THE BLOG

17
Sep

LOOKING FOR A DESIGN SUPERSTAR!

We are looking for a new Design Superstar!

Please share far and wide…

http://theloft.co/looking-for-a-design-superstar/

Thanks,

Benedetto

13
Sep

3 STEPS TO CREATING, LAUNCHING & MARKETING A NEW PRODUCT/SERVICE BRAND.

You spot an opportunity, a gap in the market, an extension to what you currently offer – a way to serve more people or provide greater service to those you already serve.

You want to create, launch and market a new product or service brand in addition to your current offerings but aren’t quite sure where or how to start?

This is our simple guide into how to best get going.

It’s a 3-step process we have used in the past to help our own clients and in true loft fashion – it is short, fast and to the point.

1. FIND THE VALUE-ADD

It is absolutely critical is to start with your customers first.

Your new service or product is likely to be related in someway to what you are currently doing or offering. It is essential to know from the outset – both the theoretical, but more importantly the practical advantages that your new product or service is likely to offer your customers.

A technology company that offers ‘more flexible working’ sounds good to a business owner – in theory.

The ability to download,edit,re-upload documents to a shared workspace, anywhere in the world from the phone of one of your staff-members paints a much more vivid picture of additional value to that business owner and potential customer.

1

Understanding the real human ‘value-adds’ and beginning to paint this picture in your materials is important and as you go forward, you will find even more practical benefits to your solutions. It is important to know and list what they are as you begin creating your new product/service brand.

2. PRIORITISE ACTIVITIES

Most will say that you need a brand first, then a website, then some marketing materials, etc… We advocate a slightly different approach – we believe that you should break these down. Consider all of the individual elements that form these channels rather than the channels themselves.

Break them down – the logo, the tagline, customer benefits, team bios, contact details, important features, ‘how-it-works,’ etc.

Maybe, you only really need to start with one or two of these elements rather than all of them.

Your agency should be tasked with considering the whole brand from the outset but the scope of the first project may (and this will depend on the size of your organisation) be the release of a simple flyer with some pictograms telling the story and a call-to-action to your first 5000 prospects.

You must consider the best ways to tell the stories that matter to customers. Build on the positive benefits discovered in the first part – the value-adds.

Many will want to go straight to logos, websites, e-newsletter systems, etc.

We think this is fine – and sensible most of the time – but we would say it is even more important to start with content. It will take you a little off the beaten path but one image which captivates customers could be worth so much more than a costly branding exercise.

If you are an established company – you may be able to piggy-back off the main company brand for a short period. Most established organisations will have guidelines which will give ideas for sub-brands. At this stage we want to engage customers and help you get your first real sales on the board and some cash in the bank. Pictograms, visual systems, eye-catching images, short videos will all help you paint a better picture of what your new offering can do for people.

4

All start-ups (and these new initiatives are start-ups in principle,) will have very limited marketing budgets and (at this point,) no revenue as of-yet. So we suggest that you really prioritise and maximise your budgets to give you the biggest bang for your buck. We really believe in building momentum and these initial stages are so critical that you can move fast, launch quickly and start obtaining some happy customers.

2

Write out 10-12 activities that you would like to do, prioritise those that are most likely to get you going and start. The chances are that items 4-12, will change in nature or content once you begin doing things anyway. You will establish quick wins that you will want to build on and this will likely change the rest of the list.

3. ACTION

As stated in the previous list, and this wouldn’t be a loft list, if it didn’t contain the word ‘ACTION’ somewhere.

Launch!

Get it out there in all its raw and imperfect glory.

Talk to customers, sell your first products or services and then build from there.

As stated, it is only by doing that you will be adequately informed where to go next, that you will have something to build on. At the beginning – there isn’t really a right or wrong way – a more optimal way will become apparent through action.

This will be as true for the operational efficiency of your product/service as it will for your marketing efforts.

3

Don’t forget to be bold, focus on the result over the method and have fun. By acting this way, it will unlock a whole new raft of unseen creative ideas which will set your brand apart and take it to another dimension.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is the founder of the loft, a design and branding agency based in Glasgow.

The loft helps its clients build more effective brand communications and operates in a diverse range of sectors, specialising in technology, packaging design and professional services. The company is proud to include Petroleum Experts, The Wood Group, BenRiach Whisky, The University of West of Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau amongst its clients.

The loft offers people-centred brand solutions created using imaginative thought processes and delivered with a consistently high-quality and bespoke client service.

The loft is looking beyond traditional creative services and has begun to produce more integrated brand journeys for its clients – tying together disciplines such as digital, social media and customer experience – in addition to sales & marketing to help companies attract and retain customers & staff. Essentially, building a stronger bond between the person and the brand.

The loft was setup with assistance by PSYBT in 2012 and received Growth Funding the following year. Benedetto is the regional ambassador for the Princes Trust in Glasgow and also provides support to other charities including Young Enterprise Scotland, SMART STEMs and MCR Pathways.

09
Sep

#LOVEDETAIL

At the loft, we just love great details.

We love those tiny gems that transform a design from something that is good into something that is great. In this post, we share some of the strongest details we’ve worked on in the last couple of years. Each one – helping to build even stronger and more engaging designs that resonate with people.

1

INTRODUCING STEVEN, GREGG AND STUART

Whilst working with Seric Systems and Springboard Marketing a few years back – we created a new internal piece of branding. A very strong process-driven, geometric poster, elegantly placing a huge amount of information onto a very small space in a very impactful way. The poster looked good but we had doubts whether anybody would actually refer to it. The idea to put Stuart, Steven and Greg on the poster with carefully-selected messages helped take this piece up another level.

 

2

IN CHAOS COMES ORDER

Whilst creating individual sub-brands for Altia Solutions, we made abstract data sets with colours to demonstrate ‘working with data.’ They were already looking good – when we decided we should give them a final flourish – we hid patterns within the grids. Each pattern symbolises the true function of the product – Transforming DATA, Cleaning DATA & Linking DATA for The Toolkit, Toolbar & Insight.

 

4

PIN MARKS THE SPOT

In the creation of any brand exercise – it is of the utmost importance that the final mark has as many visual cues as possible to symbolise the strength and attributes of the organisation. ‘Strategic Positioning’ for Beeks FX VPS is a critical part of their offering. To add a small creative flourish to an already-strong brand. We manipulated the centre of the ‘b’ in ‘beeks’ to look like a small map-pin. A delightful touch that add weight to a brand that is already brimming with symbolic reference.

 

5

PERSONALITY ENHANCED

The Illustrations of the Fridge Angels team were borne out of meeting a tight website deadline. In the last hours before website publish, we required shots of the team but with no time to get them together in a consistent format.

A couple of smartphone pics later, some handy illustration skills and one of our designers working at the speed of light – we had three beautifully, bold illustrations of the new Fridge Angels team helping to bring a brand that is already full of personality to life that little bit further.

6NASHIRA

We already knew that the Bridge2Business brand was going to be a special one – a brand based on star constellations. What more does an entrepreneur need on their voyage than the stars to guide them on their path?

We had a strong logo but wanted to give it that little bit more meaning and found Nashira meaning ‘Lady Luck’. This made a good brand even better and the story was widely used in their launch. Nashira was the star of their brand launch in the Planetarium of the Glasgow Science Centre…

 

3

IN & OUT THE CYCLE

As an extension to the Financial Investigators Toolkit brand, Altia had a new bureau service. We designed a logo which neatly depicted the style of the process – a motion cycle of the the Tookit – neatly showing what the software could do. We also had all of the different customer benefits on-site too. However, we needed something that would make it more obvious for customers. A simple system was created – bank statement in, through the ‘Xaltia Data Services’ cycle and Excel documents out. So simple your granny would get it.

 

 

7

DESIGN-WITH-SOUL

The words that summarise our entire existence.

Somehow they had to find their way onto a business card, already jammed with clever features – quadruplex card, letter-pressed characters and a foil printed logo.

Insanely thick and beautifully finished, the blind-pressing of ‘DESIGN WITH SOUL’ turn a great business card into something epic!

 

BB

Benedetto is the founder of the loft, a design and branding agency based in Glasgow.

The loft helps its clients build more effective brand communications and operates in a diverse range of sectors, specialising in technology, packaging design and professional services. The company is proud to include Petroleum Experts, The Wood Group, BenRiach Whisky, The University of West of Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau amongst its clients.

The loft offers people-centred brand solutions created using imaginative thought processes and delivered with a consistently high-quality and bespoke client service.

The loft is looking beyond traditional creative services and has begun to produce more integrated brand journeys for its clients – tying together disciplines such as digital, social media and customer experience – in addition to sales & marketing to help companies attract and retain customers & staff. Essentially, building a stronger bond between the person and the brand.

The loft was setup with assistance by PSYBT in 2012 and received Growth Funding the following year. Benedetto is the regional ambassador for the Princes Trust in Glasgow and also provides support to other charities including Young Enterprise Scotland, SMART STEMs and MCR Pathways.

05
Sep

HAPPY FACES

“We start with happy faces and work backwards…”

This was the answer I gave to a young business person who asked me recently how the loft was so busy and why we are working on so many new projects at the moment.

It is devastatingly simple when you think about it, so simple I have missed it myself, a few times in the past.

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

We picture happy clients, we visualise them giving out their business cards, showing off their websites, sharing their info-graphics on social media. We make storyboarding one of the most important parts of our creative process. We don’t start with typography or graphics or technology or what others are doing.

We take a positive scenario and work backwards.

I know this approach sets us apart from many other agencies and many other service providers.

In the loft, we leave our egos at the door, we practice and sometimes obsess about ‘context.’

How can we make our solutions work for the client? What do we need to do to achieve an effective result for them? How can we make them happy? Delighted even?

The client provides the framework and it’s our job to shine within that framework. This regularly takes us off the beaten path but it does help the people we work with, to shine.

It allows them to pass their business cards to others with absolute confidence, to provoke a person to go to the ‘contact page’ on their website or to tempt a person to pick the bottle off the shelf.

We are relentlessly focussed on those details because they are the things that matter. They are going to help our clients and by helping our clients, we know they’ll come back again and again, and sometimes refer new people too.

The method changes, but the result always remains – happy clients.

 

Richard Seymour’s, ‘How Beauty Feels’ in my favourite TED talk, he discusses creating things that are just wonderful for people – our ethos is the same.

Most people don’t remember what Steve jobs said about the technical spec of the new I-Phone in 2007, but they do remember him calling a local Starbucks and using the new device to order ‘4,000 lattes to go!’

 

This focus allows us to deliver solutions quicker, we are able to maximise client budgets, it allows us to concentrate on what’s important. The process also gives us endless scope for creative solutions.

Thankfully, we have a team of exceptional designers and suppliers who can mould their considerable talents around those bespoke requirements, talented people who have the humility to understand that the best way they can be the stars is by shaping their skills to the benefit of those that they serve.

Our approach is effective but it does require people with open minds, good intuition and exceptional basic skills. Thankfully we have just those people.

Some (crazily I believe) ask if it can be tiresome hearing how good you are all the time?

It doesn’t.

People using the word ‘love’ when talking about things you have done for them or seeing their materials shine on social media is a tremendously uplifting experience. And one that generates its own momentum to keep on going.

IMG_2663

The Advert we created for Petroleum Experts, found its way onto this very large 3-Dimensional, glass paperweight, something they gave to their clients for their 25th anniversary.

Or how about working with a client who in 25 years, having never worked with a creative agency, loving their design so much that they re-produce it in glass to give to their clients on their own 25th Anniversary Dinner.

That last moment is one that happened recently when Hamid Guedroudj and James Woodrow of Petroleum Experts pulled me into their office and presented me with a blue box and inside was one of the biggest paperweights I have ever seen – and one with the design that we co-created with them. A bit of a favourite moment amongst many.

When you start with happy faces and things like this happen you cannot help but have a happy face yourself.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is the founder of the loft, a design and branding agency based in Glasgow.

The loft helps its clients build more effective brand communications and operates in a diverse range of sectors, specialising in technology, packaging design and professional services. The company is proud to include Petroleum Experts, The Wood Group, BenRiach Whisky, The University of West of Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau amongst its clients.

The loft offers people-centred brand solutions created using imaginative thought processes and delivered with a consistently high-quality and bespoke client service.

The loft is looking beyond traditional creative services and has begun to produce more integrated brand journeys for its clients – tying together disciplines such as digital, social media and customer experience – in addition to sales & marketing to help companies attract and retain customers & staff. Essentially, building a stronger bond between the person and the brand.

The loft was setup with assistance by PSYBT in 2012 and received Growth Funding the following year. Benedetto is the regional ambassador for the Princes Trust in Glasgow and also provides support to other charities including Young Enterprise Scotland, SMART STEMs and MCR Pathways.