy. One of the issues in the business
currently is the potential polarisation between larger brand
consultancies that offer a broad range of brand-related services and
smaller design-based consultancies that basically do visual identity
work and call it branding. The problem that this creates is that it can
feed some common prejudices that branding is a cosmetic exercise. This
is not to decry the importance or value of design, but to emphasise that
it is only part of the solution." Clients include BMW and the new
identity Mini, British Museum, Fifa World Cup 2002, Oxfam,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Six Continents and T&T.
Siegelgale is an international strategic branding and internet
consultancy founded in 1969. The company offers a multi-disciplinary
approach to construct a unified brand experience both on- and offline,
generated by its four core business teams: e-business and brand strategy
consulting, user experience research, design and internet solutions.
Siegelgale specialises in working for clients in sectors such as
financial services, telecommunications, utilities and healthcare. The
company recently developed the "brand soul" for Abbey National's
internet bank Cahoot, which was then used by Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper to
develop an advertising campaign.
To head off competition from other new online brands in the banking
sector, such as Marbles, Egg and Smile, Siegelgale led the client
through the complete brand development process, making Abbey National
see that the way it defined its brand would influence its partner's
strategy. A name and visual identity was implemented with discreet
positioning and Cahoot gained 45,000 customers in the first six
According to Peter Gilson, the managing director of the London office, a
brand ing solution could help companies through the current tough
economic climate."Building brands and sustaining brand loyalty, both
online and offline, is never more important than in times of impending
We believe that, in the long-term, clients do not benefit from the 'one-
stop shop' approach that web design or advertising agencies may offer to
"Companies wanting to build successful brands, whether online, offline
or across multi-channels should engage brand experts." Clients include
ABN AMRO, American Express and Vodafone.
The Partners is a graphic design and branding agency that was acquired
by Young & Rubicam last year.
Founded in 1983, The Partners believes that great branding is
fundamentally a creative process and therefore focuses on the craft and
design elements of the process. According to Gareth Williams, a strategy
partner at The Partners, branding can create fresh opportunities for
businesses. "The real power and value of creative ideas is that,
sometimes, they can open up a whole world of possibilities that lay
invisible within strategic planning." He continues: "We have
consistently performed well in the league tables for branding
consultancies over the past 15 years. That's because we put so much
thought into what we believe the real issue is for the client before we
think of solutions. The mistake is to think that you have an either/or
between creativity and strategy. Without great thinking about the task,
you simply don't get great creative work." The Partners remains bullish
about its offering despite having made redundancies in September.
"Consultancies and agencies are generally far more professional and
better run as commercial organisations," Williams says.
"Design companies especially have reached deeper into the client
organisation and their business planning to become much more capable
advisors on more than just design. However, at its heart, this is a
creative industry and that hasn't changed at all, and that's why
management consultancies can't compete with us."
Clients include Boddingtons Bitter, Harrods, KLM (UK), Tanner Krolle,
Telstra,Warner Bros and Wedgwood.
Founded in London by Wally Olins and Michael Wolff in 1965, Wolff-Olins
focuses on the corporate market. By the end of the 60s, the
multi-disciplinary design consultancy was instrumental in establishing
corporate identity on the business map. Throughout the 90s it expanded
to become one of the world's most significant corporate/branding
identity specialists and earlier this year was snapped up by the
advertising heavyweight, Omnicom, which also owns Interbrand. It now has
offices in London, Madrid, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco and
According to the company's managing director, Charles Wright, a strong
brand identity has become crucial to the success of a business. "We all
know that the power has shifted towards the consumers and they no longer
want to buy into just a product; they want to buy into an idea. Products
and services are becoming increasingly similar. It's incredibly easy for
one company to copy another's advantage.
"The ability to differentiate can mean the difference between a company
thriving and surviving. In order to stand out, an organisation needs a
core purpose; an idea. We created the Bovis identity (the hummingbird)
in 1973 and, 30 years later, with updates, it still works." He adds that
the business was sold to Omnicom in order to allow it to pursue a global
strategy. "We wanted to join up with an organisation that would help us
grow internationally but also allow us complete autonomy. It is vital
that we are seen as part of a group and not as a subsidiary or dependent
of an ad agency. We want to be seen as working alongside them."
Wolff-Olins made redundancies in September because of the "fragile"
Clients include 3i, BT, Credit Suisse, Goldfish, Orange, Tate and Tesco.