What's with the Sofa?

One of the most frequent thing us Big Sofians hear from clients, family and friends is: “What’s with the sofa?”.  Many people are confused; what has a green sofa got to do with anything other than, well, sofas?

Whilst at Big Sofa we do like to be a tad eccentric, our brand actually came primarily from the way we worked.  Let’s rewind a bit. Five years ago our vision was to bring consumers’ stories to life on video. We took a real sofa out on the streets and created our own authentic, conversational video content. Nowadays we’ve ditched the physical sofa – instead dealing in media captured by our clients in any number of ways from in-home cameras to mobile capture apps, and focussing more on the video analytics rather than collecting and organising the footage itself.  But the conversations we had with members of the public on our portable sofa served as the foundation for Big Sofa and therefore the brand.  The sofa is a part of our heritage, it’s how we came to be where we are now, and it remained relevant to this day. 

As we and many other companies have experienced, when starting a business you are more or less guaranteed to go through several pivots as your initial idea changes and develops alongside the market and the market’s needs.  Having a brand that would be extendable and stand the test of time was important to us, and so having a seemingly abstract sofa as the identifying brand image worked well for us in this respect.  As Big Sofa has changed, we have been able to bring our brand with us due to its nonspecific name and image.  This is something that is worth spending a lot of time on getting right, especially as a tech company, as the market is so fast-paced that even the darlings of Silicon Valley have struggled to keep up.  Creating a brand that cannot evolve and develop alongside your product is likely to become problematic – or at the very least, expensive to amend – as time goes on.  Being able to keep your brand is also beneficial as it means that all affiliations with your brand and the values that are inherent in it can be taken with you.  Your employees, clients and competitors will see that although the product may have changed slightly, everything else has remained the same, allowing you to maintain these relationships. 

However, as well as being an extendable brand with a logo that is tied into our heritage, there is a bit more meaning behind Big Sofa.  The majority of the insight videos we deal with are behavioural videos, showing people talking about and/or using a product in their homes.  We like to think of this unique way of gaining insight as ‘the view from the sofa’, as for many, the sofa is the centre of the home and sees most of the natural day to day activity that goes on within – the kind of activity that is invaluable to our clients if captured.  As important as it is to stay away from trite sentences, having an internal message such as this can really help make your brand inherent in everything that you do.  For example, it is from this unique viewpoint that we are able to gain the insight that really makes us researchers tick, and this idea of being at the heart of homes has bled through to the way we work.  We pride ourselves on our collaborative abilities, both internally with the way us Big Sofians work together, and also externally with the way we work with our clients.  A part of what we do is done by humans, with our client team providing hands on, personalised support for each client and project.  The sofa, with its connotations of social gatherings and family, is somewhat of a metaphor for the way we like to do business, both internally and externally.