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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

Social Shifters of the World Rise Up

[4 minute read]

 

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 Park which last year alone raised £4million.
  • Students of Broughton High School in Edinburgh have created BROEnterprise which 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.

Lucy Richards

Founder of StudioLR

 

* Social Enterprise UK, State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017

Let’s talk about bad language

[2 minute read]

Something’s been bothering me for some time. I call it Bad Language and I see it a lot. Especially in public places and services.

I voiced my frustration last November at the OneTeamGov Scotland un-conference https://www.oneteamgov.uk/scotland. I realise the irony of doing this at an ‘un-conference’, but I hoped we might start something together to make things better.

A revolution to make complex communication simple, and human.

My provocation: let’s debunk and reinvent the confusing language used in public services

Bewildering examples are everywhere, you don’t need to look too hard…

On trains we’re told to ‘alight here’ for Falkirk or Croy.

In hospitals we see signs directing us to ‘Ambulatory Care’.

Children in the care of the state are described as ‘service users’, and the services responsible for meeting their needs are called their ‘corporate parents’.

Out there, in the everyday world, we don’t need to use language that de-humanises and trips people up. Let’s not set the train alight… let’s just get off at the right stop!

Please share your examples #letstalkbadlanguage