Our work - Building a brand for Adding Value

Adding Value

Building a beautiful brand for a socially-driven finance firm

Case Study Overview

Website & Content

Brand ID & Tone of Voice


  • Brand Identity
  • Brand tone of voice

Their Impact

  • Transformative accounting for ethical SMEs and third sector organisations
  • A Living Wage employer
  • Part of the Good Business Charter
  • Creating clarity on complex financial services for non-experts
  • A thriving network of values-led businesses

Meet The Client

Adding Value is a financial services firm that lives up to its name. The company was founded by Managing Director, Matthew after he recognised a lack of financial know-how among charities and social enterprises. Previously a portfolio finance director for third sector organisations, Matthew was uniquely well-placed to understand their needs and priorities — and to create a solution. Now, Adding Value are recognised experts in not-for-profit finance. Their multi-skilled accountants deliver a range of client-centric services designed to help ethical organisations thrive.

The Challenge At Hand

Like most start-ups, Adding Value had developed a ‘make-do’ brand — a best-guess exercise that had managed to capture enough of the company’s mission and values to get the ball rolling. But, after winning a number of high-profile clients, it was time to do things properly. Adding Value came to us in search of a considered and cohesive brand identity that would more accurately reflect the company’s client list and continued ambitions. The new brand needed to communicate Adding Value’s ethical approach to finance, create a point of difference among their competitors, and give them an identity they’d be proud to put their already well-respected name to. In partnership with Adding Value, we identified the following key objectives: Create a brand that would stand out from competitors Accurately reflect Adding Value’s mission, identity and values Draw up clear guidelines to ensure consistency across all channels Encapsulate Adding Value’s growth and position within the industry Tell the company’s brand story in a more engaging way

Visual brand identity

We began our project with Adding Value through an intuitive brand exploration workshop. 

Central to the session was the creation of a visual wall: we brought together a huge range of visual assets and encouraged the team from Adding Value to explore which they liked (and didn’t) so that we could begin to pull together a cohesive ‘look’ for the socially-driven company.

Using the information from this session, we created an R&D document that summarised the findings and brought into focus the visual design elements the team enjoyed. It was important that the brand’s visual identity should resonate strongly with the team — this is very much a human brand, so gut instinct was hugely important.

But, as any brand expert knows, there has to be some science to go with the art. Our designer and content director worked together to finalise the visual aesthetic of Adding Value’s new:

And then, the final building block in the visual brand — the guidelines. We created a defining document to show Adding Value’s team exactly how to apply their new brand across every channel. 

This vital document is a key business asset that will safeguard Adding Value’s brand consistency and ensure the brand story is told ‘correctly.’ The result? A reliable, relatable brand identity that the company’s ideal clients will come to know and trust.

Brand Tone of Voice

Of course, the visual side of a brand identity is only half a job — Adding Value needed a brand tone of voice that would appeal to their ideal clients, and capture the company’s unique personality.

As always, we started out with a fun, interactive tone of voice workshop. We led the Adding Value team through an exploration of their brand values and brand personality and showed them a range of competitor brands so we could determine what they liked — and didn’t.

We used the findings from the workshop to pull together a brand tone of voice document, which became part of Adding Value’s overall brand guidelines.

This essential document helps the company — and anyone writing for/about them — to understand:

Finally, we arranged a 60-minute session of handover training to take Adding Value through their new tone of voice step-by-step. As ever, the session was practical and enjoyable. We got the team to write some copy of their own — after all, doing is the best way of learning.


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