The Brand Surgery® Christmas Opening Hours

The Brand Surgery® Christmas Opening Hours

The Brand Surgery Christmas and New Year opening hours

We close for Christmas at noon on Friday 22nd December 2017 and we reopen on Thursday 4th January 2018.

We will reply to emails and phone messages on our return,

We wish you all a fantastic Christmas and fabulous New Year.

Don’t forget to call us in the New Year on 01903 898977 to grow your brand.

We would love to hear from you. 

Call us now.

• 01903 898977
• 020 3904 7667
• 07909 693172

Please contact us if you would to strengthen your brand to the very best it can be.

We will make it flexible and future proof it so it is ready to face anything, however unexpected.

• Creative design
• Chartered marketing consultancy
• Executive coaching


Business Hours: 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Contact us today if you would like to discuss a new logo, website, or our branding / marketing mentor for your new or established business.

We are celebrating 15 years of building shiny, strong brands

We are celebrating 15 years of building shiny, strong brands

It’s The Brand Surgery’s 15th anniversary

Our original company was formed on 2nd December 2002. It’s not everyday that you get to be 15 again!

Why we are celebrating

The Small Business Association (SBA) states that only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. We are really proud of our achievement especially as 30% of  businesses fail during the first two years, 50% fail during the first five years and 66% fail during the first 10 years.

We started off mainly as a creative agency but soon realised that we would need to be more innovative to compete in today’s climate and we put our success down to Continued Professional Development (CPD). Since 2002, Victoria Vaughan has studied relentlessly for the benefit of her clients and is now qualified to Masters level in both Marketing, Executive Coaching and Mentoring. She is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management.

With the right planning and flexibility, we have avoided the biggest mistakes that some start-ups can make. Our core values mean that we constantly look out for and test new ideas that continue to keep the The Brand Surgery and ts client’s agile, now and for years to come.

Our core values are really important in helping us to attract the clients we share a natural affinity with, which helps us to enjoy our work, no matter how large or small the projects are.

What are we doing to celebrate?

We are making the most of our achievement and celebrating our 15th anniversary right up until December 2018.

The traditional symbol for the 15 year anniversary is crystal and 2018 is looking to be a sparkly, shiny gem of a year.Keep an eye out for our special anniversary branding treats.

Call us on 01903 898977 should you wish to discuss your branding needs. We’d love to hear from you.

We would love to hear from you. 

Call us now.

• 01903 898977
• 020 3904 7667
• 07909 693172

Please contact us if you would to strengthen your brand to the very best it can be.

We will make it flexible and future proof it so it is ready to face anything, however unexpected.

• Creative design
• Chartered marketing consultancy
• Executive coaching


Business Hours: 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Contact us today if you would like to discuss a new logo, website, or our branding / marketing mentor for your new or established business.

Marketing strategy and mentoring for public sector transformation consultant

Marketing strategy and mentoring for public sector transformation consultant

iESE are evolving from a government funded organisation to a not for profit limited company. The economic climate is good for us as we help local authorities to save money. However, we needed to let more local authorities know about our good work so we hired Vicky from The Brand Surgery to help us do this. Vicky came highly recommended by one of our local authority customers, so we knew that she not only understood marketing but she understood our audience too. Vicky audited our core marketing activities which has highlighted that we didn’t promote our CSR or our skills to their full potential. Vicky also suggested some great ways to improve the impact of our communication by segmenting our target audience which will greatly improve our communication to potential customers. We are looking forward to our next marketing consultation with Vicky as she will be focusing on our product range and helping us to integrate our brand values within our marketing communications.

Dr Andrew Larner

Chief Executive, iESE

Marketing mentor service for public sector transformation consultant

How marketing mentoring helped IESE

We have been working with iESE since 2010 providing a blend of creative and strategic marketing advice. iESE are public sector transformation consultants and we have fourteen years of ‘personal’ experience in local government serving at both officer and member level.

iESE’s objective is to increase its footprint in the public sector market and with our knowledge of member and officer behaviour, blended with our coaching expertise, we have helped them to repackage their products to suite as detailed below.

Marketing strategy and mentoring services for iESE

White papers and case studies to promote public sector innovation

iESE has achieved many firsts in public sector transformation; one of the most important is shared services and Adur and Worthing Councils were one of the first to share a Chief Executive and Senior Management team. The Councils share refuse, recycling, planning and many more services however, they keep separate identity where possible.

Of course Shared Services between two or more councils is the norm now and therefore iESE is busy developing new, innovative ways for councils to become self-sufficient.

With this in mind, The Brand Surgery has been commissioned to promote these ideas by writing the white papers and case studies. See details below.

Call Centre Research and Case Study

Call Centre Research and Case Study

This is an interesting project which we are still working on which focus on Nationwide Building Society call centre which has call centres throughout the UK. iESE has been coaching staff Nationwide in their call centres to continually improve customer service. This is iESE’s first step into applying its innovative tools to the private sector and it seems to have paid off – the results are staggering.

To create the perfect case study, we combine extensive market research and also interview key personnel which enable us to dig deeper. There is always a trade-off between promoting figures that matter that can also be sensitive, and The Brand Surgery are experts in presenting information in a transparent manner.

While researching for this Call Centre case study project, we learned more about a concept called Failure Demand which can be applied to all sorts of organisations. “Failure Demand, as a concept, provides great insight in the inability of the Customer experience (design) to provide for a Customer’s desired outcome(s).” (Wim Rampen W, 2009). In other words, if products and services were designed more effectively, customers would only call for positive reasons resulting in the perfect brand.

Marketing strategy and mentoring service

Marketing strategy and mentoring service

iESE is excellent at transforming the public sector, however, like most organisations, the leaders are wrapped up in their business which is a barrier to their marketing. This is why it is essential to outsource marketing strategy to a FCIM Chartered Marketer.

We developed a marketing strategy and marketing plan including a strategy implementation calendar. The strategy provided a customer segmentation analysis which showed how diverse councillors and officers are; they all have different KPIs and personal agendas. Our fourteen years of public sector experience is really helpful in creating segmentation profiles for successful marketing and promotions.

Creative design

Creative design

iESE has in-house creative expertise but occasionally, when the team is stretched, we provide graphic design services. Generally we are provided with a brief to which we deliver stunning results. The banner on the left is an example of a recent design where we followed the brand guidelines yet still add something different.

Case study - Aylesbury District Council

Case study - Aylesbury District Council

For this case style study, we were provided with bullet points and we created the copy and design from this. The objective is to promote iESE’s 3R model and demonstrate how it can help councils to become self-sufficient.

Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Planning Department has benefited from iESE’s work; the Planning officers are now more commercially aware and prepared. This means that when Planning is deregulated, the Council will be able to maintain, if not increase, the surplus level they currently have in spite of any competition they may face.

Do you need a case study for your organisation? Contact us today.

Looking after employees naturally protects your stakeholders and grows your brand

Looking after employees naturally protects your stakeholders and grows your brand

How do you know that your employees trust you?

The ILM Trust Index 2011 research reveals that many employees surveyed believe their organisation, CEO and line managers prioritise financial goals over ethical operations which causes distrust. If you trust your employees, they will begin to trust you and be happier, work harder, be innovation angels and ambassadors that buy into your brand and grow your business for you.

How to create employee trust

Creating trust may require transforming your company culture which must begin at the top. Now is the time to re-establish your values and remember your purpose. Remember why you went into business in the first place?

New era-leadership requires that you empower your employees to become leaders. Then they will become your brand ambassadors. Why not let your employees co-create your values? What excites them? Once you learn then, then you can create relevant metrics that employees feel excited about achieving. KPIs may include the number of new ideas generated or the number of exceedingly satisfied customers. How do you know a customer is exceptionally satisfied?

Organisations which promote ethical values will benefit from creating a trust dividend. “A trust dividend is a dividend that feeds into employee engagement and workforce commitment, and thus improves organisational performance. In order to gain this trust effect, though, CEOs and line managers need to set the ethical agenda and integrate ethical behaviours into the cultural fabric of their organisation.” (ILM, 2011).

Call Vicky Vaughan, PGDip MCIM on 07909 693172 to find out more or contact us via our contact form. 


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“We want to be happy and ethical” Listen to Generation Y.

“We want to be happy and ethical” Listen to Generation Y.

Generation Y don’t want cheap – they seek ethical behaviour.

Today’s young adults born after 1980 are known as Generation Y or the millennial generation – research indicates that they would rather experience life and be happy than buy new things (Forbes). How can the cost-leadership model align with this? An example of value migration in full force – post shares and views amounting to nearly 250k on the articles above prove this. If we look at Sports Direct Shares below (, we can see a significant decline over three years which may be due to a shift in lifestyle and not addressing the needs of Generation Y. Smart businesses will be adapting their offer to include the needs and align with the values of Generation Y.  A New York Times report says: “Rather than chasing the money, they (Generation Y) appear to want a career that makes them happy — a job that combines the perks of Google with the flexibility of a start-up“

Millennials want business owners to be different and show the love

There are three reasons millennials buy products or services, according to Josh Dykstra of Fast Company; they want to do something with the product, they want to tell others about the product and/or they want a product that says something about them. Millennials also care deeply about the well-being of the planet. Millennials understand that many products and services are made overseas, and they are not happy or confident that these products were made by people who were treated fairly! Millennials are employees and customers.

Not forgetting other generations, there is a general trend towards wanting to know where our products are made. We want convenience and quality over cost. Most of us know that if we buy cheap, we pay twice. We want to buy from people who are fair and ethical – that’s why there are so many comparison sites show pros and cons as well as cost. The proof is looking at the number of shares and likes on the articles I mentioned above.


Is there still a place for focusing on cost-leadership strategy alone?

Is there still a place for focusing on cost-leadership strategy alone?

The cost-leadership challenge

Cost Leadership is one Porter’s Generic Strategies and businesses following this strategy use techniques including economies of scale, negotiating preferential supplier deals and attracting low cost labour to sustain cost-advantage.

This article challenges the idea of following a cost-leadership strategy

Sustaining cost-advantage is challenging and it can lead short-sighted cost-cutting and shameless abuse of human resources. In 2016, the media reported that ASOS staff were “unable to take toilet breaks, being fired for having panic attacks, searched upon entering the toilets” (Independent, 2016), Sports Direct “are paying below the minimum wage” (The Guardian, 2016), and Unite union members “dressing up as Dickension outfits protesting that Sports Direct is a ‘Workhouse’ not a ‘Workplace’” (The Guardian, 2016), “Tesco delayed payments to suppliers to boost profits, watchdog finds” (The Guardian, 2016),

Not to mention in previous years: Ryan Air cabin crew “only being paid nine months a year and having to pay £360 for their own uniform” (Independent, 2013), Amazon’s “pace of work and atmosphere were unbearable” ( and “Amazon Forced Warehouse Employees To Work In Suffocating 110 Degree Heat” (

How does a cost-leadership focused business keep low-cost labour feeling valued?

One could say that Ikea is cost-focused, however, it also follows a differentiation strategy. Ikea keeps its costs down by providing most products in flat-pack form, allowing customers co-create their products. Therefore, Ikea is able to offer attractive staff benefits including healthcare.

Ikea is recognised in the Fortune Top 20 Best Workplaces in Retail. IKEA co-workers ranked their employer using the Great Place to Work Trust Index© employee survey; employees say they feel valued because of Ikea’s pay and benefits and management support co-workers’ personal lives – “the management are ethical and show day-to-day respect for staff”.

It was a struggle to find a second example of an organisation following a Cost-Leadership businesses with happy, engaged staff.

What do you think? Is Cost Leadership sustainable?

I question whether a leader who is fixated on cost alone, also has the mind-set to care about suppliers, creating a positive culture and employee engagement? I cannot find a cost-leadership focused business which is listed in the Great Place to Work or the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for. The number one business on the list is Simply Business; Stewart Duncan, director of data science says “… You can’t force people who hate their environment to do a good job … Customers only come first if our employees are happy and doing a good job.” 

What can businesses learn from from the Best Companies to Work for?

I urge businesses tempted to follow a Cost Leadership strategy to read the profiles and benefits on offer from companies within the “Sunday Times Best Companies to work for”.

If businesses are carrying on as per the newspaper reports above, then it will be a matter of time before an employee becomes so stressed that they have a meltdown and will whistle-blow, slaughtering share prices. The proof is in the pudding – take a look at Sports Direct shares which are worth £2.81 per share now (11/1/17) compared to £7.57 per share this time last year.

It is a proven fact that happy staff boost your productivity and deliver improved customer service. Customer service is a pretty good indicator of corporate culture and staff morale and trust is a key driver of employee engagement.


In my view, following a cost #leadership #strategy ‘alone’ no longer has a place because people prefer to work for #brands which #showthelove.


Vicky Vaughan is a Chartered Marketer and Executive Coach specialising in transforming brands through leadership development. Contact Vicky via our contact page or call 07909 693172.



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What is the difference between logo design and branding?

What is the difference between logo design and branding?

Why creating a good brand requires more than a shiny new logo!

I have just been speaking to a business owner who asked us to design a new logo because he needed to increase sales. Our conversation inspired me to publish this post.

Logo design alone, will not increase your sales. However, good branding, aka brand management or brand development, will. A good brand is formed of many elements which must be aligned in order to grow your business. There is a right and a wrong time to design a new logo and if your sales are down, it is more than likely that something wrong inside your business, resulting in your clients enjoying a better service elsewhere. Do you want people to associate your new logo with your business if things are not right?

What is a brand?

There are many definitions of the word ‘brand’, however, all brand experts have identified that “brands are a product of the work of managers who attempt to augment their products with values and associations that are recognised by, and are meaningful to, their customers” (Chartered Institute of Marketing).

So in other words, your brand must add value and make a positive difference to people otherwise it will be lost in the noise and disruption created by strong brands. With the help of technology and social media, control of branding has now shifted to your customers, therefore it is even more vital that your brand is squeaky clean from the inside out. Branding is a long-term exercise and requires more than a new logo design – it requires the marketing expertise of a Chartered Marketer specialised in brand development.

Why a shiny new logo isn’t the ultimate cure for business growth

If your sales are down, look on the inside, not the outside! A shiny new logo, alone, doesn’t make a good brand. If you create a product or service that your customers need or want and you provide a service which exceeds customer expectations, customers will be raving about you – instead of your customers. This is when you have a good brand. A professional Chartered Marketer will help you discover what your customers want so they don’t shop elsewhere.

What are your competitors offering that you are not? Understanding why sales are down is fundamental to making a positive change. Second guessing results in haphazard communications which is a waste of your budget.

How to get customers thinking about your brand

When your brand is recognised and trusted, customers will spend less time comparing your service or product against your competitors because your brand will be the first to appear in a customer’s thoughts. This means you can charge premium prices because customers will recognise and perceive your brand to be high quality. in fact, Millennials will pay more for a brand which is trusted – they want to know where their products come from and like ethical companies. How does your brand attract Millennials?

When is the last time you asked your customers what they want? When you learn what your customers want, you can exceed their expectations – simply satisfied customers are not loyal customers. Once you have cracked this with the help of a professional marketer, then you can think about a new logo design which will reflect your brand and which your customers will associate with trust.

How to make employees brand ambassadors

Can you remember the last call you made to a service provider? Rate was your experience from 1-10 – 10 being exceptional. Were you put through to an automated phone system? Did the employee you spoke to understand your concerns? Did they display emotional intelligence?

Now imagine your customers calling your company. How do you want them to feel? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most confident, how confident are you that your customers are always left feeling exceptionally satisfied when they come into contact with your company via your employees?

How confident are you that your employees are 100% engaged and spreading the good news about your services and products without being prompted by you? Only when the gap between your perception and the reality of good customer service is closed do you have a good brand. Empowering your employees by introducing a coaching and learning culture is the best way to achieve this.

Is your personal brand aligned with your organisational brand?

For customers to ‘believe’ you and to buy into your brand, you need to be authentic. You can only be authentic if you believe in your brand and feel passionate about your values. If you don’t, your personal and business brand will be out of alignment which causes all sorts of problems.

Remember in 1991, when Gerald Ratner said he can sell Ratner’s jewellery at such a low price because it was ‘total crap’. The brand was worth £120 million at the time of the speech but within days the company was worthless. How would you feel buying a product where the business owner laughed behind your back? To be authentic, you must believe in your values and your customers.

A good way to learn if you live your values is to write as many examples of how you have lived each value as you can. If you are struggling, then chances are ‘that value’ is not close to your heart. If that’s the case, how can you expect your employees to buy into it? Do the same with your company mission and vision – how excited are you when you read them? Do they still motivate you to continue to offer the best service possible?

How does your brand make a positive difference?

If you wondered why I had been studying and researching for the past eight years, it is because I am passionate about branding from the inside out. My pet hate is hearing about organisations which do not lead by example or brands that do not make a positive difference to my life. If I believe in a brand promise and then that brand that lies to me, I feel ripped off and my trust in the brand evaporates. For example, if my Apple iPhone alarm failed to work in the morning, I’d not trust it again. As it happens, my iPhone has never let me down.

Write down a list of all the brands you interact with from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed that night. Next to each brand, write down how that brand has made a positive. Did it exceed, satisfy or disappoint? How likely would you buy that brand again? What difference did the logo design made to your experience? Enough said! The Brand Surgery® makes a positive difference by empowering organisations to be the best they can be through marketing strategy, leadership development and creative design.

Hopefully you can now see why commissioning a new logo design “alone” will NOT increase your sales. That is why it is important to choose a Chartered Marketer to grow your brand. Choosing a graphic designer without Chartered Marketing expertise is like trusting a plumber with no safety accreditations; it puts your business at severe risk.

It is what’s ‘inside’ your organisation that makes or breaks your brand. Vicky Vaughan is a Chartered Marketer with 25 years design and marketing expertise.

Call us on 01903 824229 for a brand health check. Vicky will audit all elements of your brand and highlight any areas for improvement. 


Marketing & brand development for Business Improvement Districts

Marketing & brand development for Business Improvement Districts

Marketing & brand development for Business Improvement Districts

Marketing & brand development for Business Improvement Districts

The Lancing Business Park Intertrade Expo which recently took place at Rabbit Skips was another example of our marketing & brand development services for Business Improvement Districts.

We researched the benefits of local intertrading and wanted to encourage local businesses within Lancing Business Park, to reap the potential rewards.

This event is an example of our brand development services for BIDs and we were responsible for attracting sponsorship, creative design, marketing and PR and organising the event itself.

There are many advantages to working with local organisations either as a supplier or customer. Businesses that intergrade with one another are able to order products in smaller quantities which is essential for lean manufacturing. They are also able to save on delivery costs and it has been much easier to build stronger relationships with local business.

Organisations including Adur and Worthing Councils, The Rabbit Group, Core Cleaning Services, Sussex Transport, Gardner and Scardifield, 5 Rings and many more exhibited and the event attracted many guests.

Lancing Business Park is a Business Improvement District and is home to many outstanding businesses and it makes commercial sense to build relationships and collaborate with local businesses where possible. Many business owners who attended the Intertrading Expo have advised me that they have already benefited from meeting new businesses at the event and we are now discussing plans for next years event.

Is your organisation a good place to work?

Is your organisation a good place to work?

Executive Coaching Testimonial
• New Leader Integration
Leading change 
• Communicating change
• Inspiring / motivating staff
• Time management

"Executive coaching has helped me to see the benefits of change rather than the burden. This has helped me to think more creatively and tap into my skills for inspiring and motivating managers throughout the business more effectively. Discussing work issues outside of the business has hugely benefited me and allowed me to see a clearer way forward. I am genuinely surprised at how effective coaching is and would recommend Victoria's executive coaching services to all senior managers and directors."

Gordon Frost

Operations Director, Stagecoach South

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Organisational culture & brand development – how does your organisational culture impact your brand?

“Your culture is your organisation’s greatest competitive advantage … The most successful workplace cultures are built on trust which is a key driver of engagement.” (A Great Place to Work)

If your organisation is hoping to grow into a strong brand, you need an engaged team of employees behind you to deliver your objectives. For that you need to lead by example and create the very best organisational culture. This will help your business to create emotional appeal and attract top talent far easier, increasing your competencies and your competitive advantage.

Organisational culture is made up of a number of unwritten rules about the way things are done around your workplace. An example of a company with a healthy culture is a bus company I work with where the directors learn to drive buses so they can muck in when required, including driving at charity events – this has been an ‘unwritten’ rule since the business was launched.


The drivers of trust are: Ability, understanding, fairness, openness, integrity and consistency (ILM, Trust Index 2013)

The scoring criteria for great company culture is: Inspiration, hiring, welcoming, thanking, sharing, celebrating and developing (A Great Place to Work)

I highly recommend that readers of this blog take a look at Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work which clearly states what the employees think about working at each place and what the benefits of working for their organisation are.

The best place to work is Google (Alphabet), which serves organic meals and provides free health screenings for their staff. One of the worst places to work, according to Real Business, is Ryan Air whose staff have to pay for their own uniform.

Quotes from staff from the Top 100 Great Places to work include:
  • “I’m proud to tell others I work here”
  • “People here are willing to give extra to get the job done”
  • “Management is honest and ethical in its business practices”
  • “It’s a great atmosphere”
Signs that your company culture needs transforming
  • If your employees are playing dirty games to compete against each other in order to achieve KPIs, then this indicates that you have culture problems.
  • If there are rumours spreading and gossips are causing trouble, this is a sure sign that your team is unhappy and they don’t trust senior management. Without trust, there is no engagement.
  • If leaders and managers are not leading by example and are openly shouting across the office, goalposts keep changing, dirty washing is being aired in public, this indicates that your organisation culture is unhealthy.

Unfortunately, many of the companies I have come across who show signs of a negative company culture are in denial and therefore resistant to executive coaching when they are the companies would benefit most.

However, the first step is for the leader and senior management team to recognise that help is needed and that engaging in executive coaching is the first step to transforming company culture.


“The corporate world is an increasingly intimate space which calls for company bosses to engage more with their employees. The need to accommodate this change, however, is hampered by the fear of appearing weak and vulnerable, meaning that most businesses still suffer from an empathy deficit.” Belinda Parmar, LadyGeek (original source Real Business)

Each interaction with your client is a chance to add customer value, however if your staff are not happy, they may be jeopardising your chances of adding value, which is your responsibility.

The best companies to work for have one thing in common, they put people before profit  – in other words they implement Triple Bottom Line and profit is automatically boosted. Therefore, staff feel valued, trust the management, do a great job and productivity is naturally increased, boosting profit.

With many businesses having to do more with less, some staff can feel pressured. However, this can work in your favour. I recently enjoyed success with one company I work with who feared communicating change would cause problems. During our coaching session, I used powerful questioning which helped my client form some helpful strategies which he has now implemented. As a result of implementing the change strategy, his team are really enjoying the new ways of working and feel more valued.

How executive coaching can help to transform organisation culture

Trust, strengthening relationships, inspiring staff and employee engagement are key subjects covered in my Executive Coaching sessions. I am also a Chartered Marketer so this combined with executive coaching has proven to be really powerful. In a snapshot:

  • Executive coaching: This will help you discover your own strategies for motivation staff.
  • Strategic marketing: and Internal marketing communications:
  • Creative design: We design stunning presentations to align with your corporate identity and and generate the right kind of engagement from your employees so they help you implement your marketing plan, meeting your objectives.


Call Vicky Vaughan on 01903 824229 if you would like to discuss any of the above.



Brand development testimonial from Stagecoach South

Brand development testimonial from Stagecoach South

“The Brand Surgery revamped and relaunched our ‘night rider unlimited evening travel for £2’ brand across the Coastliner route in East and West Sussex. Vicky designed the visual branding which included advertising, leaflets and bus livery. She then carefully planned two launch events within record time in both Worthing and Brighton, carefully selecting the guest list, venue and itinerary for maximum positive impact. We’re delighted with the quality and organisation of both launches, the visual branding, the pre and post launch marketing.

Our directors are extremely busy so it is essential that we have a company like The Brand Surgery which we can 100% trust to get on with the job with minimum input from us, keeping to budget and deadlines. I am happy to recommend The Brand Surgery for their brand development and launch event services.”

Mike Watson, Regional Director, Stagecoach South