At StudioLR, creativity is the name of the game. Strategy, ideas, execution – every stage is a creative task. It doesn’t matter whether we’re working with a CEO to craft her business vision, or working with a photographer to craft the perfect shot. To succeed, our work needs to be new, novel, stand-out, attention-grabbing. Creativity is the one ingredient we couldn’t do without.
Kids are creative geniuses
Kids are the most creative people in the world. But sometimes we push them to unlearn that skill as they get older. They get used to learning in blocks. An hour of Maths here, an hour of English there. They can start to see creativity as something that only belongs in the Art Department. But it doesn’t.
From the Fosbury Flop to the Ford motor car, creative thinking has changed on the world. Sport, business, science, conservation, entertainment. You name it, creativity powers it.
A simple, bitesize lesson plan
Working with Daydream Believers, we’ve created Bitesize Bravery – a framework for short lessons that bring creative thinking into every classroom. No matter the subject.
The framework is simple. Teachers can pick and choose to suit their plans – building lessons that last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. In Part One kids fuel their imaginations by finding and exploring examples of creative bravery in their subject. Then in Part Two they stretch their own creative muscles with an exercise. These exercises are all based on tried-and-tested tools that we’ve used in the studio.
It’s been great to hear positive feedback from teachers and we hope the lessons help a few bright sparks to carry on sparking.
Get the teaching tools
You can watch a re-run of Dave chatting through the lesson plan at the Creative Bravery festival below. Or download a free PDF of the lessons and get stuck right in. Rachel Nesbitt, a talented Edinburgh College graduate, designed the slide pack. (Thanks Rachel!).
And finally, make sure you have a look at the Creative Bravery Festival. There’s a tonne of great ideas and resources over there from so many great contributors, including everyone’s favourite company. (Lego, of course!).
Are you rebranding and worried about keeping your team motivated? Worry not! We’ve put together afree PDFwith 7 tips to help get your team behind your brand.
This week’s tip sadly means putting away the top hat and waistcoat…
Who’s brand is it anyway?
“Volatile times are only scary for the powerless. If people feel like they can influence their own future they can move mountains.” Nigel Girling
Crisis or no crisis, we’ve found this to ring true.
If you’re working on a rebrand, bring people along on the journey, don’t wait til the end to show them the big reveal of ‘your’ big idea, or ‘your’ new direction. If you want it to succeed, the direction has to be theirs.
The easiest way is to involve people in hands-on workshop situations – answering questions, giving opinions, working up ideas. Let people be honest and get hopes, fears, issues and strong opinions out in the open early. They’re not a bad thing! These are great fuel and often trigger original, authentic ideas.
The bonus result of doing this is that more brains end up working on making the ideas better. In the less-collaborative way of working, most brains are just used to ‘sense-check’ an idea. Working together boosts your chances of coming out with a high impact, creative idea.
Of course, we’re not talking about creative by committee. At some point you need to ruthlessly believe in, and drive, an idea. But by that point you should have all the input you need to make your team believe in it too.
If you’ve ever gone through a rebrand you’ll know it can sometimes cause a bit of friction. The phrase “going through a rebrand” tells a story itself. But it doesn’t have to be difficult – it should be a positive experience for everyone.
We’ve put together a series of 7 tips to help get your team behind your brand. If you’re looking to set a clear direction, boost morale and get the most out of your team, download the free PDF here.
In the meantime, this one is maybe the most important tip…
What is a brand?
When we talk about making your team feel connected to your business, we’re talking about brand strategy. We’re talking about positioning… what makes you different… why you exist… what your values are. It’s all brand.
But whatever you do, don’t call it brand.
Do not mention the b-word.
The word brand, to anyone who isn’t in the field, means ‘logo’. Or sometimes it means ‘expensive, waste-of-money-when-our-jobs-are-at-risk-logo’.
While it’s not true – and nobody ever spent half a million on a new logo – it makes a good headline, and a powerful morale-buster. Being right in this case doesn’t matter – being effective matters. It’s usually more effective to put it in the context of your team’s day-jobs.
So, talk about service, experience, expectations, culture – anything but brand. Unless, of course, you’re investing in training for your whole team on what a brand really is. But that’s a different matter.
As we head into our 17th year, we’ve been focussing on what we do best for our clients.
In a nutshell ‘We’re your gutsy creative agency’.
We’re here to help ambitious organisations stand out and win in their sector. If you work with us, you can expect us to get our hands dirty – poking around until we get to the heart of your organisation. And you can expect big, bold, attention-seeking ideas that get you noticed and remembered.
If that perks up your ears, head over to ournew website for a look around, call Andy for a chat, or watch our one minute showreel…
And, before you go, we’re sending a HUGE thanks to you all – clients, collaborators and friends. We’ve had 16 fantastic years working with you. Here’s to 16 more!
Do you have a clear brand strategy that you keep coming back to? One that guides the way you do things and the decisions you make? If the answer is no, and your budget is zero, it’s not the end of the world. As a bare-minimum, a quick cheat-sheet can make a difference…
There are 1,001 ‘strategy’ and ‘brand’ words out there – don’t worry if you’ve heard some and not others. And don’t let the long list repel you. There’s no exact right or wrong way to do things and no exact right or wrong answer. If your brand strategy answers the question “What do we want to be famous for?” you’re in decent shape.
Putting together a simple one-page ‘Brand Strategy Cheat Sheet’ will help give you some focus and clarity. Your one-pager should include:
Your brand idea
Why customers choose you
Let’s go into a wee bit more detail on those three…
1. Your brand idea
This should be a sort of emotional shorthand for the benefit of choosing you (whether you happen to be a product, a service, even a place). Don’t feel pressure to do it a certain way because you’ve seen it in a case study. Brand ideas come from all angles – from a social purpose to a time-of-day…
While they’re all totally different brands and totally different ideas, you’ll notice these all have a few things in common:
They’re easy to understand You get the idea in a couple of words.
They’re single-minded It takes a lot of effort to be famous for something. It’s almost impossible to be famous for multiple things. Stick to one idea.
They’re specific Paint a specific picture in your audience’s mind and you’ll stand out and be remembered. Your brand idea can’t be to be ‘good’, ‘the best’, ‘customer-focused’ or ‘engaging’ … None of those paint any sort of clear picture – they’re all too vague.
A quick and easy test for your idea is ‘Could someone use the opposite of this?’. If yes, you’re onto a winner. For example a motorbike brand could be about Freedom (like Harley) but it could just as easily be about Control. If the answer is no, there’s a good chance your idea is just an expected feature in your sector – like a ‘fun day out’ or ‘reliable advice’ or ‘products that work’. This doesn’t help you stand out or be remembered.
2. Why customers choose you
Start with a simple statement or list of exactly what type of people you appeal to. Then add what they get out of you – rationally and emotionally. If you haven’t got any up-to-date research, dig through your old surveys, Twitter mentions, Facebook comments, TripAdvisor reviews for the rough raw material.
3. What’s your brand personality?
How do you express yourself? Bigger organisations might have clear values that shape the way they behave and the way they communicate. Or you might have a full tone of voice guide. At a minimum you’re going to need a statement or a short list of adjectives that describe how you want to come across. But make sure they’re sharp, specific adjectives…
Don’t tolerate ‘engaging’, ‘vibrant’, or ‘professional’ here. Aim for personalities that would really shape a brief.
A fastidious, detail-focused ‘geek’ who can’t wait to show you the special editions in her comic collection.
A warm, friendly grandad who greets you with open arms and tells you a story.
A rebellious teenager who wants to bring down the system.
A well-schooled butler who you don’t even notice is there, but who puts everything in the right place at the right time.
A cheeky chancer who’s always spinning a tale (think Del-Boy).
A quick tip
If you’re doing this yourself and getting nowhere – don’t be afraid to define what you’re not. Find a load of personality trait adjectives and discuss them with some colleagues. When somebody says “We’re definitely not that”, the discussion about why will usually lead you towards what you really are.
And finally – express yourself creatively
With your Brand Strategy Cheat Sheet as a brief, you can now get creative with anything new you put in place. So before you create anything ask yourself – how could we make this fit our personality? How could we tie this into our idea? How do we do this our way?
From ‘unskilled workers’ to ‘key workers’ in less than a month, the last few weeks has brought the value of people into pin-sharp focus.
When we eventually reach the other side of coronavirus and our worlds re-extend past these four walls, we wonder what the country will be like. And who its heroes and villains will be.As we clap our clean hands for our NHS heroes, we hope the NHS is given the investment and recognition it deserves. And that those NHS heroes aren’t alone. The posties, binmen, shelf-stackers, till workers, fitness trainers, bus drivers – the list goes on. Despite the darkness, the taken-for-granted are shining as brightly as this sarcastic spring sunshine. We won’t be taking them for granted again.
So many great organisations and unsung heroes are putting people before profit – councils and arms-length organisations providing vital community services; drinks companies swapping beer for hand sanitiser; organisations re-tooling to make ventilators; museums, galleries, venues and artists sharing phenomenal couch-bound culture; teachers and writers sharing exercises and stories to keep the kids going. It doesn’t have to be life-or-death to be meaningful and valuable.
Profit is important in business, but now more than ever we should be acting with kindness, fairness, appreciation and leadership. If you haven’t told your team just how much of a difference they’re making to other people lately, maybe now’s the time? And if you’re not sure what difference your team are making to people – now would be an excellent time to figure it out.