Tag: business growth

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

3-Steps to launch

3-Steps to launch!

You spot an opportunity, a gap in the market, an extension of what you do – a way to help more people or provide greater service to existing customers. You want to create, launch and market a new product or service but aren’t quite sure where or how to start?

This is our simple guide to help you get going.

It’s a 3-step process we’ve used many times with current clients.and it is short, fast and to the point.

1. WHERE’S THE VALUE?

You have to start with customers.

Your new service or product is likely to be related in someway to what you are doing and it’s essential to know from the outset – the practical advantages that your new product or service is going to offer. Nnderstand the value for them and this value should also go beyond theory.

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Tell a story with your images – human stories are better.

A technology company that offers ‘more flexible working’ sounds good to a business owner – in theory. However, 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, much more vivid picture of value to the business owner – your potential customer.

Understanding the human value and beginning to paint this picture in your marketing is important and as you go forward, you will find even more practical benefits to 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 think you need a brand first, then a website, then some marketing materials, then a product name etc… As advocates of ‘the lean start-up’ approach – we think the most important thing your new product or service needs is revenue and sales. A new product or service should be approached almost like a ‘start-up’— they burn development cash, there is no income and most of it is still not properly understood yet and will need time. We believe you should do the maximum with what you have to get your new product or service off the line as quickly as possible.

List all of the different things you can do – website, microsite, flyers, business cards, E-Newsletters, Printed mail shots, logos, Product names, advertorials, print advertisements, etc, etc… We would do the bare minimum to get you going. If you have 10-12 activities that you want to do, prioritise those that are most likely to get you going and start. The chances are later items will change in nature or content once you begin. You will establish quick wins that you’ll want to build on and this is likely to change the rest of the list. The scope of a first project may be the release of a simple flyer with some pictograms telling the story and a call-to-action to your first 500 prospects.

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Sometimes a simple descriptive image is enough.

Also, consider the best ways to tell the stories that matter to customers – there is a wonderful example above of the beauty of a ‘clear-desk.’ Build on the positive human stories. Pictograms, visual systems, eye-catching images, short videos will all help you paint a better picture of what your new offering can do for the people you are looking to gain as customers.

As we have said, all start-ups have limited marketing budgets and (at this point,) no revenue. So we suggest that you really prioritise and maximise your budgets to give you the biggest bang for your buck – build momentum so you can move fast, launch quickly and start obtaining some happy customers.

3. ACTION

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 a right or wrong way and a more optimal way will become apparent in time. This will be as true for the operational efficiency of your product or service as it will for your marketing efforts.

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Be bold and have some fun with your marketing

Don’t forget to be bold, focus on results over methods and have fun. By acting this way, it will unlock a whole new raft of unseen creative ideas which will set your new product or service apart and take it to another level. Good luck.

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.

25
Sep

‘1000 songs in your pocket’

1000songs

Creating a brand is a never-ending job, there are many things to be done – getting the messaging right, building your digital presence, ensuring there is consistency through all the channels, getting buy-in from multiple stakeholders, etc, etc.

And with each of those questions.

Do we do a new website? Is it time for an E-Mail campaign? Shall we revise the photography of the team? What shall we do with social media?

Where do we start???

At the loft, we believe that the question is usually more important than the answer.

Once you have a clear idea of the question you are asking, you suddenly have a focus and a much wider range of options to play with. And that question is always, always, always better when it starts with people and the type of relationship you want them to have with your brand.

Great questions are the first part of great solutions. Here are some great examples.

“We want to increase our sales with existing customers in Canada because we have the operational capacity to serve more people out there.”

“We have a brilliant opportunity for clients who are looking to scale and we want them to know about it so they can take advantage of it immediately.”

“We want to build a brand so well-known that customers have heard off us before we’ve even finished telling them our company name.”

“We want our customers to benefit from the full suite of services available with our software.”

“We want to do something to unite our team and show the outside world our company is on a new and exciting path.”

Each of the outcomes above have come from projects we’ve worked on – questions that we’ve developed with our clients.

They’ve come from people and brands we’ve worked with -helping them to build better relationships with their customers, suppliers or staff – helping them to achieve their commercial goals.

Strong and worthy questions based around people can only lead to effective solutions. As a company, we wholeheartedly believe in ‘pleasing results over pleasing methods.’

One other person who believed in this was Steven Jobs, and after having read his book, there are similarities.

What made Apple great in the first place? FaceTime gave people easy face-to-face video calling, the original I-Phone gave people an ‘internet communicator, revolutionary mobile phone and I-Pod all in one device.’

And my personal favourite – ‘A thousand songs in your pocket.’

When Steve Jobs presented the original i-pod in 2001, he had a slide which showed the question he asked his team to answer? How can we make a device that gives our customers a 1000 songs in their jeans pocket. What a great question. One which was relevant, worthy and had people at its core. Unsurprisingly, a brilliant start to what became a completely game-changing product.

Like Apple, solutions also have to be flawlessly executed and there has to be a commitment to answering the question properly but nothing will help you achieve successful outcomes quicker.

Not sure about the answer? Think again about the question.

Or we’ll happily 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.

23
Sep

6 Things I’ve Learned

A few days ago, it kind of felt like I was the only person in the world working. A combination of Glasgow Fair, staff being on holiday and the whole South Block Building having a bit of an empty eeriness to it. As I worked away – I couldn’t help but be distracted with a conversation I had with our team the day before. I asked them to take some time and study each other to look for just one thing that they thought they admired and could bring into their own games to be that little bit better as professional designers.

Of course – as I asked this of them – my mind raced to some of the brilliant lessons, ideas and habits I had picked up from colleagues, mentors and some  inspirational people that I had listened too in previous years and how much certain ideas had helped me.

I’ve credited the people who shared these wonderful ideas with me at the end, and they are in no particular order. But for keen followers of Scottish Business – you can probably guess who said what?

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Quite possibly my favourite bit of advice and one that completely transformed my attitude to sales, customer service & business in general. I was the guy that would arrive at the client’s office or boardroom and send the prospect to sleep with 40-50 slides of what they were doing wrong and if they only, only listened to me – they could do it so much better. I am sure my arguments were intellectually sound but you can probably guess how much business I won. A big fat zero. I got used to hearing ‘don’t call us – we’ll call you.’ Once I learned to shut-up and learn what the client was wanting to do and spend my energies helping them to find a solution to their challenges that we started to get some movement.

As a neat follow-up – “Don’t sell to the company, serve the individual.” Maybe not the exact words but the message was similar to the previous one. You have to look after the individual and not the entire company – unless your proposing a company strategy – that is their business and not your problem. Have faith that the person you are looking to work with understands their company and their requirements better than you ever could – you must remember that it is a human that signs off the order at the end of the day and you had better build a rapport with them. The better you serve and understand them – the more quickly you’ll be trusted with more.

“Don’t take health advice from a doctor that is always ill.” Another brilliant one – it is amazing how much we open our minds to the opinion of the day or the person that shouts the loudest. Quite simply – if you want to be good at sales – learn from or ask somebody who is good at sales, if you want your company to be financially robust, ask somebody who has a financially robust company, if you want rapid growth – ask somebody who has done it. There are so many talkers, gurus and ‘thought-leaders’ out there. Analyse their results in a particular area and decide for yourself whether that is what you want for yourself in that area. Otherwise, question any advice they give you.

“Go out and speak to 100 customers now!” Absolutely brilliant – it is amazing how often we fall off-track by falling-in-love too much with our own products and services. Brutally honest feedback from customers is usually the much-needed bringing back down to earth that helps us all to improve our businesses and get better.

“Treat your clients budgets as if they are your own” I think this one is absolutely brilliant for anybody that wants to build long-term relationships with their clients, and long-term business is usually the holy grail. If you are prudent and offer value to your clients in the short-term, you will more likely to be trusted with more in the long term.

“See your business in three time-zones. Too many short-term decisions and you’ll make less mistakes but never grow, too many long-term decisions and you’ll never get any momentum and you need momentum. You have to work to succeed in the present day, a month ahead and in a quarter’s time.” This one was a real eye-opener about the importance of balancing long-term and short-term success.

And finally, a little analogy that I absolutely love…

“Building a rapid-growth business is a bit like building a racing car. You want everything to be poised on the absolute limit. If you put too much horsepower in one go, you’re going to blow everything at the same time – there won’t be adequate cooling, the tyres will blow, the suspension won’t cope – it will be an absolute mess and you won’t know what to fix first. Go the opposite direction and over-engineer each of those things for power you don’t yet have – and you’ve got a tank and not a race-car. I think there are a couple of messages here – firstly, do everything in logical increments – do them quickly – but have some kind of order. And fix today’s problems today and worry about tomorrow’s problems tomorrow – if you’re really going to go fast – there will be new problems for you to solve every single day.”

I absolutely love these and hope some of my fellow entrepreneurs find them handy too.

A huge thank you to (and these are in no particular order…)

Jim Duffy, E-Spark
Stuart Macdonald, Seric Systems
Jim McColl, Clyde Blowers Capital
Bob Keiller, Ex Wood-Group
Colin Robertson, Alexander Dennis
Iain MacRitchie, MCR Holdings

If you’d like to work with the loft – please don’t hesitate to 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.

28
Sep

10 ways to win and retain clients

A couple of weeks ago my company created a brand–experience chart to compliment a presentation about ‘Branding for the 21st Century.’

It can be found here…

http://www.theloft.co/loft-brand-experience-map.pdf

The chart demonstrated the importance of company culture in creating brands that people wish to engage, and more importantly, continuously engage.

Client/customer/employee loyalty is one of the most important aspects of commercial success.
VW sell close to a half million cars in Europe every year and have done so for a very long time, it is the bed-rock of the company’s success and future growth. Customer loyalty is one of the most fundamental attributes in helping a company to scale.

This can also be true with employer-employee experiences, but this post will focus on the client/customer journey.

Here are some of our top 10 ways to building a brand experience that helps to win and retain customers and clients…

1. Create your own map

As a starting point, for brand experience; start with a single client/customer group. Anything your company does that engages the five senses of the end client is a touch point. Consider direct (your communications and activities) and indirect (press coverage, word-of-mouth, market perception, etc) touch points. Touch points can range from the initial hand shake and swapping of a business card to the client’s viewing of your website, through to your e-mail system (we have a blog coming up on the dangers of poor e-mail campaigns.) There can be thousands of interactions depending on the size of your company; take the most important ones and break them into sub-categories (website – home page, about us, contact form, twitter feed, etc…) or (people – dress attire,)

2. Look out for red flags

Ruthlessly vet your business for hygiene factors throughout the ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. These are interactions that will kill the brand experience in an instant and make it almost impossible to do business with your company in the future. Obvious ones include – slow website, broken web-pages (particularly important with multi-browser compatibility,) overly aggressive sales technique, spelling mistakes, un-expected price hikes or change in ‘terms of conditions,’ any form of over-promise and under-delivery.

There are also some really trivial touch-points which may seem obvious but you’d be amazed – members of the company dealing with the client/customer who may have a limp handshake. A really trivial thing, but along with others, can damage the brand experience beyond the point of no-return before a sale has even been made.

3. Don’t forget in-direct factors

Examples of bad press, poor reputation management or the ascent of your rivals in terms of reputation and perception will reduce the quality of your brand experience. These have to be identified and confronted as quickly as possible.

4. Differentiate yourself

You have to strongly differentiate yourself in the market for anybody to take notice of you. There are mainly four ways to define a brand in the market. How you deliver your product/service, what the product or service is, who the individual in the company is and why the company exists.

How you deliver your product/services | A key differentiator may be a special warranty, Hyundai made great hay when it began offering 5-Year warranties as a symbol of their reliability. It could be a unique client experience; one accountancy firm gave their clients jelly? No I’m not kidding; one of the fastest growing accountancy firms in the country actually gave their clients jelly as part of a zany brand experience. Not everybody wants jelly from their accountants but some did and loved it… However, make sure whatever you do is in keeping with your own culture.

What you do | Do you do anything that your rivals don’t? EE, for a very limited space of time, are the only provider of 4G phones in the UK. This differentiates them. ‘Law At Work,’ one of the fastest growing legal firms in the country, is a legal brand that only operates in the area of ‘employment law,’ this exclusivity of service re-defines their expertise for a very specific type of legal work. They are perceived as specialists in a market full of generalists.

Who you are | People defined brands, brands with superstars that front them up – including all of the following – Jamie Oliver, James Dyson, Mary Portas, Gordon Ramsay, Richard Branson but more interestingly many companies/individuals still pledge allegiance to the partner as opposed to the firm in professional services.

Why you do what you do | The big one! Why do you exist as a company? What is your purpose beyond profit? The most intangible of differentiation points but the most potent. Apple are defined by ‘thinking differently,’ Google are defined by ‘indexing the worlds information,’ and the Ritz for providing the best customer experience in the world.

This may seem a bit flowery to some but it is unbelievably important to driving client/employee loyalty.

The companies that can define themselves in this way are the ones that will create a real bond with their clients, customers and staff.

I suggest that you take a piece of paper. Make a set of axis and create 4 quadrants – why, who, what and how; list all of your rivals down and see if there is any great differentiator in a clients mind between yourself and your chief rivals.

5. Watch Simon Sinek, ‘Why great leaders take action.’

For more information on creating your differentiation by ‘why you exist,’ I really advise watching Simon Sinek, ‘Why Great Leaders Take Action.’ It is a 20-minute TED talk which beautifully explains the importance of your purpose beyond profit.

6. Find out why existing customers/client choose you?

Really drill down into WHY your company wins business. Is there a real compelling reason? Is it a logical or emotive reason? Most importantly, is that reason present throughout the entire experience? A contradictory competitive advantage or brand experience pretty much kills any chance of a second sale. People struggle to trust brands that contradict themselves so finding that out should be a matter of priority.

7. ‘Walk the talk’

For existing clients/customers, failure to ‘walk the talk,’ is critical. Any form of broken promise pre-sale will be punished when it comes to product/service renewal. Whichever feeling you decide to invoke in ‘sales/marketing’ has to be consistent throughout the experience. You must ‘walk the talk.’ If you’re selling safety as the differentiator in your service, this has to be evident throughout, if you’re selling a commitment to people or social justice, this can never be contradicted throughout the entire experience. Even if there is short-term pain, a betrayal of values damages the brand, brand authenticity and relationships with clients/customers and staff.

8. Build the emotional case

For marketing and sales, I briefly mentioned technical and emotive information. People make decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic. That doesn’t mean that logical information such as price, location, delivery of service, size of company, etc will always be overruled by pure emotion. But if all logical elements are comparable, people will make decision based on emotion and gut-feel. If a brand can invoke some kind of natural feeling, this will help considerably in getting the company over the line in winning competitive pitches or tender against their competitors.

9. Work out your ‘purpose beyond profit’

Companies with distinctive cultures and ‘a sense of mission,’ will out-perform those that are purely ‘results driven.’ They allow for more consistent brand experiences which in turn drives loyalty, companies with genuine culture have an authenticity and ‘real-ness’ that people buy into. Furthermore, evidence of a unique or strong company culture will become the best marketing collateral that you will ever have. Don’t just have values, create a set of behaviours to sit beside the values and tell the whole world about them.

10. Build the brand from the inside out.

Think of your brand as a method actor/actress. 90% of what we communicate when speaking to others is in body-language not words. When actors/actresses have to depict their roles on stage, they naturally find it impossible to control every single part of their body language and also recite their lines at the same time. This is where method-acting comes in, the actors/actresses immerse themselves in the characters to become them in their own minds’ this allows the performance to flow and create a more natural and authentic performance.

For anybody with staff and particularly those of you that runs larger companies with potentially hundreds of thousands of touch-points, you aren’t going to be able to micro-manage every single interaction – like the method actor trying to control every part of their body language, it is impossible. The only way to allow for some kind of consistency of brand experience is to immerse your staff and suppliers, into the company culture. Define your culture strongly and then communicate it internally with as much rigour and gusto as you would with external communications.

These are just some of the main ways that you can build a brand experience that helps your company to win and retain clients.

For any further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us…

Benedetto

BB Profile Pic Small

Benedetto Bordone

Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the branding consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotive brands.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design and strategy work to build emotive brands.

08
Sep

Branding for the 21st Century

On Thursday night, I discussed ‘Branding for the 21st Century.’ at an event for the ‘Entrepreneurial Exchange’ in Glasgow.

The main point of the discussion was that in this the digital age, people are more important than ever before in building the great brands of today.

You can read highlights from the talk below…

The rise of the digital space has completely transformed communications for business in the last 15 years. It has allowed us a tremendous opportunity; the ability to get our own message out. For the first time in history, we can reach people from any destination from any part of the world at any time of our choosing. We have bespoke media channels and can engage in two-way conversations with potential clients and customers like never before.

The rise of digital has given brands a new repertoire of tools to engage with.

Unfortunately, it has also given us more ways than ever before to disturb, confuse and alienate our audiences. Anybody with a smart phone will know, the internet is a very noisy place. The average person will receive 142 e-mails a day at their work alone. That’s 81 received with 41 replies. Up from 101 just three years ago.

We are supposedly the most interrupted people in the history of the human race.

Unsurprisingly the brands that make the most noise are the ones that tend to engage the least.

The digital landscape has also helped to accelerate the commoditisation of many of our products/services. The easier availability of untried alternatives and further globalisation has driven down the prices of products and services that were once revenue streams to us all. You have to look no further than the media sector to see that the race to the bottom has no end in sight. There has never been a more important time to build and show value.

No matter what you do, somebody will always be able to do it cheaper. Cutting through the noise and displaying value are just two of the greatest challenges we face today as business owners.

Both challenges point to a stronger brand.

However, to build a strong brand, your company must have communications that go far beyond saying what you the think the customer wants to hear. Culture and a sense of mission underpins the strongest of brands and those that have a goal larger than profit will be the ones that engage in the strongest way with staff, customers and clients alike.

The culture within your business underpins every part of your brands communication. A brand is more than a logo, it is an entire experience; the manifestation of thousands of interactions between your company and the people it interacts with; externally and internally, online and offline. This includes factors as diverse as customer service, corporate responsibility and of course, the delivery of the end products or services themselves.

Each interaction combines to create a brand experience.

However, to create a rich experience, there has to be, what we call a brand narrative, thread through the entire company. It has to permeate the organisation from top to bottom. It’s where the brand is borne.

The business owner who knows that over-capacity in the factory can damage brand experience is one that is fully in control of their brand; they understand that sales staff will have to be more aggressive or resort to discounting – both activities that damage brand experience and value. The most aware business owners will already be hiring people that are good cultural fits and can deliver the right brand experience without even trying. With brands, actions speak louder than words.

The entrepreneur that stamps their personality on every aspect of their company will regularly lead the strongest brands.

The world’s no-1 brand Apple, under Steve Jobs may be the most vivid of examples. Only Steve Jobs could have the ingenuity to roll out I-Pod, I-Phone, I-Pad, one after the other. Game-changing products! Only Steven Jobs could steal the music industry from under the noses of those in the sector. Genius products, genius man. Only Apple, under Jobs, could have the arrogance to tell us that their brand new I-phone 4 wasn’t working because we mere mortals weren’t holding it correctly. For better or worse, a lot of great brands resemble their leaders.

There are hundreds of other examples; we could speak about Michael O’Leary, Richard Branson or even Richard Reed are all obvious ones. All people whose personal influences have helped to create brands that are memorable and easy to define.

Of course, there is a balance to be struck. The more distinctive the culture, the more likely some may be alienated. It’s fundamental that the markets you seek to enter align with brand positioning. Volvo is a brand that sells cars but to the consumer, they sell safety of themselves and loved ones when they travel. Selling safety as an emotion is fine in the family car market, less so for sports models. The very essence of strategy is the narrowing of choices and closing of opportunities to focus on the end goal. It involves discipline and there are times to be pragmatic and times to be idealistic.

These are the decisions you will face when looking to build your brand. Unfortunately there is no one-size fits all solutions to building a strong brand. However, one of the principal reasons for branding is the means to define and differentiate with competitors.

If customers can understand what you do without even thinking and you’re the answer before they’ve even asked the question then you’re communicating well.

Who you are, what you do, how you do it and why you do it are the main ways to define a brand.

All companies should be differentiated in at least one of these ways from its competitors.

Who you are… Obvious people-brands include Jamie Oliver with his restaurants or cookbooks or James Dyson with his vacuum cleaners but more interestingly, many clients still pledge allegiances with the partners as opposed to the firms they use in accountancy and legal firms. Personal branding also has a large part to play for entrepreneurs who present their brands.

Definition by What you do… Companies like EE are completely defined by temporarily being the only 4G provider of mobile services. Edinburgh firm – ‘Law at Work’ are another example. They may be small but are one of the fastest growing professional service firms in a bad time for the profession. Why? Because they only deal with issues around employment, you perceive them to be specialists in a market full of generalists. Defined more by what they don’t do as opposed to what they do.
How you do something… How does your product or service differ in its marketplace?

The companies that tend to innovate a lot round product or service offerings tend to be those with a strong core purpose which we’ll talk about next. A good example includes the first Human resource companies that offered psychometric profiling to its clients or Hyundai several years ago being the first auto maker to offer a five year warranty. Defining your company in those ways are all options available, they’ll help your company become more recognisable, memorable and easy to define.

But why you exist is the most potent way to define yourself, particularly in competitive markets. The really memorable brands are all defined by a core purpose – Nike, Apple, Ryanair, The Ritz, Innocent, Audi, IKEA, McKinsey, IBM up and coming brands such as Tough Mudder, B2C brands and B2B brands, even great Scottish brands such as Irn Bru or Tennents. These are all companies where both staff and customers and clients alike know instinctively what their brand represents. Why you do what you do is the ultimate emotional pull to staff, clients & customers. It is the sense of mission that transcends the commercial part of the business. Emotion always trumps logic; people react based on their emotions then justify their decisions with logic and facts.

Engaging with people on an emotional level is the most powerful way for a brand to communicate. The more potent the emotional argument, the greater the potential value in the brand.

Volkswagen are a company with a very high reputation for quality but consumers will pay £6000 more for a 2-litre A4 over a Passat, they are virtually the same car, many consumers know they are virtually identical yet the prestige and quality of the Audi brand commands a very significant premium.

That is maximising the emotional and commercial value of your brand.

It is not only common in cars – the best restaurants charge significant premiums for the strength of the brand experience. The big 4 do likewise in accountancy terms. Indeed there are very real opportunities for companies in the B2B space to build more engaging brands. Only 14 out of the 100 brands in the world are ‘business to business’ but the likes of IBM with Smarter Planet & Social Business have demonstrated great ways it should be done. Whatever the brand, the communications have to align with the cultural values of the company.

Everybody from the sales staff to the person that sweeps the floor must know why you’re special.

And therein lies the rub, special brands are the result of great companies.

Building a strong brand is one of the most potent weapons for growth there is. A strong brand provides the answer to just about every challenge you will face.

Obtaining sales is easier if the company has a strong brand.

Entering new markets become easier if you have a strong brand.

Launching new products, attracting the best staff, motivating existing staff, increasing margins on your products, inspiring loyalty and in some just cases feeling good about yourself and what you’re doing are all a result of a strong brand.

If you want to build real value into your brand, turn it into a cause. The companies that have a clear sense of mission are the ones most able to create a great brand story with higher value to all those that it touches.

People don’t just want leadership now, they expect it.

And those that lead in terms of innovation and culture will be those that shall be rewarded.

Cultural goals gives people in organisations scope and autonomy to make decisions, innovate and improve service/product quality. Building blocks to building even stronger brands that don’t have to compete on price. Most of the great brands mentioned above share a common theme – they are restless innovators.

Great brands are not made by digital tools, marketing agencies or people like ourselves at the loft. Our role is critical to compiling and articulating a vision but the brand message is created by the business leaders at the top. What kind of company do you want to build?

And on the subject of leadership, if brands must have personality to win in the digital race, who should determine what kind of personality the brand has? If the entrepreneur or business leader is going to be bought into a brand and drive it forward. If it’s your baby that you wish to grow. It ultimately has to reflect your character. You are the main stakeholder, it is your values, principles, interests and vision that will determine the success of the brand long after the agencies have completed their work.

With the amount of noise in today’s market, only the brands with the strength of purpose and clarity of message will gain and retain loyal clients. This can be shaped only by company culture and the vision laid out at the top of the organisation.

And it is for this reason that in this the digital age, it is people that are at the heart of building brands for the 21st century.

For further information, you can check out our info graph that compliments this talk at…

http://www.theloft.co/loft-brand-experience-map.pdf

Benedetto

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Benedetto Bordone

Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the branding consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotive brands.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design and strategy work to build emotive brands.

24
Apr

The West Wing Effect

It took about 10 years of my friends telling me ‘You have to watch the West Wing, you’ll love it.’ for me to take their advice. I know the first West Wing was shot in 1998 and the final one in 2006, so I am about 15 years late to the party. But a couple of months ago I got the box sets and before I knew it I was on to series 6. I got to admit, my friends were right- what a show! Packed full of drama, great personal and political stories and from what I understand- a reasonable insight into what life is really like inside the White House.

What I like most about the West Wing is the culture within the organisation, the human tales – the energy, the sense of purpose, the sense of unity. I must admit it reminded me very much of my time at Alfa Romeo nearly 10 years ago. Awake at 6AM, in work for 7AM, incredible energy, incredible passion, fierce debate, a little bit political. You seldom left before 7PM, you’d regularly still be around at 9, midnight and beyond was never out of the question. It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked and it was a combustible mix of passion, energy and chaos fuelled by espresso of course. Working hours were horrendous, pay was incredulous but it’s one of the experiences I look back on with the most fondness. I think it’s why I’ve enjoyed The West Wing so much. One is design, the other politics but the fundamental attributes of passion and a clear ‘sense of mission’ is evident in both.

Alfa Romeo and the President of the United States are two very emotive causes. Its crystal clear what you’re working for, the sense of mission is evident and these organisations have people that put the cause before their own needs.

Why?

Not because they have too. But because they want too.

It’s the invisible force that drives people to do better that I’m fascinated with- finding it, unlocking it, releasing it and letting it grow to let companies do better, to let people do better. To outperform the market. It’s evident in sport too. I was fascinated and delighted that Iain MacRitchie, chairman of Hobbs, at a recent dinner agreed with my question that companies could use sport teams as examples to endow their people with a sense of pride in the organisation. If you play for The All Blacks or Manchester United, you play as much for the jersey as you play for yourself. I have friends that work for companies such as Nike who are endlessly reminded of what it means to work for such a great company as well as being aware of the company values, vision and culture.

This sense of purpose.

This sense of cause should be at the heart of every organisation. Brand communication has a true role to play. To communicate a vision, you must firstly have a vision. It has to come from the management team. The people at the top must understand, live it and buy into it before anybody else can. Thereon in afterwards, it’s about telling and re-telling that story – to staff, to clients, to prospective clients, to suppliers, to investors. Getting buy-in from each of the individual stakeholders is what will propel your company forward. It will be the invisible force that enhances sales, client loyalty, client satisfaction, productivity and overall happiness in the workplace. It will be the passion that fuels new thinking and innovation.

We are officially launching a service – initially for large law firms- called Loft Legal. Long term, we’ll work with other service providers. We know that most top firms have a culture, but all too often it is hidden away. We intend to bring it out and turn it into something that can motivate, educate and inspire people to do better. Everybody knows what they do in a professional services firm and how they do it. But many just need to be reminded a bit more often, why they do what they do. Call it the ‘invisible force’ or the ‘West Wing effect.’ Given the right place, it can help to drive your company forward.

Benedetto

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Benedetto Bordone

Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design work to build emotive brands.

17
Jan

Are you memorable?

Are you memorable, truly memorable?

I read a good book over Christmas. Now I am not one to overly indulge in ‘business books.’ Wisdom like everything else is a commodity these days and I think they only really work if you immerse yourself fully into the theology of what they’re about. Few of us have the time, discipline and patience to do so.

However, I did enjoy reading ‘Bold.’ A. Story about 12 companies who had grew their businesses considerably due to their bold actions. Gratefully, they had ‘branding & positioning,’ (what I do) at the heart of their success. But it was alongside other activities like ‘customer experience,’ ‘marketing,’ ‘HR’ etc. Now I won’t bore you with every detail of the book. But needless to say ‘boldness’ was at the heart of their argument and when discussing proposition, marketing and communication, they spoke a lot about the importance of being memorable. Truly memorable!

Having a bank that is laid out like a retail store, conducts ‘random acts of kindness’ while giving its clients a free workspace with wi_fi is memorable.

Why is this important you may ask? Well anybody who reads this and runs a business will know. Your most valuable asset as a business is your existing client bases. They are people that you’ve convinced of your company’s merit, skill and trust. That battle is a long one. Supposedly it takes five times longer to convert a new client than it does to sell to an existing one. That’s five times more time, money and effort however you quantify it. What’s more, your existing client base is your best source for referral business; the pre-qualified leads they provide only take half as much time, money and effort to convert than completely new clients.

You may see why being ‘memorable,’ ‘truly memorable’ is becoming more important. But I must qualify ‘memorable.’ ‘Memorable’ means outstanding, special, something totally new or different. Not what everybody else is doing, and no, being professional should be the absolute minimum you offer not your key differentiator. Being memorable begins with the service/product you sell, involves the way you market yourself all the way through to the customer experience itself.

In almost every sector from retail to construction to accountancy to law. There is just not enough business to go round. Every market is saturated.

I spent the whole Christmas working out myself whether the loft really is bold enough amongst our many, many competitors. Yes, we’re different, I wouldn’t dispute that. I would say in terms of the quality of our work – we’re absolutely class leading. But truth be told, in terms of ‘boldness.’ We’ve got the volume at about five for too many aspects. Forgive me, even for branding people, it’s truly hard to analyse your own communications. But this year we move that to ten.

It’s really the only way, with new clients and opportunities so hard to come by. Offering your existing clients a memorable experience that they can refer you by, is one of the quickest ways to success.

One lovely quote from the book…

”Marketing is a tax you pay for being boring”

The best way is to maximise what you have is to be memorable from the outset. Brand communication is a big part of this (you know I wouldn’t finish this blog without a plug.) So if you’re looking to embolden your business and its communications.

Drop me a line.

Benedetto

About the Author

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Benedetto Bordone

Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design work to build emotive brands.

22
Nov

BBM Troubles

I don’t know what it is. But I just seem to have a magnet-like attraction to brands in financial difficulties. Apple computers made more sense to me when they were the outsiders choice and almost going bankrupt, give me an Alfa Romeo over a BMW or Audi any day and I had a real soft spot for Borders,the book store. Rest in piece. Dont ask why? I don’t know what this trend is with me and companies facing down bankruptcy. Which leads me nicely to Blackberry. My new favourite brand.

I have had Blackberries for close to four years now. I actually first learned about them from a book I read a few years back. Unfortunately, I cant remember the name of the book, some multinational spy thriller. But this was in 2004, pre I-Phone. The fact you could have a phone that also took care of e-mails was terribly exotic sounding. They were heady days for Blackberry, the Blackberry became the default choice for corporates while traditional mobile phone companies like Nokia and Ericsson struggled with the transformation to e-mail and software giants like Microsoft similarly struggled with the hardware of their Palm devices. ‘Push E-mail’ was a simple but significant innovation that left its competitors playing catch up for quite some time.

Having a Blackberry back in the early noughties was quite something. It was the only phone to comfortably give its users access to e-mails. Its main customer demographic was the business community, the people on the move, people who would start the morning in London, end it in Shanghai with two meetings in Zurich in between. Blackberry had the premium end of the mobile phone market sown up. The huge number of celebrities using Blackberries at the time was the icing on the cake. Even Barack Obama in 2009, couldnt be drawn away from his beloved Blackberry. Brand endorsements dont come much higher. I bought mine in 2009 and I loved the fact that they provided 3 separate charging extensions for UK, Europe and the USA. It was all part of the brand feeling. This was a device for the busy, jet-setting global traveller. Yes, Its mostly fluff but I still loved it and I know I wasn’t the only one.

The arrival of the I-Phone undoubtedly gave Blackberry problems. But it was more Blackberry’s reaction to the I-Phone than the Phone itself that quickened the decline. Obviously intimidated by the cool new kid on the block, Blackberry’ death writ was initially drafted by intimidation (BB Storm.) Instead of concentrating on what made their products so cool they started playing catch-up. A rapidly growing market, may have allowed them to temporarily paper over the cracks.

But, what happened next catapulted Blackberry’s brand into the gutter. And to think it was once thought of Blackberrys greatest innovation.

BlackBerry Messenger. BBM.

BBM, 3 years ago, was a very useful feature. Allowing people to use their Blackberries to keep in touch online like a mobile MSN Messenger (remember that?) It caught the imagination. Blackberry totally changed their target market and strategy, on the basis of one innovation. The phone was snapped up by hundreds of thousands of new customers- students, adolescents, school kids. Blackberry made pink ones, green ones, sparkly ones. They sponsored festivals and supported the NME. Cheap ones like the Curve rocketed Blackberry to its most profitable year ever in 2010.

As a Blackberry owner, I remember it well. I was a bit uneasy about it all despite the success. I can always see trouble when tactics overcome strategy and I sensed the worst.

Blackberry may have cashed in and grabbed a huge dollop of market share. But BBM was not really a technology that would be difficult to replicate. So once their rivals had it, what next? Unfortunately a fundamental strategy based on an ‘easily-copiable’ innovation was a silly one.

What was worst was having the same phone as a teenager and having Blackberry playing up to it. Nothing could have tarnished their brand more. Suddenly they were no longer special, they were no longer exclusive and I for one did not want to have the same phone as a 13-year old. I remember thinking the Blackberry brand was toast. Once the relentless march of the Apple App store kicked in. They were.

The riots in the UK in 2011 by a bunch of idiotic children using BBM must have been just about the final nail. You can have no worst brand vandalisation. I cringed every time I heard the term ‘BBM’ and Blackberry used on the news during the riots.

It could have all been so different in 2007. Instead of being intimidated by the I-Phone, they should have consolidated their position. Instead of cheaper phones, they should have looked at different products built on the exclusivity and specialness of the brand. They should have innovated on the values and ideas that once made them great. Focused greater attention on the business community that once loved their Blackberries. These were the customers that would buy more expensive phones, appreciate more bespoke features and pay a higher margin per product. They should not have cheaply imitated the new kid on the block. I remember once saying to my girlfriend at the time that my BB was a tool while her I-phone was a mere toy. Well the tool started to cheaply imitate the toy. There may have been no other way. Maybe doing what I said previously is easier said than done. Apple is a formidable rival, as is Google.

Fast forward to 2012. I am glad to see fewer coloured Blackberries on sale and the new Bold I have is actually a pretty good phone. But in such a brutal market as the smart phone market where apps and availability of apps is king. The heady days of 2010 fuelled by BBM are gone. Blackberry is almost obsolete, the momentum may be too difficult to recover. Product and technical difficulties can be overcome with time but its the brand damage that will be hardest to recover. It seems unthinkable but Skoda still have brand problems, 20 years after they were taken over by VW and many, many good product lines later. For somebody that hates having the same phone as everybody else (I-Phone) and can’t fathom the thought of an Android phone. I hope BB recover their mojo soon!! Its a lesson to all not to betray their brand values. Otherwise the only person that will still buy anything will be me…

Benedetto

About the Author


 
Benedetto Bordone
Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design work to build emotive brands.

14
Nov

More Pirlo, less Parker…

Most of you who know me understand that I can be slightly excitable at times. And nothing gets me more excited than watching the beautiful game, particularly in the big set piece events every second summer. As you may guess from my name, I usually support Italy, particularly as Scotland hasn’t qualified in a while. And this summer, as an Italy fan I was able to enjoy the genius of Andrea Pirlo. 131 passes made against England this summer, 114 completed. His accuracy and precision in the quarter final giving his team an almost total dominance of a game they should have won sooner. Many of you may remember Pirlos penalty which was itself, the height of precision and execution.

You may ask yourself, why am I talking about football?

Well, you see the analogy came back into my mind this week. The loft is building a new co-operative called The Finance Gap. The Finance Gap currently consists of two companies – our own and Designate Marketing in Edinburgh; we are likely to grow in size but it is our intention to offer a specialised service for the finance sector beginning with IFAs, accountancy practices and small investment houses. We are still at the pre-launch phase, discussing it with our friends and associates. The reason for my excitement is that the more we discuss it with others, the more valuable I think our service will become.

The main problem with the branding and communication work I do is that its commercial success lies, to a great extent, in where and how it is used. The most beautiful or interesting poster, website or brochure isn’t going to make the slightest bit of commercial impact if it’s aimed at the wrong market. And the biggest criticism I would have of my own sector, the creative sector, is that we aren’t really qualified to be doing the marketing part. It’s just that a lot of my colleagues seem to have forgotten that. In this respect, they are all a bit Scott Parker. Just hit it and hope for the best. The problem with a great number of marketing companies (and there are exceptions) is that many of them think they are creative agencies and offer every creative service under the sun, none of which they tend to be very good at. The general consensus among a lot of my colleagues is that lots of activity is good activity, well actually it isn’t. It’s simply wasteful.

With the Finance Gap, both the loft and Designate believe in delivering work that has the highest commercial impact. Not the highest quantity but the best quality. We don’t stray onto each other’s turfs and we can work together to benefit the client. We are the antithesis of the wasteful integrated agency.

Last week I met several associates who could become potential clients of the Finance Gap and with every good conversation we had; we began to chat about business and the challenges they faced. As with most conversations I can’t help but discuss what kind of brand they could build. I definitely believe that the loft could assist most of these companies carve out a unique position in the marketplace. So we started to talk about all of the different, interesting things that could be done to help build this great brand which I am sure would add value.

But there was one thing missing, we both had lots of ideas about how to potentially market this great brand but neither of us had a clue which way would be the most effective way. Which are the profitable revenue streams, who to target, how you find them, which channel is the most effective?

And this is where we missed the involvement of our partners Designate. Where we missed some good strategic marketing advice, not a company who wants to do lots of things for the sake of it but one that knows how to get the most out of a given marketing budget. And every company has limited resources, no matter how large.

We may be able to fire the bullets, but we need great partners to show us where to point the gun.

And that is as the heart of the Finance Gaps proposition. As a designer, I have dedicated my whole adult life to my craft, I have my 10,000 hours of experience, I probably have double that. So why would I want my company to delve into unfamiliar territory? We stick to what we’re good at and let others experts shine in their areas of expertise. Our partners in the Finance Gap, Designate have a similar expertise and focus.

It is our collective independence that allows us to stick to what we do best, but it’s our ability to work together that creates a formidable combination. One of the very good things about start-ups or smaller companies is that they are not wasteful with money, they try and eek out every last penny out of whatever budget they have. Such are the economies of scale; bigger companies tend to not be so lean. However, we don’t believe that efficient, resourceful marketing and communications should be the sole privilege of smaller companies. That doesnt mean we’re cheap but we offer tremendous value.

We want to work with our clients for a long time to help them grow but the best way to do that is by sticking to what we’re good at and collaborating where necessary. It’s why I am sure the Finance Gap is going to be such a roaring success. More Andrea Pirlo and less Scott Parker.

Watch this space!

Benedetto

About the Author


 
Benedetto Bordone
Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply a