BRAND ENTHUSIAST

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

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.