Creative agency Episode Two have created the identity and packaging design for start-up brand Percy & Pop, who are on a mission to create a more sustainable bath time experience for families.

As a mum to young children, founder Sarah was astounded by the amount of waste they were creating during bath time. With three little heads to wash, the volume of plastic bottles they were getting through felt excessive. Added to this, trying to get the kids to wash their own hair resulted in shampoo being squirted all over the bathroom!

“I’d used shampoo bars myself, but the ingredients weren’t suitable for sensitive kids’ skin. I searched everywhere for a child-friendly version, but just couldn’t find one.”

So, the idea for Percy & Pop was born – shampoo bars, formulated specifically for children. Each bar is made from 100% natural ingredients, with a coconut base that creates an amazing lather.

Personality through identity

Brand identity is the key to recognition, not only in identifying your products in a sea of competitors, but crucially for making sure the consumer remembers who you are.

The friendly, script font we chose for Percy & Pop has been combined with bespoke ‘bathtime’ elements to add extra personality and reflect the product proposition – making it a distinctive and recognisable asset for the brand.

Emotional connections that last

Our Bubblebuddies are the heroes of Percy & Pop’s packaging design.

These beautiful and bespoke, hand drawn illustrations are designed to engage and excite little ones, and win parents hearts through story and education. Building that all important emotional connection as the characters become part of the bath time experience.

The soft colour palette we chose visually reflects how kind to the skin these products are – all made from 100% natural ingredients.

A sustainable story

Everything about the Percy & Pop products has been driven by a desire to create a more sustainable bath time experience and so of course the packaging materials need to reflect this.

Our compact box structures are designed to be re-used for storing the shampoo bars, and the cardboard is Certified Carbon Neutral (using 100% renewable energy and sustainably sourced materials) with vegetable-based inks – so when the boxes are no longer required they can be recycled or composted.

“I’ve put so much love and care into developing these products, this brand is like another baby to me! I love how Episode Two took on that same care and attention to create our brand identity and packaging design, and I’m so excited to be able to share Percy & Pop with the world!” Sarah McKegney, Percy & Pop Founder

This month marks five years since we launched Gather Round. The seed of an idea that started back in 2019 has grown into two locations across Bristol, with plans for more expansion this autumn.

Over the past five years, Gather Round has grown and evolved. Towards the end of 2023, as we took time to reflect and talk with some of our members, we realised that the most rewarding aspect of working out of Gather Round stems from the people themselves. It’s the spontaneous conversations about things you know nothing about, the sharing of ideas, the odd collaborative projects and inspiration from everyone you meet.

With a growing network of 220+ like-minded creative professionals, Gather Round is a place built for its people; soaking up the energy, passion and positivity from the ideas and expertise of other creative folk. A place where work and life tend to blend, rather than balance.

With this in mind, we took a look at our brand strategy and designed a new brand that captures the energy of a growing, diverse creative community.

Emphasise Community

We enlisted the help of Fiasco and refreshed the brand under the strategic banner of ‘We’re More Creative Together’. The new strategy emphasises community first, and co-working second. Rather than being just a desk for hire, Gather Round is a place to belong and we wanted the new brand to reflect that. Because, unlike other co-working spaces, our members don’t just use the space — they shape it.

Typography and Colour

With such a diverse offering, we wanted a typographic system that would work hard to carry that message. Pairing serif (GT Alpina) and san serif (Nacelle) gives the identity a nostalgic tinge whilst still feeling fresh and current. When combined, the typography toes the line between creative flair and accessibility.

A bold, confident new colour palette grants the freedom to express the brand in a more playful, energetic way that talks directly to our members and an audience of creatives.

Moments of Charm

To add a dose of surrealism, Fiasco helped us to create a suite of illustrations that add moments of charm and wit to more functional areas of the brand experience – even the ‘Dishwasher in use’ sign!

Beyond the Spaces

Our new marketing materials effectively capture our vibrant programme of public and member events and creative gatherings across Bristol and Bath. Our events calendar reflects our strong sense of community and now the brand does too.

Alongside Fiasco, we collaborated with talented local illustrator Con McHugh to create a series of striking t-shirts for our staff and members. Keep your eyes peeled, these will be available soon.

Sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin for updates and some exciting announcements coming soon!

Words by Daisy Dobson.

Fiasco Design, an independent brand and digital studio based in Bristol, is delighted to announce several significant promotions across the agency as it marks its 14th year in business. Growing from a team of two to 15, the agency has delivered impactful work for major brands such as Microsoft, Just Eat, Miro, Vertical, and Good Energy.

At the heart of Fiasco Design‘s success is its people; a diverse team of 15 creative thinkers and doers, who are committed to making a positive impact on the businesses and people they partner with. “From day one, we had the belief that great ideas could come from anyone, anywhere. Our work is the result of a collective effort involving teams of passionate, determined individuals. Giving everyone a voice has been crucial to our growth,” says co-founder Ben Steers.

This belief in the potential of all team members has fuelled the agency’s growth and has been vital in allowing those who started as interns and juniors to advance into significant roles, thereby shaping the agency’s culture and output. “Our focus on cultivating an inclusive environment where contributions are valued at all levels has shaped our culture and meant our people stay with us,” adds Ben.

This commitment, along with growth across some key areas of the business, has led to a series of promotions within the agency:

Chris, who joined two years ago as Associate Creative Director from Bristol-based agency Mr B & Friends, has been promoted to Creative Director. Known for his leadership and balanced approach to strategy and creativity, Chris has become an invaluable member of the senior management team.

Julia, starting as a junior designer in 2018, has climbed the ranks to Senior Designer and now steps up as Design Director. Her integral role in so much of the studios output over this time, underscores her professional growth and undeniable talent.

Marj, who began as Studio Manager in 2017, has moved up to Project Manager and now to Senior Project Manager. Marj has been instrumental in developing the Accounts team and nurturing the agency’s culture, now leading the agency’s project work, content offering, and workflow.

To further support the agency’s growth and ensure its financial stability, co-founder Ben Steers will transition from Creative Director to Executive Creative Director, and Jason Smith will take on the role of Director of Finance.

“Despite the challenges of the past year, we are optimistic about the future and new opportunities. These promotions are not just well-deserved; they are pivotal in helping us achieve our future goals,” concludes Ben.

How to use language to foster stronger, happier, more productive relationships.

Words: Simeon de la Torre, SIM7.

The language that an organisation uses in its content, copywriting and comms influences not just how it is perceived, but how it makes audiences feel. It’s a complex, nuanced arena, but there are a handful of golden rules to remember around using brand language that’s appropriate and inclusive.

First up: what’s DEI?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) aims to make everyone within an environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, gender or sexual orientation, feel supported and welcome.

Why is it better to use inclusive language?

According to Deloitte, companies that embrace inclusivity and inclusive language have 22% lower turnover rates, 22% greater productivity and 27% higher profitability. Externally, those companies have 39% higher customer satisfaction.

Rule #1 Avoid certain ways of identifying people

Only use race, gender, gender identity, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc. to identify people when strictly necessary, otherwise doing so can draw attention to something about someone’s characteristics that might make them feel different or excluded.

Rule #2 Use people-first language

People-first language prioritises the individual. This is an especially useful point to remember when talking about people who have disabilities.

For example, it’s better to say ‘a person with a disability’ than ‘a disabled person’. The former implies that the disability is a secondary characteristic rather than a defining one. But as mentioned in #1, it’s best to simply avoid mentioning disability unless relevant or strictly necessary.

There are a few exceptions to this point. The deaf community, for instance, generally prefers the term ‘deaf person’ to ‘person with deafness’. If in doubt, it’s best to ask.

Rule #3 Be wary of connotations

Terms such as ‘sexual preference’ or ‘preferred pronouns’ can be problematic. ‘Preference’ implies choice, and that can create a false impression. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘pronouns’ instead.

Rule #4 Avoid inappropriate references

Try to avoid using terms such as ‘bipolar,’ ‘OCD,’ ‘ADHD’ or ‘ASD’ as metaphors, especially in a jokey context. These are real disabilities and disorders. Using their names to refer to things they aren’t can offend people who have them.

Rule #5 Use gender-neutral language

Yes, you may often use language with a specific audience in mind, but pronouns are generally best avoided.

When making a hypothetical point – ‘if he or she went for a walk’, for example – the ‘he or she’ clause is unnecessary, and including it can make non-binary, gender non-conforming or genderqueer folks feel excluded.

When in doubt or when using a pronoun is necessary, ‘they’ is a good choice. It’s gender-neutral and can be used to refer to an individual or a group, so has all bases covered.

Rule #6 Avoid universal phrases

Jargon is often best avoided and it’s a good idea to think before using idioms – not all translate well across cultures.

Rule #7 Avoid using your group as the reference group

Using your group as the reference group can imply it’s the norm and that other groups fall outside that norm. Terms like ‘non-white’, for example, imply that white people are the norm and everyone else, a deviation.

It’s best to take care when saying…

Guys

This term is best avoided when speaking to or referencing a group that contains non-male members.

Good alternatives: ‘Folks’, ‘you all’, ‘everyone’, ‘team’.

Girls/ladies/gals

If she’s over 18, she’s an adult. And take care when saying ‘ladies’ and ‘gals’, these terms can be patronizing. Good alternatives: ‘Women’, ‘people’.

Handicap/handicapped

Today, ‘handicapped’ is considered impolite.

Similarly, when talking about people with disabilities, avoid using terms like ‘afflicted by,’ ‘victim of’, ‘suffers from’, and ‘confined to a wheelchair’. ‘Challenged’, ‘differently abled’, and ‘specially abled’ are best avoided too.

Good alternatives: ‘Disabled’, ‘person with a disability’.

You might also consider…

Mentioning pronouns

Including pronouns – he/him, she/her, they/them – in email signatures can help non-binary, transgender and other folk feel more included.

Trigger warnings

If you’re going to publish content  that has the potential to trigger people, it’s a good idea to add a trigger warning to that content. Forewarning people about potentially offensive content can help prevent causing offence.

Writing for web accessibility

People with certain disabilities can have difficulty navigating online content. We can all help ensure the content we create is accessible. See our designing for accessibility cheat sheet for useful tips.

Keeping up-to-date

Inclusive language best practice is constantly evolving. Periodic refreshers are a great way to stay up to date. Taking a moment to think about how the language you’re going to use is inclusive often goes a long way, too.

To learn more about creating an inclusive brand, visit https://sim7creative.co.uk/ or get in touch with Sim (he/him): [email protected]

Why you need a brand review before you even start thinking about rebranding (and how to do one)

I often find myself being invited to assess a brand identity; the meeting we have might go something like this: The client knows they have a problem and sometimes they’re able to articulate, at least in part, why that is. But, having already gone through an extensive branding process, maybe as recently as within the previous three years, they’re cautious about what should happen next.

There’s understandable anxiety around throwing good money after supposedly bad. After all, something hasn’t worked out with the not-so-long-ago completed branding. There’s also an awareness that they might not want to scrap everything and start again – throwing away what’s valuable (their brand baby) out with the bath water.

Under scrutiny

And it’s not as if I haven’t been at the sharp end of this myself…

As well as being the brand consultant brought in to assess a supposedly faltering brand identity, I’ve also found myself on the receiving end. I was recently told that a rebrand we’d completed no more than six months earlier, following months of research and discovery, and an extensive design process, was being scrutinised by an agency owner invited in by the company group.

Confident that this was a definite case where the client would have done better to steady their nerves and give the rebrand more time and support, I thought the experience presented an opportunity to write about the subject of how you can achieve a level of certainty about determining what the problem actually is, and the solution that’s called for.

The question is, do you actually need that full-scale rebrand or something altogether more nuanced?

Give it time

First of all, it’s important to remember that the sort of changes a successful rebrand can yield don’t happen overnight. Chopping and changing things only causes confusion and damages your brand equity. Branding is never a case of ‘done and forgotten’ because you shouldn’t leave your brand to fend for itself out in the wild.

A brand not only takes time to bed in, it also requires you to actively check in on it. Checking-in might include a number of elements such as examining whether the intentions set at the outset are being realised and assessing how the rebrand is landing with audiences. It’s an important exercise because all sorts of outside influences, from the wider economic and cultural, to the sector-specific, will be having an impact on the fortunes of your brand.

But of course, when doubts remain and the checking-in exercise yields more questions than answers, it’s probably time for a brand review. ­

What is a brand review?

A brand review is a comprehensive, 360° audit of the state of your brand. It asks a whole range of questions, from those that are external-facing (Has the world shifted? Do you need to evolve with the changing cultural landscape?), to those that concentrate on looking at what’s going on inside your organisation (Have you developed a new service? Has your business strategy or positioning, i.e. where you stand in the market, changed?).

A brand review will help you find out if there really is a problem and will articulate any issues precisely. This means that you’ll discover if a full rebrand is on the cards or whether something more nuanced is called for – a minor adaptation perhaps, or maybe just more time for your brand to become known in its new guise. And, if there is a fundamental problem, it’ll help you determine the direction your rebrand should take you in.

So, if you’re being plagued by doubts about how your brand is doing, particularly if it’s not that long since you last rebranded, or if you’re worried that you seem to head for the drawing board at the first sign of trouble, read on to find out how taking stock and conducting a brand review worked out for one of our clients.

Getting to the heart of the matter

Recent months saw us working with a charity client that had fundamentally changed their way of working, from focusing solely on end-user beneficiaries, to expanding their focus to take in both end-users and service commissioners and partners. Their existing brand identity wasn’t able to accommodate or resonate with these two distinct audience groups.

In addition, the client was experiencing issues with brand application – brand rules were being broken and they didn’t know why. We were tasked with finding out how the changes that were necessary (i.e. evolving existing branding so it was meaningful to both its distinct audiences) could be introduced as smoothly as possible, ensuring the sort of consistency that would build the brand awareness they were after.

Read on…

Dream clients – not just a ‘nice to have’

Having dream clients is not just pie in the sky. Giving you and your team permission to define your dream client is a crucial element of nailing your brand positioning. When you take that leap into niching, you not only build your proposition around the value you add to specific clients but you give yourself a razor sharp new business strategy.

Saying who you’re for (and so, by definition, who you’re not for) gets you halfway there. Once you’ve established that, everything else starts to fall into place. Not just in how you market your brand but also in how you work. You’re able to hone your expertise because your processes, ideas and solutions flow from a deeper focus and you can take advantage of, and build on the patterns and themes you encounter time and again.

Of course positioning isn’t just about what you do and who you do it for, but these are an essential part of the wider equation that encompasses the thoughts and feelings people associate with your brand. These other positions are ‘softer’ (but still essential) associations around brand personality, story, values and promise. For the purposes of this post however, I want to focus on the what and in particular, the who.

Feel the fear but do it anyway

When I discuss this with my clients there’s often a reticence, a fear of so tightly (and even loosely, in some cases) defining the ‘who’. This can take the form of, “Surely if we say we work with X we’ll miss out on working with Y (and all the other letters in the alphabet)’. But defining a strategy is all about making choices – it’s the reason I share this Michael Porter quote in every workshop I do:

“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.”

By allowing yourself to become selective, you become sought after. You become known for a specific and readily identifiable value proposition expressed with a clarity that’s integral to attractive positioning.

Where the F do you start?

Once you’ve defined your perfect client you can qualify opportunities as they arise – YOU can choose as well as be chosen.

Sadly it isn’t as simple as simply qualifying a prospect by the 3 Fs: Fun (your team will enjoy the work), Fame (they’ll make a great case study or PR) and Fortune (they’ll pay the bills, and then some). These are definitely worth considering but a highly prescriptive client definition, and being clear on your non-negotiables, will give you far more, including being able to justify whether a prospect is the right fit for your organisation.

How to define your perfect client

Get clear on WHAT you do (best)

People came to my last agency wanting a range of services. We offered brand identity, web design and development, retained graphic design, illustrated books, pretty much anything other than packaging. Over time, I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the work as much as I should have been, and that I wanted to focus on brand identity and strategy more. I had to make some tough choices, one of which was to drop a whole revenue stream of web development work. When I came to reposition my agency I started with what we did or rather, what we wanted to do more of. And that meant dropping a few things. By going ‘niche’ you can go deep, extend your knowledge, build a specialism and develop expertise that is appealing as well as effective. It also changes who might be looking for those services.

Get clear on your WHY

Work is a big chunk of your day. It’s said that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work, so knowing what gets you up in the morning and understanding why you’re driven to help a certain group of people is hugely important. The Co-Foundry’s ‘why’ or purpose is to help organisations that strive, to build brands that thrive. Knowing that, means knowing who I want to help – the strivers, the purpose-led people.

Get clear on WHO you work best with

One of the most powerful and immediate ways of defining a position is by picking a sector. This isn’t always easy. It might even mean dropping an area you’ve done a fair bit of work in, something that can feel risky. However, the benefits of niching down to a particular sector are many. Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of the problems and desires that run through the sector but you’ll build marketplace intelligence and become known by, for example, attending specialist conferences and being active on industry-specific media. Your new business strategy may benefit too, as people moving organisations will take you with them.

Another way of selecting a client type is by focusing on their issues, needs or traits. I took the decision to focus on creative and tech founder-led brands as I already had a lot of experience and knowledge in that space. As well as working with these clients, I’d personally experienced a lot of the pains and gains of creative and tech founders for myself so had a natural affinity with them. As time has gone on I have extended that criteria to encompass chief execs of charities. These two areas of focus have so much in common – namely, a genuine desire to make an impact and while the latter may not have skin in the game financially, they do, emotionally. Both groups care about their people, something that works well with another fundamental aspect of my proposition – co-creation which sees teams involved in decisions throughout the process.

Follow the energy

It sounds so obvious when you read it but, and this is fundamental – find people who energise you.

The late great Milton Glaser (in his talk entitled ‘Ten things I have Learned’) put it perfectly, exhorting us to avoid the people we find toxic:

“You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energized or less energized. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired, then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy, you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.”

Read on…

We’ve all heard the stereotype that business-to-business marketing is corporate and serious. More suited and square than boldness laid bare. Nothing like the glamour, humour and heroism of its B2C counterpart.

Because there’s no place for great, inspiring creative when you’re dealing with engineering, manufacturing, technology or professional services, right?

Wrong. Wrong on all counts, in fact.

“…it’s as much human-to-human as it is business-to-business…”

Even B2B marketing is all about making the right connections with people. So it’s as much human-to-human as it is business-to-business (the reason we’re always reiterating the importance of a marketing mix that balances brand building with lead generation).

As an agency that provides B2B marketing services to a range of clients within manufacturing, financial services, legal, healthcare, and many more industries, we’re no stranger to finding creative, innovative ways to add allure to corporate, industrial and even technical communications.

It pays to be brave

Research shows that B2B marketing should be just as, if not more, eye-catching, quick-witted and creative as B2C. In a recent LinkedIn study 69% of B2B marketers agreed that B2B purchasing decisions are as emotionally driven as B2C, and 39% said they use storytelling, humour and emotion to help make their campaigns resonate with their audience.

“…80% of B2B customers expect to have a buying experience with the same level of personalisation as B2C marketing…”

In a 2023 study, 92% of CMOs ranked creativity a top priority. And it may seem obvious, but even in B2B marketing, our audiences are made up of people – the same emotionally driven decision-makers as B2C audiences. Sure, they might also be looking for stats, social proof, solutions to very specific problems, and metrics such as ROI. But that doesn’t take away the appeal of striking creative.

“…there’s nothing safe about the ‘sea of same’ B2B marketing channels can become…”

In fact, you could argue it’s even more important to consider the psychology behind your creative decision-making. There’s certainly makes a strong case for personalisation. In fact, according to 6Sense, 80% of B2B customers expect to have a buying experience with the same level of personalisation as B2C marketing.

The takeaway? Being brave can help you stand out from the competition. And it really does pay.

What makes B2B creative stand out?

Here are a few examples of clients we’ve worked with where we’ve used creative techniques to generate impressive ROI and results.

Daikin Sustainable Home Network

The world is on a race against time to reduce carbon emissions and limit the devastating effects of climate change.

Specialists in heating and cooling solutions, Daikin developed the Altherma heat pump as an alternative to fossil-fuel boilers – one with a significantly reduced environmental impact. To promote these benefits, the team needed a stand-out B2C campaign.

With a predominant focus on B2B products, Daikin had very little consumer presence in the UK and needed to persuade a broad audience to invest significantly more money to install a heat pump into their homes compared to a standard boiler.

We developed the Sustainable Home Network identity to align with Daikin’s renewable energy mission. We then created a multi-step, multi-platform campaign.

We developed an overarching message: ‘Be the energy for change” – the thread that ran throughout our persuasive ad campaign. At the heart of the creative was an aspirational vision of a comfortable, low-carbon lifestyle.

The campaign went to market on brochures, LinkedIn and social media advertising, national press and PR. We also developed a TV commercial, and Daikin even featured our designs on their fleet of installer vans.

The results?

The Energy for Change website attracted more than 216,000 visitors in three months

13,382 brochure downloads

1,887 requests for an Altherma heat pump to be installed

‍Phil Robinson, Creative Director:

“Great creative and B2B marketing aren’t always synonymous. We’re all so engrained in the traditional patterns of B2B thinking and speaking that creativity is often lost in the front-of-mind commercial arguments we’re inevitably drawn to.”

“But make no mistake – high-impact creative is essential if your B2B marketing is going to be effective. It’s the one sure-fire way to move hearts and minds.”

Epson Heat-Free Campaign

Known globally for its best-in-class printers and innovative office printing solutions, Epson needed a powerful brand campaign to promote the benefits of using Heat-Free printing technology.

Epson printers don’t require any heat in the ink ejection process, so they consume less energy. They provide improved performance, increased productivity and reduced environmental impact – which became the driving force behind our campaign.

We used cinematic shots of an Olympic skater to carve the key messaging from our campaign into beautiful ice forms. The powerful video content – paired with photography from Epson’s National Geographic collaboration – told the‘Heat-Free’ story beautifully.

The footage became the bedrock of our visuals, allowing us to draw emotive, evocative comparisons between the technology and its eco-credentials.

The results?

We saw 10% YoY growth in sales volume for the business unit from campaign launch.

Luke Waterman, Art Director:

“We work hard to create campaigns that stand out from the crowd. There’s no benefit to blending in – no reward for being professionally overlooked. But there should be a reward for the audience. So we aim to deliver the right visual cues that provoke an emotional response, be it humour, shock and awe, an empathic association, or simply aesthetic value – but (hopefully) it’s never vanilla.

“I think what we do well is to tailor our clients’ message to reflect the needs and interest of the audience, getting the visual look and feel just right to make marketing materials more relevant and interesting.”

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK pioneered the rugged computing market. Its laptops, tablets and handheld devices are designed to withstand the harshest environments in a range of industries, from the military and emergency services, to manufacturing and industrials.

An already well-established brand, TOUGHBOOK wanted a campaign that resonated with its diverse target audiences. It needed to reach multiple sectors and countries, so being translatable was key.

And so TOUGH is’ was born.

The messaging was developed to empower and relate to both the key-workers using the products and the devices themselves.

We formed emotive headlines such as ‘TOUGH is staying strong in mission-critical moments’ and ‘TOUGH is being where you’re needed most’ that would evoke a sense of what it’s like to work in these rugged environments, as well as demonstrating exactly how impressive and robust the technology needs to be. High-octane, dramatic photography brought this vision and the words to life for a striking campaign.

We introduced Video Ask to track the enquiries that came through from the campaign and to engage the website traffic.

The results?

63% of people engaged with the Video Ask interface

43% of people answered at least one question

20% of people finished the journey and completed required action

Robbie Masters, Senior Copywriter:

“It’s a misconception that B2B marketing is dull. But actually it can get samey if businesses aren’t careful. Our clients are doing brilliant things, producing ingenious products, and having a positive impact on people’s lives every day.These are stories worth telling.

 “It’s our job to unearth those hidden gems, highlight the benefits and find creative ways to tell the brand’s story. Sometimes that’s more challenging than in consumer marketing, where the drivers are desire or aspiration. If anything, great B2B marketing can demand more creativity, more of a human touch, and more emotion – not less.” 

So next time you reach for the safe option – whether it’s the same-old image library, your slightly vanilla email template or an ultra-light-touch website refresh –consider being brave and trying something new.

Because there’s nothing safe about the sea of same B2B marketing channels can become.

If you need help bringing a creative spark to your B2B marketing, we’re just an email away. Get in touch at [email protected]

For the past five years BeOnBoard operated as a project under TBIT, making significant strides in their mission to ensure that businesses in the South West are reflective of the diversity of the teams, their clients and the communities they serve.

Founded by the inspirational Kalpna Woolf, who also leads the charity; 91 ways to build a global city, the charity was being incorporated to realise the ambitious growth plans.

Through the research we conducted what became clear was that if leaders with the same background make decisions through the same lens, they will get the same outcomes. Where are the fresh ideas? The different outlooks? The challenges to tradition? Where’s the change? BeOnBoard brings the diverse talent they’ve coached and nurtured to boardroom tables.

The proposition: BeOnBoard connect businesses who are ready to embrace new ideas with the people who have them. Those who have a hunger for growth and innovation. And they do it not just from an equitable standpoint, but from a commercial one. It’s just better business.

Our programme of work included:

To see how we can help, visit talismansparro.com

 

Bristol-based CRM agency Flourish has just turned 20 – and it’s got a fresh new perspective.

As the agency prepares for life beyond its teens, it’s taken stock of the last two decades. Born in Bristol, Flourish quickly established itself as a go-to for direct mail campaigns, winning the likes of Sky, The National Lottery and Chelsea Building Society while still in its infancy. Flourish has since built on that direct marketing heritage, working across multiple channels and industries – and crucially, at all points of the customer journey. At the heart of its success is a belief that every journey – no matter how small – is just as important as the destination. That there is adventure in every journey.

And so, Adventure in Every Journey is born. A fresh proposition for an agency long obsessed with forging lasting relationships and creating meaningful customer journeys.

Executive Creative Director Kim Martin explains how they got there, “We’ve worked with so many incredible brands over the years, in so many industries and channels. No matter what we did and who we did it for the thing that ties them all together is our ability to drive people to take an action. With changes in the market and the increased reliance on first party and zero party data it feels like the right time to formalise our offering. Adventure in Every Journey does that perfectly.”

He adds, “When you’re obsessed with customer journeys, how you get where you’re going is just as important as the end destination”.

Flourish will also launch a refreshed brand to reflect their new positioning and prepare for a new era.

The transformation comes hot on the heels of a remarkable 2023 for Flourish, having seen notable growth and achievements. In the last 18 months, the agency has won numerous clients, including Nissan, Pai skincare and Wonderbly, and seen their usual scope of work expand into channels like TV for both Hey!Broadband and Crisis.

They’ve also welcomed a growing roster of green businesses – EV.Energy, ecoegg and Artemis to name a few.

“The agency’s 20th birthday is a massive milestone for us” said Managing Director Ian Reeves. “We’ve grown up a lot in the last couple decades, and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve become. I’m excited for the future too – with big ambitions to expand globally while changing the industry for the better alongside partners like Email Marketing Consortium, and as part of the Harbour Group.

If you’d like to find out more about Flourish Customer Journey Marketing, or would like to meet the team please get in touch with [email protected].

 

Branding is often associated with big commercial enterprises. NikeGoogleAmazonCoca-Cola, are all instantly recognisable around the world – why? Because they’ve got good branding.

A strong brand identity helps to build trust and credibility through consistency and identifiability. That’s why it’s just as important for not-for-profits and charities.

What’s the benefit of brand marketing for charities?

A strong brand says, ‘we know who we are and what we’re doing.’ And this is as critical for building partnerships and raising funds as it is for boosting sales. That’s because investors and donors aren’t just looking for a cause to support, they’re looking for an organisation they can rely on. And good branding conveys the confidence and credibility they’re looking for.

It also manifests a sense of permanence. Good branding can make a charity or not-for-profit feel less like an organisation and more like an established institution. When it comes to attracting funding – this is crucial. Investors want to know that their resources are going towards building something long-lasting – a legacy for themselves and the organisations they support.

The same goes for potential partners and collaborators. They want to be sure they’re putting their faith in the right organisation. A strong brand can help bolster your reputation.

Finally, brand marketing does a lot of the work for you. Through consistent messaging and a discernible visual identity, you can build familiarity and trust with every ad, every post, every email, every piece of content. This means your marketing strategy can be proactive as opposed to reactive. Which means less time and money poured into short-term gains, and more resources spent on the cause you’re fighting for.‍

What do we love about brand marketing for charities?

Diving in values first

A brand should never be pulled out of thin air. No matter the sector, a brand is a representation of a company’s mission, purpose, values and vision. When it comes to branding for charities and not-for-profits though, it’s especially important to put values front and centre.

Nowadays, lots of businesses are taking a values-first approach to their marketing. It’s a trend that rose around the wave of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Every business, big and small, wants to be seen as driven by their purpose.

Charities and not-for-profits are built around purpose – so this part is easy. It’s setting them apart from one another that becomes the challenge.

Stretching our storytelling skills

Storytelling is an integral part of brand marketing. And it’s something our head of video and motion graphics, Tim Price, loves most about working with charities and not-for-profits. Why?

“When it comes to stories, charities are probably wealthier than any other industry. Everything they do is about improving a journey. But, it’s imperative to remember who the hero is (hint, it’s not the charity). As is often the case in marketing, your client isn’t Luke Skywalker, they’re Obi Wan.”

That’s right. Just like the customer is always right, the beneficiary is always the hero of the story. We kept this in mind when we put together this video for OTR – a mental health social movement by and for young people living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Watch the video in the article here.

Making it human

Brands, like people, have distinct personalities. Characteristics that help make them relatable as well as unique. And a critical part of identifying these key traits is working closely and collaboratively with our clients.

This is how we approached the rebrand for Housing Matters, who came to us feeling a disconnect between their origins as CHAS (Catholic Housing Aid Society) were and the modern and dynamic organisation they’d become.

According to the copywriter on the case, Evelyn Chapman, collaboration was key.

“We were lucky enough to have regular face-to-face meetings with the Housing Matters team and getting to know them personally actually played a big part in crafting their brand identity. Each of them communicated with energy and passion. And though they’re warm and reassuring, you could tell they’re also tenacious – they’re real fighters. And we wanted their brand to reflect that.”

We took a similar approach when working with Runnymede, the UK’s leading race equality think tank. By working closely with the Runnymede team to refresh their brand and bring it up to date, we were able to refresh their colour palette to reflects Runnymede’s bold ambitions.

Getting creative

As 2020 was such an unusual and difficult year for everyone, rather than produce our usual Christmas video full of jolly japes, we decided instead to donate our services and resources to a local charity – Caring in Bristol.

They wanted to create something that celebrated Bristol culture – something edgy and full of life to reflect their brand identity and motivate people to donate in the run up to Christmas.

For this reason, we didn’t want to go down the typical charity ‘pulling at your heartstrings’ route. Instead, we went full force with a script and art direction that entertained (with plenty of nods to Bristol and all its wonderful quirks!), whilst delivering the cold hard stats about people experiencing homelessness.

Watch the video in the blog here.

With this video, and the promotion around it, we helped raise over £20,000 in under 2 weeks in the lead up to Christmas. The video also accounted for over 60% of the charity’s engagement for the whole month of December.

What should organisations expect from their branding?

A branding project doesn’t always mean an entirely new identity. Sometimes it’s all about a simple refresh or incorporating more consistency across your messaging. But when we take on a branding project, we ensure we are providing not just the building blocks (like a logo, and new colour palette) but the blueprint, the tools, and the training to boot.

A good example of this is the branding work we did with Effat; Saudi Arabia’s first independent university for women.

Our Senior Designer, Katie Elvins said:

“Key considerations were to create a modern, clean and fresh look for Effat. We wanted to create a brand that was fun and engaging for students – but flexible enough to be adapted for parents, sponsors etc.”

In the end, we provided a comprehensive brand book detailing all aspects of their brand including messaging, logo usage, typography, photography style and a refined colour palette which has been given a clear structure with a core palette, college colours, tertiary palette and special colours. Katie went on to say:

“Then, once the brand was finalised we travelled to Saudi Arabia, and I ran a 2-day workshop, presenting the guidelines to the in-house design team and showing them how we could create consistent, exciting work with their new brand moving forward.”

That’s all to say – your branding should be more than a marketing exercise. It should be a collaborative journey for all involved. And it should leave you with a manifestation of your organisation that is timeless, emotive and strong.

Need help building your brand?

Whether you need advice or support with positioning, visual identity, a digital refresh, or all of the above, we’re here to help. Get in touch and book a free consultation today.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 (0)117 923 2282