You’d be forgiven for thinking your web presence had a small, rather insignificant impact on the environment, but research shows this isn’t the case.

In fact, the average website produces 4.61 grams of CO2 for every page view. For websites that have an average of 10,000 page views per month, we’re talking approx. 553 kilograms of COeach year. For high-traffic websites and businesses with multiple domains, that figure represents just a fraction of the actual emissions you’re putting out.

That’s right. Your website has its own carbon footprint.

The internet consumes a lot of electricity: 240-340 TWh per year according to the IEA. In fact, if the internet was a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest polluter – ranking higher than the United Kingdom.

With businesses around the world committed to reducing their emissions and helping to fight climate change, it’s important we all take responsibility for our digital footprint, too.

By investing in more sustainable web design, we’ll also benefit from faster load times, a more enjoyable user experience, and a better chance of ranking higher in Google search results. Basically, everyone wins.

What is sustainable web design?‍

Sustainable web design is an approach to designing digital products and services that focuses on environmental impact first and foremost. It respects the principles of the Sustainable Web Manifesto, which calls for the internet to be clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient.

4 simple steps to website sustainability

To help you navigate the world of sustainable web design, we’ve put together a few top tips. For more comprehensive guidelines, download your FREE checklist.

  1. Embrace JEDI design

No, i’m not talking about harnessing the force. JEDI stands for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Remember, not everyone’s surfing the web with perfect vision, the latest tech and lightning-fast connections. Justin Reyna put it perfectly when he said: “Not creating accessible products is just rude”. So let’s make the digital world enjoyable for all, not just a privileged few.

By striving to meet the highest possible accessibility standards, you can enhance code quality, which in turn boosts energy efficiency and elevates your SEO rankings –it’s a no-brainer.

  1. Simplify user journeys

Did you know that 90.6% of web pages get zero traffic from Google? That’s why it’s best to prioritise page quality over quantity. Simplifying the user experience doesn’t only serve to help people find what they’re looking for. It’s also more energy-efficient, because it reduces the number of wasted clicks needed to navigate your website.

  1. Reduce page weight

Lightweight pages load faster and consume less energy. Saving your assets in optimal formats and sizes, using video content efficiently, and embracing dark mode can all help.

  1. Choose green hosting

Last, but not least, switch to a hosting provider powered by 100% renewable energy, e.g. Krystal. Unsure about your current hosting? The Green Web Foundation’s checker can help.

How do you calculate your website’s carbon impact?

Whilst it’s relatively straightforward to track the environmental impact for most major industries (e.g. miles per gallon for cars or energy per square meter for homes), it’s not as simple to measure the amount of COproduced while browsing the internet. Fortunately, the team at Sustainable Web Design have created a comprehensive methodology for estimating emissions.

If you have any questions about your website’s sustainability, you can request a free website audit here and we will send you a breakdown of different areas that you could improve. Or feel free to contact us at [email protected], for a no obligation chat.

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

We’re thrilled to share the news that as of the 23rd of December 2023, The Discourse is a Certified B Corporation™.

Achieving our certification is up there as one of our most significant achievements to date. Joining the B Corp movement has given us the opportunity to interrogate what it means to be a ‘good’ business, and while we’ve always believed that our mission to use design as a force for good was the right way to approach our work, the B Corp process has allowed us to validate this belief internally and open the wider business to external scrutiny.

Having now completed our certification, we’re proud to be a part of a community of over 2250 B Corps in the UK and over 7650 internationally, all committed to using business as a force for positive change. Our experience, not without its frustrations, has given us confidence that the B Impact Assessment process is rigorous, and a good way to help judge claims that a business may make to be doing things the right way. That’s not to say that it’s right for everyone, flawless, or by any means the most important thing that an organisation can do, but we do believe that the approach to business that is advocated by B Lab and the B Corp movement will pave the way for a new standard across the world, where it comes to balancing the interest of people and the environment with profit.

We were fortunate enough to have an incredible amount of support along the way, both through professional consultants and existing B Corps always willing to share their advice and experience. To pay this forward, we have compiled our thoughts and advice into the article below, hoping that it helps, inspires and motivates others. We’ve covered the reasons we applied in the first place, what we’ve learned about certification as a small business, what we wish we knew from the start, and our improvement plans for the next three years prior to recertification.

If you’re currently going through the process yourself, or even thinking about starting, we hope you find this useful and please feel free to reach out with any questions.

To B or not to B (why we applied)…

Since first registering our company in 2020, design as a force for good has been central to our ethos. Day to day we see how design can empower purpose-led businesses and charities, and while we’ve always tried to make a positive impact with our work, our B Corp certification has enabled us to validate our policies, processes and impact based on the stringent criteria set by B Lab.

In case you don’t know, B Lab is the non-profit network behind B Corp that is working to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet. Achieving the certification has required us to adhere to high standards of social and environmental impact, public transparency, and legal accountability; a set of standards which we are pleased to have met. For a young(ish) business, it’s provided a benchmark to which we can hold ourselves accountable and ensure that our business truly is a force for good, both internally and externally. It also signals to anyone that doesn’t already know us, who we are and what we stand for.

Although not our primary motivator, it’s worth mentioning that certified B Corps tend to outperform their competitors in both ESG and financial performance, seeing an impressive turnover growth of 26% between 2017 & 2020, compared to a national average of 5% (B Lab, 2021). This proves the claim that doing business the right way and making money are not mutually exclusive, and this mindset is starting to redefine the way people perceive success in the business world.

The journey from A to B (Corp)

The B Corp certification involves a thorough review of how your company impacts various stakeholders. The review path will vary depending on the nature and size of the company, and the impact assessment will review the following areas:

  • Governance (policies and practices)
  • Workers (employee well being)
  • Community (local economic and social well-being)
  • Environment (the planet)
  • Customers (the value that you create)

Your total score must be above 80 for certification and the review is conducted in two phases – assessment and verification. The B-Impact Assessment is the initial ‘health check’ and submission of intent to become a B Corp, verification is a detailed audit by B Lab into the claims you’ve made and the documentation provided. As we learnt during our own audit, scores can fluctuate, so we recommend aiming for at least 90 points at the assessment phase if you can.

Completing the B Corp certification has been challenging but very worthwhile. It helped us to understand the policies and processes that we needed in the business to achieve high standards of social and environmental impact. That’s not to say that it is the only thing that a business should do in order to be ethical or sustainable, there are many businesses out there that have chosen not to certify and this takes nothing away from the incredible work they do.

As a small business, without a dedicated sustainability lead or ESG department, it has been the perfect tool and process to help us level up. It has enabled us to understand what we are doing right, in addition to what we need to improve and how projects such as the design for good grant can be developed further to create the change in the world that we want to see.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, so if you’re on the journey to B-Corp yourself there are a few things we wish we knew from the start that would have helped us on the way…

Managing expectations (timescales):

Becoming a B Corp is no walk in the park; it’s a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. This isn’t just a checkbox exercise, the B Impact Assessment delves into every aspect of a company’s social and environmental footprint, and the devil is in the detail. Providing substantial evidence is a challenge, so the more adept you are at documenting your processes and your wider impact, the smoother this journey will be.

We submitted our application in March 2023, but the heavy lifting started to happen in the summer and over the last few months of the year, where we needed to dedicate a substantial number of hours each week to get everything ready in time for our interview. As a team of creatives we have mastered the art of procrastination, so our advice to anyone embarking on this process is to carve out dedicated time each week to chip away at the work, as it’s not something you can easily achieve as a casual side project. More on this below…

Asking for help (just do it):

One highlight of our B Corp certification journey was the incredible sense of community that embraced us. We were showered with invaluable advice and support from a number of remarkable individuals, and a huge shout-out to Ecolibrium, Pieminster, Skylark Media and Enviral for their advice and encouragement on the way. If you’re navigating this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to existing B Corps for guidance, as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of support you receive.

It’s also worth highlighting that there are some incredible consultancies dedicated to assisting businesses in achieving B Corp certification. The advice and support we had in the early stages of the process from Namoi Lawson (a local B Leader), Andy Hawkins (Business on Purpose) and Will Powell (Future Shift) was invaluable, there’s no way we would have achieved certification without them. Our advice to anyone reading this, given affordability, is to enlist professional support as early as possible. Had we done this much earlier in the process we easily could have halved the amount of time it took to complete.

While we may not have all the answers, we’d be more than happy to share our learnings and support you along the way. The B-Corp journey is still very fresh in our minds so feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

Be adaptable (as things will change):

We submitted our impact with a stellar initial score, only to watch it dip during the verification stage due to technicalities around our impact business model – a bit of a buzzkill, to be honest. It was an aspect we had been warned about but not really considered, and although we were frustrated by elements of the outcome, it’s given us confidence that the process is becoming much more rigorous. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t let it demotivate you. Expect some fluctuations during the verification stage as it’s all part of the process.

The B Corp certification is a serious test of your ability to document and validate any claims you make as an organisation to be ethical, sustainable and impactful. A few of our clients like WECIL and Frank Water, proved to be game-changers for us when it came to measuring the wider impact of our work. While it’s a lengthy journey, it’s also a valuable opportunity to re-engage with your clients and beneficiaries, understand where you are and benchmark your business against best in class criteria. Admittedly, the process took much longer than expected, but without a doubt, it’s been worth the effort and we’ve emerged as a stronger and more mature business for it.

Over the last 12 months, our Project Manager Holly Smith was invaluable to getting our certification over the line. Here’s what she had to say about it…

“B Corp was a great learning curve for me. It gave me such a great insight into the accreditation itself but also about what being a “good” business looks like. It was great to get into the detail of what The Discourse really stands for and how the business meets the standards that B Corp sets out. It was great to work through the company’s aspirations with Ed, to understand what we do now but more importantly, how much better we have the potential to be and how we’re going to get there.

There is a lot of work to be done throughout the whole process. It is time consuming and you really need to manage it as a project. You need to understand how different areas interlink and what you need to deliver in order to meet the criteria. Then comes the part where you need to ensure you have the processes and structure internally to stand it all up and ensure it becomes a continuous way of working and doing business. B Corp isn’t about ticking a box and becoming accredited, it’s about changing your business to benefit people and the planet, and aspiring to change it even more going forward.

I am particularly passionate about the Community and Workers part. It’s good to see the commitment from the business to treat its people fairly and also to do good in the community.

If I had to do something differently, I would treat it as a project right from the start. It wasn’t until we were quite far along, that we realised how many deliverables there were. I would create a detailed plan from the start, with date commitments and timeframes. It would have made things much clearer and I think we would have completed the process much quicker too.”

Our results (and plan for the future)

Achieving our Impact Assessment score of 91.8 has made it clear how much we have to be proud of already. Within the five B impact areas, Governance and workers emerged as our strongest areas, which makes us proud of how the business has matured in just over three years. Our mission-locked, impact business model secured a decent number of points, underscoring the very essence of why The Discourse was founded – to support businesses and charities in shifting the narrative in society and industry. Our fair employment policies and our offices at The Future Leap, a carbon neutral business hub, were a huge asset, as it meant we were able to track, monitor and record lots of our environmental impact.

Becoming a B Corp doesn’t mean that a business is perfect, far from it, and there is always room for development. As well as working on our customer stewardship, environmental footprint and our support for underserved populations, we are significantly increasing the amount of work we deliver each year through the Design for Good grant.

For us, B Corp Certification is a commitment to accountability, transparency and continuous improvement. Attaining the status is a fantastic endorsement of what we achieved, but the real driver for us becoming a B Corp is looking forward – it sets the future direction of The Discourse as a progressive and ethical design agency, and represents our ongoing efforts to leverage our business as a positive force in every aspect.

Conclusion:

We hope you found this helpful, we will be giving regular updates on our involvement with the community so follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date. If you’re a business working towards their B Corp or have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A new skills training programme to support creatives looking to break into behind-the-camera roles on scripted film and high-end TV productions made in the West of England will launch later this month.

It comes after Bristol City Council’s Film Services have secured almost £300,000 (£299,818) from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, to deliver an industry-led West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme to help creatives make their impact and find new career opportunities.

Delivered by The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office – the three departments that make up Bristol City Council’s Film Services – the year-long programme will be open to regional participants from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the industry. Tailored training will demystify the world of scripted production and prepare trainees for entry level crew positions, with the aim of strengthening the pipeline of diverse local crew talent.

The investment comes at an important time of continued growth in the West of England’s film and high-end TV sector, with an estimated 21,000 new crew forecast to be needed across the UK by 2025.*

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, said: “The West of England is fast becoming the Hollywood of the UK. Only recently, huge names like Disney+ have checked in to The Bottle Yard Studios’ new state-of-the-art and West of England Mayoral Authority-funded TBY2 facility – that’s a massive vote of confidence in our world-leading creative industries. But to keep up the pace, we need to tap into the extraordinary wealth of creative talent we have in the West. That means supporting them with world-class training to create that new home-grown creative generation for the sector.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be launching this programme fully funded by the Mayoral Combined Authority I lead, to give West of England residents the opportunities they need to thrive in film and high-end TV – something the West does so well. It gives a platform to the next generation of talent who will shape our region’s bright creative future. So, to those considering a career in film and TV: I want to hear from you!”

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol with responsibility for City Economy Finance & Performance said: “It’s brilliant to see Bristol’s thriving film and TV sector in the spotlight once again and we are delighted to secure funding to further support this vital industry, as well as the talented people who bring Bristol’s creative sectors to life.

“Bristol remains a world-leading hub for film and TV production, with some the industry’s biggest names choosing our city to produce their shows. Bristol’s new state-of-the-art film studio, The Bottle Yard’s TBY2 facility, has already played host to some of the UK’s most exciting productions since opening its doors in 2022 supported by £12 million in funding. However, as the sector continues to go from strength to strength, more targeted investment into training and developing the next generation of homegrown production talent is becoming increasingly necessary. This industry-led development programme will tap into the deep pool of creative talent here in the West Country and open new career pathways to underrepresented groups who may never have had the opportunity to take their first steps into this fast-growing sector.”

Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council says: “We’ve long made the case that targeted skills investment for scripted crew in our region is essential if we’re to develop this often-overlooked segment of the screen workforce. Film and high-end TV production levels in Bristol and the West have been increasing steadily in past years, supported by The Bottle Yard’s expansion and the region’s Film Offices facilitating more productions on location. With this success comes the opportunity to grow our local talent base – which is crucial when the existing crew base hits capacity, something we anticipate as we move on from last year’s US writers and actors strikes. We are delighted to have secured this funding to deliver a programme designed to help local entrants understand and navigate the fast-paced world of production they are not yet familiar with, to support them in identifying the right opportunities and having the confidence to step into industry roles that suit their talents and ambitions.”

Natalie Moore, Bristol UNESCO City of Film Manager, says: “Developing a local skills pipeline for scripted crew is a key priority in our Bristol UNESCO City of Film Action Plan. Opening up opportunities for regional talent from a wide range of backgrounds makes for a more sustainable and resilient industry base. With so many career opportunities that can and should be made available to people living within the region, we want to make access routes into the film and TV industry easier to navigate and provide support to build a more diverse local workforce. This programme will create a clear pathway to help underrepresented talent from Bristol and the West into scripted production careers, demystifying the industry and preparing them for employment with the right level of support and guidance.”

The programme, which is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, will feature a series of sessions repeated for three intakes throughout 2024, including a ‘Get to Know the Industry’ webinar, an Industry Induction Day at The Bottle Yard Studios, and a specially designed 5-week training scheme to equip potential new entrants for a career in film and high-end TV production. Training will focus on confidence-building, set etiquette and work-readiness, communication skills and teamwork, wellbeing and resilience, as well as digital and financial literacy and how to find work as a freelancer.

The programme will aim to engage up to 750 people in total across its different strands of activity, with a view to 45 undertaking the 5-week training course that will equip them to go on to get jobs. Those who complete the full training will be added to a New Entrants Portfolio given to film and high-end TV productions filming in the region.

The programme will also launch a digital New Entrants Hub, designed to signpost anyone in the West of England interested in a career in film or high-end TV to useful resources, training and development opportunities that are relevant to the region.

Applications will be invited from residents of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire aged 17 and above**. Underrepresented target groups will include young people aged 17-25**, those not in education, employment or training, under-employed people and those on zero-hour contracts, women, people from the global majority, disabled people, people living with mental health issues, carers and care leavers. An Access Fund will be provided to support any participants who face a financial barrier to taking part.

The West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme has been devised following recommendations of the BFI Skills Review (June 2022) and Olsberg’s Workforce Development Report commissioned by Bristol City Council and The Bottle Yard Studios (July 2023). The first call for applications will open in January 2024.

The West of England Mayoral Combined Authority is working in partnership with Bristol City Council’s Film Services (comprising The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office) to deliver the Mayoral Priority Skills Fund. This fund provides flexible grants to meet current priority skills gaps in the region. This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Upcoming productions recently filmed in Bristol and the West of England include Jilly Cooper adaptation Rivals (Disney+), series three of spy thriller Alex Rider (Amazon FreeVee), series three of Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws (BBC/Amazon Prime Video), comedy drama Boarders (BBC Three), teen crime thriller A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (BBC Three) and series five of children’s drama Malory Towers (CBBC). Titles currently in production in the region include Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light (BBC/Masterpiece PBS) and romantic comedy The Road Trip (Paramount+).

Follow the link to watch our Christmas advert: https://youtu.be/e7OHFtfZjgQ

Why create a viral Christmas advert?

We LOVE big-budget TV ads like the John Lewis Christmas advert. They’ve really found the winning formula to maximise engagement and go viral.

In fact, we love it so much that we decided to give it a go ourselves. But instead of helping a big department store or supermarket grow its profits, we decided to help a charity grow its reach.

Our friends at Love Squared do amazing work that’s well worth shouting about.

Who is Love Squared?

Love Squared is a Bristol-based charity who support young people and families with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs.

They noticed a huge lack in services for young people and children who had aspirations but were missing out on reaching their potential because of SEMH needs, so they work to change this and provide the resources and support to those who need it.

With such a great cause, we knew we wanted to support them this year by donating our resources to create them a Christmas advert they can use to raise awareness and donations.

So how do you go about creating a viral Christmas video?

Inspired by the John Lewis Christmas Advert 2022?

So were we. Here’s your guide to making a viral Christmas ad to rival the very best – whether you’re a charity, non-profit or B2B business.

Every year, audiences eagerly await high-production TV Christmas ads from John Lewis, M&S, Sainsbury’s, and a plethora of other consumer businesses. But this year, we’re seeing more and more clients take an interest in Christmas content and other seasonal campaigns – and for good reason.

As we all eagerly await this year’s marketing showdown, many businesses are thinking about their own festive advertising and how they can get a slice of the action.

Emotive and uplifting storytelling

The most popular Christmas ads really tug at the heartstrings. It’s the time of the year when people value togetherness, generosity and kindness the most, but it can also be a tough time for many. So, it’s important to capture the emotions of the festive seasons and make your audience feel seen and understood. Having said that, it should be hopeful and optimistic – after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Our copy team put together a script that captured the emotion behind Love Squared’s amazing cause.

Focusing on issues of loneliness and mental health, we created a story that would speak to the challenges young people face, while reflecting the power of imagination – one of Love Squared’s primary values. We even got our best (only) David Attenborough impersonator in to do the voice-over.

Adorable heroes and creature companions

From John Lewis to Sainsbury’s, all the best viral Christmas adverts embrace the cute-factor. And whether they take the form of animals, humans, dragons or monsters, the bigger the eyes, the more we seem to love them.

Our designers and animators created relatable characters with big eyes and even bigger dreams.

We wanted to introduce an imaginary friend that brings joy to a child’s life, presenting creativity, resilience and fun as an antidote to loneliness and boredom – and so, best friends Rita and Howie were born.

A powerful song choice

Emotive covers of popular songs are a staple of the annual Christmas-ad-off. Possibly the most successful among these are the John Lewis Christmas adverts that feature big stars covering even bigger ballads ­– from Lily Allen’s rendition of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know to Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic The Power of Love.

Our Love Squared Christmas ad features an acoustic track with an emotional hook: “when we’re together again” – which pairs perfectly with the beautifully animated scenes about loneliness and newfound friendship. Oosh! Right in the feels.

Video and animation magic

The trick to a truly amazing Christmas ad is to fully immerse your audience, perhaps even leaving them thinking: “How did they do it?” Whether that’s through impeccable animation or beautiful videography, or a mix of the two.

There really are no limits to what you can do with video and animation (other than budget, of course).

Our Video and Motion Graphics team did an amazing job of directing, producing and animating an impactful campaign video to support Love Squared.

What’s more, they sprinkled humour in throughout.

Shout out to our A-list actors (A for ‘A member of our studio, marketing, HR and finance teams’) for some pretty impressive skills and even more expressive faces.

A good cause

At P+S, we’re passionate about supporting amazing initiatives and organisations that offer support in our local community. Partnering with Love Squared for this video was a no-brainer.

How do Christmas ads work for B2B brands?

Many B2B marketers mistakenly pour all their energy into lead generation, believing that B2B decision making is a head-over-heart endeavour, where common sense prevails. In reality, buying committees are equally as emotion-led as consumers, but with one key addition – risk.

It’s far more risky to introduce a lesser-known supplier/ partner to your business than it is to buy from an established one, so recognition and reputation are just as important for B2B brands – whose sales representatives are no longer in the room when these buying decision are made.

So, while we may not pour the same level of budget into TV and traditional media advertising, it’s still worth considering how B2B Christmas advertising can set you apart from the competition and make a memorable impression on prospective customers. Ultimately, you want them to remember your brand when they’re in market (just 5% of the time you spend plugging away at lead generation).

On 24 November, we celebrated the first group of interns who took part in the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme with Babbasa as part of the OurCity2030 Pathway into Creative & Tech.

We had a wonderful night celebrating everyone’s achievements over the past six months. The graduation event, at the Gather Round co-working space in Bristol, brought together the brilliant interns plus many of the programme contributors, friends and family to reflect on the successes and learnings from the scheme.

We launched the programme earlier this year. It is aimed at young people aged 18-24 from diverse backgrounds wanting to gain more insight and real experience in the creative industries.

Two of the biggest challenges facing the sector are a long-term skills shortage and a lack of workforce diversity. This was highlighted by Bristol Creative Industries’ A Creative Force to Be Reckoned With report which found that increasing diversity and inclusion is a significant priority for six in 10 creative firms in Bristol, but almost half said they want help finding diverse talent from underrepresented groups.

The internship programme was designed specifically to tackle those issues and create more inclusive workplaces. We were delighted that brilliant agencies from the BCI member community stepped up to provide three month placements to the 14 interns:

At the end of the first placement, three of the interns used the experience to explore other projects, while 11 stayed to undertake a second placement.

What happens next: Five of the interns got jobs

As the pilot programme comes to an end, here’s an update on how taking part in the initiative impacted on the interns and what they plan to do next:

Abdifatah Kheyre is going travelling for a while but has some exciting plans to launch a new project with a friend.

Abdur-Rahman Shafi has been offered a continuation at his first placement at Noble where he will be doing an internship extension, with the view for being promotion to digital marketing executive after six months.

Ahmed Ismail is considering his options in design and software development.

Amy Smith has been offered a role as production runner at Aardman on an upcoming project.

Kayjay McDonald-Ferguson is looking to continue with his freelancing projects in design and strategy and is set to start a bootcamp coding course.

Laurel Beckford has been working with Babbasa on the organisation’s social media campaigns and is looking for further work in film production and social media.

Mohd Wani has gone on to study an MA in information experience design at The Royal College of Art.

Omar Ibrahim has started a front-end web development bootcamp and will continue to study whilst trying to get more work experience. He is looking for a junior level role in front-end web development.

Priscilla Kodjo is staying on at her placement at Time Machine Designs as a freelance concept artist.

Sara Matloob has applied to study with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and hopes to build a career focused on public relations and the experiential sector.

Sophie Kirk is continuing to pursue her career in film and television art departments, with her improved graphic design skills opening up more opportunities for freelance work.

Seren Spooner was offered a job as a junior designer at Armadillo, her first placement.

Touka Mostafa led an EDI audit at one of her placements and delivered her findings to the board. She has recently accepted an account executive role at Armadillo, one of the participating agencies.

Yasmina El Khatib hopes to continue her education and study a modelmaking course with a focus on fabrication. For now, she is looking for a design and creative role to allow her to save for her masters.

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme intern graduation

The impact the programme had on the interns

We asked some of the interns to reflect on taking part in the programme.

”The programme helped me find myself, be a better human and chase my dreams.”
Abdifatah Kheyre

“This internship really has made my dream career happen. The continued support throughout has been great. I have also made some friends that I will have for life.”
Amy Smith

”I took many learnings from the experience, but above all I learnt the importance of being an active learner. In a work setting it is important that you can communicate with the different departments and not be afraid to ask for what you want. In both agencies I felt comfortable to be myself and felt listened to. I like that the internship was tailored to what I needed.”
Kayjay McDonald-Ferguson

”Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always a straight path, and I was never comfortable to put my hand up and say I want to learn more. But I have to say, I’m so glad I sat in the uncomfortable space for a little bit because I pushed past that point, I managed to develop and grow in so many different ways. ”
Touka Mostafa

”I loved seeing how many agencies were interested in diversity and inclusion and I really enjoyed the networking opportunities that came with the internship programme. I also enjoyed learning new skills during our Friday sessions and watching all of the interns develop new skills that they’re proud of.”
Sara Matloob

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme cohort one: A short film

For more from the interns, participating agencies and other who took part in the programme, watch this brilliant short film: 

The experiences of the participating agencies

The Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme is not possible without the fantastic agencies who take part and provide placements for the young people to gain valuable experience.  

Here, some of the agencies reflect on their experiences:   

“The best businesses need the best talent. The best talent is diverse. This programme has helped us collectively engage that talent.”
Nina Edmunds,
Halo

“We’ve always aspired to have an internship programme that promotes diversity and inclusion and encourages the community to open more doors, yet time and resources have been a barrier to achieving this. By joining forces with Bristol Creative Industries, Babbasa and other member agencies, we were able to make it happen.”
Lucy Rees, Newicon

“Collaborating with peers from other participating creative agencies has been a great experience. It has allowed us to actively contribute to shaping the program while exchanging ideas and learning from one another, particularly in areas around HR, people & culture, and innovative working practices.”
Anthony Butterfield,
Aer Studios

“We wanted to be challenged in our DE&I efforts. We hoped this scheme would help us push forward on our learning and DE&I journey and it has done exactly that.”
Abigail Croft,
Diva

“Our intern was really keen to learn all the different roles within the agency and really engaged in everything she was doing. Seeing her confidence grow each week, so she was asking the right questions to allow her to execute the task in front of her was a real highlight. The fact we could see the talent was there enough to offer her a job shows what an impact she made, and that is the true highlight.”
Jeremy Bourton,
Armadillo

“This amazing opportunity provides a springboard for young people with a paid placement that can really make a difference to their professional development. On the other side of the coin, it’s made me a more rounded professional and helped me to evolve.”
Matt Woodman,
Atomic Smash

“The BCI Internship Programme is a golden opportunity to partner with community-facing organisations. It is a real opportunity to learn as well as teach, whilst being supporting by BCI who follow the interns through the whole process.”
Ceilia Hunt, Aardman Animations

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme intern graduation

All of the interns are now Bristol Creative Industries members. Please do reach out to them if you are looking for collaborations or for young people to fill junior roles. We will also be welcoming them to Bristol Creative Industries events in 2024, so you will get a chance to meet them.

We look forward to welcoming back the cohort as ambassadors for the programme in 2024 and to help inspire the next group of interns.

Want to get involved and offer placements to interns?

Conversations for the 2024 Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme have begun with Babbasa as part of the next OurCity2030 Pathway into Creative & Tech.

If you run a creative business in Bristol and are interested in hearing more about how to get involved, contact Bristol Creative Industries membership manager Alli Nicholas on [email protected]

Big thanks to @eljaybriss for the images.

It’s the time of year to give back to those who need it most, that’s why we’re putting together a community foodbank.

The teams across mustard jobs are planning to rustle up as many long-life food, hygiene and sanitary products as possible. Last year’s foodbank donation was impressive, but this year we want to make it even bigger, that’s why we are enlisting the help of our local community.

 

So how can you get involved?

We’re making this donation as easy as possible for anyone who is interested in taking part. Just pop to the mustard jobs office with your donations, we’ll list the address details at the bottom of this page. Then, we’ll put it in one of our collection box for safe keeping, until we do the big drop off at the foodbank. We’ll get everything delivered to the foodbank by our mustard team, so there is no stress for you or your team.

Whether you’ve got a little or a lot, anything will help.

 

Recommended items:

We have a great relationship with the St Nicholas of Tolentino Foodbank and they’ve let us know what they need the most.

 

It’s time to step up and support those who find themselves in crisis this winter. If you’d like to donate, please deliver your donations to:

mustard jobs

The Tramshed, 25 Lower Park Row,

Bristol

BS1 5BN

 

If you have any questions or queries, feel free to reach out to the team on [email protected] | 0117 929 6060

 

Thank you.

The Founder of Bristol-based MotherBoard, Sophie Creese won the Lead 5050 award for ‘Contribution to Gender Diversity’ on 4th November at the 7th annual Lead5050 Awards held in Berlin, Germany.

The Lead5050 Awards celebrate the people working for an equitable world, they recognise innovative individual and organisational initiatives that address the advancement of women. All professionals who won have changed workplaces and lives.

“MotherBoard has been highlighting the connection between motherhood and lack of gender equity within the tech industry for the past few years. Being recognised for the work we are doing at MotherBoard with a Lead 5050 ‘Contribution to Gender Equality’ Award has been an honour and further validation of the importance of continuing to shift the dial for future gender parity by supporting employers and our community to be more inclusive of mums.”

Sophie Creese, Founder of MotherBoard

About MotherBoard

// 50% of women leave the tech industry before age 35. Let’s change that.

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community, and Event Series driving tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We are on a mission to transform the industry to be more inclusive of women & mothers by tackling stigmas and supporting employers who want to create real change.  Powered by ADLIB, sponsored by Not On The High Street .

// 50% of women leave the tech industry before age 35. Let’s change that.

Join Weston College in the heart of Bristol to learn more about supporting the next generation of creatives! Are you looking at offering work placements? Internships?

Looking to grow your team?

Give back to a new generation through guest lecture and project work?

Want to find out more about Weston College? We may surprise you….

The Faculty of Creative Arts Employer Forum is designed to work alongside industry to deliver industry aligned curriculum, work experiences, progression and employment routes and pipeline talent. Courses covered at Weston College and University Centre Weston include:

Game & Animation

Creative and Digital Media

Broadcast, Journalism and Podcasts

Performing Arts and Theatre

Art and Design – including fashion, textiles and business

Photography

https://www.weston.ac.uk/what-can-i-study/creative-arts-and-design-courses-16-18-year-olds

Tuesday 7th November

6-8pm

Bristol Training Institute, 12 Colston Avenue, BS1 4ST

RSVP [email protected]

Until recently, the menopause was something that was not understood and not talked about in equal measure. But after several celebs spoke about their experiences, it became something of a hot topic, with many ‘experts’ appearing to offer help, like tips for a ‘menopause diet’.

We needed to cut through this noise when we created the Hartwell brand. This was different: its founder Natasha Hartwell was a nutritional therapist who based her work on science and evidence-based results, and made real-world, practical suggestions. This was a real expert who could actually help with the symptoms of menopause, and help people feel like themselves.

Hartwell’s approach was a fantastic differentiator and a great place to start, so we began the process of building the brand around this strong core idea.

Hartwell Nutrition vs menopause diet

As with any branding, whether we’re creating a brand or refreshing one, we need to understand what makes it unique, what makes it tick and what makes other people care.

We started a deep dive into Hartwell’s way of working, including how it does it, what it values and its ambitions. The answers to these big questions would help define the new brand’s values and personality, which would lead us towards how the brand should look and feel.

Understanding the menopause landscape

Hand in hand with that, we also carried out an audit of the busy world Hartwell would be entering, specifically focusing on the menopause diet market. What were existing competitors doing? And was any of it working? We discovered an ocean of word salad, bland imagery and ‘mumsiness’, with very few examples of brands who really knew how to communicate what they were doing.

We held a focus group for people going through menopause, to find out about their general experience and if they had tried menopause diets. It was clear that they felt unseen and unsupported, and were suffering emotionally as well as physically.

Bringing the brand together

Our research showed us that to reach as many people as possible, Hartwell had to be very clear with its messaging, putting its unique science-based approach front and centre. But to connect emotionally, this clarity had to feel personal. As a result, we made the decision that the voice of Hartwell would be Natasha, so it would be all written in first person, and talking directly to the target audience – just as it would be in a one-to-one consultation.

Visual identity – logo

This connected perfectly with the decision to use Natasha’s surname as the name of the brand (her name, her voice) and also helped to complete the circle with the logo, which feels like a signature.

This hand-drawn logotype not only gives the brand a personal, human appeal, it also shows that Natasha is not afraid to sign her name to her work. The brand’s confident because its work is based on evidence – Natasha knows that she can genuinely help her clients.

We created a stacked version of the logo too, primarily to work with social media and smaller spaces, but also with one eye on the future, where ‘Eat well’, ‘Live well’ and other variations could be used.

Brand elements

The logo had been developed as part of a stylescape. These are visual explorations of a brand driven by a core thought, and include everything from brand palettes and imagery through to typefaces. They’re a great way to ensure everything is designed as a family, not in isolation, and to see the entire brand working together.

This particular stylescape was based on the idea of empowering clients, factual information, non-judgemental advice and friendly support. Those building blocks led us to a colour palette that was vibrant and earthy, warm and dignified. We purposefully kept away from a palette that was overtly feminine.

Brand imagery centred on collages which connected the way of life our audience wanted to get back to, with nature. The collage construction gave us the scope to tell infinite stories, while the connection to nature was a common theme throughout the work, coming both from Natasha’s understanding of nutrition, and people’s connection to cycles.

Finally, and developed from the hand-drawn logo, we introduced the squiggle. This graphical motif doesn’t have a defined form, and instead is unique each time it’s used, just like Hartwell’s clients and the advice Natasha gives them. The squiggle device can be used  to frame text, create direction or simply bring some visual interest to a design, and helps to bring the whole visual identity together.

Not just another menopause diet website

As part of the brand launch, we designed and wrote the Hartwell website. We initially mapped out a number of user journeys so we could design the perfect UX for the busy audience. Our goal was to show enough to prove Hartwell’s credentials, and then invite the audience to take the next step by getting in touch. Copy was therefore kept to a minimum, with the approach being to balance the warm, personal tone with the science that backed it up. This was helped by the brand fonts, the soft and warm New Spirit, paired with the strong and steady Elza Text.

The look of the site mirrored this balance, with a clean look punctuated with lifestyle/nature combination images that brought energy to every page. With minimal copy, the space in the design really helped to deliver a fresh experience, in contrast with nearly every one of Hartwell’s competitors.

The finished brand feels like a modern lifestyle/health brand (not a faddy menopause diet plan), which has the confidence to show what it can do, without having to tell its audience everything it can do.

Find out more about Hartwell Nutrition here