This month we have been working on our usual mix of branding and digital creative production and working hard on our retail clients’ Christmas marketing campaigns, which certainly kept us busy at the end of last year!


We worked alongside the creative young minds of Bristol City College, where students created a range of unique and innovative products from a brief we provided. We were so impressed with the quality of work produced and the creative ideas that came from the students this year; you can read more about the project below!

The Fanatic Digital Marketing team was nominated and had the honour of attending the UK Search Awards 2022! More about the event can be found under the Digital heading below.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Sean to the Fanatic family this month. See how he’s settling in, in his Q&A further down!

What’s new in the Design team?


This is the second year we have been working with the City of Bristol College Graphic Design department to help their students gain the experience of being briefed and then presenting their work within a commercial environment. This year we set a brief to create the branding and packaging for a line of English Alcoholic drinks, specifically Wine, Mead, Cider to a spirit, influenced by our work with Lyme Bay Winery. We also spent some time with the students, who are studying for an HND, in a workshop talking about their ideas halfway through the 2-month project process.

We were presented with a great variety of ideas, including the brand Humble, presented by Sabrina, with a clear concept dating back to the idea of Mead being sent from the heavens for the humble worker. Tying in the fact that the drink is a honey base, and illustrations of worker bees, completed a great brand story.

Gia presented a Cider concept based on the English skyline, using heritage fighter planes hand-painted illustrations and bold, clean colour schemes to execute three strikings can designs.

See what the Development team have been up to.

In recent times, many of our Umbraco projects have included the creation or updating of websites to .NET Core. As the latest releases of Umbraco require .NET Core, this implementation of .NET brings about significant changes to the code’s syntax and structure. Our development team is constantly learning, using new techniques and researching the latest ways of coding to keep our technologies at the forefront of the industry. During Umbraco migrations, especially with our bespoke coded apps that run alongside our Umbraco websites, there has been a lot of R&D going into this area recently.

One instance had our developer, Phil, struggling to find a solution. After trying Google, stack overflow and our usual resources, he was unsuccessful in finding the answers he needed. Instead of continuing to search, Phil turned to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an unlikely but helpful ally. This AI tool has learned from an impressive amount of data online and can provide answers and clarity on even the most specific requests. After posing his question to the AI, Phil received two different solutions to the problem, each accompanied by an explanation of how the function would work. It was truly impressive.

We find the ChatGPT raises the bar of what we can expect from a search when AI is used; most impressively, the ChatGPT can actually give opinions as it has included a forum and social chat within its learning source materials. Cool, but scary stuff!

The latest from the Digital Marketing team


The UK Search Awards celebrates the expertise, talent and achievements of the search industry and has been running for over a decade. It is regarded as the premiere celebration of SEO, PPC and content marketing in the UK, and this year Fanatic had the honour of being nominated in 4 categories!

Being nominated for the Best low budget campaign, Best local campaign, Best use of search – Health and Best use of search – Travel / Leisure was a huge honour. Despite not winning any awards this time around, it was great to see the work we are doing getting the recognition it deserves. Our teams have worked hard to create some amazing campaigns, websites, designs and much more over the years and to see Fanatic nominated in so many categories was a lovely way to finish 2022.


  • How have you found life at Fanatic so far?

It’s been great so far, I’ve been made to feel very welcome. After working in a remote rural location for a couple of years, it’s nice to be back in the hustle and bustle of the city!

  • What were you doing before Fanatic, and what made you get into Digital Marketing?

I have spent the last ten years doing digital marketing in-house for e-commerce websites selling all kinds of products, ranging from swimwear to organic foods!

  • What made you choose Fanatic?

During my interviews, it was clear that Fanatic have a culture of going the extra mile (and a bit further) for their clients, which really appealed to me. I’m glad to have joined such a passionate, creative and driven team.

  • What have you enjoyed most so far?

I’m enjoying being in the studio in Bristol, there’s a great atmosphere about the place and the team are all so friendly!

  • What are you looking forward to learning more about?

I’m looking forward to working closely with everyone across all of the teams. It’s already clear that there is a huge wealth of knowledge in the company. I’d like to pick up some new tips on design and development while continuing to increase my digital marketing knowledge.

  • What’s an interesting fact about you?

In my free time, I love to be creative! Design and illustration are two hobbies I enjoy; I also print some of my designs onto merchandise which I sell on Etsy.

Communications agency unveils new name, brand, website and company values

Built environment-focussed comms agency MPC has revealed an overhaul of its brand identity, name, website and values, as it launches as Meeting Place.

Established in 2006, the business is one of the sector’s most established agencies, working with clients across the built environment to deliver positive change for new developments through planning comms and public relations.

On the back of several recent client wins, the rebrand coincides with record revenues for Meeting Place across its regional offices, a 28% boost in like-for-like revenues over the last six months, and a headcount growth from 26 to 37 over the last year.

According to Meeting Place’s Managing Director, Nikki Davies, the changes underpin a new direction for the business as it sets its sight on growth across streamlined core services – planning communications and public relatio

Meeting Place’s new website outlines how its planning comms team will utilise public affairs, social value and digital campaign experience in an effort to bring communities together to recognise the potential of the built environment.

And combining its sector knowledge with an integrated approach to PR, its public relations team will shape client campaigns to build awareness and understanding

Nikki said: “We’re thrilled with the outcome of our new rebrand, which coincides nicely with a period of growth across our teams, as we start the year on a strong footing

“Our new values – insight, inclusivity and courage – dovetail with our clearly defined mission to use the built environment as a catalyst for positive change; whether that’s environmental, social or economic benefits.

“We believe our streamlined approach of planning comms and PR will serve as a key differentiator in the industry, and one which champions best-practice and delivers for communities, clients and the media alike

“Whether we’re gaining support for a new hospital in East Anglia, homes for first-time buyers in Devon, establishing a housebuilder’s ESG strategy, or driving awareness through PR – we’re on a mission to use the built environment as a force for good.”

Meeting Place’s client roster, which includes Legal & General and Places for People was recently strengthened following several client wins, including Regal London, Longfellow Real Estate and several solar energy providers. Headquartered in Bristol, Meeting Place has staff working remotely in locations across England and Wales following a move to a flexible working model.

The agency’s Regional Director for Midlands, Western & the North, Helen Goral, said: “Having bolstered our public relations, digital and design offering, our expanded teams will be central to the company’s growth targets this year. Across the region, we have seen a significant increase in demand for planning communications expertise and we are working on numerous high-profile projects which have contributed to a 20% like-for-like revenue increase year on year.

“The range and calibre of our recent wins underpin our ability to deliver return on investment and impactful comms for clients. Despite the recent economic situation, we’re still seeing a lot of confidence across the built environment, with our breadth of services allowing us to take a holistic, integrated view of client needs

“It’s incredibly exciting to be starting the year on a high, with record revenues, project wins and a vibrant new brand. We believe the built environment has so much potential as a force for good and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings.”

For more information on Meeting Place, please visit: 

Just 4 months on from the launch of AgencyUK’s awareness campaign, Our Future Health has surpassed the significant milestone of 150,000 volunteer sign-ups.

Our Future Health aims to become the UK’s largest ever health programme, creating a 5 million strong database of adults to enable new ways to prevent, detect and treat human diseases.

Information will be collected from millions of volunteers across the UK to create one of the most detailed pictures of public health we’ve ever had.

By analysing this data, researchers hope to unlock new ways to detect diseases at an earlier stage and identify demographics that are most at risk.

Volunteers are asked to complete a consent form and a health and lifestyle questionnaire before arranging an appointment to collect a small blood sample, where they can receive feedback on aspects of their health, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

AgencyUK have been working with Our Future Health since their public launch, planning and executing targeted marketing campaigns in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield and London aimed at raising brand awareness among the general public. The campaigns leverage creative and messaging that references specific health challenges most commonly faced by the population in each region.

They have been activated across multiple digital channels including social and advertising, as well as out of home with the aim of reaching a broad audience across a range of demographics. Out of home placements have included public transport, print and digital posters.

“We are really pleased with early results of the AgencyUK campaign, and we are seeing great levels of engagement across the various formats and platforms. The out of home executions have been high-impact and well targeted in support of our regional hubs. All of this has been delivered at pace and always with an eye on our next location. AgencyUK has added a lot of value to our communications activity as well as being a really decent bunch of people to work with,” says Peter Wilson, Strategic Communications Lead, Our Future Health UK.

“We are delighted to have been part of hitting the first milestone and that the programme is on track for building one of the largest health databases in the world, but we are just at the beginning and there remains a lot to do. Maintaining a high level of national exposure over the period and using creativity to maintain the public interest will be the challenge, but it’s one we’re prepared for,” says Amy Mansourpour, Director, AgencyUK.

The impressive milestone comes just 6 months on from the programme piloting in four Boots pharmacies, and two months since the first regional hub was opened in Leeds.

Since then, hubs have opened in Birmingham, Bradford, Huddersfield, London and Manchester, with national expansion into more areas in local Boots pharmacies planned this year.

For more information on the programme, including how you can volunteer to take part yourself, go to

Read the full article here…


Initially trusted by Frog Capital to conduct due diligence, as part of the Series A investment round our role then transferred into that of an interim CMO post-investment. During this time we conducted a thorough repositioning of the brand to support the growth ambitions of the business and new investors, whilst helping to build the team and recruit a permanent CMO.

“We’ve been working with Talisman Sparro for over a year now, and they have become an integral part of the Clue team. Initial engagement was to develop a high level marketing strategy to support us through our investment round and prepare for the scale up journey. The output highlighted the potential for Clue, swiftly progressing into a brand programme and a series of workstreams which included an interim CMO role. I have personally enjoyed building a positive relationship with the team and it’s been a really collaborative and productive process that has bought the whole business together and gives us a fantastic platform for global growth.”

Clare Elford – CEO

Support included:

Brand Strategy
Stakeholder Engagement
Brand Identity
Brand Guidelines
Collateral Development
Marketing Strategy

Full Case Study

How packaging design helped a brand already loved and respected by the world’s elite athletes, expand their reach to a wider, more mainstream audience.

Beet It Sport is the most trusted natural supplement of the worlds sporting elite. It is backed by science and has been used in over 300 published medical and sports performance research papers.

They have carved out a space for themselves as the go-to brand for elite athletes and sports nutritionists, but their performance enhancing product range is equally effective for aspirational and recreational sports consumers – and they could see that this was a rapidly growing market.

With several well-known brands already in play, Beet It Sport knew that they needed a brand identity refresh and packaging re-design to help upweight their sports credentials and really own the benefits of Beetroot’s natural nitrates.

“This is such a unique product, being both natural and scientifically proven. So, a key challenge for this sports packaging design refresh was to strike the right balance. The final design truly embraces Beetroot whilst incorporating cues from the sports category which ensures consumers know this is a serious sports nutrition product they can trust.” Rikki Payne. Creative Strategist at Episode Two creative design agency

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wilkinson Sword has chosen Activation to create their in-store activation campaign for 2023.

Wilkinson Sword is an iconic British brand with a heritage spanning over 250 years, and we were thrilled when they decided to move forward with our striking campaign idea, “No More Hairy Moments”. The campaign launches in stores in January 2023, after extensive development through 2022, and will run throughout the year.

The “No More Hairy Moments” creative platform is purposefully bold, brave, and disruptive to seek attention when it matters. Its goal is to make Wilkinson Sword relevant in situations/events where they would not generally be linked and stand out in these moments in stores.

The creative is unlike anything the brand has done before. The goal is to draw customers’ attention both in-store and online, encouraging them to purchase Wilkinson Sword products and enter the promotion.

This year-long campaign will come to life across many key seasonal events, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and more, across multiple retailers. Each activation highlights a ‘hairy moment’ that the customer might want to escape from and we have partnered with travel brand Secret Escapes to provide the perfect prize.  Each activation offers up to 5 entrants the chance to win £1,000 worth of Secret Escapes credits to plan their ideal escape.

The campaign kicked off in ASDA stores where customers have the opportunity to escape the New Year’s resolutions. ASDA shoppers can see the campaign both in store and online and enter the competition via Future activations will be available across the major grocery and high street retailers so keep an eye out!

Building communities of global thinkers and explorers around the world, Bayswater combines two of life’s greatest adventures: education and travel. Bayswater is an international educational provider on a mission to educate and inspire the next generation through a life-changing educational experience. 

Following their acquisition of Eurocentres – a renowned language school, and opening new campuses in locations around the world, Bayswater approached Fiasco Design with the brief to capture their progressive outlook on education; to challenge the status quo; and design a visual brand that is fit for the expansion of the business. 

We were tasked with developing an identity that is dynamic, progressive and optimistic, a fresh take for an educational brand. Harnessing the spirit of adventure, the brand idea celebrates travel and Bayswater’s global community.” – Ben Steers, Co-founder and Creative Director, Fiasco Design.

A suite of bold, colourful patterns are the backbone of the visual identity, reflecting the vibrant and diverse community taking a bold leap into new experiences. Whilst the brand palette and typographic system works to capture the aspirational and energetic tone of the brand. 

The logo with its coloured pathways represents students of different backgrounds following their own unique pathway; uniting in the Bayswater community to be a part of something greater.

Typeface Fann Grotesque helps to ground the playful visual identity, giving the brand name a characterful, yet trustworthy feel. A reassuring nod to parents. 

Meanwhile, photography is intended to feel active and optimistic. Celebrating individual personalities, the imagery is inclusive of a diverse global community of students.

The end result is a spirited brand that inspires the next generation to embark on the educational adventure of a life-time.  

“We established Bayswater in 2017, but after rapid expansion and the integration of a variety of legacy industry brands, we wanted a reset and to double down on the Bayswater name with an exciting new brand canvas. It’s been great working with Fiasco on our full rebrand. We have appreciated the process, it’s been very collaborative and it’s very exciting to see the new look come to life across so many different platforms and formats.” – Stephan Roussounis, Founder and Managing Director, Bayswater. 

You can read the full case study here.

As 2022 draws to a close we’re delighted to be ending the year with top-line growth of +40%. We’ve welcomed major new clients and projects including, Bristol Innovations, Loughborough School of Business & Economics, premium plant-based nutrition brand Vivo Life, Made Smarter Innovation, Medi-Tech innovator Radii Devices and law firm TLT. 

We moved to a new home in Engine Shed in March, the natural location for our focus on scaling innovative organisations. From here we continue to support leadership teams in this enterprising region which recorded an investment flow of £1.1bn in 2021 – putting it into the top 20 in Europe. 

Moving into 2023, we’ll continue to work alongside The University of Bristol, developing its commercial quantum offering, The Enterprise Sessions and other projects. 

And our ongoing relationship with Vittoria, the world’s most advanced bicycle tyre company, has also flourished and we’ll continue to support the leadership team on global brand development. Notable achievements this year include supporting the launch of the 5-hectare Vittoria Park next to the brand’s HQ in Brembate Italy and advertising projects including the benchmark-busting OWN THE UNKNOWN campaign which brought about a collaboration with the Velosolutions team and percussionist Ian Chang.

We also captured the spirit of the brand for internal and external audiences with their Manifesto film.

“It’s been a fantastic year for Firehaus. We’ve worked with some inspirational people throughout 2022 who have maintained a visionary approach to the role of their organisation – even in these difficult times. Each of them is changing the world for the better and it’s great supporting them in that endeavour. We’re super-excited about what’s to come!”
Ian Bates – Founder and Creative Partner

Your brand – you’ve spent years getting it to the exact place you want it to be in and now it’s there, in that perfect position in your market. Your audience can now make an informed, rational decision on your brand. Everything’s perfect.

Except, it isn’t perfect. And your audience won’t make a rational decision.

Let’s take a step back for a minute. It has become increasingly accepted that your brand is no longer simply your logo, or visual identity, but is more about the experience or environment linked to your business, product or service. Your brand can no longer be considered a vehicle through which to facilitate a desired transaction, from business to consumer. It shouldn’t even be considered the sole property of the business it is associated with.

Your brand is shaped by the relationships formed in that space in-between business and people, and importantly between people themselves. It is in this acknowledgement of brand being about relationships that we must appreciate two key points:

no relationship remains the same – relationships always evolve
no-one wants to be in a relationship with someone perfect
In order to have healthy relationships you need to appreciate that people will not seek to understand your brand intellectually. Decisions are very often not made intellectually but intuitively. What is important isn’t what people know about a brand, but what they feel about a brand.


Consider a personal relationship that may well be close to your heart – you and your mum. In one way your relationship with your mum will always remain the same, she is your mum and you are her child. That will never change. However, is that really your relationship, or is that simply a label?

Let’s consider the actual relationship you have with your mum over a lifetime. If we think about the relationship rather than the label we can see how our roles and expectations are constantly evolving. At birth we are totally dependent on our mum, without her we would die. As we grow into childhood we are nurtured by mum, but we are becoming less dependent. As older children / young adults we challenge mum, pushing for independence. Entering adulthood we become friends and equals with mum, still getting support and guidance but being able to share some of our own guidance. As mum ages we find that the dependency role switches, with mum becoming reliant on us and relying on our support. Throughout our life we remain mum and child, but the relationship is constantly evolving.

When considering your brand be aware that your relationship with people will evolve. Be open to changing roles and expectations.


So what about perfection? Well, how would you like to be in a relationship with someone who is perfect? Someone who never does anything wrong, is always right, always the best, infallible. Sounds pretty awful right? Of course it does because we know that no-one is perfect, we all make mistakes and bad decisions. That’s not a bad thing though, it is what makes us likeable. It’s what builds relationships as everyone is fallible, we are all prone to mistakes. ‘To err is human’.

So if you are hoping to build a relationship with people through brand then forget about trying to seem perfect. We are all fallible and prone to mistakes, but what that gives is the opportunity to show growth, improvement, self-awareness. Perfection leaves no room for improvement – it is a dead state. Forget perfection.

The Space In-Between

When considering your brand, consider it the ‘space in-between’. Your brand is the space in-between numerous contributing factors, such as your business, staff, product, visual identity, customers, detractors, the current environment.

This ‘space in-between’ must be a space of vitality, of evolution, of imperfection, if you want people to relate to the brand and the brand to remain relevant. This ‘space in-between’ is not static or stagnant, it is always in-process. It should be considered temporally rather than spacially. It will most often be appreciated and experienced intuitively not intellectually. When considering your brand – the ‘space in-between’ – it’s not rational, it’s emotional.


Contributed by Paul Bailey Strategy Director Halo

For over 20 years, I’ve been working in or running my own branding agency. First design side, and then moving strategy side, I’ve learned a thing or two in my time. However, there is one thing which I seem to learn but then need to relearn again and again, and that is the need for and the role of transparency.

Now, what has led me to relearning the need for transparency you might ask? Well, in my current role I am Brand Strategy Director. This means I’m not only responsible for the brand strategy work with clients, nor does it mean I’m only responsible for the rest of our strategy team. No, what I take this role to mean is that I am responsible for the understanding and application of brand strategy from the whole of the agency.

As a full-service agency, we have people doing all sorts of roles, from design, to development, to client partnerships. Everyone will, at some point, work with the strategy team on projects, and so I believe that the more they can understand strategy the better and more effective our agency’s work will be. Now, of course, in meetings people get a little window into what we do in strategy, but I realized that in order to really make the strategy teams work transparent I needed to find ways to open up our working. So, I decided that I would decorate the walls with some of the models and frameworks that we might use in a project. (See above)

Models and frameworks seem to be either loved or loathed by strategists, but the use of a good one can create much needed focus at a critical point in a project.

The thing about them is, they’re not intended to give you an answer. In fact, even the best use of the smartest model only ever gives you an approximation of the answer. But for me, that is fine, because in strategy there is never really an answer, there’s just one of a number of answers.

So, I looked through the models I’ve used over the years, printed out some of the best and most used ones, and stuck them on the wall. This immediately led to some great feedback and some very interested people passing our strategy area. Conversations about models, their uses and application, and what they would be useful for, flowed freely. You see, once you put your ways of working out there, people are invested and interested.

In a project, models should be used as your hidden secret. We use them to create focus from a wide range of inputs, but we rarely show them to clients. They’re not really the best way to present work, so we use them as a tool for focusing our work, not presenting it. Good models should be used to cut, to hone, to give you less and not more.

Now there are many models I no longer use, they no longer meet my standards and have been dropped. As I said previously, I’ve spent over 20 years doing this, and one of the things I have learned is what models work, and which ones don’t. So, here’s a short list of a few of the models I still use, and what I use them for.

PESTLE Analysis


This model is old, and many people knock it, but I still use it. Why I use it is I find it a simple and helpful structure to work through one of the aspects of the context within which our brand exists – market forces. The six areas the PESTLE name stands for (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) are still a good way to break down the market forces at play on a business and its associated brand. I find that they help me focus, but also they give an indication as to the areas in which a business has more to think about.

SWOT Analysis


Yet again, another old model that doesn’t get much love these days. Well, I still love it. When we are researching a brand project there are two key areas we need to find out about – the context (market forces, audience, competition) but also the business itself. The SWOT gives us a very simple model to learn something of what the business is good and bad at, and where they see opportunities and threats. Now, the slight variation in my model is that I use a grid which sets out the strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats on the outer edges, but on the inside where they cross over there are four panels where you can start to set out strategies for improvement (S-O, S-T, W-O, W-T).

Brand Pyramid

3. Brand Pyramid

Now I don’t think I’ve ever shown this as a pyramid to a client. The reason I find the pyramid useful is that it mirrors the process I go through mentally to try and reach a core brand propositionAt the base of the pyramid is the context within which the brand exists (market forces, audience, competitors). The wider this base is (the more research we can do at this stage) then the more stable the pyramid will be. Diagnosis of the context of a brand is the foundation of a good brand proposition. At the other end of the pyramid is the point, the tip, the core proposition that encapsulates the core value of the brand to its audience. You might manage to get this down to only a few words, or at most a sentence or two, because this should be the distillation of all of your work so far.

Evolutionary Branding

4. Evolutionary Brand Cycle

There are many models like this, but this is the one I use. It is a simple breakdown of a never ending process of evolution which every brand should constantly go through. Because, although we’ve just written a distillation of the brand, in reality the brand is always changing and shifting to a pointA brand is a dynamic entity which evolves over time. So, this model has four stages; Understanding, Clarifying, Communication, and Evolution. Understanding is your research phase. Clarifying is your distillation phase. Communication is your communicating phase. And Evolution is your listening phase. Keep doing these phases, over time, and your brand can shift and move at the right place and the right times.

Marketing Sales Funnel

5. Marketing Sales Funnel

The Marketing sales funnel is yet another old and supposedly broken model. Not as far as I am concerned it isn’t. Now, my approach to the marketing sales funnel is quite loose, and we don’t put strict rules on how we use it. What we do find it useful for is assessing what marketing touchpoint should be used for which part of the journey through the funnel. At the top of the funnel we are looking at Awareness, and so touchpoints such as OOH and TVC will feature heavily. At the bottom of our funnel we have Advocacy, so Google Reviews or user reviews may feature here. Really, we find the funnel a helpful tool to give our touchpoints a role and responsibility.

Disney Experience Ecosystem 1957

6. Experience Ecosystem

Finally, we move into the Experience ecosystem. What is this you might ask? Well, it is something that we do to give a function to every ‘moment’ a person comes into contact with our brand. A ‘moment’ is an audience-centered view of a touchpoint. Brands are shaped through ‘Associated Memorable Moments’, and every one of these moments in time should be used to encourage a desired action or reaction. Whether that action or reaction is just awareness of your brand, or is a driver to purchase, if you attribute a behavior you would like to encourage from that ‘moment’ you are creating a focus for everything you do. Make sure every moment is clearly identifiable as you, and is remembered for something you would like.

BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model is also useful here – motivation + ability + prompt = behavior.

So, there are six models I use pretty often. Of course, there are many more worth using. From Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism to Keller’s Brand pyramid, Stephen King’s Planning Cycle to Kotler & Armstrong’s 3 Product Levels. But remember, a model is only there to help you cut and refine. It will never give you the answer, and what you get out is only ever as good as the quality of research you put into it. As I said at the beginning, there is a value in and a need for structure.

Contributed by: Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at Halo