Tag: Brand

20
Feb

How Business Should Be Done, Bridge2Business Brand Launch

This week, we are celebrating some of the company’s #MagicMoments tied up in grainy phone pics that we’ve collected over the years. Today’s pic is ‘How business should be done, Bridge2Business Brand Launch.’

We had just hired our first staff, moved into a new studio and started to take on our first bigger pieces of work with new clients. Everything was starting to move and move pretty fast too, Ruth and Alejandro were making scarily rapid progress – I could see that the work that we were delivering was getting better and better, much more creative, more interesting too. I had realised that although I was a ‘decent; designer that working as part of a team was so much more rewarding and also gave better results too. The guys could do things I just wouldn’t have the patience to do, could see things in a way I couldn’t.

I had also realised that having other people focussing on the creative part meant that I could focus more on clients, service, the business which is what I always wanted to really do. We were winning lots of work at that time and just knocking it out of the park time and time again. One project sticks in the mind – the creation of a new brand for Bridge2Business. I had personally known Geoff Leask for a few years when he was the Operations Director of PSYBT and had moved to head the new Bridge2Business Programme for Young Enterprise Scotland.

The project was about inspiring college students into enterprise. It was a brilliant initiative, one which I am glad to say is going stronger than ever. It was one of those projects that was just so much fun to do… The team had generated brilliant ideas, Geoff and his team had wonderfully contributed their ideas too and we had collectively created something that we all just loved. A new identity which was fresh, modern and packed with meaning.

What was more, with the help of others, I had realised what was possible. The final pic taken above on my old Blackberry phone is one of the more cherished business pics I have, complete with the bottles of Prosecco that Geoff had kindly bought us to celebrate. Some wonderful people, the new Bridge2Business identity on the computer, a very tired me and a tremendous sense of collective achievement.

This is how business should be done.

Benedetto

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

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

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

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

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

Check out the final Bridge2Business Brand Project >>> 

Or Bridge2Business itself >>> 

 

09
Dec

Brand Values – Getting Buy In

Brand Values (done well,) will help any organisation build a stronger rapport with their customers, improve relationships with employees, help win new contracts, provide guidance to all types of leaders and so much more. Over the years, we’ve worked with a number of different companies to help them create values – management teams, sales teams, development teams, admin staff, etc.

We’ve done it all, from interviewing highly engaged people who would talk to us all day, those who take ‘values’ very seriously, to talking to some who can’t really get away quickly enough.

What we’ve found is that ‘getting buy-in’ for values is every bit as important as ‘creating-them’ in the first place.

Here are a few different ways to make that happen…

Engage Everybody, Absolutely Everybody

’Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’

Everybody should be heard. It’s just so brilliantly useful in so many ways. For a start, it’s an act of good will to everybody in the company, it demonstrates that you do care and you genuinely want to hear more about what they think about the business, you’ll learn so much more about the people in your organisation too.

Finally, all of the anecdotes you’ll pick up will have tremendous value later on in the process, with potential for marketing ideas, sales messages and in finding ways to communicate your newly created values with future employees.

Build on Successes

Build on what’s working. Give your teams the opportunity to tell you what’s working and what they are generally doing well. Great ‘values and behaviours’ are often built from ‘the ground up.’ Your team will appreciate the opportunity to communicate what they are succeeding at.

Finally, there will be every opportunity for habits or traits developed on the factory/office/shop floor to become a form of company policy. A Brilliant morale-booster for everybody.

Ensure Management/Leadership Teams are Fully Bought-In

Make sure leaders are fully bought into whatever is agreed upon. If a company is going to document their brand values, it has to be sincere. Not every single person in a company is going to agree with absolutely everything that’s written down but leadership/management teams really have be fully on-board or there will be a lack of authenticity when those same leaders communicate something they don’t really believe in, to customers, staff or even shareholders.

Walk The Talk

Writing brand values down is one thing, living up to them is so much more important. Authenticity is everything so look for opportunities to sponsor causes which relate to who you are, support events or seminars that chime with what you believe in and look for collaborations wherever possible to further find ways to breathe life into those wonderful values you’ve created.

Practical Please

Having lofty, high-minded and noble values is brilliant. As long as you can give 2-3 examples about how you live them on a practical basis. This gives them more weight and once again help with the most important part – getting buy in from your own people and customers too.

Go Beyond The Obvious

Honesty, integrity, trust, etc are great values and ones that should really be the foundation of every relationship in business (and life too for that matter.) However, in many cases, they are the baseline of our expectations, so see if you can go a little bit further. If you really want to use them as part of your ‘Values.’ Look for ways to be even more thorough in telling us how your company is especially trustworthy, honest or high-integrity.

Get The Language Right

‘Values, Vision, Mission Statement, Purpose Beyond Profit, Beliefs, Actions, Behaviours, Who We Are and What We Do.’

Values are mainly there to help persuade and influence behaviours on a large scale – don’t miss the opportunity to be imaginative with the terminology too. It will give you one further opportunity to win hearts and minds with customers, staff and others.

ABM Intelligence Values (Who We Are and What We Do)

We created ‘Values & Mission Statements’ for ABM Intelligence. Or as we eventually called them ‘Who We Are & What We Do.’

Celebrate Them

Once you’ve created them – celebrate them – wherever and whenever possible. Have them created as a mural in the boardroom, illustrate them as part of your company website, write them into your tender documents, etc.

Properly thought-through and authentic values have real weight. Take every opportunity possible to make them commercially work for you and your organisation.

We hope that handy little guide, helps, creating values is so much fun. If you’d like to find out more about this or any of our other brand consultancy services, drop us a line.

Benedetto

Check out our very own Values & Behaviours or ‘Attitudes and Actions’ >>>

Or some more information on achieving buy-in from core-values >>>

07
Dec

Hero Content

Hero content is definitely ‘a must-have’ when it comes to managing lots of creative projects, getting out a strong message, locking-in consistency and doing so under tight time pressures.

What is this fancy phrase ‘hero-content,’ I hear you ask…?

Well, it can be anything from high-quality photographs, infographics, videos or even text. The big difference is that it is something that is exceptionally well-finished and personal to you or your organisation. Hence the ‘HERO’ part of the title. It’s developed to showcase what is best about a product, service or even an organisation and most importantly it is readily available on-file and can be dragged and dropped, copied and pasted or inserted into just about any marketing/sales/creative communication you’re working on. Most importantly, it can be done so at speed…

Hero content can include many different things, a sharp and well-finished set of icons selling the benefits of a product, art-directed photography which captures the spirt of an organisation, a professional and up-to date set of portrait pics of the team, an infographic of a metric you’re proud off, it can even be a well-written paragraph of what your company does. (Particularly useful for new-starts that are constantly having to raise investment.)

When it comes to creating hero-content… 

– We recommend creating it as part of a wider project – a website, a brochure, etc.

– It is the kind of thing that can be done by anybody but should really be done by a specialist. Make sure you agree full access to the creative and future rights afterwards.

– Once you have agreement on a style that works – it is best to get as many iterations from your provider as possible – like most innovation projects – the first example takes the longest time to create. Afterwards it’s all downhill from there…

– And finally – although we’ve created lots of amazing stuff over many years to tight deadlines at the loft, beautiful creative that is still used many years after it was first produced. (Some examples below…)  It really is best to take a tiny step back and give your freelancer/agency a little more time to get this spot on. The results will be compounded, I promise…

As always, if you would like a hand then please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Benedetto

<<< For more examples of how we’ve used hero-content in the past.

For more information on ‘hero-content.’ >>>

13
Sep

Maximising Creative Budgets, 6 Quick Tips..

‘Making Every Penny Count’

Throughout the years, it’s almost became a life’s work to make sure that our clients (and ourselves for that matter) maximise every single bit of the creative budget we’ve got to strengthen our brand and marketing activities for our companies. Exceeding expectations in terms of quality, service and value is always the goal.

Here are a couple of quick pointers on things we’ve done in the past to achieve this..

1. Write A List and Be Unashamedly Commercial
Sometimes we’re bombarded with choice – website updates, an infographic with useful customer data, social campaigns, refine what you have or start again? Writing a quick list is invaluable, prioritise the activities with those that will best impact your top-line and do those activities first. The more commercially valuable a project is the more bought-in you’ll be, the more you’ll enjoy the process and also quick wins work for everybody and lead to more projects…

2. (Be Organised) and Find Multiple Uses For Everything
If you’re having quality case-studies written by a professional copy-writer, have them spend a tiny bit more time re-formatting the content for your social channels. If your photographer is on-site doing individual pics of the team for the website – again see if you can have those pics re-formatted for social media, for brochures, or even for future press-releases, etc… Also, when you’ve got a professional on-site look to get as many activities as possible in one visit – your provider’s set-up and travel times will eat into your creative budget so best to take a full-day packed with great activities to get more high-quality content than 2 x half-days, etc… Just make sure you provide a good lunch and lots of good coffee. However, and this is a big proviso, this is all dependant on you being organised from the outset, so every time you’re engaging a creative professional or agency. Think what else their time could be used to give additional value. In all honesty, good providers should be making you aware of these value-adds beforehand.

3. Become Invaluable To Your Provider
The company that can give more work to one agency, one photographer, one designer, etc will undoubtedly become more valuable to that provider which should allow you to command better rates or terms.

4. Direct is Fine
Seriously. Most creatives love working with decisive, no-nonsense types of clients that know exactly what they want and who may even be quite blunt with their feedback. Almost, the yin to their yangs. It saves so much time for everybody involved. I’m not saying be deliberately mean but clear about what you’re looking for and more importantly with what you’re not comfortable with.

5. Fast Deadlines
Fast deadlines are wonderful for maximising efficiency – everybody is forced to be focussed, concentrated and on their game from the get-go. Also, most good creative providers are usually quite happy to know that there is a deadline to protect against spec creep and therefore their profit margins. However, proceed with caution, be reasonable with your requests and consider using this tactic sparingly. There is a line and it’s best not to cross it – you’ll know from the provider’s reaction when you’re close. ‘Just-In-Time-Manufacturing’ is one of the most fascinating and successful concepts from the car industry – this is similar in theory.

6. Ask For Reference Images Or Even Sketches
If you’re not entirely certain of what you want, then simply ask the agency/creative provider to take a very small amount of time to provide some reference examples from their folio, some other examples from other providers or even a quick series of sketches, etc… This will help you to more quickly understand what you want, respect your relationship and to de-risk the project for both yourself and the provider.

Just six quick tips from a pretty massive back catalogue, plenty more to follow…

Any questions, drop us a line…

Benedetto

24
Feb

The Journey of Discovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

622309ff937aaba37fee8159056ec743

03aa45a113e1defe2e7acc0ef750fc62           58d24b83b6675d1faef40e5c89f86c90

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

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

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

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

D_Scan_1

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

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

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

mobius3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disruptancy_Logo_Black

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

REISS

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