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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.

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:

“…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

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
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