Editor’s note: Lucy Davison is the founder and managing director of Keen as Mustard Marketing. Davison has been in the MR industry for about 30 years.

The top mistake we see in branding for insights firms is choosing to work with a brand or design agency that doesn’t understand MRX, often because they think there is value in getting an ‘external perspective.’ They forget that it takes a long time to bring a non-specialist agency to the level they need, to be able to create a valuable, distinctive brand. Not only do they not get the value of what we do in insights, but these branding agencies often put their junior teams on projects - insights agencies frequently don’t have the scale and the budgets to compete with other clients - and they fail to understand the crucial differences in offer and methodologies. When insight firms hire these agencies, the results are superficial and generic - lightbulb logos and straplines all about growth or vision. These solutions are like lipstick on a gorilla. They fail to communicate the essential philosophy or point of view of an insights firm – only someone with an in-depth understanding of the industry can do this. 

An easy first step is to speak to a company with a track record of successful branding experience within insights.

First, ensure high internal engagement in your branding journey: involve people from all teams and levels. Run workshops in key markets and take on their feedback. Giving people ownership of the process in this way will make people brand ambassadors - proud of the work they have done with the brand and ensuring success. 

Second, once your new brand is born, focus on and prioritize internal communication. Of course, you need to have developed a strong brand identity which is engaging, different and stays top of mind. But then make sure you communicate this brilliantly to the whole organization. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Make sure ever...