Designing a sister brand: Northbank Speakers

A year ago, we were hard at work completing the launch website for talent and literary agency Northbank Talent Management. The result of months of work, that site launched on the 31st May 2018. The project was a rebranding of what had been up til that point Diane Banks’ eponymous literary agency. With a single move, the business had a completely fresh start. The new name and branding expanded into a wide range of print and social media as well as, most visibly, an expansive website which we custom-designed from the ground up. From a standing start and completely new URL, Northbank’s website now has sometimes several hundred visitors a day. Exciting stuff. There’s more to come too. Today we’re unveiling a surprise – over the last few weeks we’ve been designing a sister brand as a standalone entity: Northbank Speakers.



A side business?
A part of the brand with a different target audience?
A project that everyone contributes to but doesn’t quite fit?

There are any number of reasons why a company might propose designing a sister brand.

If a company has already invested heavily in a bold, imaginative piece of branding, starting an identity from scratch for a secondary venture might feel like overkill. So it’s understandable why, looking around, many brand managers might feel the answer is literally staring them in the face. Finding a subtle, new way of utilising an established brand (and its often muscular equity with clients) in fact can be far smarter than starting from zero. I would go further and say that there’s a strong argument for devising an identity that has its own personality but stands apart.

To get the overall look right, we’d propose a clear-eyed focus on the target marketplace and a change in emphasis with marketing and design. A new approach to photography and tone of voice is a great start. Sometimes a subtler – or more exuberant – colour palette.

Blending all these techniques, a parent company can… spread its wings. A great example of this is the work we have completed in the last year expanding recruitment platform AlgoMe into a smart, modern management consultancy.

The identity for Northbank Speakers – a great example of how we go about designing a sister brand



Which brings us to the matter in hand.

The world of professional speakers is huge. Stars such as Mo Farah, Richard Branson or Jo Malone are hired (often with a significant fee attached) for anything from awards shows to anniversaries, launches to lunches. Northbank Speakers will be offering an interesting and unique blend: their own clients combined with ‘syndicated speakers’ which any number of agencies offer.

As a business offering, it’s primarily different from the main ‘Talent’ business for the simple reason that it has to compete in a crowded, messy marketplace. The result is that as a brand, Northbank Speakers has to make a serious impact. If Northbank Speakers had merely used its current website it would have confused or diluted the message of the Talent business just as it had made serious inroads as as a business leader in a newly-defined field.

We took a careful look at several competitors who are longstanding players in the professional speakers market. Often with old or cluttered sites, each seemed to sell hard but appear daunting. Our goal with Northbank Speakers was to blend newsworthy, popular and topic-based talent in a way that offered a neat ‘cut’ into the wide variety of personalities.



Keen to find a new space for Northbank, we decided that expanding the stylish approach the branding had been imbued with a year ago would go a long way. For the reasons I’ve explained, ultimately this new site needs to work incredibly hard and stand out from the pack. With Northbank’s brand equity, it has the potential to be an exciting disruptive influence.

The primary goal was to ‘turn up the volume’, appearing more commercial. Large colour photography is used throughout combined with white space and elegant typography.

When users land on a talent profile page we’ve created a crisp précy of their career and recent work alongside testimonials and YouTube videos of their recent (or legendary) achievements. Ultimately of course, the aim is to land a booking – so as soon as the Book Now tab is clicked, a form appears pre-filled with the name of the speaker.

The website for Northbank Speakers – a great example of how we go about designing a sister brand



Whether it’s a new project, sideways expansion or standalone sub-brand, we’d be interested in helping you make your brand equity work harder.

Give us a call on 020 7351 4083.

Find out more about this project

Visit the Northbank Speakers website