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October 4th 2017

The road ahead

Greensquare’s Creative Director and founder Phil Westwood is relishing the challenge he has recently set the agency. We caught up with him to find out more...

You recently decided to take Greensquare in a new direction, what was your thinking behind this?

It’s something that had been on my mind for some time. But as many in my position will appreciate, this kind of process takes a lot of dedication and therefore time. Having made the decision to do it I literally had to go into hiding on some days. My main motivation was one of being different, we specialise in helping brands to stand out from the crowd, and therefore I felt we could do more to help ourselves. There are currently around forty thousand creative companies in the UK, the majority of these look and sound the same – they are what’s known as generalist agencies. I wanted to put clear blue water between Greensquare and the competition so when you receive the question “Why should I buy from you?” there is demonstrable and unequivocal reply “Why wouldn’t you!”

You chose to become specialists in automotive brand communications, why?

Principally there were two routes that we could have followed; specialise in a design discipline, for example brand identity or digital, or specialise in a specific sector whilst retaining the range of brand communications services we offer. I chose the latter with good reason. In terms of automotive it was easy, vehicles have played a major part in our agency since I opened the doors over fourteen years ago, and so as you can imagine this is a sector we know a lot about. You could say that we were specialising in the sector without actually specialising in the sector. We possess what I call the “three E’s” – Expertise, Experience and Enthusiasm, our passion for vehicle branding runs deep – it’s what drives us as a business and as people.

So if someone asks “Why should I buy from you” you’ve got your answer?

Yes, without doubt. We are the leading, most creative and collaborative brand communications agency specialising in branding, digital and print for the automotive sector. This means that in addition to our drive for creative excellence we are in a unique position to say to vehicle brands we totally understand you, your customers, your market and your challenges. We have developed a range of specialist services and one in particular I’m very excited about is the “Squareroute”. This is our three-stage branding model developed to support our clients’ CRM, which follows their customers through the vehicle ownership experience – we introduce a range of specialist brand activities during each stage to build desire, relationships and loyalty. It makes for a compelling alliance between our agency and vehicle brands.

Do you have an example of the “Squareroute” in action?

Plenty, but to make it easy I’ll pick the one on my desk right now. Bailey Trailers came over to us having seen our brand work for Fendt. We are currently working with Bailey on a complete brand refresh following a workshop. Working to our mantra of “right on the inside” before “right on the outside” we are currently creating a brand bible that communicates brand values and identity. This document will steer the various stages of the external elements of the “Squareroute” starting with building desire. This first stage is all about making strong emotional connections and is rooted in the creation of stunning content by harnessing the power of words, images, colour and experience to stimulate desire. We then move on to building relationships and loyalty; again we follow a tried and tested model that makes people feel special across all touch points with the brand. It’s worth remembering that brands are all about people, the secret is to keep connecting with them, keep innovating.

Are you concerned about being too blinkered with such a specialist focus?

Not at all. I don’t buy into this notion that you have to work across so many sectors to keep the creative juices flowing, I believe that’s an excuse rather than a reason. I think any creative worth their salt is always on the look out for inspiration, it’s those moments when you think “hang on, I remember seeing” that brings the element of magic to an idea and helps it to flourish. As an agency we’ve always been creatively led, you could say that as a designer it’s my Achilles heel at times, I have been known to keep developing an idea way past the quoted time, I close my eyes to the timesheet in preference to concentrating on the quality of the end result. In addition we have retained our third sector clients as part of our CSR policy, so we are not without an element of diversity.

In your opinion what are the challenges for automotive brand managers right now?

It’s an exciting time to be involved in automotive, we’re witnessing a sea change in the sector with the quest for alternative fuels, autonomous vehicle technology or swarm intelligence. For example, think about how we’ll be selling the “in cab” experience of a truck in future, there may not be a “behind the wheel” but instead “behind the joystick” experience that takes place outside the cab, what’s that going to look like when branded? I think that it will always be a case of content is king, whatever the direction vehicles take it will be those brands who are true to their values, are innovative in their approach and above all courageous enough to dare to be different that will be the winners. When all is said and done it’s about nothing more than asking people to love a brand by finding a corner of their mind for it, and what’s not to love about that...

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