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!
About the Author
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