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StudioLR win Nod for Best Out of Home for D-Day Story

Seeing double

Oh hey! We’ve got some great news to share. StudioLR has won The Nods award for Best Out of Home for our campaign for The D-Day Story.

In response to our work, a judge said “The D-Day Story in Portsmouth was a work impossible to forget. Ironic, but yet so striking, in the way it brought humanity to such a delicate subject.”

We also received a Wee Nod of recognition for our work on launching Volvo CE’s R100E Rigid Hauler in the Best Brand Experience category. Here is our client, Jacqueline Reid (Marketing and Communications Director) looking rather chuffed about that.

Volvo CE Wee Nod Award StudioLR
Volvo CE R100E launch StudioLR

Will we get the Nod?

The Nods award ceremony is right around the corner and we’re pretty chuffed to say that StudioLR and our clients have been shortlisted for six awards.

This is the second year of The Nods. They were set up with the support of the creative community, for the benefit of the creative community in Scotland – aiming to recognise and celebrate great work, organisations and people. At last year’s inaugural ceremony we scooped the grand prix, The Big Nod, for our work with Terex Trucks. (Does that make us the Noddy Holder? Sorry.)

This year we’re up for:

  • Best Brand Experience (Your New Rigid Hauler Global Launch – Volvo CE)
  • Best Out of Home (The D-Day Story – Portsmouth City Council)
  • Best Client (Jacqueline Reid – Volvo CE)
  • Best Print Design (Gathering by Alec Finlay – Hauser & Wirth)
  • Best Creative (Mark Wheeler & Dave King – StudioLR)
  • SME Creative Agency of the Year (StudioLR)

Looking forward to the big bash at Brewhemia on Thursday. 

We’ve got our fingers crossed…

The Value of Listening

Co-design in Practice.

At the International Masterclass on Dementia Care, Design and Ageing, Lucy will share insights from our Inclusive Symbols work funded by Life Changes Trust.

Initial research indicated that many of the symbols we encounter in life are not easily understood by people with cognitive challenges. So, we set out to create a new set of 15 symbols, designed to make finding the way easier for everybody.

Sharing progress and revealing the latest work, Lucy will highlight the value of listening to the views of people with dementia to inform the creative process.

The International Masterclass brings together experts from across the globe to discuss ideas from design innovation through research to policy development to support independence and well-being in people living with dementia. 


Co-design in Practice

International Masterclass on Dementia Care, Design and Ageing

Wednesday 15th May, 11.30am

Iris Murdoch Conference Suite, University of Stirling

Tickets available here

If you want people to visit you, visit us first.

The Museums + Heritage Show takes place in London this May – aiming to share insights, hints and tips that you can put into practice in your own destination organisation.

We’re hosting a session in the ‘Engaging New Visitors’ theatre alongside the National Trust for Scotland. Our design director, Dave King, will be joined by NTS Head of Commercial Enterprises and Estates, Connie Lovel, to share what we learned from our work together at Inverewe.

How can you stay true to your heritage and attract a wider range of visitors? We’ll take you behind the scenery at Inverewe, and show you how we unlocked the eccentricity of the garden’s founder Osgood, and developed a new creative positioning and visitor experience. 

A Marketing Society Gold Award Winner, the project led to a 28% increase in family visits. Join us to discover new ways of working and top tips to help you welcome more visitors.


Welcoming the world: How to build brands and experiences that people love

Museums + Heritage Show

Wednesday 15th May, 3.15pm

Engaging New Visitors (Theatre 2)

Register for your free ticket here

Fortune favours the brave.

We’re leading the next session of the Marketing Society’s Inspiring Minds series. Bravery in marketing and design is the topic – a subject close to our design director Dave’s heart (Dave leads the D&AD’s Bravery masterclass). 

But commissioning and creating brave creative work isn’t easy. It goes against a lot of natural instincts. 

During the session, Dave will make the case for bravery in marketing and design and share lessons learnt from past failures and triumphs. How to make work personal without taking it personally. How to get out of a rut. Why bravado isn’t brave. Why we should all enjoy ourselves a lot more. How to get the best out of your creative team. And, most importantly, how to spark something in people.

Expect to leave the session loaded with practical tips and techniques that you can put to use in your own work, and a better understanding of how to overcome obstacles that are thrown in your way.


The Marketing Society’s Inspiring Minds

The Lighthouse, Glasgow

16 May 2019, 3.30pm

Tickets available here

Image credits: Messe München

Among the Goliaths…

Brand lessons from our trip to Bauma, Munich.  

Bauma is a triennial trade show with around 3,500 exhibitors showcasing all things construction. It attracts about 600k visitors… it’s massive.

The task Mark and I set ourselves was to visit our clients, and to see what their competition was doing so we could better advise them.

So, what did we learn? Apart from our woeful fitness levels (30k steps!)…

Overwhelming bombardment

There was a relentless, overwhelming bombardment of brand information. The exhibitors had collectively invested high for the week-long event, led by the industry giants like Caterpillar, Liebherr and Volvo CE.

Along with all these branded pavilions and stands (some the size of football pitches), was a huge range of attractions – from ferris wheels and VR games to choreographed dancing diggers and zeppelins!

In our opinion, shouting loud and throwing your message at people seemed to be the predominant marketing strategy. So yes, everything was big. But surprisingly, not that well considered. 

Look slightly beyond the surface and you can see that much of this marketing is lost, and very little sticks. Reliability, Safety, Sustainability and Efficiency… each brand’s claims are so similar to the last. 

Less loud, more memorable

So, how do you stand out? Clearly not by SHOUTING, because someone will always be louder. Great brands don’t need to shout – their reputations are built over time and by consistently doing ‘the right thing’ (or at least by doing ‘their thing’). 

Two top tips

Do what you say – if your product benefit is sustainability, don’t have single use plastic cups. And if you’re a proud British brand, don’t give away Swiss chocolate. The devil is in the detail.

Be honest. Be yourself. Be brave enough to say “this is who I am, and this is how I can help you.” It won’t be for everyone but it doesn’t need to be. They might not be the loudest, but with honesty and integrity, smaller brands can have a much clearer and more memorable voice than the Goliaths they compete with…

Which seems the perfect place to give a special shout out to our client Terex Trucks. Their honesty and integrity could certainly be heard above the noise at Bauma. They design, build and service high quality reliable articulated trucks in Scotland and export them all over the world. One team. One product. One focus.

With Undivided Attention printed above their heads, they practised what they preached – giving everyone their time and a truly unique West of Scotland welcome (and yes, we are a tad biased).

So, bring on Bauma 2022… but for now we will find a darkened room and Goliath down.

………

ps. it wasn’t all work… the Bratwurst and German beer went down pretty well too!

Terex Trucks stand at Bauma designed by StudioLR
Campervan in the Hebrides for a StudioLR meeting

A worthwhale trip to the Hebrides…

[5 min read]

StudioLR is working with the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust to create the Hebridean Whale Trail. On the surface this is a somewhat counter intuitive proposition – creating a land based trail to watch sealife.

Scotland is one of the best places in the world to see whales. There are many places they can be spotted from shore and with 2020 being the Year of Coast and Water the brilliance of this project is that it will encourage people to go and see these magnificent creatures, and if they don’t they’ll have a wonderful time anyway. So with excitement I set off to the west coast to find out more.

As a city boy at heart, I only took the stereotypical essentials. Insufficient clothing and footwear, laptop & smartphone (with selection of ill fitting cabling) and of course my dog and campervan. I was fully aware these items would almost certainly attract ridicule from all on my trip – putting people at ease is a big part of the collaborative process.

After many hours on the road, and two ferry trips, I found myself with the client at Ardnamurchan lighthouse. A stunning location, particularly on a wild day in January.

After admiring the views and scoping out a load of exciting visitor experience interpretive ideas, my soft southern side started to notice I was wet and cold. But with no cafe open (it’s winter) we headed to my campervan for our follow up meeting, with me smugly making fresh coffee and sharing some hobnobs. It was the perfect site meeting.

Campervan meeting with StudioLR

From conversations with several members of the team in Tobermory my brief visit made me realise the brilliance of the trail intent. By encouraging people to visit amazing and remote locations across the west coast of Scotland, most of which you have to reach by ferry, you are forced to slow down while being constantly on the move. What better way to see these beautiful creatures than by doing as they do – steadily travelling through our Scottish waters.

Not only will attracting visitors to the trail encourage people to engage with our special sea-mammals but the project will also have many spin-off benefits. Not least economic – boosting local businesses and services.

I didn’t see any whales on my trip but I look forward to returning as we work on developing the trail over the next few months.

Mark Wheeler, Design Director

The power of purpose – building your brand from the inside out

[1 min read]

An event hosted by StudioLR at the SCVO Gathering 2019

Thursday 21 February, 11.15am – 12.15pm

By defining the purpose of your organisation and involving your people in the process, you will build an authentic brand and reap the rewards of a united, driven workforce.

Lucy Richards and Joanna McCreadie (Chief Executive of Seamab) will demonstrate the power of this approach by example – sharing the insights and outcomes of their collaboration to create a dynamic and enduring brand for Seamab.

https://scvo.org.uk/the-gathering-2019/event-programme/the-power-of-purpose-building-your-brand-from-the-inside-out/

the gathering 2019, SCVO, Glasgow SEC, february 2019
Spark something in people with your new brand from StudioLR

New year, new brand

[5 min read]

A great brand will add a huge amount of value to your organisation. It can help unite your team, differentiate you from the competition, attract new audiences and customers, shape the way you plan your future, and change the way people feel about you.

Feel.

That’s the most important part. Your brand’s job isn’t to summarise every service or product you provide. It’s to shape the way people feel about you. What’s in their gut when they hear your name? Great brands are relevant, compelling, memorable, unexpected. They spark something in people.

Here are our five top tips to do just that…

1. Think more about your reputation. Less about your logo.
Your brand is what other people think of you – your reputation. Strong reputations are built up over time and come from a tight link between what you do (your products, services, culture, facilities, experience), what you say (marketing messages and campaigns), and how you say it (visual identity and tone of voice). Good brand planning and a strong idea can get all of that pushing in the right direction.

Spark something in people with your new brand from StudioLR

2. Build from the inside out.
Your brand should reflect what people love about your organisation. The easiest way to do that is to involve people in its creation. Speak to people at all levels of the organisation, stakeholders inside and out – and your audience. Brand development is the perfect chance for people to have their say. Don’t paper over the cracks. Be honest and get hopes, fears, issues and strong opinions out in the open early. These are great fuel and often trigger original and authentic ideas. And if your chairman’s favourite colour is red, don’t let that dominate, listen to everybody and make sure personal preference doesn’t overrule sound judgement.

Spark something in people with your new brand from StudioLR

3. Be brave.
Every great brand has a hook. A memorable idea that resonates emotionally. Don’t be tempted to settle for something generic – it won’t get over the challenges that have led you to a rebrand. It won’t attract new customers or audiences. If it makes you a little bit nervous and excited then you’re onto something good. Most people are naturally averse to change but if you’re not aiming to change perceptions why are you rebranding?

Spark something in people with your new brand from StudioLR

4. Don’t stop there.
Set some budget aside for a great creative roll out. This should be much more than just a logo, font or colours applied to things. It’s a chance to bring your brand idea to life in a way people will notice and engage with. Keep an open mind – your brand and audience might suit one kind of media more than another. Fill your brief with outcomes (eg. more customers in the 30-45 market) not outputs (eg. leaflets or advert).

Spark something in people with your new brand from StudioLR

5. Avoid the free fall.
Don’t ask agencies to compete for your rebrand by pitching free creative ideas. You won’t get quality, effective work – you’ll get guesswork. Great results come from collaborative relationships – conversations, understanding, research, development, thought and exploration. Creative pitches are one-sided – undermining the value of your own knowledge and experience, and undervaluing the skills of your agency. Meet up with two or three agencies, share your problems, ask how they would solve them, see what relevant experience they have, and check if the chemistry ‘clicks’. Then trust them to do what they do best.


Our Creative Director and Founder, Lucy will be co-hosting a free event ‘Building your brand from the inside out’ at the SCVO Gathering on 21 February 2019 at SEC Glasgow. Sign up now to book your space.

Andy Purpose StudioLR

On Purpose

[2 min read]

I recently shared an article with our team about how sweet treats (biscuits/cakes) in the workplace are a danger to our health.

I was surprised that everyone responded with their thoughts – although that maybe says more about what I usually share. But they all agreed that it’s really difficult to avoid them.

It made me question how responsible we’re being by having biscuits in meetings and rewarding ourselves with G&Ts on a Friday. It’s all a matter of choice, but with obesity rates soaring, too many of us are making the wrong choices, and workplaces definitely aren’t helping. I heard a nurse on the radio highlight the challenge suggesting that the NHS was neglecting its duty of care allowing boxes of biscuits and chocolate ‘thank yous’ on the ward as the norm.

Our Why

We’ve been on a mission to find our WhyWhy do we get out of bed in the morning? What makes us tick? What do we really enjoy and dislike? And, critically, does this even matter to our clients and their customers?

We help organisations unearth their Why, but doing it for ourselves proved really difficult. We’ve finally got somewhere that we all believe in and can rally behind.

So, what is our Why?

We leap out of bed in the morning to make people’s everyday experiences better. That’s what we’ve always done. From our early work creating distractions around Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, to our recent work creating emotive visitor experiences for Volvo and National Trust for Scotland, to our pioneering work setting new standards for symbols to help people living with dementia find their way around.

By always focusing on the people, we can stir emotions, encourage participation and change behaviours to make a positive difference. Raise a smile. Win hearts and minds. That’s the aim of every brand, every campaign, and every experience we create.

Living our brand

With that mantra in mind, we shouldn’t go too far wrong:

  • In the office, we’ll always be respectful of each other and encourage a healthy environment with our standing desks, yoga Wednesday, walking meetings and adopting a plant (mine’s a bonsai).
  • For our clients, we’ll always go a step further to make their everyday better – simple principles like calling more than e-mailing, being ‘reassuringly challenging’ and not accepting the norm. We create work that makes their people’s every day better and gets them the results they need. And when things don’t go as planned we’re open and honest and do what it takes to get things back on track.

For Society, we do our bit for local charities volunteering on the Care Van to help feed Edinburgh’s homeless people, and helping The Spartans Community Football Academy, Seamab School and participating in the Social Bite Sleep in the Park.

So, that just leaves me with a Bigger Question than Why

“Should we ban sweet treats?”

Thoughts welcome.

– Andy

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