Tag: branding

19
Oct

Impactful Introductions!

Impactful Introductions!

One of the client’s we’ve absolutely loved working with over the last few months is PMA Recruitment Services. A new-start recruitment company which specialises in the construction sector. They believe in positive, personalised and sustainable recruiting – and as we’ve recently found out – making impactful introductions too.

We’ve been thrilled to help them make a splash with an incredibly bold new identity, some stunning letter-pressed business cards (more about these later) and this beautiful new website complete with this most impactful of introductory images.

If a pictures does speak a thousand words then this one really is priceless – beautifully captured while the PMA team were on-site, walking towards their work and messing around by the ever-aware Stuart Nicol (Nobody was watching him.) A beautiful photographic introduction to the company as well as the website.

PMA Recruitment Services have only been in business for a matter of months so far and are already moving incredibly quickly, we are sure you’re going to hear plenty more about them in the future, this is just the start. Check out their site >>>

Benedetto

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft.

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.

<<< To see more of the loft’s portfolio 

Find Out More About Benedetto >>> 

 

16
Oct

Resolvelock

Resolvelock is a new locksmith service coming soon to Glasgow, Scotland and eventually the rest of the UK.

Their mission – to deliver the most responsive, agile and lightning fast locksmith service possible in the space that they operate.

We absolutely love branding at the loft and this project just reminded us at every stage why. We worked tirelessly with their team to create an identity which reflected all of their values, we used every tool possible to enhance our designs and we agonised over even the finest details to ensure that the finish was of the highest standard possible.

Bolder fonts selected, typeface weights ramped up, characters brought closer together, little cues of the service brought in, all overlaid with the most intelligent of vector motion patterns – each and every cue designed to make the logo look like it’s moving even as it sits stationary on it’s card.

And of course – the acid green, all of this given an almighty additional shot with the acid green colour, beautifully contrasted with jet-black as can be seen from these business card mock-ups.

Each and every detail, each and every action being used used to create a powerful brand identity for what promises to be an exceptionally exciting start-up – we wish them luck…

Benedetto

 

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft.

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.

<<< To see more of the loft’s portfolio 

Find Out More About Benedetto >>> 

14
Oct

‘Helping to Reduce Violence In Society Today’

One of the projects that has given us the greatest satisfaction in recent times is our creative work with The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. The SVRU are responsible for thoughtful, practical and ultimately effective actions reducing violence in our society today. They have made a significant difference over the last 15 years or so in Scotland and a similar body is now being set-up in London.

There is still much work still to do here in Scotland but one of the real successes of the SVRU has been the ultra-targeted method with which different projects are used to incrementally and effectively reduce different types of violence in our homes, streets & public places.

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to help this exceptional organisation bring these different programmes to life with these graffiti-inspired illustrations – Street & Arrow, Mentors in Violence Prevention, Navigator, Ask Support Care (ASC) and One Community.

Each illustration looking to summarise what these exceptional programmes does in the most imaginative and captivating ways possible.

 

 

We hope you like…

Contact us if you’d like to find out more..

Benedetto

 

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft.

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.

<<< To see more of the loft’s brand solutions 

Find Out More About Benedetto >>>

05
Apr

Branding FAQs

Each and every day this week, we are answering frequently asked questions people have about their brands…  (Branding FAQs.)

Today’s question is…

Question – 4
Creating a brand is obviously an important part of business so how much should I spend on my brand?

Our Answer

Ha ha, one of our favourite questions – just like the chicken and egg conversation – what comes first a budget or a price?

We usually like to get things moving at the loft so we give costings pretty quickly after an initial enquiry. In all honesty, branding work can range from the hundreds to the thousands of pounds and much more for larger companies. There are also providers at all ends of the spectrum so there are no limits to what can be spent.

However, creating a brand should not be expensive. A lot of the character of a great brand comes from the culture of the company. The experience your customers or staff have on a daily basis – how people are greeted, how durable is the product or service itself, the quality of the after-sales process, does the company follow up well if there is a problem, etc, etc.

Each of these brilliant basics are just as impactful as great brand/marketing communications and they are completely free.

With regards to how much you should spend?

Spend whatever you are comfortable spending. You’ll know deep down how much certain things should cost and what your own budget is.

As mentioned above, you’ll find providers at all ends of the spectrum, don’t risk too much on an isolated project and look to capitalise on those moves that are delivering you results – be it a social campaign, regular website updates or some kind of video podcast, etc..

That way, a truly exceptional ROI is there for the taking.

As always, if you’d like some more information or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us…

Benedetto

 

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft.

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.

<<< To see more of the loft’s brand solutions 

For more information on brand-building by Benedetto >>>

 


 

Branding FAQ’s (Previous Questions…) 
Yes, we are frequently asked questions on branding, website design, social media communications, etc – all the ins and outs of this wonderfully interesting subject – so we thought we’d wrap up some of the answers we generally give into a series of short posts.

These are our Branding FAQs.

Here goes…

Question – 1

We know branding is important, we hear about it a lot, we want to create a stronger brand and presence for our organisation but we just have no idea where to begin.

With Branding, Where Do I Start?

Our Answer
What a great question!

Start by working out what you want to do with your business first. Let your brand serve your business and not the other way around…

What do you want your business to achieve? More sales from existing clients? Attraction of new customers? Attraction of staff members? Improved reputation in the marketplace? Improved perceived value of your products/services? Something else?

The clearer you can be with the desired outcomes, the easier it will be to create ideas that boost your business and therefore your brand. You will also be in a position to give a much clearer brief to your creative/marketing agency and therefore help them more to help you.

To give a little more context, here are a few real-life examples, from clients we’ve helped in the past. 

A software company we worked with for many years was able to increase their sales with existing customers by sending out short little E-mail shots introducing them to new features of the software they were already using. By helping their operators to use their existing packages better, more people in the office started to use their software and licenses-per-customer increased significantly.

We’ve worked with countless companies and been able to help them attract new customers with just a few simple updates to their website. Small additions such as good testimonials on the home-page, less burdensome enquiry forms and a clear telephone number somewhere visible on the site. Each of these micro-details helping to transform the number of enquiries and therefore number of new customers gained by our client.

Finally, we’ve been able to help several manufacturing companies increase the perceived value of their products by simply creating and sharing high-quality, effective art-directed photography of their products. Photography which showcases their products in their best lights, being used by customers and presented in an eye-catching and seductive way. All factors which help increase the average sale value, particularly from new customers for those manufacturing companies.

Once clear on the outcome – the answers can be incredibly imaginative – sales promotions, small product giveaways, E-Books, parts of an E-Book, simple website updates, social campaigns, case-studies, bespoke newspapers, etc, etc…

At the loft, we always believe in spending a little more time in defining the end-outcome, keeping the solution light and manageable, then creating something which is easily repeatable once successful.

Helping business owners and organisation leaders to create stronger, more effective and commercially viable brands.

Question – 2

How do I make my brand stand out from the crowd?

Our Answer

Another great question and one with a bit of a historical context. The whole concept of branding was created by farmers branding their cattle to show ownership and to distinguish them from the others. In time, the profession has evolved, but the idea of differentiating your product, service or company remains the same.

The best way to help your brand stand out is to work out what is special about your product/service/organisation and celebrate that difference in the most effective way possible using all possible marketing channels.

If you’re a printer that is always on hand for clients with last-minute deadlines – find ways to communicate and celebrate your accessibility.

If you’re an accountancy firm with sector-specific expertise in one area – consider ways to celebrate this enhanced wisdom and knowledge.

If you’re an online retailer that sells rare and ‘hard to find collectable’ products – then this is the perfect place to start when crafting your message.

If yours struggling for answers for this one – ask your customers/staff or write a list – going on a journey of discovery about what is great about your own products, service, company, organisation or brand is great fun.

Question – 3
I keep hearing about Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc, etc. How can these help me to build my brand.  Where does social media fit in?

Our Answer
Another Great Question!!

All these channels are brilliant for giving you the opportunity to show off your brand to lots of new people as well as communicate with people you already know. As well as basic products and services, you can show off more of who you are, what you do and how you do it. All great mini brand-builders.

The options with social are endless – present a little bit about your team-members, showcase different ways people use your products, communicate which social causes you support, share customer testimonials, fun pics of the office, name-check people you are working with, etc…

Whether it is words, pictures or video – each and every interaction gives you the opportunity of another positive engagement with your customers, staff and others too – helping you to build and strengthen the way people perceive your brand.

As always, if you’d like some ideas in how to put this into practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us…

Benedetto

 

17
Feb

Exponential Impact with Hero Content

Why ‘Hero Content’ can multiply the effectiveness of your brand and marketing actions.

With marketing and branding activities – we’re always looking for actions that make the biggest impact for the least effort – E-Mail Campaigns, Videos, Podcasting, Blogging, Print, Old-Fashioned Advertising, etc, etc. Each of these will help us to persuade more people to do business with us, each of these can be honed to deliver outstanding results over time, each has their own specific types of benefit.

However, over the years at the loft, we’ve found that to deliver real and lasting impact – it is less a question of what but how.

We’ve learned that to create lasting change – what you produce must be able to hold somebody’s attention, should be high-quality and be something that lasts too. ‘Hero-Content’ might be a new phrase to many but creating it may be one of the biggest game-changers for any one of your marketing efforts.

Hero-Content is a higher quality of communication that can be used in a range of different places, in a range of different ways, it can be scaled up, used repeatedly and is endlessly flexible. It tends to be super high-impact, created by a specialist and can be anything from a high-quality infographic to a short 30-second video sound-bite to an effective ad. It can even be a paragraph of text successfully describing your company’s top products or services.

The advantages to your company’s marketing are many, however the real benefits of hero-content to rapidly-growing companies are more personal – having fresh, creative and high-quality creative on-file will save your Marketing Director many a sleepless night with tight deadlines looming fast. (The bi-product of any successful and rapidly-growing company.) It removes the pressure from creatives under tight time constraints and if used properly will give a level of brand consistency and professionalism that can only be advantageous to your company’s creative efforts.

Over the years, we’ve created high-quality hero-content for a number of companies – high impact infographics which industrial companies have used in brochures, websites and even sales powerpoints, abstract sub-brand identities for software companies, photographic imagery for professional firms, etc. Over the years, we’ve been an ‘On-Demand Agency’ with many rapidly growing companies and we’ve learned much about creating and using hero-content first-hand.

Here are a few things we’ve learned..

– We recommend creating hero-content as part of a bigger brand/marketing project – a company re-brand, a website, a brochure or formal campaign.

– It really should be done by a specialist freelancer or agency. Please make sure you agree to have full access to all creative outputs afterwards.

– Once you have agreement on a style that works – it is best to get as many variations from your agency/freelancer as possible – like most innovation projects – the first example takes the longest time to create. Afterwards, with a formula in place, it gets easier and quicker.

– 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. 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…

To see more examples of ‘Hero Content’ as created by the loft.

Check out…

Altia-ABM, A Creative Partnership >>> 

Scottish Leather Group, Celebrating Sustainability >>> 

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

For more information on ‘Hero-Content’ >>>

 

31
Oct

Talent Alert

They do say variety is the spice of life – something we know all too well at the loft.

One-Stop Shop, Full-Service Agency, Multi-Disciplinary Design….

How about ‘Composite Service Propositions’ – for those of you that want to be a wee-bit fancier with the words?

Whatever the terminology, we do like complex and intricate creative challenges and we’re just so happy to be able to offer so many different things to so many wonderful people in lots and lots of different sectors.

All the obvious things too – graphic design, website design, branding, etc.

But also more interesting and obscure items – ‘Brand DNA’ ‘Accelerate’ and even ‘Brand Love’

I mean who wouldn’t want to create some love for their brand?

Despite all the business chat, we mainly wanted a reason to show off our lovely new service icons and to create a wee Talent Alert for the exceptional work of Chloé Davenport, a newly graduated student from The City Of Glasgow College.

Amazing work Chloé!!

We’ve already seen what you’ve sketched out next for us – which we also can’t wait to share…

So it’s ‘Back-To-Work’ for us. Creativity knows no bounds…

Benedetto

28
Jun

Resurgence, Interview With Award Winner, Entrepreneur and Investor, Brian Williamson.


‘Resurgence’ is the new video podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners and organisational leaders that are looking to thrive, not just survive, at the end of the current crisis. In this series, we are bringing you interviews with some of our top business and organisational leaders and looking at what they’ve done so far, how they are preparing for the future and how they are looking to turn this crisis into something positive for the people they serve.

In our latest interview, we talk to award-winning entrepreneur, investor and current chairman of 4icg Brian Williamson. In an incredibly wide-ranging interview, Brian goes into business pivots, gap-funding, talking to investors, post-work environments, re-imagining business propositions, leading during challenging times and how calm seas never made a good sailor. In his talk ’necessity, the mother of all invention’ he explains how the current crisis can potentially be the starting point of something great for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders. A great 35 minute watch for anybody looking to thrive.

The series is brought to you by Glasgow-based design and branding agency – the loft.
Important Messages

These are some of the key messages from the interview.

Necessity is the mother of all invention

Narrow The Chasm – when looking for gap funding

Present the light at the end of the tunnel when talking to banks.

Your exec summary has to set someone on fire.

Investors don’t have time to read 38 pages – but they may do – if the exec summary is exciting enough.

The exec summary should be the most exciting part to read and rest of plan is validation of that summary.

People want to be fired up by the business opportunity and the person’s passion.

You have to be objective driven with remote working.

Involve employees with the objective of the business and how they fit in.

We want the output, but we tend to measure the input.

Being output driven is where we want to be. We’ll have more output-focussed minds which is what we want.

We’ve been trained to being input managers.

You’re really solving your customer’s problem or helping them to grasp an opportunity. You have to put yourself in their shoes.

You have to understand the challenges of the market.

If you can understand the market, you can shape a solution.

You need to understand the market and that means finding out what people want.

There is nothing better than 10,000 people telling you what they want.

Calm seas never made a skilled sailor.

I’ve been through 5 recessions and many company challenges, in each one, I’ve come out stronger on the other side. There is a great amount of learning to come from this.

Out of the crisis comes solutions – to new problems.

Your business can be part of that solution.

That’s where the opportunity lies – there are more problems than we can shake a stick at right now.

Interview tic-toc

0 Mins | Introduction of LOFCAST and Brian Williamson by Benedetto

2 Mins | Working from home, 2-3 times greater productivity. Geting used to issues with businesses and support. Whats coming out the other end?

3 Mins | Incredible 4icg Pivot – fast action, 24/7 response, morphing premises to safe working environments, shielding vulnerable people (Incredible speed.)

5 mins | Importance of extending cash runways to de-stress yourself and establishing control. How long can I last and create choices.

7 mins | Asking for increased credit terms.

8:30 Mins | Rotating staff to make ‘furlough’ more effective.

10 mins | Success in apply for CIBLs Loans, keep the bank informed of what you’re doing during bad times and present GAP funding appropriately. (Narrow The Chasm.)

11:30 Mins | Banks are reasonable people, but present light at the end of the tunnel

13 Mins | Present the business plan as a story, vision is all-important, it has to be exciting. 14 Mins, Summary has to be exciting with business plans, regardless of the current climate.

14:30 mins | Importance of telling the story in technical and human manner. People waant to be fired up by business opportunity and person’s passion for the business.

16 mins | Other big moves – implementing remote working for other companies. Being objective driven when managing staff. Harder but possibly more effective.

17 mins | Radicalised thinking post-virus, working with London investors chasing him as opposed to him chasing them, speed of movement is now truly remarkable.

18:30 mins | 4icg’s 4-day work-week, negotiating terms with unions in the past, importance of genuine productivity,

19:30 mins | Empowering employees in where they fit in and to communicating the difference they can make.

20 mins | Importance of focussing on output as opposed to the input. Importance of being output driven

21 mins | Are we really being productive or just being busy? Input managers and possibilities of being more output-focussed.

22 mins | 4icg’s legendary pivot for small business’s looking to digitise their offering, back to basic principes – you’re basically solving your customer’s problem.

23 mins | Understanding the market and shaping a solution, how restaurants have successfully pivoted,

24 mins | Helping restaurants re-bound after COVID-19, 4icg’s new product offering

25 mins | Advice to pubs/restaurants and travel agents – planning when the future is so uncertain.

27 mins | Likelihood of more localised holidays for citizens, people want to travel somewhere with their own transport,

28 mins | Travel industry needs to understand the client’s needs now, package holidays,

30 mins | Updated safety and security for health and beauty salons,

31 mins | Making clients feel comfortable, Peer-to-peer learning with the IOD.

32:30 mins | Roosevelt quote – calm seas never made a skilled sailor, being through 5 recessions and challenging times with clients, comes out stronger every time.

33 mins | Always come out stronger on the other side, reflect on what’s happening in society, hackathons to stimulate creative thinking, innovative products to deal with COVD challenges.

34:30 mins | Your business can become a solution to that problem.

35 mins | Ideal environment to find creative solutions to these problems.

25
Jun

Resurgence, a Video Interview with International Business Leader, Entrepreneur and Storyteller, Bob Keiller



‘Resurgence’ is the new video podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners and organisational leaders that are looking to thrive, not just survive, at the end of the crisis. In this series we are bringing you interviews with some of our top business/organisational leaders and looking at what they’ve done so far, how they are preparing for the future and mainly how they are looking to turn this crisis into something positive for the future.

In our latest interview, we talk to experienced international business leader, entrepreneur and storyteller Bob Keiller. Bob gives an absolute tour-de-force on the importance of values, purpose and knowing your organisations ‘Why.’ He shares his thoughts about innovation, why it is so important at this time and gives some practical suggestions about how you can make that happen. Finally, he makes a call to businesses to be bold and ask themselves, what else can you do? An absolute must-watch for leader of organisations of any size – with a little extra something in there for charities. Comes in at a lovely and compact 20 minutes too.

Throughout the interview, Bob refers to The Lens Perspective>>>

Important Messages

These are some of the key messages from the interview.

In some ways we can do more

Wisdom comes from experience – none of us have experienced this before.

Your first obligation is to survive.

Look at simple things like credit management, cashflow and customers. Do what you need to do to survive

It’s a good opportunity to go back to basics and reaffirm your why and your how.

You can always change the what, but understanding the why and how of your business is really important.

Innovate – no point in thinking things will get back to normal – it might but it might not!

What skills have we got, what talents have we got, what resources have we got, what knowledges and experiences have we got and what can we do??

We need to test things, we need to try things

As the leader of the business, you won’t have all the answers, but the best place to find a lot of the answers is from the team

Remember what we’re all about, remember what we are doing this for?

Let’s concentrate where we started the journey and where are we headed?

It’s dead easy to read a book but doing it is what really matters.

Culturally – how do we step up the environment that people bring forward ideas that we can collectively develop together.

What else can you do?

We’re not in the business of knowing the answers but we sure are going to go out and find what the options are.

Getting your message across has always been a key aspect of business.

Interview tic-toc

0 – 1:30 Minutes | Intro of Bob Keiller.

3 Mins | What’s Bob Keiller been up-to? Speaking to lots of people, trying to help, had to re-package training sessions into smaller modules (2-hrs, etc.)

4:30 Mins | Different context with this one, very little certainty, some sectors have been harmed badly.

5 mins | Advice is simple – first obligation is to survice, face the difficult decisions, do what you need to survive.

5:30 mins | Good opportunity to get back to basics to re-affirm your why and how.

6 mins | Sometimes running a business is like flying a plane, time to take stock and check what kind of condition it is in.

6:30 mins | Innovate, things might or might not get back to normal, mode of thinking what skills, resources, talents you’ve got and what can you do – rather what can’t you do. This can open up opportunities.

7 mins | Importance of trying things and testing. Importance of innovation and leadership. Harvesting potential answers from the team and use that as a primary source of answers.

8 mins | Values, danger of charities is that they sometimes lack focus and occasionally become more diluted.

9 mins | Importance of getting back to main purpose of the business – what are we doing this for? Who are we doing this for? Getting back to the core purpose.

10 mins | Getting back to the core purpose and values,

11 mins | To pivot or not to pivot, some businesses that have seen a huge increase in business.

12 mins | What else can a company be doing in terms of innovation? Can services be provided in a different way, importance of selling and marketing.

13 mins | Getting services out there and telling a compelling story is important.

13:30 mins | Useful resources for businesses having to innovate for the first time.

14 mins | ‘The lens organisation’ pulling out proposals and craft a few number into business opportunities and prototype with limited resources and time.

15 mins | Culturally – how do we step up the environment that people bring forward ideas that we can collectively prototype and test. Contact the Lens team to find out better how to do this?

16 mins | How would Bob run a sports club, etc?

17:30 mins | David Lloyd gym’s innovation in the past during crisis.

19 mins | Final thoughts, importance of communication, how do you get the message across?

20 mins | Most marketing and comms is pretty ineffective right now. Time to get better at communicating what you’re doing, etc.

11
Jun

Resurgence, a video interview with MCR Pathways Founder, Iain MacRitchie.

‘Resurgence’ is the new video podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners and organisational leaders that are looking to thrive, not just survive, at the end of the crisis. In this series we are bringing you interviews with some of our top business/organisational leaders and looking at what they’ve done so far, how they are preparing for the future and mainly how they are looking to turn this crisis into something positive for the future.

The first of our interviews is with Dr Iain MacRitchie, Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the incredible MCR Pathway programme. In this wide-ranging interview – Iain gives some wonderful guidance for leaders in how to best look after themselves/their teams, why knowing your purpose, vision & mission has never been more important and also the steps MCR Pathways are taking to turn this crisis into a form of lasting change that will help them realise their vision to help every care-experienced and disadvantaged young person in the country gets the same education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as every other young person.

Important Messages

These are some of the key messages from the interview.

We’re in the same storm but we’re experiencing it in different ways.

Take care of the staff – there is nothing we can’t overcome – we are going to get through this.

Most importantly for us, we kept the focus of the main reason we exist – we need to support the young people.

When facing a crisis, being very calm is an absolute prerequisite – which is hard – crisis brings adrenaline.

You have to get calmer in crisis and really deal with your adrenaline.

Take care of yourself first and foremost, you can’t take care of anybody else – if you haven’t taken care of yourself.

As a leader, you have to take leadership, you have to be the one that pushes. It’s a constant communication, it’s constant.

Get yourself in order, be decisive and then do stuff!!

Make stuff happen but take care of people along the way – they will have challenges along the way.

Let’s make sure everybody is included and nobody is left behind.

We’ve done things in timescales that were unheard off!!

One of the things I love about this – is that it does show that we can respond to need, it does show that we can take care of those that need to be taken care off.

There are things we can now build on – there is absolutely zero excuse for leaving anybody behind.

Every organisation I’ve worked with from 5 people to 5000 people have a challenge to stay focussed.

When doing scenario planning – what is the purpose of your organisation?

Every organisation from 5000 to 5 people – have a challenge to stay focussed.

Either opportunism to chase a sale or chase an opportunity – may not be a bad thing – but it starts to dilute, starts to distract, starts to take you away.

Go back to the beginning – what is the purpose of your organisation – and if you can’t answer that in 1-2 sentences, then you’ve not got the right answer. It can and should be a sentence.

Scenario Planning starts off with absolute focus – what is the focus of your organisation
What’s the purpose of the organisation? What is the focus? What does success look like? What is it trying to achieve?

As soon as you can’t remember something – it becomes irrelevant.

What is the big hairy goal – what do I want it to be and where do I sit in that particular equation? Businesses that fail lose direction and go off-track.

Clarity of need should be in the front of business leader’s mind all the time.

Need first and foremost and think about ways to deliver against that and then communicate it to death.

Everything is going to change – that is opportunity – for me to do it all much better and faster – because there is no resistance anymore.

We have a fantastic opportunity to get it right for society in general but also for the economy

Those that are communicating, those that are out there, are doing great

For those in a rush, we’ve taken the entire interview and broken down for you to go directly to the parts that most interest you…

Interview tic-toc

0 mins | Introduction of series and Dr Iain MacRitchie, Founder of MCR Pathways – supporting over 2000 disadvantaged young people in the country.

1 mins | Dealing with lockdown – sometimes feels like we are two different people at times.

2 mins | Consideration that some of us have it much easier than others, Iain admits to being in a privileged position, but heart goes out to those that are locked down and suffering to a greater extent.

3 mins | Steps taken with MCR Pathways – scenario planning in early February, the consideration of schools closing, get people ready to work from home, clearing the building. Taking practical steps but most importantly prepare people’s mindsets for what was about to happen.

4 mins | Importance of communication to staff, trying to give some form of certainty, the de-stability of facing uncertainty for any team or organisation

5 mins | Communicating to so many different stakeholders, respecting the privacy, inventing a brand-new process, keeping in mind the reason the organisation exists – supporting the young people, moving to a way to communicate virtually.

6 mins | The importance of being calm, of managing adrenaline.

7 mins | Back to basics – how can we reach the young people now the schools are closed? Virtual mentoring in a safe way, asking young people how best to carry on the relationships. Not able to switch to virtual overnight, encouraging mentors and young people to exchange messages (done in the traditional forum of letters called Pen-pal,)

8 mins | Calmness, planning and then going on the persuasion, having to change views on what was possible, the team did a great job on being calm, working towards milestones, had 2-3 weeks to get infrastructure in place, the single objective of reaching young people.

9 mins | Advice for managers and leaders in staying calm – dealing with your energy levels, deal with your body before you deal with your brain, be as relaxed as possible, Iain would blast exercise bike to burn off some excess energy. Mentions to respect the body and the mind.

10 mins | Make sure you pause, reflect, absorb and think – give yourself time to think. Iain works in three times zones – P1 felt like a sprint, no point in burning out, virus isn’t going away any time soon, so must adapt accordingly.

11 mins | Taking time to reflect – what may this look like next month or in 3-4 months’ time, can’t think long term yet, thinking then planning, importance of writing it out down.

12 mins | Writing down objectives, putting together a framework and then sharing that with the team, not an absolute law but a framework. Get the collective engaged and involved in the plan. Iain is an originator of an idea but needs team to buy-in and believe it, ideally to the same level that he does.

13 mins | Underestimating the difference in environment with this crisis, giving people more time to absorb what’s going on – even with themselves, get yourself in order, be decisive and do stuff.

14 mins | Don’t get bogged down in scenario planning, MCR are acting right now in 2 weeks blocks, week time intervals were too tight – months too long, all about reaching the young people, creating an engagement programme which encourages them to continue developing themselves.

16 mins | Some kids don’t have broadband access at home, or devices either, raised funds to bring people online, scenarios quickly identified this isn’t going to change any time soon.

17 mins | Making the current proposition – a permanent part of their offering, constructing time zones in your mind are critical to help your brain think of the now but in the context of the future.

18 mins | People might need time out, supporting over 2300 young people each week – managing to re-engage with over 1300 young people with virtual mentoring quickly, had to work through a lot of regulations, restrictions and barriers but cut through and quickly!!

20 mins | Iain loves how this situations has shown how we can respond to need, that it does show that there are no excuses for anybody being left behind or being able to respond or being able to be taken care off, scenario planning on way out of the crisis.

21 mins | More detail on scenario planning, every organisation Iain has worked with from 5 people to 5000 people have a challenge to stay focussed, opportunism to chase a sale or chase an opportunity takes you down an angle – but starts to dilute, distract or take you away. Go back to the beginning – what is the purpose of your organisation? And if you can’t answer that in 1-2 sentences, then you’ve not got the right answer.

22 mins | MCR Pathway – we are about engaging the young people so that they feel more confident, certain and hopeful about their futures, reaching the young people to give them the support, young people should feel comfortable and secure in that mentoring relationship.

23 mins, common denominator of all organisations should be – what is the purpose of the organisation – what are we trying to achieve? what is the focus? What does success look like? MCR Pathways vision/mission is that they don’t want there to be any difference in education outcomes, job choices or life changes of our most disadvantaged young people relative to others. Have to face into the reality with 3 different mindsets.

24 mins | 3 scenarios in mind – best case/worst case – and how can I deliver on my purpose against those two? Scenarios should be 3, get into your imagination, how can we realise our best case?

25 mins | Hopes of a summer programme for young people with physical mentoring – but preparing for more likely scenario of more lockdowns, schools still aren’t fully back, etc.

26 mins | Both scenarios are planned in some detail – and look/adjust between the two.

27 mins | Don’t want to create a lot of uncertainty around the team, scenario planning does involve a smaller group of people, it is more intense.

28 mins | Clarity of purpose – nailing the purpose down, do whatever it takes to get revenue, revenue comes first!

29 mins | Get yourself in a survival position. Get cashflow, get headroom, get whatever it takes to protect a core of your organisation.

30 mins | What’s your vision for the organisation, what is your big goal? What’s your Mission? Get clear on your vision and your mission then get the mechanics right on the framework to achieve that.

31 mins | What is the big hairy goal – what do I want it to be and where do I sit in that particular equation? Businesses that fail lose direction and go off-track. Business is really simple.

32 mins | Survive first, choices second. Advice to marketeers and communications?

33 mins | Get to what is the needed. What need does your organisation fill? Difference between those in stable household and those that are not. Clarity of need should be in the front of your mind all the time!

34 mins | Many of those in trouble still have customers with needs, pandemic has not changed need, every organisation that survives the pandemic is going to be needed once things return to normal or the ‘new-normal.’ Need is the first thing to keep in mind.

35 mins | Mentoring works, it’s not changing we just have to deliver it in a different way, do everything possible to support those young people when they are locked down, the memory that mentors do care is a profound one to young disadvantaged people, businesses must communicate to customers.

36 mins | Need first and foremost and think about ways to deliver against that and communicate it to death, MCR is fighting to survive just like everybody else, importance of MCR Values – Motivation, Commitment and Resilience.

37 mins | Why can’t we be ahead of the game? Why can’t we be first? Resilience – this is not a sprint, this is a marathon, MCR values are currency to deal with change – imposed on us by the virus.

38 mins | No human being likes change, we like habits or certainty, we have no choice but to change, everything is going to change, country has just borrowed £300 Billion which has huge implications, everything is going to change, however there is an opportunity to do it all much better.

39 mins | Half-full mindset is going to fight the half-empty’s down the track, there is opportunity, going to play a different game in dealing with inequalities, we’ve been able to deal with stuff in a shorter space of time which just wasn’t possible before.

40 mins | This is brand new and that is very good in that respect, we have the chance to get it right for inequality, those things are intertwined.

41 mins | Opportunities with the new economy and get it working for everybody, let’s get going.

42 mins | Companies that have started to communicate well have impressed Iain, local shops have done a great job as well as courier services and front-line workers.

43 mins | Some third-sector organisations have done a phenomenal job.

44 mins | Community/local based organisations that have stood up and responded to demand have been heroic, care workers as well as those delivering essential services, couriers.

45 mins | Sections of public institutions have performed magnificently; the good news is that we know exactly what this country needs to do and should do.

46 mins | Get to the front of the queue and MCR it!

15
May

Marching Forward

For great times to return, we realise that we have to do all we can to make them great right now.

This is why ‘Marching Forward’ is our new mantra at the loft.