Matty and Sean

From vision to reality: the essential role of strategy

At Agent, we love a good challenge, especially when it involves exploring new innovations within brand. Having recently delivered the new brand identity for Publiship, a world leading logistics provider in the print and publishing industry. Senior strategist, Sean Irwin, reflects on how strategic direction underscores every piece of work Agent does:

Why is strategy so vital in our work with brands? Simply put, it’s our mission to distil all the information, knowledge, expertise and insights our clients and their stakeholders hold and understand about the organisation, into the simplest idea that will inform the brand. This then becomes the compass that guides every aspect of our creative, digital, and communication recommendations. Strategy is the most essential part of our work – it provides the evidence base for all direction, ideas, insights, innovations, and helps our clients maintain a competitive edge. As trends in brand strategy evolve, we at Agent remain at the forefront, continuously refining our approach to meet industry demands.

Our strategic approach: analysis, creative ideation and client collaboration

At Agent, strategy isn’t just a service; it’s our guiding principle towards building enduring brands that resonate with their audiences and stand the test of time. Everything we do is rooted in the strategies that we develop with our clients. Clients that include Net Zero North West, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Publiship, Open Media and more.

The deep dive: a crucial starting point

Our methodology follows a similar approach for every client. We get to know and understand everything about their business, goals, challenges, and what sets them apart. By working closely with senior stakeholders through inception and project building sessions we start to get a clear idea of each area of the business.

The research and engagement phase of the project involves getting the most valuable insights. This might include senior leadership one-to-ones and focus groups while scanning the landscape and marketplace in which they operate, auditing their brand, the competition and looking at the opportunity within the markets they inhabit.

Turning data into actionable insights

Our goal is to translate this wealth of information into clear, SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals and objectives that inspire everyone involved.

In the case of Net Zero North West (NZNW), we can see how our work led directly to us shifting their focus from general discussions on net zero to promoting industrial decarbonisation across the region. By ensuring clarity of message, we’ve helped NZNW align its ambitions with the evolving landscape. This work has gone on to have an incredible impact across the region, attracting support from both Manchester and Liverpool Metro Mayors at their Manifesto launch, which set out their ambition for our region to be a global lead in industrial decarbonisation.

Understanding your audience: tailoring strategies for impact

Understanding our clients and their audiences is a big part of delivering effective results.

Publiship is a hugely successful organisation with decades of logistics expertise, spanning five continents and 13 countries. They set the gold standard in logistics with every single book they deliver by building strong long-term relationships with clients and introducing innovative practices and technologies into its ways of working. By delving into their world and engaging extensively with stakeholders, we modernised their brand to reflect their progressive outlook and market position, developing a brand strategy and visual identity that would resonate with their ever-changing audiences.


Another great example is our engagement with young people for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)’s “I am Greater” campaign. This highlighted the role of social media in inciting youth violence, shaping a campaign that resonates deeply with its audience. This helped to shape part of the campaign that highlighted the feeling young people would have if themselves or their friends fell victim to being shared on social media platforms and used behavioural insights to tell an emotive and provocative story.

I am Greater Bus Shelter poster

Uncovering your USP: defining your brand DNA

Finding out what makes a client unique is perhaps the most important thing we do as strategists. It provides clear, strategic direction for the piece and becomes the DNA of the brand moving forward, informing the brand territory and brand architecture for our clients – who they are, what they do, and why they exist.

Publiship’s success lies in its ability to put the wants and needs of its clients first, developing bespoke technologies and processes designed to create exceptional experiences. Our role was to amplify this message and bring it to life through strategic branding.

It’s all about growing together as partners, ensuring we’re here to support clients every step of the way.

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