Tag: Creative Agency

13
Aug

Creating Company Culture – ‘Getting Buy-In’

We’ve been doing some work on the old folio recently – going through the back-catalogue, reminiscing about projects of yore and doing a bit of work on some of the company’s greatest hits. At the exact same time, we’ve also begun to work with a new industrial client on defining a very rich, strong and vibrant company culture for their brand.

Working on the current project and by stumbling upon past attempts has reminded me of some of the challenges involved when creating or defining a company’s culture. One of the main hurdles is ‘getting buy-in’ from everybody in the company. You see the brands with the strongest, most effective and successful cultures are the ones that have as many people bought-in as possible – this includes commercial people, technical people, financial people, other leaders, etc…

Successful and culturally strong companies will use their values, a vision or mission to inform every decision they make such as who to hire, how to manage resources or even manage crisis. So to help those who are thinking about giving this a go, we thought we’d put together a quick guide to help you get buy-in from other directors, board members, staff or stakeholders when creating that cultural framework for your brand. Enjoy!

1. Involve everybody
The most powerful cultures are created when everybody’s had a say in shaping it. So if you can… ask the team about the company vision, get everybody’s thoughts on the values and find out what makes your company special compared to all the others? There are different levels of practicalities with this and some stakeholders will be more involved than others. For example, for those owners who want to keep a tight grip on things – determine the values yourself but give everybody in the team a say in how they enact those values each day for a more effective outcome.

2. Use language that people can relate too
Vision, mission statement and values may not be words to everybody’s liking. In the past we’ve used phrases like – Who We Are, What We Do and Where We Are Going. We’ve used the word ‘Beliefs’ instead of ‘values,’ we’ve used expressions like ‘Reason to Believe,’ ‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ or even ‘Our Cause’ instead of ‘Mission Statement.’ At the end of the day, getting people to buy-in is more important than using a particular set of words, so have some fun and use whatever words you are most comfortable with.

3. Go beyond the obvious
Integrity, trust, honesty are regularly brought out as values by corporate organisations, these, alongside behaviours like ‘moulded around our customer’s needs.’ There is nothing wrong with any of them at all, however they are likely to be seen as the minimum people would expect from an organisation rather than the hallmarks of a great company.

Better to think a bit more deeply about this one – for example, go past integrity or honesty and talk about your transparency which is a bit more distinctive. However, if you must have ordinary values, then compliment them with extraordinary examples of behaviour which emphasise your commitment to that value.

For example…

Trust

‘We are the only company in the Wealth Management Sector which discloses all possible fees over a three-year period to our clients so they understand the maximum investment  – before an initial meeting.’

Or…

Integrity

‘We will always help you find the most cost-effective solution for your requirements  – even if it means suggesting products from a competitor.’

4. Use practical examples
Practical examples are absolutely brilliant at getting buy-in from potential sceptics. A few years ago, we worked with a ‘systems and software intelligence provider’ and and once we began to talk to developers about some of the more practical parts of what they do day-in, we started to get real buy-in for the values.

In this case…

‘Updates are made to our software, in advance of forthcoming legislation changes.’ helping form a company value of creating ‘Legislation Driven’ solutions.

This was something the entire team, particularly the technical people, were very proud off and a powerful customer-facing message too.

This nod to more practical concerns undoubtedly helped to get buy-in from the entire team for other values too.

5. Make something which can be customer-facing
Using the previous words as an example, it is always easier to get buy-in from the more commercial people in your company if you are able to craft something which is customer facing. Everybody who has the commercial success of their company at-heart always prefer some words that they can also present to potential customers – whether it’s on a pitch document, the website or somewhere else.

This also includes the creation of designing something presentable that can represent the values – anything from a one-page document that people can keep at their desks to something more imaginative like a cool vinyl wall-display or even a lanyard for people to wear so they can see the values they‘ve potentially helped to shape while they are working

6. Be creative
Again, in addition to the previous words, you can have sooo much fun doing creative things with your values – play with the words, combine different parts of the exercise, introduce graphics, etc…

I’ve included a few cracking examples below.

officeBranding

You can’t beat a creative wall mural which creatively shouts out what the company is about.

Team lanyards with the company values are excellent for fostering team spirit, creating a deeper understanding and are cool to wear too.

 

s3-brewdog_charter--default--600

The Brewdog Mission is unsurprisingly as compelling, authentic and uncompromising as you would expect. Genius!

That’s all for now, have fun putting those values together and don’t forget to get buy-in from as many people as you can. As always, if you need some help, give us a shout…

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is a Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to create a more exciting future for people using the power of bold and beautifully developed ideas. 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. He likes to make things happen fast and in a big way.

 

04
Aug

In Celebration of Great Mood Boards

At the loft, if there’s a part of the creative process we truly believe in, it’s the creation of mood-boards. We love mood-boards because they take us to a different place mentally, they give them an almost infinite source of creative ideas and they also help to guide in the process further down the line.

This week we were having a chat about mood-boards in the studio and stumbled across a few crackers..

Both were for car-design projects and both are absolutely brilliant.

Industrial-Mood-Board

The ‘INDUSTRIAL’ board by Kevin Roy shows old abandoned factories and warehouses as the main inspiration. What’s so brilliant about this board is the way the images aren’t just industrial but have been treated in an industrial way too. Mainly black and white with flashes of colour, some of them are horribly low-quality and the line-tracing is rough too but all that adds to the desired emotion being chased by the designer. Ken goes further by experimenting with typefaces that are similar in style too as well as inserting the bold ‘YELLOW and BLACK’ striped caution signs. Finally, the acid-feel of the album cover on the top-right of the page completes an outstanding board.

Art-Deco-Moodboard-720x405-2

The ‘ART-DECO’ board by Nick Turner (https://bit.ly/2MgJN6l) is equally as impressive. We have a beautiful exploration of shapes, patterns and rich colours which are all key to the ‘ART-DECO’ look. We have subtle nods to Futurism and Art Nouveau in there as well but what’s really lovely is the subtle vector lines over the top of the entire board.

Both are amazing mood-boards and what makes them so good is that they completely describe the themes they are covering in the purest, most expressive and honest way possible.

For us, inspiration is vital to any creative action, it’s what makes it all worthwhile. If a mood-board’s job is to inspire, then both of these would give any designer of any type the richest source of inspiration to get going.

Bravo!

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 fast and in a big way.

09
Jul

The Power Of ‘A Quick Sketch’

20 odd years ago, it was the romance of hearing about the then Alfa Romeo Head of Design, Walter Da Silva using his menu to sketch the design of a new car to a journalist in a Milan restaurant that sealed my love for the creative process. It made me want to become a designer and more importantly realise the power of a sketch. Something that has remained with me ever since.

Anybody that has worked with the loft in recent years will know that the one thing we do is sketch – quite a lot actually. Thumbnails of details on a post-it note, story-boarding an infographic on the back of an envelope, at times we even provide clients with hand-drawn sketch sheets to present ideas with their proposal.

Why??

Well firstly, it puts the person back in control of the process. In the days with more and more machine input – we believe in the richness, inspiration and creativity of the individual first and software tools second.

Secondly, it’s just faster. When timelines are getting squeezed – sketches allow you to explore more ideas quicker – taking a few minutes to draw something can also save hours of going down a wrong route with the computer.

Thirdly, they are usually more inspirational, more raw and crucially more open to interpretation. This is important at the early stage of the process when you’re wanting to get on the front foot with your ideas without too many restrictions that can kill creativity.

Fourth, they can give an invaluable insight to clients to help them visualise what you’ll create for well in advance.

Finally they democratise the creative process – anybody can have an idea and sketch it. Even if it is a bit rough at first. We’ve had work-experience students, clients, MD’s even accountants all make significant contributions to a creative project with some swipes of a pen on a scrap sheet of paper.

Want to accelerate, strengthen and enrich the creative process? Go back a step and go for a quick sketch.

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 fast and in a big way.

27
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 6: Building Relationships)

Clients How To Guide

We’re not just talking about secret handshakes here — having a sustainable relationship with a client solidifies the aspect of trust and results in many more seamless projects.

Here are some top tips to going the extra mile…

  • Memory Game — Note any interesting points about the client that you can bring up in conversation, i.e. they have mentioned that they are hiring within the company, ask how the hiring process is going and show that you are genuinely interested in their business. Remember names; we will be interacting with many different clients so knowing exactly who you will be speaking to may seem like common sense, but it is something that can have a big effect on client confidence in yourself and the team.
  • Make An Appearance — Jump at the chance to meet the client face to face. The difference this makes to the relationship is big, clients will feel much more comfortable talking to you in the future after your first encounter.
  • Match Their Energy — Are they excited? Copy this behaviour, and then some; if a client is excited about a project, match their excitement, plus 1. This goes for if they are quieter too; don’t bounce around the room with excitement if the client is more introverted — match their tone of voice plus 1 in order to build trust and rapport.
  • Our Business — Treat their business as your own; learn about the product/service beforehand and show a genuine interest in what they do. Not only will this bring your passion forward for the client to see, but it makes it easier to work on a project you have an interest in.

Remember that when it comes to relationships, it takes two to tango.

Now that we’re done scratching one another’s backs, we’re well on our way to working harmoniously with our clients. What a journey! Try to remember these little tips and your passion for graphic design will shine through in every project you star in.

It’s been a pleasure,

Client How To Guide

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

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.
20
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 5: Going The Extra Mile)

Clients How To Guide

Doing the thinking for the client is wonderful for your relationship; additional content can really make their job easier.

Here are some top tips to going the extra mile…

  • Stop & Think — Sometimes, doing the thinking for the client can earn you a lot of brownie points. This lets your passion shine through for the project.
  • Never Over-Promise — The trust you have with your client will be hurt and they made look at you in a more negative light — understand what you can deliver and make sure it’s on time.
  • Additional Material — Supplying the client with additional material that can show them potential directions for the future and will maintain a positive relationship. If there is any area you can improve on with regards to making the process easier for the client then it should be implemented. For example, providing clients with not only the print format for some of their work but also a digital RGB version that has been cropped to social media sizes.

Take these tips into account and you will leave the competition in the dust.

Next week we will be looking at building brilliant relationships with clients.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

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.
13
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 4: Communications)

Clients How To Guide

Lack of communication is a big no-no. Having clear communication channels with your client’s ensures that both parties are heading in the right direction.

Here are some top tips to keeping in contact…

Emails

  • Make it very clear what your intentions are in the email; clarity is key to communication.
  • Always summarise and reiterate what a client is looking for.
  • Triple check spelling; especially when it comes to names/subject.
  • Communicate in a professional manner, but do not shy away from expressing your excitement on projects and work.

Phonecalls

  • A lot of clients are comfortable speaking over the phone, it adds a more human element and the clients are more likely to express their true opinions in this form of communication.
  • Phone calls are for less formal/time constrained situations — emails give you important information that is written in text that we can refer back to.
  • If the client has made a lot of points, it can be very helpful to send them a summarised email of the conversation via email after the conversation
    for clarification.

So let’s be sensible when sending emails or answering the phone; make it so that your granny could understand you. You never know, she might be your next client…

Next week we will be looking going the extra mile, adding that cherry on top design sundae.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

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.>

08
Oct

Great Brands Sell Ideas First…

Whatever line of business you’re in, people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.

I got a very useful reminder of that this week when helping some early-stage entrepreneurs. They had a great software solution and were looking for ways to generate more leads from their existing website.

Having initially bored them with some worthy but rather uninspiring solutions (contact forms with less fields,) it dawned on me that to really make a significant gain, to really make a dent with what they were doing, that the site itself had to sell the higher nature of what they were offering.

In this case – a tailored solution for a specific user-group, up-to-date programme with current legislations and exceptional value.

What a difference this simple shift in communication had. It never ceases to amaze me how effective a new home-page image, tag-line and corresponding graphics can be to a potential client.

What’s more the exercise of implementing these ideas is fun and energises everybody in the organisation itself.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ the author states that “All master salesmen know that ideas can be sold where merchandise cannot. Ordinary salesmen do not know this – that is why they are ordinary.”

Successful companies know this too – Coca Cola sells the hit of instant refreshment not carbonated soft-drinks, Sky TV sells the cutting-edge of in-house entertainment not just TV packages and great politicians sell the vision of a brighter tomorrow not specific plans and policies.

If you’re selling professional services – sell the friendliness of the service. Selling gym memberships – sell the intensity of the exercise. Even if you’re selling double-glazing, sell the strength and protection of the final product first not the properties of the glass.

Logical information only confirms decisions we’ve already got our hearts set on. But the heart’s got to be set on something in the first place.

If you want a brand that is going to generate a lot of new business – sell the idea first. If you want a hand then give us a shout.

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 fast and in a big way.

06
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 3: Meetings)

Clients How To Guide

What’s more important than the precious moments you get to spend with your client, one-on-one, excitedly discussing the direction of the project? You guessed it — nothing (apart from the boss’s birthday).

Fast-paced and full of ideas; your meetings should aim to clarify with clients and gather crucial information.

Here are some top tips for hosting a top meeting…

  • Timing is Key  No one likes to be late to a meeting, let alone turn up on a wrong day! Be very clear with your clients when deciding on a meeting time/place, no more awkward moments of confusion. If you can scope out what your client is looking to achieve in the meeting as well — even better!
  • Ideas, Not Problems — Extra brownie points for those who can sketch on the spot. Transferring the client’s words to paper in a visual form is a fantastic way to get the client excited about the project and gain their trust.
  • Small Ideas Sheet = Big Success — By creating a small ideas sheet and taking it to potential clients it shows that you are prepared and know what you are talking about. Having already thought out the client’s ideas and solving problems beforehand lets the client know that we’re serious about their business and are already invested in what they do. These sheets should be loose, giving the presenter a point of reference, maybe some initial sketches; essentially a conversation starter.

In conclusion; meetings should be your best friend! A brilliant time to get some juicy information from your clients, maybe even a bit of gossip if you’re lucky. Next week we’ll have a look at communications; the connection with your clients that keep you on the right path.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

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.

29
Sep

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 2: Presentations)

Clients How To Guide

 

We shall start our clients journey with presentations — something that can turn even the most confident designer into a shrivelling, sweaty mess.

But do not fret, there are ways to bypass the instinctive flight option.

Here are some top tips to holding a killer presentation…

  • Practise Consistency — No two presentations are the same, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them consistent.
  • Preparation Is Key — We use different layouts for different stages of presentations. Winning a pitch is, of course, important to us, so being prepared is a key part of that. Concept presentations should be slightly more refined, clearly outlining our thought process behind each concept in a concise manner. If the wording is too long, the concept isn’t strong enough to be explained in a couple of sentences. These presentations include initial sketches, maybe some illustrator mock ups and strong reference material.
  • Know Your Audience — If you are designing for someone with particular taste, you should tailor the entire process to their mindset, including presentations. Some clients are decision makers and like to have the important stuff bullet pointed. Others like to get into the detail; design accordingly.
  • Final Presentations — These should be much more honed in on a specific idea, showing slight variations on the chosen concept. Again, make these changes as clear as possible so that the client’s job of choosing one is made simpler. We want the entire process to be as easy as possible for the client, in turn making it easier for the team.

Next week we will be having a look at meetings (actually talking to someone face-to-face, imagine that?!).

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

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.

20
Sep

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 1: Intro)

Clients How To Guide

Clients are at the heart of every project we create — an integral slice of the delicious design pie. So understanding them is massively important, especially when it makes both parties lives a lot easier.

Throughout my time working in a design studio, I have picked up some handy tips that I feel will help designers of any level. It’s super simple stuff, but it can be easy to forget. I give you, ‘Clients: A How-To Guide’.

I will be delivering this guide each week, focusing on different topics, including:

The topics will delve deeper into some personal anecdotes and opinions I have on the matters. I look forward to seeing you next week.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness (yes, that’s an official title).

staff_170502_0542

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.