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Tardis Design
PO Box 27-195
Level 3, 39-41, Ghuznee St
Wellington, New Zealand

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It’s only about branding, honestly Back

Basking in the short lived but eagerly embraced position of the new boy here at Tardis, I thought the time was perfect for recording all those wide eyed comparisons and insights a new job and a new set of clients brings as I explore my new playground.

In my previous life, my schoolyard was filled with clients that wore the uniform of the “white collar” variety. Coming from an agency that dealt with the insurance giants, the legal big-boys and government heavy weights, I had become well accustomed to the style of branding, communication and perception manufacturing common place within their playgrounds.

My new school is full of a whole new breed of clients, often younger, always braver, more agile and infectiously passionate. The work and the results we’re producing here cant help but absorb these contagious qualities, so I inevitably came round to asking the question: What makes the relationship and results with smaller organisations work so well, and what learnings can be transferred to the bigger organisations?

Now I tread carefully here in what I say, as many of my previous clients I hold a great deal of respect and pride for the work and relationships I forged, but (and here comes the careful bit) with the objective viewpoint I currently look out from, one key point of difference has struck me hard, like a thump from the playground bully.


Honestly, its seems so simple, and the lip service so many brand teams try to pay to this elusive quality shrivels into insignificance when compared to the sincerity of the clients we’re working with here.

One of my first new playground friends is an exciting wine producer in the emerging region of New England in NSW, Australia. After a couple of plane rides, and a bit of a drive, I found myself on a school trip out to meet Mark Kirkby at Toppers Mountain vineyard high up in the beautiful Northern tablelands of NSW. They don’t come more honest than Mark, and his wine reflects this. Exciting crafted and rare varietals are coming out of the Toppers vineyard like their Tempranillo and Nebiollo offerings. Our job has been to take his existing brand and reshape it as it prepares to enter into a new market sector, targeting the serious wine buyer and influencers. While developing the Toppers Mountain new brand position, we needed to define the point of difference. It’s a no brainer really, boiled down to the idea of honesty. Express who you are, openly, simply and without any untruths, additional frills, or lip service. The result, well check back soon as we unveil the new brand, we’re proud of its stance, and so pleased to be able to work with people like Mark who have the bravery to go to market with an honest, and as such, unique brand.

Im sure the direct contact we have with the owners of the smaller companies helps to craft an honest brand, as do the values that drive the Tardis team to produce work that is real, and faithful to the offering. And the lack of cumbersome internal red-tape structures and processes helps our job of getting to the point a great deal faster and easier to achieve. But it still leaves me with asking the question; How would our perception and resulting brand loyalty change, if the larger players suddenly exhibited a genuine and frank honesty?

In a day and age where the consumer now has the ability and inclination to research and access vast amounts of information, and corporations spend billions on managing (manufacturing?) reputations, surely there are a few pointers to be taken from the SME honest approach to branding.

Idealism? Without doubt, but Like I said, I’m the new kid at school, and I’m enjoying the “wet behind the ears” status. Like my wonderful set of new friends, clients and teammates in the Tardis playground, I share an infectious optimism for the future roles of brand and design, which in today’s climate is a welcome relief.

Honest can shout at volume in today’s brandscape, lets press the mute button on lip service.

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