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20
Feb

Teamwork Makes A Dream work, #GYPSeminarSeries

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 for a seminar event we co-hosted a few years back… ‘Teamwork Makes A Dream work, #GYPSeminarSeries’

One of the biggest moments of our company’s short life was a wonderful event we put together as part of the #GYPSeminarSeries with so many other wonderful, wonderful people. As anybody that knows me well, I am big into learning and just love hearing more from people who do big things and do them well. I had just been asked to be onto the committee for Glasgow Young Professionals and we decided to run a series of professional development seminars which would inspire young professionals throughout the city.

We wanted a great speaker for the first event and thankfully we got one with Russell Wardrop of Kissing With Confidence. Together with the loft team doing some amazing work on the marketing, the Clydesdale Bank in St Vincent Street, Glasgow kindly providing their stunning branch to host the event, GYP getting more than 100 young professionals out to a professional development seminar on a rainy Monday night and obviously Russell Wardrop donating his incredibly valuable time – we made something pretty special happen.

This lovely overhead shot taken from the mezzanine with Benedetto about to introduce Russell magically captures it in all its glory.

Teamwork makes a dream work…

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.

Find out more about the exceptional Russell Wardrop and his company ‘Kissing With Confidence.’ >>> 

For more information on the loft’s unique culture >>> 

 

 

 

20
Feb

Persistence Pays – LOFT Walls, Creative Process and PETEX…

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 ‘Persistence Pays, LOFT Walls, Creative Process and PETEX….’

We couldn’t really do one of these look backs without sharing a good old-fashioned smartphone pic of a ‘LOFT Wall.’ Over the years, the loft walls have became a bit of a legend in their own rights. At a time when more and more things are being created, shared and looked at on computers – the loft is one of the few companies that still pins thoughts, ideas and hand-drawn sketches on its wall. It allows us to take a step back, have proper discussions, see what’s working and what can be built on. They have became such a cornerstone to the loft process that, by the most part, clients have given up with formal sit-down presentations in exchange for standing up with a coffee in their hand and having a much more dynamic conversation about the direction of their project. It is one of the things we look forward to returning too the most when Covid restrictions are finally behind us.

One project that took this ‘wall-process’ to its limits was the creating of an advert (and visual identity) for Petroleum Experts. PETEX creates software for the oil and gas sector and are one of the country’s top companies – commercially, creatively and culturally. We were incredibly fortunate to be the first creative agency that they had given an opportunity to work with. Which was a tremendous honour. Unfortunately, although their software was genius, we just couldn’t get our heads around it. One of the reason’s for hiring an agency is that they help you to better communicate an idea, a message or information. We had 2-3 pretty disappointing concept presentations at their offices in Edinburgh and were really struggling. We were probably on the verge of being fired, for Petex, who had always created their own communications, we were probably going to be just another failed experiment. We knew we had one last change to get it right so we gave it absolutely everything for one last push. Over the next few days, we absolutely tested the limits of the loft creative process, our walls and our own design abilities. We must have started with around 15 potential concepts and with a small team – brainstormed-sketched-discussed-refined-sketched again over a 2 day period – each time honing ideas and concepts into final solutions. Our walls had never seen such abuse.

In the end, we finished with about 6 credible concepts which were each hand-sketched and shown as an advert mock-up, each of which I thought were just outstanding, some of the best work we had ever did and would surely, surely answer what we were being asked by Petroleum Experts. More than that, I would be happy regardless of the outcome.

There genuinely is a strange feeling of ‘equanimity’ when you have left it all out on the field, given your all and that was how I had felt. That evening, I happened to be at the same dinner as the PETEX Founder Hamid Guedroudj, ironically the Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards Doo which had so opened my eyes only two years previous and he was the current holder (at that time) of the biggest award ‘Entrepreneur Of The Year.’ I seen him, shaked his hand and asked if he had seen what we had sent through just a few hours back…  He gave me a big smile and said ‘James had said we had sent some ideas through, we may just be able to use them.’

A truly magical moment. Persistence Really Does Pay…

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.

We did eventually go onto work with Petroleum Experts, you can check out the project (including the 6 ads we previewed with the magazine mock-ups) >>> 

Check out Petroleum Experts, an extraordinary company >>> 

 

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 >>> 

 

20
Feb

Superhero Entrepreneurs, My First Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards Doo

#Magic Moments

Last week we did a little post about our company’s culture and one of our good friends had mentioned how nice it was to see good, old-fashioned grainy pics of great company moments. Well before the times smartphones had became such good cameras. It got us doing a little trip down memory lane – thinking about some of the great events of the past, some of the magic moments we’ve experienced as a company so we thought we’d share a few of them with you…

A week of #MagicMoments starting with a small personal one…

I started the company back in 2012 and like most start-up entrepreneurs I was doing a lot of networking at the time. I must have been averaging 4-5 events a week (at least) as I looked to meet new people, gain our first clients and learn as much as possible about business. I had always heard of a mystical organisation called ’The Entrepreneurial Exchange,’ it was one of the most prestigious networking groups in Scotland, pretty much for the big boys and girls only and holding a kind of scary appeal. I had already heard about who the big-hitters in business were in Scotland and they all seem to be tied to this one organisation in some way or another.

Kind of out of the blue, one late November afternoon, I got a call on a Thursday afternoon from Margaret Gibson of PSYBT asking me if I had a black tie? Margaret, who was the Marketing Director of PSYBT, had told me that the charity had a table for the Entrepreneurial Exchange Annual Awards Dinner and somebody had cancelled last minute. Unbelievably, I was getting the chance to go to the Entrepreneurial Exchange Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton. Excitingly, I stopped what I was doing, got into a suit and made my way to the Hotel.

Luckily enough it turned out to be one of the very best nights of my life. The Entrepreneurial Exchange was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I met some wonderful new people, heard incredible tales of ordinary people doing remarkable things – billion pound companies being created out of nothing, multi-million pound, international deals. I was one of those people, at that time, who listened a lot to the news and it was all – recession, recession, recession or just bad news – this was like another world!

I was fortunate to be there for Maitland Mackie (of Mackie’s crisps fame) inspiring yet hilarious 20-minute acceptance speech when being given his ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’ Then hearing the equally inspirational ‘Gio Benedetti’ get up a few minutes later and say – ‘don’t worry, I won’t be as long’ with an Italian accent that I was oh so familiar with. I seen a slightly tipsy German man named Twickler (nobody could get his name right) celebrating with unrestrained joy at winning one of those oh-so hard to win awards.

So many of my business heroes were in the room that night and I even had the great fortune to meet a few of them afterwards. I truly enjoyed every last moment of this incredible experience – leaving the hotel bar as daylight was appearing at around 6AM the next morning.

That night changed my life, opened my eyes and more importantly, opened my mind, to what was possible. I remember going straight to my family home in Kilmarnock without sleep and boring my poor dad to bits about the incredible evening I had just had. Something changed that night, I realised I enjoyed being a designer but what I really wanted to be was one of those superhero entrepreneurs…

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an enthusiastic creative and business person.

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

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

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

See both of the wonderful acceptance speeches of Maitland Mackie and Gio Benedetti from the Awards Ceremony here >>>

Find out more about the loft’s entrepreneurial approach >>> 

 

 

 

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’ >>>

 

13
Jan

Altia-ABM, A Creative Partnership, Software Marketing Tips

Over the best part of a decade, the loft provided creative services to an organisation called Altia-ABM. A fast-growing international group that develops smart software solutions to support criminal investigations and manage covert operations. Formerly, Altia Solutions & ABM Intelligence, they are an exceptional organisation with an incredibly capable team and several strong product/service offerings. We loved every moment of our ‘Creative Partnership’ which we’ve summarised with the short PDF document below, overflowing with software marketing tips, we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed producing it.

Altia-ABM, A Creative Partnership, Software Marketing Tips

A short guide outlining our 7-8 year ‘Creative Partnership’ with Altia-ABM. Full of great software marketing tips.

For more on software marketing check out ‘Marketing for Software Companies: 3 Software Marketing Strategies to Use’ or ‘7 Key Marketing Strategies for Technology Companies.’

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.’ >>>

06
Dec

New Sisco Website

Delighted to introduce the new Sisco website…

Helping prisoners, who are ready, to successfully integrate back into society is incredibly challenging work. Mentoring, coaching, listening, inspiring, problem-solving, dealing with trauma, addiction, the pain of the past, the fear of the future, temporary failing and then persevering and doing it all multiple times just to make a little progress – this isn’t work for the faint-hearted.

So it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Natalie, Gary and some of the great folks at Sisco over the last 6 months. Funded by The Robertson Trust, Calma Group & The Weir Charitable Trust – Sisco is a small team of highly-motivated people who use all of the skills mentioned above and more to do great work helping prisoners begin the process of re-building their lives after jail.

You can check out more about what they do and the lovely new Sisco website we built with them at… https://sisco.org.uk/ or click here to check out the loft’s portfolio. 

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