The Saffron Steer story

Many people ask how the name ‘Saffron Steer’ came about.

It all started back in the autumn of 2011. At that time the financial crisis and recession were in full swing and the impact on healthcare providers was just starting to take hold. I had been doing some work in India and it struck me on my return to the UK that a sense of doom and gloom, and even helplessness, existed on how healthcare as an industry would bounce back from significant austerity. I sensed this not only within NHS colleagues but also those in the private and charitable sectors too. All the industry chat at that time was about hunkering down, cost cutting and operational efficiencies as the main tactics for survival in these tough times. No one, however, was talking about how to grow through the pains of austerity, despite several well-documented precedents that this was possible. Organisations who focus on their brands (i.e. their positioning and purpose) and are brave enough to invest in these important strategic initiatives during tough times are the ones who can win ‘on the other side’. Saffron Steer was set up to balance out eternal cost cutting thinking with a message that you can grow through this and if you’re looking to grow and maintain your competitive advantage, the only way to do this sustainably is to focus on your brand and customers.

So, the STEER part of our name represents the concept of ‘a brand’ – a word derived from the Old Norse word ‘brandr’ meaning ‘to burn’ as in to burn a mark on cattle. Brands are still doing today what they have been doing for centuries, and that is differentiating one product or service from another. A steer can also represents strength and determination.

The SAFFRON part of our name was influenced by business trips that I had made to India in 2010, where the creativity and excitement about doing new things and growing businesses was in stark contrast to the heal-dragging, pessimistic attitudes that greeted you on return to the UK. Brand strategy affords organisations opportunities for new markets, new services and new opportunities and what better way to represent that than by the most prominent colour of the dawn which heralds a new day full of promise for fresh and exciting things.

Having read our story, you’ll probably agree that since the essence of our business is about helping others to better position and distinguish themselves for growth and sustainability, we couldn’t exactly get away with calling ourselves “A.N. Other Healthcare Partnership Solutions Consultancy”, or something equally undifferentiated and unexciting.

Why do we focus on the ‘BRAND’…

People will be loyal to organisations who they trust to deliver a specific experience (or promise) to a certain standard. The brand of an organisation carries with it the organisation’s character, reputation, promise and essence. We really do understand ‘BRANDS’ and ‘BRANDING’ and the value these bring to organisations. But we try hard to avoid using the ‘B’ words in our day to day interactions since they are so misunderstood! We prefer to get our clients to ask themselves the following:

  1. Do I spend time trying to create value for my customers and patients and have them become advocates for my organisation?
  2. Do I spend time trying to achieve more influence and impact in my markets of choice?
  3. Do I spend time trying to deliver my promise consistently to my customers and patients, no matter where they interact with my organisation?

If they answer YES to any of these questions, then we know they are actually talking about wanting to focus on their brand. You’re probably doing some of this right now, but might be unsure how to get the most out of your intentions and efforts. Part of our mission is to demystify this misunderstood, yet powerful concept and to help our clients get the most out of their brand development efforts so that they can grow and sustain themselves. And notice, we’ve not even mentioned logos, colours and images! While those are super important, they are to do with the visual representation of the brand and only a part of creating and developing the trust and belief in your organisation.