Friday 1st July 2022


Delivering on promises is an expectation that marketing and advertising teams have always had to contend with. But as the cost-of-living crisis deepens across the UK and with our economy showing no signs of uplift in the immediate future, brands are finding themselves under increasing scrutiny.


A recent survey found that 63% of consumers said their expectations of brands had increased around product delivery, improving people’s lives and their role in society. A time for having the best logo has passed as people crave more from the businesses they spend their money with.

At Different Narrative, branding and advertising are key elements of our end-to-end full service creative agency. CEO Kieron Goldsborough and executive chair Ben Quigley have looked at three top tips to health-checking your brand and navigating the choppy waters of branding in 2022.

Work smarter, not harder

When P&O Ferries hit the headlines in March by sacking 800 employees on the spot without notice, it didn’t just become a crisis comms exercise for the British shipping firm, but also for Southampton-based P&O Cruises. It would have been easy for P&O Cruises to just weather the storm with positive branding exercises and PR stories to halt the swathes of people who were cancelling bookings.

Instead, they were smart. Crisis comms requires fast action and P&O Cruises were on the ball. A swift advertising campaign turned a PR challenge into a PR opportunity. Including the line ‘Our names may both begin with P&O. But that’s where the similarity ends.’ not only distanced their business from the crisis at P&O Ferries but served to remind them that their values do not match with the poor treatment of employees.

Be aware of sensitivities

The energy crisis has brought into focus the key players, not only on a national level, but a global scale. While many businesses go bust, BP, Shell, and Centrica are sweeping up their consumers. As Joe Public decides whether to put the heating on or to make a meal instead, BP has been announcing huge profits. It’s led to cries of ‘greed’ as petrol prices sit at a record high following 50% surges in cost in 2021, but more crucially, there are calls for a windfall tax on the sector that would enable the Government to discount energy and fuel prices for UK residents.

All in all, now’s not the time for BP, or other brands in the same position, to be lauding it over the sector. Think about current consumer moods and be mindful of sensitivities.

Find common ground with your audience

Advertising your brand is usually centred on positivity. It might be a product launch, new service line, or a reminder that you’re the best at what you do. But there’s a time and a place. The most successful brands are the ones that are in-tune their target audience. When Eldon Square approached Different Narrative, it followed the news of INTU’s administration. Eldon Square was keen to spread the business-as-usual message for customers of this much-loved shopping centre, and distance themselves from association with the failed INTU corporate giant.

The word ‘administration’ sparks panic, but with our help, Eldon Square was able to position itself as a shopping centre keen to reconnect with its Geordie roots, recapturing a brand that encapsulates the heart and soul of Newcastle.


Elsewhere, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising commissioned a survey of 2000 adults which found that keeping prices fair was a top priority for consumers. 57% of respondents said the best way brands could support them through the cost-of-living was to keep prices fair, while more than a third (36%) called for price freezes on value-range products and services.

33% wanted more value for money promotions and 30% stated they’d like to see existing customer loyalty rewarded.

To get more tips on branding and marketing, get in touch with the team at

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