David Birt (db)

We're a design company that helps clarify, communicate and inspire great relationships.

Communicate. We use your team’s insight and turn it into a well-structured and beautifully designed articulation of what you do and why that’s special.


You implicitly trust them to produce concepts that reflect the true needs and aspirations of the brand...

Kate Fletcher Marketing Manager, Cognito

Case Studies

  • Robson Dowry

Admiralty – “Put your faith in God and your trust in the Admiralty Chart”

The UKHO is the leading and largest hydrographic office in the world. Its navigation products and services carry the brand name Admiralty. Much loved and respected amongst the seafaring community, Admiralty dates back to 1795. The challenge the organisation faced was the worldwide transition from paper charts to digital navigation, bringing new technologies, working practices, new competitors and routes to market.

We worked with The UKHO to first help achieve consensus about what it was that made Admiralty different and, then, express it as a clear and distinctive new identity that would help to strengthen its position in the market.

Working closely with the Admiralty senior team (Message Mapping), we helped to develop a new Admiralty brand promise, “Assurance”, and created a new brand identity that expresses the trust that Admiralty’s customers have in Admiralty products and services. The new identity is now being rolled out across 70 countries worldwide and applied to Admiralty’s 300+ product lines.

Here’s what that looks like:

Admiralty Comms Chart_Sept2012.indd

In addition, collaborating closely with the marketing team we have helped to develop a new communications framework, featuring strongly evidence-based messaging and supporting collateral, for Admiralty to tell its story through. The new communications programme leverages both the organisation’s knowledge and its commitment to maritime safety, and focuses on the issues and challenges that affect shipping companies worldwide.

Level 1) example, in 20 seconds… knowing the seafarer’s world…


…being the enduring standard as well as embracing the future, in essence understanding the seafaring psyche.


Exemplified, through their everyday experience (reminding them why they trust Admiralty)

Engaging customers with issues they recognise

If you prioritise your audience you can focus upon addressing the things they find most interesting…


Reorganising products and services in the way that customers think is logical

-which may not follow the way you’ve always done things in the past!


A programme of around a year, (10 weeks of which were spent inside the organisation).

  • Robson Dowry

The best approach I have seen to brand and proposition development. We've got fantastic results... its also been a lot of fun.

Hayley Jopson, Head of Channel Management and Marketing UKHO
  • Robsondowry

powerPerfector – Energy saving like no other

Electricity does not flow constantly, but ebbs and flows. These electricity fluctuations can damage equipment, cause excessive energy costs and potentially lead to a whole range of business inefficiencies. powerPerfector’s product smoothes out the lumps and bumps in electricity supply to a building to prolong the life of equipment and lower energy costs, and this has created a new market around the concept of ‘voltage optimisation’.

As a result, powerPerfector enjoys a unique place in the market – and market share had grown largely through recommendation. To achieve significant growth in sales they needed to communicate to a wider audience. The clock was ticking. The company had developed a strong business focus and culture, but they needed to work on market perception to develop relationships with key audiences. They had to do this quickly to establish the brand as a market leader and take advantage of the introduction of compliance legislation associated with the UK Government’s Climate Change Bill.

9336 Propositions[S]jpg

powerPerfector had a number of key goals for external communication:

  • Raise awareness of ‘Power/Energy Optimisation’ as the new green issue.
  • Prioritise who to communicate with.
  • Convey that there is a green way to supply electricity from your power/energy provider and describe the benefits.
  • Establish powerPerfector as the only company to deal with in this area.
  • Examine the most effective means to create that reality in the minds of key audiences, both private and public sector.

In addition, they needed to keep doing many of the things they were doing well:

  • Deliver exceptional customer service
  • Attract and retain the right type of employee
  • Innovate and protect their unique position.
  • Retain and scale their operational integrity.

Using our Message Mapping process, we were quickly able to engage with powerPerfector’s executive team to help formulate brand strategy, review and prioritise market objectives and identify goals and measures.

We established some strong and compelling key perceptions all supported with evidence-based messages.

The authority in power optimisation Fundamental to infrastructure Liked and ethically driven
The source of the latest thinking and innovation for energy efficiency. Creators of ‘greening electricity’ supply. Don’t even think about leaving it out. powerPerfector is essential to your business powerPerfector is a company motivated by conscience as well as profit and growth


We then developed a visual language, and copy and sorted the appropriate levels of response.


level 3 example,  “who’s using it then”?    Level 4 example, “remind me why we need you again”?

ppweb CS_KF

and of course brought it all together on the web…


ppweb page


We developed a strong brand marque and descriptor that sums up powerPerfector in five simple words:

‘Energy saving like no other’.

We achieved all this in eight weeks from beginning to end.

  • Robsondowry

Markets change and evolve, so stopping to ensure that your market proposition is refined and well tuned to any market and legislation changes and accurately aligned to the customer's/client's requirements is essential. David Birt’s Message Mapping process is one of the most effective ways of getting your team's understanding of your organisation strategy aligned with how you communicate effectively to your target audience.

Oscar Vickerman, Marketing Director, powerPerfector
  • 85
  • Charles McCormic & Partners

Cognito – Brighter thinking. Better service.

Cognito is a leading field workforce management company. It had grown by developing handheld devices which dispensed with the drudgery and administrative paperwork (process automation) typically associated with services such as heating engineers or couriers, who need to file paper work, carrying out repairs or deliveries remotely.


As the technology was evolving, the solutions developed by Cognito would sooner or later become commoditised rather than specialised (become an app on a smartphone, for example). This would inevitably result in decreased revenue and lack of any differentiation.

A number of Message Mapping workshops with the management team, helped confront and recognise a number of critical business challenges, in parallel with the strategic planning the company was undertaking at the time.

The outcome of our Message Mapping work reflected the strategic direction the company was developing, that the value of Cognito’s brand and further software lay in providing smarter, “mobile service solutions” not just process automation, but systems providing intelligent mobile workforce management.

We developed this overall proposition:

Brighter thinking. Better service.

and agreed 3 key brand perceptions,

Experts in real time control
Our solutions deliver exceptional business value
Works all the time

Communications were structured to support these perceptions by aligning Cognito’s points of difference with a range of clients’ business issues associated with business risk, strategy, service control and revenue and cost control. The design solution was based around the notion of ‘thinking heads’ rather than the usual ‘tech’ photography of hand held devices and work stations commonly used in  this market.


Level 1) What we offer – Our proposition
Level 2) Your issue our thinking – Client issues addressed
Level 3) Our thinking in action – Case studies
level  4) Products and services – ‘Fieldforce IQ’
level  5) Latest thinking – White papers

Below are some examples of  “what makes us special” (level 1 communication).

Underpinning ‘Exceptional business value’


Underpinning ‘Works all the time’

com con

Underpinning ‘real time control’

ops identified

Integrated ‘levels’

at exhibition…


The literature was tuned to customers’ issues…

head web3

no pictures of hardware, it’s to do with what you’re thinking about….

large messaging provided clear propositions.


and the proof….

cog compilations.

all supporting three desired perceptions….

Project timing: about around six months.


  • 85
  • Charles McCormic & Partners

One of the biggest things I valued was the quality of relationship we developed with DB&Co as our creative agency. It’s often hard to find creative agencies that don’t need spoon feeding and who fully understand and can articulate the brand they are working for. To find an agency that can do this removes a huge burden in that you implicitly trust them to produce concept designs that reflect the true needs and aspirations of the brand.

Kate Fletcher Marketing Manager, Cognito