Each to Their Own is creating brands for communities to gather around. We speak to the co-founders, Maddy Russell and Rose Radtke, about designing strategies and identities for community-driven businesses and membership organisations, and all the benefits that follow.
THE POWER OF BRAND IDENTITY
Community-driven business differs from the traditional model by its concentrated success. On top of the many benefits, including a high level of trust between business and consumer, the impact of community association can be felt in lower business costs and a higher level of scalability, answering the demands of said community and building alongside it.
This community trust not only helps secure customer retention (and consequently spending) but allows a business to build a belonging for people while also contributing their own energy to the business, combining knowledge, skills and expertise to help grow the entity that has helped its community.
The advantages of community-driven business stem from the base of community engagement, not only building familiarity but also allowing specific businesses to drive sales through qualifying leads; when people engage with a company, such as by attending an event, the business has access to a greater level of data that can be used to better understand its customer base and develop with people in mind. This in turn helps a business retain a loyal and frequent customer base, and ultimately own a niche in the market where it can grow and thrive alongside the community.
At the root of this success lies design, branding and identity. For companies across the globe – traditional and community-driven – these elements are key, reinforcing products and services through the establishment of a narrative that sets a precedent for what businesses are to provide. While design and branding can be considered the face of a company, the visual elements that customers and clients meet first, identity is the heart – the mission, values and purpose that lay at the core of a business, and what it aims to achieve within its market and community.
Based in the UK, Each to Their Own (ETTO) is an agency created to build brands for the community to gather around, helping deliver a strategy to community-driven businesses.
In 2020, ETTO founders Maddy Russell and Rose Radtke met through a community of like-minded women in business. While their passion and drive were similar, their skills were completely and delightfully different. Rose was all about strategy and words, and Maddy was immersed in the world of design. A creative alliance made perfect sense.
By 2022, ETTO had grown into a collective of talented strategists and creatives. Today, ETTO’s mission is to collaborate with good people, helping them to connect deeply with their customers and build better communities within complex cultural landscapes. We speak to the founders to learn more.
Q&A WITH ETTO
What was the initial drive and vision behind starting Each to Their Own (ETTO)?
Maddy Russell, Co-Founder (MR): ETTO started when Rose and I realised that our skills were complementary, and our impact was far greater together. We had a shared belief in the power of people to change the world, particularly when they pull together. It made sense to use our talents to help businesses bring people together to enact change.
Could you talk us through your agency model and the client journey and experience?
Rose Radtke, Co-Founder (RR): We design strategies and identities for communities and membership organisations. All our projects begin with a period of discovery, which involves lots of research and talking to people that are closest to the organisation. We’ll also do surveys, focus groups and workshops to get to the heart of the organisation. All this leads to a strong identity: the organisation’s vision and mission or purpose; its values, personality and its visual and verbal identity. We then apply the identity to the spaces that the community or members gather in, both on and offline, and work with the core team to define the community culture and member experience. We often go on to enjoy long-term relationships with our clients, applying the brand to templates and collateral and creating campaigns and content to help the organisation grow.
Could you tell us about your work with communities and member organisations?
MR: We’re entering an age where people want connection over material things, and businesses that offer an opportunity to belong are the most successful. Creating a community or a membership organisation isn’t easy though – it’s an art, founded on understanding and engagement, and brought to life around a flexible set of principles. We lead our clients through a process to understand the truth that lies at the heart of their own community or organisation and help bring it to life through branding, engagement strategy and heartfelt communications with the people that matter to them. Our goal is always to create a truly unique and inspiring strategy and identity that serves an organisation well for years to come.
How do design, branding and identity impact client growth, and why does this matter?
RR: Branding is a capital expenditure (CapEx) cost. That means it’s an investment into a long-term fixed asset that will benefit a business far into the future. A study by brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance found that a strong brand can increase the valuation of a company by as much as 20 percent. Investment in strategy and identity is worthwhile in the short term, too. A strong identity helps communities and member organisations attract and keep members. It can also increase the value of a membership as people are willing to pay a premium for the perceived value of a brand they identify with and trust. Having a strong identity, a solid culture and a member experience strategy helps engage and retain members, who in turn become the best kind of brand ambassadors. Ultimately, this reduces your paid advertising spend.
How has your vision of the future changed since you started ETTO?
MR: We started with an ambition to bring people together. Since then, we’ve been on a long journey of discovery and gained insight and expertise in the wonderful world of community building. Our passion for community has developed as we’ve seen people’s need for connection grow. We’re living through difficult times, and we wholeheartedly believe that organised groups of passionate people with common interests, skills and the will to do something different are the key to solving the biggest challenges of our generation.