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Sanderson RSG rebrand image

Partnership is its middle name

StudioLR was commissioned by Resource Solutions Group (RSG) – one of the UK’s largest independent recruitment companies, established over 35 years ago – to create a new brand positioning and identity that could unite its group and its 4 sub brands.

The new brand, Sanderson, celebrates its long-standing business ethos: bring diverse expertise together, build long-lasting relationships, and become vital partners to clients and candidates.

The Strategy

A high-growth business with a half-billion-pound turnover, RSG currently sits at number 32 in The Sunday Times Top Track 250 list. The initial challenge for us was to find the thread that bound this thriving business together. On the surface it seemed impossible – there was a group brand (RSG); 4 trading brands (Sanderson Recruitment, Resource Management, FirstPerson Executive, and Intelligent Consulting); and 11 offices across the UK and Ireland.

We had to get to the bottom of: what makes this company special as a whole? What unites the group?

The new brand was to take on the name Sanderson but it was important that it didn’t become a rebrand of the old Sanderson Recruitment. It had to bring together the full diverse range of services that the group offers – and the variety of sectors it supports.

We ran group and one-to-one sessions with the RSG Board and uncovered a unique business model… not a salesperson in sight. The new business philosophy was built on reputation – built up through great long-term relationships.

We then ran workshops with over 100 of the Sanderson team – covering their nationwide network and the full range of specialisms, roles and levels – and found the same philosophy throughout. Every single person was in it for the long term – there were no volume-driven sales incentives, there was no hammering of the phones and aiming to fill a million vacancies. There were no egos.

The Creative Spark

We realised that while the company name had been around for decades, it was never taken for granted. Everyone was out to add value to their clients – to become the ultimate partner. And that’s what clients were buying – the collaboration, the understanding and the flexibility… the relationships. The company name was almost secondary.

What if Sanderson was bold enough to put its commitment to partnership before even its own name?

From here an identity was developed that brought the ‘and’ in Sanderson into the foreground – and relegated the rest of the name into the background. Those 3 little letters represent all the brilliant relationships the team have built over the years. The ‘and’ device became a tool to bring together Sanderson’s 4 divisions, nationwide offices, and people.

The Execution

Putting people and their partnerships at its heart, the identity moves Sanderson away from its largely corporate-feeling competitors – bringing together a refreshing and varied colour palette, bold rounded type and iconography, and commissioned photography using the real heroes of the brand – the Sanderson team.


“It was a big ask to unite such a wide range of specialists all across the UK. StudioLR really listened to our people and got under the skin of the company. ‘We’re Partners’ resonates perfectly with our team committed to helping our clients succeed. This new brand emphasises our strengths and the identity will really stand out in our sector. We can’t wait to share it with our clients.” – Annie Latimer, Sanderson Brand and Marketing Director


The new identity launched late November 2019 and is rolling out across a new website, staff and client launch events, office branding, printed and digital collateral, and a digital advertising campaign.


If your brand needs a shake up but don’t know where to start then give us a shout for an informal chat about how we can help.

DOTI-Fest 2019

Being authentic

The recent Doti-fest did a really great job of being brand-authentic. ‘Design On The Inside’ is an un-conference organised each year by our friends at Snook and it takes on some of our planet’s biggest challenges from critical health services to designing a truly inclusive world.

What stood out for me most though was Snook wearing its heart on its sleeve at every touchpoint.

  • The straw bales we sat on.
  • The give-away inclusion tickets being funded by the profit.
  • The dog-friendlyness.
  • The creche.
  • The strictly quiet space.
  • The real fireside-chat format interviews.
  • The dairy-free coffee bar.

And the genuine encouragement to bring our whole self (personal interests and vulnerable bits) to each workshop.

It all speaks of a caring and inclusive intention and delivery.

And a powerful brand.

I also jotted down some gems about clicktivism and emotional poverty, all giving me plenty of reasons to care:

  • A reminder to not to focus on design. Focus on better. Most people don’t really care about design. They just care about something being better
  • Accountability is king. It enables autonomy and ownership, empowers people with a powerful can-do attitude, and kicks a not-my-fault mentality into touch.
  • Everyone should start (at least) one petition – petitions can start a powerful halo effect i.e. tampon tax and period poverty.
  • A stark fact – Dundee has the highest number of drug related deaths in Europe. Made me think back to the amazing, inspiring talks of Sir Harry Burns. If you’re interested in community asset-based approach for health improvement then watching Harry speak is time well spent.
  • Show the love to your customer. Don’t talk about yourself but talk about your customer in presentations, pitches, and social media. Spend time with customers listening to their needs and concerns. Knowing and solving their pain builds trust.

-Lucy


Is your organisation’s purpose clear? Chat to us about how we can help bring it to life through your brand.

asva conference 2019

People. Not objects.

All the best insights we gathered from the ASVA conference 2019…

Last week’s ASVA conference 2019 came to life with a stellar presentation by Bernard Donoghue – he’s the Mayor of London’s Culture Ambassador, CEO of ALVA, and an all-round top banana.

Bernard suggested that there’s a hint of a slowdown approaching which could easily turn into a recession. The strong visitor numbers of the last few years won’t continue across the board, so how can we all continue to flourish?

Above all, Bernard reminded us that it’s the people, not the objects, that make a visitor attraction a roaring success. Five-star Trip Advisor reviews typically mention a staff member by name, where four-star reviews generally don’t.

Way more than looking at objects, and reading panels, visitors love to see and hear human stories. They’ll pay money to see and get involved with makers crafting things, gardeners growing things, and narrators (ideally dressed in costume) telling stories.

So, think about what story your attraction is telling and be creative about how your people can bring it alive to build memories for the visitor. Make people feel something and create memories that even the most engaging and interactive interpretation panel will struggle to challenge.

Think about how you want your visitor to feel and, critically, what do you want them to share on social after they leave…?


Top takeaways

Simple reminder

Focusing on ways we can increase profitability with these three simple points:

  1. Sell more to existing customers
  2. Get new customers
  3. Do things more efficiently

Nostalgic experience

Though counterintuitive, the visitor sector is in an ideal position in a time of future uncertainty. When the economy slows, we all like nostalgic experience as it provides us with reassurance and escape… i.e. Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off, Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Stretch and add to our offer

How can we stretch our brand offer while staying true to our purpose and cause? Can we be braver and maybe take a few risks? Some great examples of this are:

Climate change

It’s a hot topic. But what if really cold winters and really hot summers are the new norm, how are we adjusting our business plan and offers to cope?

We visited the National Trust’s Hanbury Hall this year for the outdoor cinema event but had to cancel because the weather was too hot (at 6pm!).

Green Tourism UK gave us a timely reminder of how we can do our bit

  1. Print on FSC paper                          
  2. Promote low carbon transport  
  3. Understand provenance of product   
  4. Be accountable for the carbon your organisation contributes
  5. Take part in the @Refill campaign 

Kiss (or CISS) your Customers

Stuart Cassells, GM at The Macallan Estate shared his strategy to recruit customers from other spirits and not from other whisky brands.

Clarity – about why / purpose

Involve – your customer in the process of what you do (demonstrate distilling)

Senses – ensure visitors enjoy the whole sensory experience

Story – tell your unique story in unforgettable ways

Scottish Tourism Alliance is launching its ambitious vision for Scotland to be a world leader in 21st century tourism by 2030. They want to enrich lives and preserve our places in the industry by acting as pioneers for delivering responsible tourism.  We need to build a 21st Century tourism industry for all – our visitors, our people, our businesses, our communities and our environment.

We all have our part to play.


Get in touch to find out how we can help put these into practice for your visitor attraction.

Rhona, our new senior designer at StudioLR

Say hi to Rhona, our new senior designer

It’s the end of Rhona’s first week here at StudioLR… So it’s the perfect time to introduce her.

Let’s get to know our new senior designer with a few questions.

Tell us about your time before StudioLR

I’ve been working as a designer in Edinburgh for 15 years in SME agencies like StudioLR. I’ve worked across a wide range of industries  – including finance, life sciences, engineering and education. After my studies In Graphic Design at Cumbria Institute of the Arts I ended up in Edinburgh for work placements – I loved the city and couldn’t leave. Somehow, fifteen years later, I’m still here!

What made you want to join StudioLR?

I’ve been aware of StudioLR for a long time – I’ve known people who have worked here and they’ve always had kind words to say about the place. I’m excited to be part of a team that puts such a high standard of work and social conscience at the forefront of their business. Plus everyone seems nice, which is an added bonus!

How has your first week been?

It’s been a busy one! Learning lots, and enjoying getting familiar with names and faces of clients. I’ve definitely hit the ground running.

What are you looking forward to working on here?

My expertise lies in brand and I am really keen to learn more about the areas of the industry I’ve had less exposure to – for example visitor attractions. Can’t wait to meet more of our clients and see how projects unfold.

Tell us about two brands you admire and why?

  • Nike, in terms of their dedication to positive, empowering brand positioning, and solid product design.
  • Apple, not so much from an innovation perspective these days, more their customer experience – if I’ve ever had a problem with a product, I’ve always left the store feeling good.

What do you do outside work which sparks joy for you?

Gigs! I love listening to live music across a wide range of different genres, my taste is quite eclectic. When I’m not gigging, I’m trying out new foods – whether it’s in restaurants or at home cooking. To balance out my love of food, you can also often find me gym-ing away.

Rhona, our senior designer dancing away

We can’t wait to introduce Rhona to all of our clients and colleagues over the next few weeks.

Why Strawberry Field matters to us

A brand-new interactive visitor experience in Liverpool has opened its famous red gates to the public for the first time. Experience designers Cubit3D invited our team at StudioLR to help create the visitor experience at The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field Project.

As Strawberry Field welcomes the public, the red gates open new job opportunities to young adults with learning disabilities, and visitors can interactively experience stories about John Lennon’s childhood.

Their space – it matters to us
The Project also sets the scene for The Salvation Army to counter another of Lennon’s famous lyrics, “It doesn’t matter much to me” with “it matters to us” which is reproduced in the exhibition and the café.

In 1934, The Salvation Army was gifted the Strawberry Field, Victorian house and grounds. A few years later it became a children’s home for girls and then boys and has provided some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children a safe place for many years.

Fast forward to the present
Developed by The Salvation Army, and in partnership with The City of Liverpool College and local employers, the ‘Steps to Work Programme’ aims to allow young adults with learning difficulties the opportunity to gain the skills and experience they may not have access to elsewhere.

The Salvation Army has identified that there is a gap with national government programmes – 93% of the one million people with learning difficulties in the UK are unemployed. Barriers are now being broken through The Salvation Army’s scheme as these young people have the support to unlock their full potential. 

StudioLR Designer, Nicola Laurie says: “Once you get there, you see that it has a bigger purpose than remembering Lennon and his story. The Salvation Army has made it a place that helps people and does some good.”

Continuing Lennon’s Legacy
It was at Strawberry Field that John Lennon was inspired. As a child, he would often play in the grounds. Subsequently, the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, was penned. Lennon found sanctuary at Strawberry Field, and this is ensured to continue; with a new hub allowing trainees to develop their skills, socialise, and ultimately move into future employment.

Dave King, our Design Director says: “Strawberry Field inspired Lennon, and The Salvation Army is allowing this to continue for the young children of Liverpool for future generations to come.”

Your space
A mural of Lennon’s face created from built up pictures of the public is also on display; allowing the space to be the public’s as well as The Salvation Army’s. This is expected to develop and grow as more people donate to have their face appear on the wall.

Strawberry Field celebrates pop culture and nostalgia – while supporting the charity through donations and visits. Our team has really enjoyed being part of the creation of such a significant place where Lennon’s words will continue to resonate … “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

We need a designer who can make things happen. Someone’s who’s not afraid of the unexpected, who can manage projects with confidence, and who can transform good ideas into great results. 

Do you want to get stuck into the juiciest briefs? Do you want to create work that sparks something in people? Fancy getting your name on a D&AD pencil? Good! Keep reading…

Who the LR we?

We are StudioLR – a brand design studio in Edinburgh made up of creative people, strategic people, and people people who keep us all in check. Our expertise is in brand strategy, design and activation across digital, print and environments. We’re champions of inclusive design and over the years we’ve had the chance to make a serious impact on people’s lives – from children with care experience to people with hidden disabilities.

We care about big, purposeful ideas that mean something to people. We push ourselves and our ideas as far as they can go and start every single project with the same aim – how can we spark something in people? Provoke them. Get a reaction. Get a result.  

Our work has won a lot of awards – from two D&ADs, to a shelf full of Scottish Design Awards, the Grand Prix at the Nods, and SME Agency of the Year 2019 at the Marketing Society.

The details

We’re looking for a Senior Designer to start immediately with:
1. Minimum 5 years experience (ideally agency experience across
all channels – from concepts to delivery)
2. Experience of managing projects, clients and team members
3. A love for design and a genuine belief in the power of good
strategic and creative thinking
4. An open mind 

We offer a competitive package and a great environment to learn and grow. As well as standing desks, yoga, mindfulness, birthdays off, volunteering opportunities, and some pretty ropey Spotify playlists.

How to apply

Get in touch by 11th October with examples of your three favourite pieces of work, and a brief note explaining why you’d like to work at StudioLR, your ambition and what you’ll bring to the role, and salary expectation.

Email: Michelle@StudioLR.com
StudioLR.com

Finance: just because your industry is serious, doesn’t mean your brand has to be

When we say ‘financial planning company’, what does that make you think of? Important life decisions? Lots of jargon? Does it feel scary / risky / overwhelming? Does it make you think “maybe later”?

We wouldn’t blame you for feeling this way.

But let us introduce you to Spentwell

Spentwell is a new kind of financial planning and investment management firm. Whatever image that brings to mind, think the opposite. Spentwell is transparent, relaxed and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It puts people at ease – making finance easy to understand and relevant to people’s lives. It might even be fun. It’s not all about attainment of a huge end goal in a future that’s unimaginably far away. It’s about building an understanding of finances, so people feel comfortable, confident and able to enjoy all of life’s surprises… now and in the future.

We’re here to help people enjoy their financial journey and ultimately live the life they want.

After all, what’s life if it isn’t Spentwell?

Spentwell was started by Keith Boyes – an experienced Chartered Financial Planner with over a decade of industry experience and a hatred of industry jargon. Keith’s worked in many of the industry’s biggest financial planning firms and had a spell in Hong Kong, advising ex-pats.

Keith is motivated by providing the joy and security that sound financial planning allows. He genuinely gets a kick out of helping people get the most they possibly can from life. It’s important that his brand conveys this – as well as helping people to see that finances well-managed is a happy, accessible thing.

The Brand

It started with the name. We needed something that would plant the idea that sound financial planning can help you make the most of your time – giving you the freedom to spend it well. It’s that simple.

Your money. Your life…

Let’s make sure it’s Spentwell.

Dare we say the F-word? Visually, we wanted the brand to convey a sense of Fun (without taking away from the importance of the service). From bold colour choices to playful charts, the brand is designed to stand-out from the competition.

Are you having a graph? Inspired by the familiar patterns of finance-sidekick Microsoft Excel, the Spentwell brand playfully uses charts to highlight the joy that planning your finances can bring – whether it’s saving for a big event or giving you the peace of mind to enjoy the small things.

All together now. With a strong series of patterns, holders and bold colours we’re sure Spentwell will be able to take its new brand and creatively run with it. It’s versatile and flexible across different media, leaving the door open for unique and distinct marketing.

“How do you create a brand that embodies your vision, excites you about your firm and the possibilities, and leaves you with an immense sense of pride – You work with StudioLR.

The team has turned my vague, muddled ideas into a real brand that has impact. They took the time to listen and understand, drilling down into what’s important, using their expertise to turn my vision into reality. I’m delighted with the process I’ve gone through, all their tireless work and the fantastic outcome. True experts in design and branding who I can’t recommend enough. ” – Keith Boyes, Spentwell


To find out how we can make your brand cut through the noise of your industry then get in touch.

Mps support new Any Disability symbol by StudioLR

New ‘Any Disability’ symbol gets resounding Westminster support

Building on the campaign by Grace Warnock, StudioLR (funded by Life Changes Trust) has designed the new ‘Any Disability’ symbol to encourage awareness of people with invisible disabilities.

Martin Whitfield, MP for East Lothian, led a Commons debate (here) on invisible disabilities. Receiving full cross-party support, the new Any Disability symbol represents the full range of people who need to use accessible toilets and other facilities.

https://youtu.be/0lJOcquXxNU

The symbol has received public shows of support from people who have experienced prejudice when using accessible facilities. This demonstrates how design can help change people’s everyday lives.

Justin Tomlinson MP – Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work – had some very supportive words to say about the project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK3gmS1iS9Q

“…Making a real difference, not just in the UK but internationally”

Lucy Richards, our Creative Director explains: “We created the new Any Disability symbol because people with a hidden disability have the right to access facilities and services without having to explain their personal circumstances. It’s about building awareness as well as preventing prejudice.”

The symbol continues to receive strong cross-party support. After a drop-in event to rally MP support (with over 50 MPs attending) they have pledged to promote the symbol in their constituencies. On the day of the event (23 July) it was the most frequent hashtag amongst politicians (even above the #BackBoris campaign).

It’s also resulted in the creation of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability Signage to support the implementation and development of improved disability signage.


Read more about the project and debate here.

Or please feel free to get in touch with Lucy directly (lr@studiolr.com)

Why enter a Marketing Society Star Awards paper?

Submitting a Marketing Society Star Awards paper can be time consuming, and we all know that time is precious.

So, why do we bother?

  1. It challenges us to look deeply at our work and ask our clients Did we add value? And can we prove it?
  2. A nomination gives reassurance to our clients and prospects.
  3. Award wins are a great morale boost for our team who put everything they have into their work.
  4. And of course, we love to party.

Marketing Society Star Awards 2019

Winner: Chairman’s Award for SME Agency of the Year
StudioLR

Gold: (Tourism, Leisure and Sport – marketing)
– The D-Day Story / Portsmouth Council

Gold: (Best Brand Experience)
– Volvo CE Rigid Hauler Launch

Also nominated …

Brand Development
– The D-Day Story / Portsmouth Council

Brand Development
– Volvo CE Rigid Hauler Launch

Drink
– Cushiedoos Premium Scottish Tonic Water

And congratulations to Volvo CE for winning the Chairman’s Award for First Time Entry, and to Jacqueline Reid of Volvo CE, for her nomination as Inspirational Marketing Leader of the Year.

We’re on the hunt for a Senior Designer

We are StudioLR, a design studio made up of creative people, strategic people, and people people who keep all the other people in check. We come to work every morning with the same goal to make people’s everyday experiences better.

Our expertise is in brand strategy, identity design and activation, marketing campaigns, environments, print, digital and inclusive design. Most importantly, our work isn’t for our clients – it’s for the people they want to reach.

What this looks like day-to-day varies from designing purpose led brands, to designing and testing inclusive symbols that make a difference to people from all walks of life, to making a 100-tonne truck disappear in front of a live audience. 

We’re a bunch of hungry fighters always pushing ourselves and our ideas as far as they can go to create work that sparks something in people. At the Marketing Society Star Awards 2019 we were awarded the Chairman’s Award for (SME) Agency of the Year.

We’re looking for a Senior Designer to start immediately with …

  • Around 5 years experience across all channels, delivering purposeful design that’s executed beautifully from concept through to delivery
  • A real belief in the value of great design  
  • Experience managing projects and clients, as well as team members 

If this sounds interesting and you feel like a new challenge then please do get in touch with a brief note explaining why you’d like to work at StudioLR, what you’ll bring to the role, your ambition and salary expectation.

Please apply to Michelle@StudioLR.com

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