Tag: branding

20
Sep

Top 5 Frequently Asked Client Question’s

At the loft, we love welcoming clients into our design world. With that in mind, this week I thought I’d take some time to focus on some of the most frequently asked client questions — giving you an initial insight into our world.

What is graphic design?
Technically, it’s the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books. We see graphic design slightly differently. We see it as a way of effectively communicating your message to your target audience, finding the perfect balance between function and aesthetics. We see it as bringing ideas to life.

Why use a design studio in the first place?
Simply put, we make the whole process easier. From finding the most effective way to communicate your message to saving you time and money in the long run, creating finished pieces that are focused on the target audience, formatted correctly and ready to go to print or be used digitally.

How much will my design cost?
Costs can completely vary depending on the project. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one price fits all’ answer to this question. Typically, a branding project can cost anything from less than £1,000 (freelancer) to over £15,000 (large design studio) and anywhere in between. How much you spend on your project depends on a number of variables, most importantly being the longevity of the design. If you are a smaller start up company who is unsure of how your company will progress over the next year, it might be more cost effective to start with a freelancer or smaller design studio. To discuss a project and get a better idea of our costings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How long will it take to complete my design work?
Again, this varies dependant on the project. We tackle anything from small one-day projects to bigger, year-long projects. For example, a website can take anything from a couple of weeks to a full six-month project, dependant on its variables. However, no matter the size of a project, we always complete our full design process — from gesture sketches to concept creation to development of the final outcomes and everything else in between. If you have a deadline you need to meet, we are more than happy to accommodate that.

What services do the loft offer?
We offer a range of services, each of which we love getting involved with. We offer graphic design, web design, brochure design, identity design, infographics, art direction, brand love (creating a brand that not only you love, but one that your team and customers will love too), video, packaging, complex 2 simple (creating solutions that help a company prepare their new products and services for the market) , campaigns and vision, mission and values. You can find out more about our full range of services here.

Laura, Designer & Director of Noise

Laura

 

Miss Noisy! The team’s very own socialite and one who masters every situation she finds herself. Laura is the lady for every occasion. She has a formidable array of skills as a creative, diplomat, agony aunt, blogger, Tweeter, art-director, team player and our own favourite — noisemaker. A more perfect dinner companion, you will be hard-pressed to find.

 

19
Sep

Everything You Need – for Maximising Creative Budgets

At the loft, we treat clients budgets like they were our own and look to make them stretch as far as possible. So to best help you maximise your budget for creative projects, we’ve put this handy wee guide together.

Before we get started.

Creative companies bill for time so your final quote is only ever based on two things – (the numbers of hours for a project) x (the agency rate.)

This guide helps you maximise that time to maximise the value you receive.

Accurate Briefs Remove the Guesswork
An accurate brief removes a lot of the time spent on guessing. The quicker we can hone in on the tangible items of a project (number of website pages, style of infographics, types of print techniques required, etc,) the quicker we can focus on those solutions. If you want to know what goes into preparing a good brief check out this post >>>

Leverage Content
Re-using content over different formats is an excellent way to maximise value. For example, can that infographic being used in the corporate brochure also be used on the company website? Could it also be used in the next press release? Could it be put on the factory wall? Could it be divided into different elements and shared on social media? Always look for ways to get a 2nd/3rd/4th use out of absolutely everything.

Talking of social media, team images for the website can be re-formatted for LinkedIn profiles, copy for web-projects can be re-used as mini-campaigns, etc.

Creative Flow
Creatives work best when they are in ‘the flow.’ For those that really want to maximise the value of creative work — prepare as much stuff for your creative to do at one-sitting as you can and take advantage of the creative flow. This can be having all of your people together to get all of your photographs done on-site on the same day or having all of the information ready for your case-studies when sitting down with your copywriter or making sure that the designer working on your infographics has all of the information they need to tackle developments. An un-interrupted workflow really helps the people working on creative projects

Minimise Page Styles
This is a big one. One of the most time-consuming parts of creative projects is the additional effort invested in creating multiple page styles for projects like brochures or websites. Having pages with lots of different styles does make the final solutions more interesting but the creation of new frameworks is time-consuming. What’s more – lots of different page styles can confuse a viewer – it is the reason big brands have very consistent guides for brand communications. If you want to minimise costs for larger projects? Suggest to your creative company to ‘minimise the number of pages styles.’ They’ll know what you mean, respect your pragmatism and re-double their efforts on great content.

Piggy-back Off What’s Gone Before
All creative companies, even those providing the most bespoke of bespoke services, use general templates from what they have done before for brochures, websites and other large projects. As we said above, the creation of new templates is time-consuming and energy intensive, so if you are able to use a template that has already been created, developed and tested by your agency – there are massive savings to be had with no detriment to quality. You are switching the scope of the project from creating a new template to customising a template with obvious savings. How does that work in practise? Simply look at previous examples your agency has done before and ask them for ‘something like that’ and point out what you like.

Blink First
With budgets, blink first and lets us know where  you are comfortable – we can then more quickly make a decision in how best to help. You’ll be amazed at the amount a great company can do to stretch tight budgets.

Think Long-Term
The more you can give work to one freelancer or company — the more they are likely to reward you for your loyalty. This may be a better rate or even some free extras. Always best to think long-term.

And that’s a wrap. We hope that is helpful in allowing you to maximise whatever creative budget you have, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

19
Sep

Everything You Need – for Brochure Design Projects

Brochure projects are one of the most enjoyable things to work on. When clients approach us with their brief for brochure projects – there tend to be a lot of unanswered questions, this is our guide to help.

1. What would you like to achieve with your new brochure?
Before we get to creative questions, this is a crucial one. What’s your new brochure for?

Is it any of the following.

– Introduce the company to new customers?
– Introduce a new product or service to market?
– Highlight the value of a particular product, service or even a process?
– Generate more sales?
– Anything else?

All of the above really helps us understand your goals with the new brochure.

2. Tell us about the company?
Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s important to know about the company being represented. It can be anything from what does the company do? What is it known for in the marketplace? Or any other info which helps us to better understand who you are?

3 Who’s the target audience?
At the loft, we want to ensure that the right messages are presented to the right people in the right way. Some people prefer to read things that are short and sweet, some like friendly pictures and others enjoy poring over technical information. The more you can tell us about the intended audience, the more we can design a brochure that fits.

Can you tell us, is your audience.

Young/Old?
Male/Female?
Fun/Serious?
Take their time/Don’t have time to waste?
Anything else we need to know that we haven’t mentioned?

Of course, if you want to engage with all of these types of people that is fine – we can design that in too.

4. What are the Brochure Basics?
Now, we need to know a little about the brochure itself.

Can you tell us any of the following.

– Landscape or portrait?
– Number of pages?
– What goes on each page, this may include images/words/graphics or information tables?
– Any legibility issues ?

Any of the above gives us a good idea of what kind of brochure you’re looking for and how that works in practice.

5. Do you have content?
Graphics, text, photographs – you’re brochure is likely to contain all three.

What do you have, what do you need and what can we help with.

– Available photography/ stock photography you like?
– Any infographics or other graphical devices?
– Information tables?
– Anything we may have missed?

6. How about written copy?
One of the most important things about any brochure is finding great words that bring it to life. Do you have copy or would you like us or another to help?

Let us know. 

– What you have?
– What you require?

We can help with the rest.

7. What would you like to do with printing?
Once all the hard work is done – you are going to have to print your lovely new brochure. There are a tonne of different options with paper and print techniques.

What we’d like to know…

– Do you have a specific printer to print your brochure?
– How many do you need?
– Any favoured print samples/ techniques?
– Anything special for the covers?

As always, if you have questions, let us know? We’re all print nuts in the studio and love to help clients with their print requirements.

8. Do you have brand guidelines?
It wouldn’t be a loft post if we didn’t mention brand guidelines. In the nicest way possible – if you have them, we want them.

9. What are the key deadlines?
Getting to the nitty-gritty, how long do we have? As with all creative projects, we are guessing you’ll have a big deadline and clear completion date. Thinking beyond the big one for a minute – are there any smaller milestones?

These may include.

– Press releases
– Board Meetings
– Product Launches
– Internal Presentations
– Digital Campaigns

If you have other stuff going on, let us know. Most brochure projects involve creating content, if we have this available, we might can help you before the project is done.

10. Budget?
Knowing a budget to work towards allows us to best decide on resources and plan effectively.

The following is helpful to kick-off with.

– Minimum-to-maximum budgets for the project?
– Any specific content budgets for printing/photography/ copy/ other?

If you are looking to maximise your creative budget, check out the following guide >>>

And that’s a wrap.

Whether you have everything on the list or not, don’t worry, we can help fill in the gaps. Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

19
Sep

Everything You Need for Branding Projects

Branding is one of the most fun, interesting and effective things you can do as a company. The projects helps to bring people together, present a refreshed image to the world and demonstrate a real statement of intent to anybody that’s watching. If you are thinking of re-branding or creating a new brand, this is our guide to help you.

1. Why are you creating a new brand or re-branding?
Before starting the project, we’re keen to know, why are we creating this new identity in the first place?

– You have a new company message.
– Your company has been acquired or has merged.
– The company has changed its general direction.
– It’s just time to refresh the company image.

Or is there another reason we haven’t mentioned?

2. Identity or brand?
Are you creating an identity project that give an external face to your company, product or service or creating a proper brand which determines who you are and what you do? There are also many options in between.

Which of the following do you need?

– Values/ vision/ mission?
– USP/marketing message/ messaging for different stakeholders?
– Identity design?
– Stationary design?
– Brand guidelines?

Or are there other things we may haven’t mentioned like vehicle liveries, signage, merchandise, etc?

3. People Involved?
Who will we be interviewing to get thoughts on the current brand? Who do we work with day-to-day? Who are the key decision makers?

4. Info on the company?
Before we get to the project itself, let’s find out a little more about the company we’re branding.

Any of the following is useful.

– What does the company do?
– What’s the company story?
– What makes your company special compared to others or what is its competitive advantage?
– Any other info on the culture?

Any documents with any of the above or even just a link to your current website or social media pages work.

5. Target Audience?
Successful brands help to bring people together to strengthen existing or create new relationships with key stakeholders.

What we want to know is who are the stakeholders we’re looking to attract/build relationships with.

– Existing Customers?
– New Customers?
– Staff – New or Existing?
– Suppliers?
– Shareholders?
– Other Stakeholders?

6. Ideas being expressed?
What do you want your brand to express.

Is it any of the following. 

– The Founder’s story?
– Core Values?
– Company Vision?
– Mission Statement?
– USP or competitive advantage?
– Simple marketing message?

We don’t like to over complicate things at the loft so if it is just a simple message – that is fine too.

7. Tagline?
Talking of messages, does your company have a tag-line or any other language to describe itself or any of its offerings?

8. Where brand will the new brand be rolled out?
Once we have created this amazing new brand for you, we’d love to know where it will be rolled-out.

Will it be in any of the following places.

– Business Card?
– Corporate Stationary?
– Forms of signage?
– Online uses?
– Custom merchandise?
– Team uniforms?
– Other places?

9. Brand Guidelines?
All new brands come with a range of guidelines, this depends on the size of your company and what you do. When creating guidelines, we like to know, which of the following is useful.

– Typefaces?
– Colours?
– Photography Styles?
– Copywriting Tones?
– Rules for misuse?

1o. Deadlines and Budget?
Two of the most important things to know. How long do we have and how much do you have to spend?

Starting with your deadline, we simply need to know when do you need your new brand-identity as well as the different outputs?

Regarding budget, usually a ballpark of wherever you feel comfortable is fine. Give us a window of minimum-maximum spends, and we can take it from there. If you’d like help on maximising project budgets, we have a post on that too >>>

And that’s us 🙂

Whether you have everything on the list or not, don’t worry, we can help fill with the other questions.Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions?

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

19
Sep

THE LOFT | Mixtape #1

the loft playlist

Trying to avoid radio stations, at the loft we’ve prepared a special treat for any designers who are interested in fresh music releases. This month we’ve targeted interesting, spatial sounds and electronic landscapes created by the most talented Australian musicians and more.

As people who treat music with huge respect, we’ve decided to introduce some scope of our subjective selection of tunes that we think are extraordinary. Full of intriguing and unexpected passages, our first playlist will give you some chills, auto reflective vibes and hopefully lots of fun. Breathe in and enjoy.

Marek – Designer & Director of Design Hacks & Productivity

marcus

Soulman! The artist of the group and a man who fuses intensity, control and imagination to incredible effect. Relentlessly thoughtful, creative and driven. Our Marek is the man who will go to the ends of the earth to find the true meaning of something. There is no problem that can’t be conquered. A designer with purpose, with vision but most of all — a designer with soul.

21
Aug

The F-Word

‘A company that pushes the limits of Creativity, Quality and Service.’

These are the latest words we have picked to differentiate the loft from all the others in the tightly packed, multi-faceted and incredibly competitive, creative sector which we operate.

Just to break it down a bit…

We want creative concepts that stir the soul to get us pumped about what we are doing.

We know that quality is a non-negotiable

Finally, excellent service is the foundation to any successful business.

At the loft – we are absolutely obsessed about all three.

How do we achieve the optimal mix?
The secret lies in the F-Word and no not the one you are thinking off.
While some may be terrified of it and others do their best to completely avoid it.

At the loft, we wholeheartedly embrace the F-word.

Failure.

We are comfortable in its presence, we use it as an opportunity to learn and we treat it as rocket fuel to break down those creative brick walls we face on a daily basis.

For us, it is the first step to success.

Fail Fast, Fail Often, Fail your way to Success.

Its something you will hear a lot of in our studio, alongside the example of a rocket which is almost permanently of course as it fails its way to the moon.

A love of failure might seem counterproductive but the biggest problem most creatives face is the enormity of the initial brief.

It can be so overwhelming that procrastination reigns supreme – ‘lighter/ darker, coloured/ monotone, in-line/ staggered…’

Endless analysis is followed by very little action. People build such large walls in their own minds that they are stunted into in-action. So much so, that the scale of even the first task overwhelms them.

At the loft, we just don’t have time for that.

We want to reign supreme in not one but three different areas – who has time for procrastination?

We believe action is key – work fast, smaller actions, quick decisions, minimise guess work, face uncomfortable truths, de-risk the concepts. Each of these behaviours help us to get through a massive workload – we get through more in a day than some would get through in a week.

Oh and it leaves plenty of time for barbecues, parties, drinks and the other fun stuff we regularly enjoy.

What’s more and this is the best bit, working faster and with greater intensity may seem like harder work but actually the opposite is true.
Its energising.

Guesswork is tiring, procrastination robs us of momentum and playing it safe is the surest way to completely lose interest.

Whether it is the ‘Lean Start-Up’ philosophy, the E-Spark philosophy or the Silicone Valley philosophy – it is one that we wholeheartedly believe in and use every single day.

Want to start succeeding, time to start failing.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society.

He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible.

The loft serves companies in every sector and is quite simply the best in the business at creating brands that capture the imagination.

In addition to his role with the loft, Benedetto is an avid supporter of young people into enterprise. Having been supported by organisations such as PSYBT and currently by E-Spark, he does all he can to support young entrepreneurs. He provides assistance to organisations such as Bridge2Business, Young Enterprise Scotland and acts as a mentor for young business owners with Entrepreneurial Scotland.

His support to the next generation doesn’t end there, Benedetto is a big supporter of MCR Pathways, an organisation which helps disadvantaged children secure better futures through mentoring. Alongside his team at the loft, he provides creative support to the organisation as well as specialist work experiences for the students in the studio.

A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He always wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

24
Feb

The Journey of Discovery

Design is never a fixed path. It twists and bends, branching off into different areas and adapting to its surroundings. In this sense, there is no ‘right or wrong’ within design, but a gut feeling that tells you that you’re heading in the right direction.

We met Stan, the founder of a company called Disruptancy. It was a very successful business; expanding it’s client base, continually working on new ideas. But something struck me as peculiar; it had lasted 10 years without any form of branding.

As we live in the information age, branding plays a crucial part to any successful business, yet Stan’s seemed to defy logic on this part. How could a company hold up against it’s competition for 10 years without any recognisable marks that are tied to the title?

Disruptancy works business to business. Organisations come to Disruptancy for a number of reasons — but usually to employ disruptive practises and methodologies to scale or turnaround.

We felt it was important to get to know Stan as a person for this exercise, because you could almost say that he was the current branding of Disruptancy. A lot of his clients came directly to his company not because of advertising, but through word of mouth and a trustworthy founder. The branding would be very personal to Stan and represent his idea of what the company stands for.

We began mind-mapping from a select list of words Stan had used to summarise the business. The mind mapping lead us to some interesting themes:

Integration / The journey / Creative pathways / Fluid movement / Turnaround / Expansion /  Adaptation / Evolution / Growth of a business / Personalised service / Company code

This section of the design process is always energetic; a lot of very initial thoughts with accompanying pathways. No idea has been anchored down to the ground so there’s always a feeling of continual momentum and fluidity.

These words lead us onto research, pulling inspiration from numerous sources; sculpture, architecture, art, print design.

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To convey to companies ideas and legacy, this key was crucial to the success of the branding. As long as the idea had potential, it was pinned up on the wall. As the wall began to fill, it was becoming more and more apparent that the team was all on the same track.

Themes began to naturally emerge, so it was time to categorise them. We collected the initial research in to piles based on their similarities. These similarities weren’t necessarily simply aesthetic, it was more conceptual ideas that tied them together.

After collecting and arranging, we discussed again in detail what the company stood for, what message they wanted to show the world. A good technique for this is summarising the companies themes in as few a words as possible. This then led us on to creating specific names for each concept our research had brought to us.

Conceptualisation was made a lot easier due to our initial research and theme building stages. Any form of sketch that was created was then pinned up (as rough as it may be). In many cases, if I drew a sketch that I wasn’t happy with, another team member may find some inspiration in it, leading us onto greater ideas. We’ve found that it’s always a good idea to put up every idea you have, as small as it may seem.

D_Scan_1

The presentation is dependant on the brief; with this brief, we wanted to present our concepts in a way that highlighted particular traits of our clients company. We chose to recreate the ‘journey’ aspect, and pinned up our concept on the wall, linking them together with red string.

Now that the initial concepts had been created, we felt it was time to bring our client back in to the studio to show the journey so far. After a brief explanation of each concept, we asked and answered questions regarding the ideas. Keeping an open communication is key to a successful project, especially in the early stages.

There were a couple of concepts that really stood out to Stan, one of them being ‘The Möbius Strip’ concept. I explained to Stan that a Möbius Strip is a mathematical object that has one side and one edge, known as being non-orientable. It can be recreated by taking a thin piece of paper, writing it once in the middle, then gluing the ends together. If you take a pen and draw a line down the path, it will cover all faces of the strip, meaning it has one side.

mobius3

But how does this relate to Disruptancy? Well, there were multiple connections that I found between Stan’s company and the mathematical shape:

A strip winds and bends, yet only has one side and one edge
— Disruptancy adapts based on it’s clients, yet only has one objective

A literal 180 degree flip
— The company is flipped on it’s head, with a new outcome

Any object that travels down the strip will arrive at the starting point inverted
— Endless possibilities at the end of the process

Cutting the strip down the central axis results in a larger strip; the strip expands outward and has obtained extra twists
— By disrupting clients’ companies, a dramatic change has been made, only to result in the growth of the business

Stan could see potential in this concept, so we took it forward and began developing this idea. A very important part of this stage is not losing the core meaning of the concept by covering it in an aesthetic facade. Always ensure that the developed idea fits within the mould created by that spark that started the journey.

The comparison of these connections to the initial themes we had thought of was interesting. As the concept begins to take shape, each point that it expresses is refined and sharpened. There were no longer any unanswered questions about the brand, myself and the team could confidently answer any questions regarding the meaning of the logo, ensuring a very clear message is sent across.

The team were very happy with the final design, as we could all agree that it summarised what Disruptancy was all about in a simple mark.

Disruptancy_Logo_Black

I feel that myself and The Loft have learned from the entire process of creating Disruptancy’s branding. I know now not to through away any ideas, because even the most ridiculous will have depth to them. To be honest, it’s usually the most ridiculous that are the most successful. Always stay true to that concept as it is so easy to take it on another path. Working close with the client and building a trusted relationship is key too, is it gives you as a designer freedom to make decisions based on your training and knowledge. Always be abstract and creative, never stop pushing to create something you and the client are proud of.

REISS

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
21
Feb

Great brand?? It’s already there…

Unsurprisingly for a branding and design house, we are often asked about the best ways to build a great a great brand?

And we always do our best to keep it relevant to the people we are talking too – ‘your brand should be shaped by your commercial objectives,’ ‘every brand is different,’ ‘branding is an extension of values’ etc, etc…

But more often than not and with the sincere desire to be helpful – we’ll say to people that they probably already have a great brand story and it’s just a case of bringing some more of it to life.

Yes, campaigns can help.
Yes, logos are important.
And yes, tag lines do make a difference.

But it’s the small intangible things that really make a difference and most of the time they’re already there.

Its the stories of great customer experiences, examples where staff went above and beyond, particular achievements, values that you live up to every day, ways that you do things that are unique to you, products that make a difference.

Everybody has these and they are the building blocks to that great brand that you want to build.

Creating great brands is less about set-piece activities and more about capturing the spirit of the organisation.

While compiling The Sustainability Report for Scottish Leather Group in 2016. (An easy task because Scottish Leather Group have outstanding sustainability achievements.) We completed a special feature on the sustainability of the workforce of Scottish Leather Group companies.

John from Scottish Leather Group was celebrating more than 41 years of Service and Social Media definitely appreciated it.

John from Scottish Leather Group was celebrating more than 41 years of Service and Social Media definitely appreciated it.

As we found – at the heart of Scottish Leather Group’s sustainability achievements was the retention of their staff where they have a tremendous record. One page of the report featured John – one of their operators, who began working with the company in 1975, we recorded a timeline of his service showing how he started as an apprentice and is now helping other apprentices.

What was incredible was that we shared this image as a piece to show what the loft could do on LinkedIn and we were inundated with comments and likes each celebrating and congratulating the well-deserved success of a Scottish Leather Group employee. It shows how the small things can truly make a difference.

A wonderful piece of brand storytelling for Scottish Leather Group and something we still get asked about today.

It is the small things that bring a tender to life, makes a presentation memorable and helps a company to build a reputation.

Bring your culture to life and you’ll bring your brand to life and the best bit is that for most of you – it’s already there.

BB

Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.

‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.

He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder and Creative Director of the loft, a branding consultancy in Glasgow.

He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.

 

11
Oct

Creating Your Values

Values. They’ll help you hire the best staff, retain the best staff and win tight pitches. They’ll help you make quick decisions and give you the best chance to grow.

At the loft, we’ve worked with several companies – helping them to develop their values. Sometimes with company owners in isolation, sometime with management teams and sometimes with entire organisations. Questioning them, getting to know them and eventually trying to define who they are.

There are many ways to create a set off values, some ways require more time than others, some are more long-term than others.

But for this post, we’re sharing a simple method that will allow you to create your very own – right from the get-go.

Here we go…

1. You don’t have to call them values!

Not everybody likes the term values – or its sister term – ‘Mission Statement.’ If that’s the case – let’s go for ‘Beliefs’ or how about ‘Who We Are & What We Do.’ Different companies will have different ways of speaking to each other. Choose the language that feels right for you and your company.

2. What do you like about your company?

Yes, it is as simple as that. What do you like most about your business? What are the action/behaviours/results that please you the most?

Here’s a real tip – look out for are the simple things that people in your team does.

a) The staff in our accountancy firm always take the time to walk guests back to the exit in the other side of the building even though there are signs everywhere and they wouldn’t have any problem getting out.
 
b) Our creative team always delivers to tight deadlines – always! They actually seem to revel in the challenge of a tight deadline.
 
c) Our IT staff are so helpful to customers that when they’re out on-call, they even fix things that aren’t theirs to fix. They just can’t help themselves.
 
d) The analysts in our software company are usually more on-top of legislation changes than the legislators themselves.

You can have some real fun by writing them down – you may have hundreds of them. Get them down. (Post-it notes and a big board can be a great prop for these types of exercises.) It’s a great exercise to carry out and you’ll love your business even more after this.

3. From behaviour to value…

Once you have your list of favoured behaviours all down – its time to think of the value that person had that has caused the behaviour. This is how we get your values.

a) The staff in our accountancy firm always take the time to walk guests back to the exit in the other side of the building even though there are signs everywhere. (behaviours) = show me don’t tell me (value)
 
b) Our creative team always delivers to tight deadlines – always! They actually seem to revel in the challenge of a tight deadline. (behaviours) = love of a challenge (value)
 
c) Our IT staff are so helpful to customers that when they’re out on-call, they even fix things that aren’t theirs to fix. They just can’t help themselves. (behaviours) = going above and beyond. (value)
 
d) The analysts in our software company are usually more on-top of legislation changes than the legislators themselves. (behaviour) = A pro-dative approach. (values)

If you take the time, suddenly you will have a very impressive first draft.

4. Drafts 2-3-4

Now you have your list – you have to decide which ones are most important to you and how many you want? Most companies have between 5-7 values.

5. Use Them With Pride

The way you decide to use your values depends on what kind of company you are? You can use them on your website, the entrance to your office, the second page of your tender or on the introductory slide of a presentation. They do help you stand out from others and you are more likely to attract the kind of people and relationships you want into your business.

6. Live them and update them

Every company will use their values in different ways and some will take them more seriously than others. Real values-led companies hire/fire/assess staff performance all based on their values. Your values should be updated in-line with the people in the company, within the management team and your own business journey too.

We wish you well in creating your values, we hope you get something out of this post and you know where to find us if you would like some help?

contact the loft >>>

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.

‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.

He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft, a design and branding studio based in Glasgow.

He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.

28
Sep

Professional Service Websites – 7 Tips

Where to start when building that website for your firm can be a bit daunting. We thought, we’d take a moment out of our day and see if we can help? 

These are 7 tips to help those who are considering how to build their next professional services website or those who simply want to refresh what they currently have.

1. START WITH CONTENT

Many traditional website designers used to create layouts, structures and then create content to fit. We suggest the opposite – create the content first- and create a responsive structure to suit. The reason being is that content list can be a bit daunting and sometimes it is difficult to know where to start? The list may include – staff bios, service benefits, specific methodologies, images, news items, etc. It may include information on culture, values, vision, etc. Get all the information down in one place – post-it notes, scrap sheets of paper, etc. Anywhere, you can look over it all in one go.

Then work out what’s important? Prioritise which bits of content you want to emphasise? These are the bits where you use professional photography, copywriting or even video. By starting with content, you build a more user-friendly site and are more in control of the areas of your company that draw the most attention. Another really great tip is to use leverage and use the images, videos or articles (content) to share on Social Media channels such as LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter – obviously a critical part of your digital presence.

2. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE

Professional services are all about people and relationships – your website should be big on this. Bring your people to life online, this usually means – great images of your staff, personal stories, anecdotes, anything that builds the human story. Some like technical but most don’t so keep specialist information in a separate place to more general information.

The simple act of creating a simple clean layout with just the right amount of information that a client needs to know is an effective way to build a good professional site.

3. TESTIMONIAL SHEET

Not just a website one, but definitely one that will enhance any Business Development activities – the client testimonial sheet. Many professional firms are wary about publishing testimonials, especially on their website, in fear of having their clients poached. We believe that showing others that you do a good job is more than worth the risk.

The most significant improvement to our sales process has been the introduction of a ‘client and testimonial sheet.’ More testimonials gives you greater credibility. You cannot have too many of these. Have them on your website but also a simple doc or PDF file to E-Mail to show new people that you are trying to do business with can be helpful.

We don’t believe you can really have enough testimonials.

4. BESPOKE REQUIREMENTS

Most organisations will have services that are similar if not completely identical to their competitors. Whether it is advising on selling a business, providing an insurance specification or creating a will – we nearly all do the same things on paper. However, ‘it’s not what you do but the way that you do it.’ Being able to talk authentically about the differences demonstrate greater value-add and will help you stand out compared to others.

5. TELL A STORY

As a follow-up to the last tip. Your website should have a basic message, theme or a range of ideas that differentiate you in the marketplace. 95% of professional service firms rightly say that client-service is at the heart of their offering – this is a good message – but when everybody says the same thing, you may want to consider going a little further.

How do you serve those clients better than everybody else? Are you faster? More dynamic? More friendly? More precise? Do you have more specialised knowledge? More useful partnerships? A joined-Up Approach? Obsessed about the detail? Pick a couple of ideas and tell a few stories either with your web-copy or images that will help to emphasise and bring these ideas to life.

6. MAKE CONTACT EASY

A very, very simple one but something which can be neglected at times. It is YOUR duty to ensure that the person looking at your content can reach you easily. This means contact details in all the right places – on the home-sliders, on the menu, an easily-accessible contact-page, a good quality enquiry form, social media links or numbers directly to partners. You decide what that line between ‘accessible’ and ‘desperate’ is but it should never be a chore to contact any organisation. Otherwise you don’t deserve the business.

7. CONTEXT

Professional services are all about reputation and relationships. The majority of your clients will have come through referrals.

Try wherever possible and with whatever means to tell a story – even a short one about the kind of service you provide? There are so many tools out there such as video which allow you to introduce a little more of the human side of yourself. Take a chance and get yourself out there. You’ll be one of the few that do and fortune favours the brave.

If you’d like some help – contact us >>>

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.

‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.

He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft, a design and branding studio based in Glasgow.

He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.