BLOG

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

24
Sep

Out Latest LOFTCAST, Business Straight Talk With Colin Robertson CBE

We are absolutely delighted to share the latest episode in our #LOFTCAST series with Colin Robertson CBE

Bright, colourful, energetic, unashamedly Scottish and one of the country’s top business people, Colin Robertson CBE has spent the last 13 years transforming Larbert-based bus and coach company Alexander Dennis into one of the worlds top manufacturers. In this wide-ranging interview, Colin takes us through his 13-year period as CEO of the company – the battles he had at the beginning taking an organisation that was previously in administration to one that was capable of world-beating performance – particularly in terms of operational excellence, manufacturing, customer service and after-market support. He gives us a number of fascinating insights which touch on all the fundamentals of business – vision, values, leadership, managing others and also managing yourself.

He shares some stunningly simple yet effective ideas on international expansion, market positioning and how manufacturers can best prepare for the future. Finally, he takes us through the impacts of Covid-19 before answering a number of questions from business people all over the world.

This interview was the latest in the LOFTCAST series, a video and audio podcast which celebrates high-impact people and the change they are leading in society today. A must watch for any budding entrepreneur, business owner, leader, manager, manufacturer or anybody with a particular interest in bus or coaches.

We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

Benedetto

19
Sep

New #LOFTCAST with Colin Robertson CBE, Coming Soon…

Friday morning was a very special day as we spent a wonderful morning interviewing Colin Robertson CBE of Alexander Dennis in our latest LOFTCAST video podcast.

Colin has done an absolutely incredible job as CEO of Alexander Dennis over the last 13 years helping to turn the company into one of the world’s most successful bus and coach manufacturers. He’s helped increase Annual Turnover almost 400% to £631million, opened the company up to new markets, transformed product development as well as aftermarket support. He’s won numerous awards and been acknowledged by her majesty the Queen herself.

Quite simply, Colin is one of Scotland’s top business leaders.

On Friday morning, we covered business growth, leadership, manufacturing, bus & coaches and of course – dealing with COVID-19.

At the end of our conversation, we managed to get in its of questions from all you budding entrepreneurs, business leaders and even bus & coach enthusiasts.

We think this one is going to be very special and we can’t wait to share it with you…

Watch this space!!

Benedetto

13
Sep

Aillie & Jade, The Future In Good Hands..

It’s always great to work with new designers – they always offer super-interesting perspectives, new ideas and essentially make us think twice about what we’re doing and if we could do it much, much better. This week we had the pleasure to work with, not one but, two exceptionally talented young ladies – Aillie and Jade.

Aillie has just graduated from Glasgow Clyde College and Jade is in her final year at The City Of Glasgow College. Both did an absolutely phenomenal job this week bringing some great new energy to our currently digital studio, wowing us with some incredibly exciting ideas and helping us get on top of a rather heavy workload with just a little bit more flair.

Of course we’d love to share with you what they did, but all creative work is schtum for now as we show our clients first, but here are a couple of arty images from their folios…

We’ll definitely share their great work with you in the next couple of weeks.

The Future is in Good Hands…

Benedetto

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

14
Jul

Resurgence, Interview with Street Soccer Scotland Founder & CEO David Duke MBE


In the latest of our ‘Resurgence’ series, we are delighted to have a chat with Street Soccer Scotland Founder & CEO – David Duke MBE. In our short 25-minute interview – we get a great insight into how David has used his past challenges to better lead himself and his team throughout the crisis, the importance of resilience, how Street Soccer raised over £70,000 with their very first custom digital event, how there can be no more excuses by society for failing those in need after Covid-19 and why he’s optimistic about the future.

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

Interview tic-toc

0 Mins | Introduction of Resurgence Interviewee David Duke MBE, Founder of StreetSoccer Scotland.

1 Mins | David speaks about importance of having something to do and keeping busy. Street Soccer was set up to bring people together – people that are experiencing various challenges – homelessness, mental health, recovery, addiction, etc..

2 Mins | Street Soccer delivers a range of programmes using football as a tool to get people involved then create positive opportunities and communities.

3 Mins | Helping People that are cut off – thinking and acting fast in terms of Covid restrictions. Worked with team to create a menu of support options about how they could help people dealing with the crisis.

4 Mins | Getting back to values and main purpose of Street Soccer – letting the team and people know that they are there. Making sure practical elements were in place.

5 Mins | Trying to keep people engaged, focussed and motivated – a wee bit of hope. Helping people with emergency transport, food or housing supplies, setting up a hardship fund. ‘Do as much as we can and be there for them.’

6 Mins | Socially distanced Sports Session. How has the people Street Soccer supported – reacted with everything that has happened?

7 Mins | Players are missing regular access to football and support programmes.

9 Mins | The key thing for everything – we need to come back together. We need human connection. We all need a hug. We all need to see people. Online is great. Digital is a help. But it’s not the same. And that’s the challenge.

10 Mins | Resilience is a key part of the make-up of the people they help. And in a lot of cases, resilience gained through hard times can be a benefit for dealing with experiences such as this. Coping mechanisms. Hoping to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

13 Mins | Coping Mechanisms – importance of a clear mind, control, a plan and being on your game.

14 Mins | Focus on the here and now, don’t look too far ahead, ‘things I can physically impact on, because in a lot of instances right now – we’re powerless. Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Worry about the things you can control. Do what you can do to your best. Keep Focussed.’

15 Mins | Best way to deal with anxiety is to talk to a friend. We’re all experiencing stuff we’ve never experienced before. Most important to look after yourselves – if you can’t look after yourselves, you can’t look after anybody else. Switch off now and then. Clear the head.

16 Mins | Look after yourself so you can help look after others.

17 Mins | Big lessons for society. Key message is it’s great to look after each other in a crisis but let’s do that in normal times too.

18 Mins | Digital has really taken of with Street Soccer – raising over £70,000 with a digital event. There are new opportunities to create stuff – new offerings, etc..

19 Mins | Charities have pretty much ended rough sleeping due to Covid which shows how quickly we can react. Charity leaders can now flag up what we did during Covid – as a means to say we can impact change much quicker.

20 Mins | 1 in 4 children live in poverty before Covid. Scotland has a lot of work to do to ensure that everybody has a better quality of life. Best ideas come when you’re backed against the wall.

21 Mins | When back’s against the wall he performs his best.

22 Mins | David had to solve problems from a very young age and his plans for the next couple of months – get programmes running again, re-think the financial strategy, while letting the team do what they do best.

24 Mins | Need to have some kind of optimism about the future. There’s a greater cause here. If we all work together – businesses, government, charities, etc then we can realise a much better vision for the country.

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.