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Ketan Dattani on Crafting a Unique Identity in Crowded Markets

Ketan Dattani on Crafting a Unique Identity in Crowded Markets

CEO and Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures

Could you tell us about your business and its brand identity?

I set up Buckingham Futures in 2013, a specialist Consultancy supplying Environmental Health personnel across the Private and Public sectors on a nationwide basis as I identified an opportunity to aid Environmental Health professionals to fill the gap in the employment sector caused by significant challenges to the global economy caused population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, soaring costs of energy and escalating impacts of climate change.The brand of Buckingham Futures represents its core values; protecting the environment, looking into the future, embracing new technology and maintaining a personal, human connection.The Buckingham Futures brand is our story. It communicates the talents and values werepresent to clients, colleagues, and other professionals. It is the culmination of what we do and what we stand for. It exists not only in our online presence but also offline as well.

How has your unique brand identity contributed to the success and recognition of your business in the market?

Having a well-defined brand has helped us cultivate powerful connections. Having a firm grasp of who we want to be as a company has made our decision-making and choices more consistent and in line with our business values.It has also shaped our approach to business; to building connections and todeveloping our reputation. By giving us a direction in which to head itmakes our growth and development as a company that much simpler.

Can you share the journey of how you developed and refined your brand over time?

Developing and refining the Buckingham Futures brand involved several key steps and considerations. It's an ongoing process that evolves as my business grows and adapts to changes in the market and audience preferences. Brand development is an ongoing journey that requires attention, adaptability, and a deep understanding of our audience.Throughout this process, it has remained crucial to stay authentic to my brand's values and promises. Authenticity is a key ingredient in running a successful business and leading a great team.As the business has grown, I remember to always remain authentic and to never lose that openness and willingness to connect with people.

Branding in crowded markets can be challenging. What obstacles did you face in establishing a strong brand, and how did you overcome them?

Branding is a dynamic and ongoing journey that involves developing and managing our personal or professional brand image. Along this journey, we have encountered various obstacles that can hinder progress.

Here are 5 obstacles that our branding journey has faced:

1. Lack of clarity: One of the initial challenges is gaining clarity on brand identity, values, and target audience. Without a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for, it can be challenging to effectively communicate your brand message and resonate with your intended audience. We have learned to take the time to define our brand and conduct market research to gain insights into our audience's needs and preferences.

2. Building visibility and awareness: This required consistent effort and strategic marketing tactics to reach our target audience effectively. Utilise various marketing channels, such as social media, content marketing, public speaking engagements, and collaborations, to increase our brand's visibility and reach.

3. Differentiating from competitors: To differentiate Buckinghasm Futures, we identified our unique value proposition and find ways to communicate it effectively. We highlight our strengths, expertise, and the unique aspects of our brand that sets us apart from others in our industry. We focus on building a strong brand narrative that resonates with our target audience and clearly communicates our unique selling points.

4. Overcoming negative perceptions or setbacks: Addressing these challenges requires transparency, authenticity, and a proactive approach. We take steps to rectify any issues, and consistently demonstrate our commitment to improvement and delivering value.

5. Changing trends and market dynamics: We continuously evaluate and refine our branding strategies to ensure they remain relevant and resonate with our target audience.

How do you ensure that every customer interaction reflects your brand identity, and why is this consistency important?

In business, as with life, you are dealing with human beings. As individuals and as organisations we all have our specific circumstances and no two cases are exactly alike. Too many times I’ve had interactions with people where it became abundantly clear that I was just a £ sign to them. This is why you have to ensure that customers are listened to. If they are unhappy with a service you have provided them you have to be receptive to their criticism and open to reflection.Building a network of individuals is one of the most rewarding aspects of business for me. It’s a big reason why I founded Buckingham Futures in the first place.

In practical terms, how do you measure the impact and success of your branding efforts?

With a time machine that can transport me into the future, I hope that our brand can influence people across the world. Through efforts like our contribution to the Uganda Water Project we aim to make a change in people’s lives for the better.By looking into the Future of Technology and being at the forefront of scientific advancement, we hope to take the burden off of the environment.Over time our brand will attract like-minded organisations and individuals and create communities of shared interests and values. With these communities, it can help people facilitate connections, collaboration, and support among individuals who are working towards common objectives or facing similar challenges. It will promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Bringing together communities of different backgrounds by championing these values and actively advocating for underrepresented groups, we can contribute to a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society.

Can you share an example of a branding misstep, what you learned from it, and how it influenced your approach going forward?

Not so much a branding misstep, but a business misstep for me was when I first set up Buckingham Futures, I found that most clients were unwilling to do business with a ‘one-man-band’ and I felt that in order to succeed I needed to give the impression that Buckingham Futures was a bigger business than it actually was.

I look back on the early days and laugh now but I used to play YouTube videos of a busy office environment in the background when calling clients.

I invested in a virtual business address to help add credibility to Buckingham Futures as I felt would be easier to successfully attract clients by having a ‘brick and mortar’ location.

My business cards showed a prestigious central London location, all my mail was posted there and I would arrange to meet with clients in the reception area of my virtual office and conduct our meetings in nearby cafes.

This set-up was running well for about 8 months. Then one day I received a call from a client to say that she was in London for the afternoon and would love the opportunity to meet with me and my team in person to thank us for everything we had done for her and that she would be at my office in less than 10 minutes.

The problem was that it took me over an hour to get to my virtual office from a box room at my parent’s house (where my actual office was) and there was no way I’d be there in 10 minutes. I was afraid that the receptionists would let the ‘cat out of the bag’ and tell her that Buckingham Futures did not have an office, let alone a team based there! I felt that had no choice but to come clean about my business setup.It was on this day that I learned that the most imperative quality clients look for is authenticity. To be authentic can be the difference between failing or succeeding.

What key pieces of advice would you give to new businesses trying to establish a strong brand in a competitive market?

Building an authentic professional brand is essential for establishing a strong and genuine presence in your personal and professional life. Here are some tips I would give to new businesses trying to establish a strong brand in a competitive market:

1. Define your values and passions: Start by identifying your core values and passions. What drives you? What do you stand for? Understanding these aspects of yourself will help you align your professional brand with who you truly are.

2. Be true to yourself: Authenticity is key. Be genuine and true to who you are in all aspects of your professional brand. Avoid trying to be something you're not or portraying a false image. People are drawn to authenticity, and being true to yourself will help you build trust and credibility.

3. Craft your unique story: Share your professional journey and experiences that have shaped you. Your story is what makes you unique and relatable. Be open and vulnerable, as this can help others connect with you on a deeper level.

4. Consistency is key: Ensure that your professional brand is consistent across all platforms and interactions. This includes your online presence, social media profiles, networking events, and everyday interactions. Consistency helps build trust and makes it easier for others to understand and connect with your professional brand.

5. Be intentional with your content: Share valuable and relevant content that aligns with your professional brand and resonates with your target audience. This can be through blog posts, social media updates, videos, or any other medium that allows you to showcase your expertise and insights.

6. Engage and build relationships: Actively engage with your audience and build relationships. Respond to comments, participate in discussions, and genuinely connect with others. Building meaningful relationships helps foster trust and loyalty within your professional brand.

7. Seek feedback and continuously improve: Regularly seek feedback from others to gauge how your professional brand is perceived. Use this feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Continuously refine and evolve your professional brand based on the insights you receive.


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