I don’t believe in USPs. Almost nothing is unique and if it is unique, someone will try to copy it.
What I do believe in though is a key set of overlapping strengths that together create a model which is hard to replicate. A veritable barrier to entry to any market. That said, when I first took up the LSP reins and considered LSP’s brand and its place in the market, I didn’t believe that one of my proudest early moments would be to put coloured paint on the internal walls of the buildings.
Stark white simply did not chime with the warm, innovative words which populated my then website, so there had to be colour. Now of course, once you choose a colour, the key question is, what colour is a science park? What colour represents innovation, or collaboration or indeed both. What logo represents a science park?
Do you need a logo? Did it matter that our logo resembles variously a chemical compound, an aerial view of our neighbouring cathedral or a ship’s wheel? Then you ask yourself, what is LSP? Do we really know why people buy our services? Do these chime with what we think we sell? Did our website reflect the key aspects we sold or did it simply have nice pictures on which might win awards but not reinforce who we are?
With 12 years experience and three years’ back to back profits in the bank, now seemed as good a time as any to go back to basics. We certainly wanted a new website, we certainly wanted to drive more traffic to our new website, but without clarity on the LSP offer, we might simply exacerbate any existing misconceptions. Choosing our a branding and web development partner, Elephant Digital, to lead the project was the easy bit. Asking our customers in detail why they chose us felt slightly braver. Was it our corporate good looks, wit and charm, or was it the quality of our free coffee? We’d soon find out.
We thought our tenants valued our team, our flexibility, the quality of our tenant base, our location and our university links. Gratifyingly, this was confirmed in the tenant feedback, although I had probably underestimated how much the LSP community valued the quality and diligence of my in-house team.
This month we are set to launch our new brand and website. Will you see vast changes instantly? Certainly some, although I see these as evolution rather than revolution. Whilst I would be amazed if anyone really cared what our new colour palette is or how many calls to action our website has, I hope the clarity and consistency of message comes through. Over time, our behaviours will certainly reinforce our refreshed sense of who we are and our marketing collateral will dovetail seamlessly. We’ll continue to secure the cream of knowledge based companies as tenants, we just might get some from further afield courtesy of our more finely tuned use of various communication channels.
In short, we aim to continue to strive to sell what our target audience wants to buy, rather than to find customers for what we want to produce. Our competitors do not stand still, and neither do we. We are the home of innovation, after all.