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.
The Independent Care Review was set up to identify and deliver lasting change in Scotland’s care system. As the first review of its type anywhere in the world, it promised to put care experienced children and young people at the heart of its recommendations, leaving a legacy that will transform their wellbeing.
Review evolved and learned through four key stages of work,
each guided and informed by the findings of the previous stage. In three years,
the Care Review heard from over 5,500 people – including
2,500 care-experienced children and young people.
Love became a key theme. We heard how
children and young people wanted to grow up loved, safe and respected. And we’d
heard the First Minister say that “My view is simple: every young person
deserves to be loved.” It was groundbreaking for love to be talked about so
much in a sensitive review of this kind – it was important that we embraced
that. We had to build an inspiring and positive identity with love at its
Strategy and Design
At the outset, we held virtual design workshops with care-experienced children which informed the development of a distinctive brand identity system using simple language, icons and visual elements. In addition, the identity had to be capable of evolving throughout this dynamic process, to help build awareness, ownership and momentum.
To succeed, the Care Review identity needed:
To be embraced by care experienced children and young people, and people working in the care system. Their voices were pivotal to its success. The identity had to be positive, uplifting and completely non-stigmatising. This would help build pride in people, encouraging them to take part, voice their opinions, and share the message far and wide.
To be embraced by people from all political allegiances. Although launched by the First Minister, it was essential that the identity was nonpartisan. The Care Review was completely independent and needed the support an backing of MSPs from all parties, and media from all corners of the political spectrum. This support would encourage people from all backgrounds to take part, and would help force its final recommendations into reality.
love as a recurring theme, iconic hearts became powerful motifs throughout the
review. For the final launch materials, we created a distinct heart symbol that
could be easily shared on social media. Drawn by the review’s chair Fiona
Duncan, the heart represents the vision of the new care system – as explained
in the review documents.
It was important the Care Review documents didn’t feel like corporate audits or static reports. They had to inspire action. Nicola Sturgeon had made a promise to deliver a ‘root and branch review’ of the care system – so three years later the final report played that back to her loud and clear. Nobody could ignore this report.
In February 2020, the review delivered its conclusion in the form of six reports:
‘The Promise’ detailing specific problems and how they could be fixed
‘The Pinky Promise’, a child-friendly version of those recommendations
‘Follow The Money’ and ‘The Money’ explaining the current human and financial costs
‘The Rules’ explaining how legislation and the system must change
‘The Plan’ outlining next steps
Just hours after the review was made public, the First Minister announced her commitment to implementing the review’s recommendations, which is a sentiment met with cross-party support in Parliament.
There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to the Care Review findings and support for its Promise:
6,104 Twitter followers for @TheCareReview
The day after the launch there had been: 6,000 #carereview posts, 5500 users talking about #carereview reaching a whopping 11.6m people
The reports were so eagerly awaited that
the website was struggling under the weight of visitors trying to download the
The Care Review has been widely covered by
the news media, including BBC, ITV, The Guardian, The Times and The Daily
If your organisation is making a positive change in the world then please do get in touch to find out how StudioLR can elevate your message and reach the right people.
Nominated as a Finalist in the New National Treasure category for the National Geographic Traveller Reader Awards 2019, StudioLR was the creative agency behind the new Hebridean Whale Trail brand and website.
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) is well-known for its marine wildlife conservation work in the Scottish Hebrides – tracking and caring for whales, dolphins and porpoises. But it wanted to bring the magic of these creatures to a wider public audience by encouraging people to see them first-hand and connect emotionally with the conservation efforts.
We were brought on board to help develop the Hebridean Whale Trail – a visitor trail formed with 30+ sites across the Hebrides, linking breath-taking scenery with the opportunity to watch for whales, dolphins and porpoises. The trail has come together to further promote Scotland as one of Europe’s best whale-watch destinations and champion conservation of the Hebrides’ unique, globally important marine wildlife and environment.
From dramatic headlands and sea lochs, to white, sandy beaches and bustling harbours; the Whale Trail showcases special places where land meets sea; where natural and cultural heritage are interwoven.
Through branding, a new website, a digital marketing campaign and on-site interpretation, we’ve helped to bring the Hebridean Whale Trail vision to life.
When marine wildlife is migratory by nature and the opportunity to spot it is often by chance, the design challenge was:
“how do you emotionally connect the places on the trail to the whales, even when you can’t see them?”
Our response to this challenge was to focus on the places themselves. Each spot along the trail has its own unique sense of place, with stories that instil wonder in the audience. Encouraging visitors to feel the magic of the place that attracts the sea creatures back time and time again.
With the Trust, we engaged with stakeholders and the community to explore and curate local stories. This also brought the communities on board as supporters and champions of the project.
We created a brand to connect emotionally with the audience. From romantic illustrations of sea creatures to playful fonts and ambiguous messaging, it was carefully designed to instil a sense of wonder about the places and the marine wildlife.
With ambiguity and romance you can create a trail for people AND whales, it’s unexpected… making it more memorable. Visitors are encouraged to feel like the whales and dolphins are there (even when they’re not).
The Whale Trail website is the central hub of the trail, where people have immediate access to the trail sites and begin route planning. To make an immediate impact, the website opens with a video of stunning footage of some of the key sites. The video interwoven with animated illustrations of the creatures, setting the tone of the trail. Throughout the website, each site is given a unique sense of place through storytelling, imagery and illustration.
Social campaigns were aimed at both sea creatures and people alike – welcoming them both to the sites across Scotland.
Illustrated panels and banners at the sites share the stories of the place. They have information about wildlife spotting and encourage people to join the Whale Trail. Made to complement the natural heritage in a sustainable way, sites are also pinpointed by HWDT Whale Trail plaques made by a local Scottish designer, Tiree Glass, from recycled sea glass.
Commended with a Wee Nod for Best Digital Design in the Nods 2020 awards.
Make waves within your own sector by chatting to us about your brand, your purpose and how you engage with your audience.
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.
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?
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.
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.