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).
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
An event hosted by StudioLR at the SCVO Gathering 2019
Thursday 21 February, 11.15am
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
We’ve been on a mission to find our Why… Why 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 …
I’m fresh out of the Social Enterprise World Forum, SEWF2018. This annual, three-day-event brings Social Entrepreneurs from all over the globe together in one place to share ideas that are changing the world for good. You’ll struggle to find a more inspiring event…
What is a social enterprise?
A Social Enterprise is an organisation, or a person, changing the world for the better. Like most businesses they aim to make a profit, but the key is that they reinvest the majority of their profit to create positive social change. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances, support communities and help the environment.
Government statistics identify around 100,000 social enterprises of all sizes in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing nearly two million people.*
Here’s a quick illustration of the range of organisations active in this movement:
Cordant Group, the UK’s 2nd largest recruitment and services business with revenues of £840 million and 125,000 employees, reinvests the majority of its profits into social programmes across education, employment, and healthcare, pledging to touch and improve thousands of lives, one community at a time. To demonstrate its intent, Cordant has capped all annual shareholder dividends and all executive salaries, and agreed to be independently audited, using recognised Social Impact measurements.
Social Bite is a chain of sandwich shops with a difference – they’re on a mission to end homelessness in Scotland. They created the world’s largest annual sleep out Sleep in the Parkwhich last year alone raised £4million.
Students of Broughton High School in Edinburgh have created BROEnterprisewhich tackles social isolation and loneliness in the community by bringing people together each Friday afternoon in the school to enjoy tea and cake, and to have fun together through craft and reading activities. Everyone is welcome from early years to golden-agers and, as you can imagine, the social enterprise has been a really positive movement in the school.
How can we make a difference?
Imagine a world where Social Enterprise is part of the curriculum in every primary school. It’s a main subject choice in every secondary school, and it’s a culture that’s embedded in every workplace. We all know that the best ideas come from people working together, free from prejudice, financial constraints and fear of failure.
With our Society offer at StudioLR we walk the talk about improving people’s everyday – that’s our purpose and the reason we come to work each day. We collaborate on ideas that make a difference to people from all walks of life. We listen and improve until we get it right for the people that need it – they’re the experts. We make sure it’s sustainable and for good. And when it’s embedded we measure the impact.
I urge you to think about what you care about and use that as a starting point to make a difference. There are huge challenges for people all over the world that need our creativity, motivation and determination to solve. Do you care about loneliness, obesity, inequality, or the ageing population?
And if you need inspiration, this is a good place to start.
Founder of StudioLR
* Social Enterprise UK, State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017
Our work with the National Trust for Scotland at Brodie Castle is nominated at this year’s Scottish Design Awards.
We created a site personality for the brand new Playful Garden – rolling it out across interpretation, experiential design in the café and retail spaces, merchandise, packaging and signage.
As a family day out the key ingredient was fun. How do we use the Brodie family heritage to put a smile on people’s faces?
A list of adjectives could never capture the diverse personalities that make up the Brodie family. But luckily we had a secret weapon… Daffodils!
When Ian Brodie had to name and register the 414 different daffodils he developed at the Castle, he left behind a goldmine… daffodil breeds with names like Cheerio, Pomp, Fortune’s Beauty, King of the North, and Laughing Water.
We allocated a number to each daffodil in the Brodie ‘family’ and used their unusual names as a springboard for playful interventions, interpretive stories, marketing and merchandise. With a cast of over 400 unique characters, there’s plenty to be playful with…
Architecture: Hoskins Architects
Landscape Architecture: ERZ
Interactive Garden Design: Paragon Creative
Visitor Strategy & Planning: Scott Sherrard
To find out more about the award-winning work we do at StudioLR, please get in touch.
Our launch of Volvo CE’s flagship rigid hauler (featuring a disappearing hundred tonne hauler) has attracted the attention of judges after being shortlisted in the Scottish Design Awards and The Nods awards.
The launch introduced the world to the R100E – celebrating the expertise and hard work that went into making it. And building relationships to help sell it around the world.
The new hauler has no unexpected features… because Volvo has been listening to customers and developing products based on what they want. The R100E was loaded with the customers’ experience as much as Volvo’s.
We developed the theme ‘Made by you. Built by Volvo’ and all creative for the event – including the unveil of the new hauler and a tour guiding delegates around a factory filled with 2D and 3D graphics, interactive displays and videos.
What Volvo had to say:
“The launch event, which was recognised across the Volvo CE Group, was a major success. As well as launching the new rigid hauler to the world, it helped celebrate and inspire the whole team.
The team at StudioLR presented an exciting concept, something different and brave. We hoped the event would help us make trucks disappear but we didn’t expect to do that literally! ‘Made by You. Built by Volvo’ resonated with our ethos and all the expertise that went into creating Volvo’s first rigid hauler.
Even months on, our company, dealers and customers are still talking about the event. Together we created a unique experience – one our customers and colleagues will never forget.”
Interim Director – External Communications, Volvo CE
A wee thanks to a few those who helped us make it happen: