Using words to define your brand

When Scriba’s story began, the idea came first. A vision, a sense of purpose surrounding what the business would do, and why. Then came the name, then the logo – in that order.

In truth, this is probably how most organisations’ identities unfold, isn’t it? It’s a stark reminder – from the off – that a brand is about far more than just a logo.

So, nine years after Scriba was initially established, the logo was something I was still fairly comfortable with. And the name. But how we spoke about ourselves needed a refresh. Unsurprising perhaps, for a team of linguists – we wanted to think about the words we use to define us, to ensure they were still relevant.

Because Scriba was once a single person’s passion. It now must ignite a fire in the belly of 16 people and counting.

The proposition from day one was proudly distinct – providing content-based services for businesses who thought their stories were too complex to tell. And the personality mattered to me from the very beginning. Professional, yet refreshingly non-corporate. Unashamedly nerdy at times, as Scriba’s words can drive incredible bottom line results. An approach full of grit and energy. While not afraid to have fun at the same time – why can’t hard work and decency come hand in hand?

Difficulties can come with a niche focus of course. If you’re truly committed to providing a specific type of services to a certain group of customers, you put your eggs firmly in one basket. Yet I was confident the size of market opportunity was big enough, if we did what we said we would do, and our reputation grew.

Still, along the way, I’ve encountered:

• People who know very little about PR – “you can’t succeed in business just by smiling you know.” (No shit, Sherlock – but you don’t have to be a hideous human being either!)

• A gender imbalance – “that’s a brave outfit to wear to this conference.” (It was a very dull navy shift dress by the way!)

• Apparent ‘happy haters’ who claimed Scriba was merely a lifestyle business because of all the ‘fluffy stuff’ the company offered its staff.

(Plus, a pandemic, a couple of kids, a broken back, surgery to remove a tumour, and a foot-long blood clot – never a dull moment!)

But however clichéd it may sound, every tricky conversation, obstacle, or decision, validated Scriba’s purpose all the more. We got through it all because we knew who we were. And as the team grew, they banged the same drum. In fact, clients and partners started describing the company just like I would. This wasn’t them reading from a brand script. They were summing up how we behave and why we exist, in their own words – which to me, hopefully evidenced just how genuine our story was.

Fast forward to 2021 – with the size of the team having reached double digits – it was simply time to write the next chapter. One that would narrate how far we’ve come and where we’re going next. Not because there are any huge curveballs on the horizon. Or because we disliked everything we’d done so far. But with 16 people now living and breathing Scriba’s values every day – and a client roster packed with proof that we mean what we say – it was time. Like a coming of age.

Our website didn’t previously do us justice, but the project didn’t start there. With the invaluable help of The Engine Room, we re-evaluated and redefined our proposition, principles, and personality – all of us, as a team. Once our new set of words came to life, we enhanced our visual identity. And The Bigger Boat then built a website which brought it all together, digitally.

There are maybe a few extra services in our kit bag now, as we’re trusted with growing budgets and we know words can have an even bigger impact. There are certainly more client stories to narrate. Beyond that, we’re still the same Scriba. And the same things still matter to us – more than ever.

The sense of pride I have – in a team that shares the values on which Scriba’s foundations were built – actually leaves me speechless sometimes.

But our brand does all the talking now. Because our words mean business.

Back to all Words

Written by Katie Mallinson