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15 April 2014 / Pointing to the gorilla

Roll back 25 years and few people outside FMCG talked of brands and branding. Back then, even Wally Olins wrote not so much of branding but, instead, of corporate identity. His message, however, was clear: image was an asset to be developed and used strategically, not something to be fiddled with as an afterthought. Brand thinking and business thinking should be synonymous.

Wally Olins died yesterday aged 83, leaving behind a world where talk of branding has become commonplace. Yet the close relationship between brand and business strategy is still a very long way from being universally understood. Too often branding is still mistaken for the lipstick that makes the gorilla that bit more approachable.

We feel that Olins’ impact and legacy are rooted in the fact that he was never content simply to fiddle with the shade and sheen of the lipstick. And he was never afraid to point to the gorilla.

4 April 2014 / Now the business card is king

Today we took a delivery of new business cards for our client Addition Plus. As ever, the delight is in the detail and the clear-foiling and debossing on these cards (literally) takes them to a new dimension.

In a first encounter, credibility is everything. We live in a time where the world and their web-guru has a start-up (or six) boiling away on a back burner. An investment in a decent business card is a sure sign that yours is a business you’re committed to, not just an idea you’re hoping might stick. And if you’re not committed, why should anyone else be?

What’s more, with some upfront investment, beautifully-crafted business cards can even be cost competitive with quick and dirty lower-quality digital* runs. And future overprints can be quick to organise too.

We believe this investment and forethought pays dividends.

*We say lower-quality as the best digital printing is now anything but.

2 April 2014 / FinTech Week: Great feedback from our latest branding workshop

Blank sheet to basic brand in an hour – and it works!

When we conceived this workshop we wondered if it could possibly work. But we just had to try! The idea was to work with a group of start-up entrepreneurs, get them to start again, create a new start-up idea in just five minutes and then sprint through our branding process to show how brand thinking is very closely linked with business thinking.

The aim isn’t to come up with the perfect start up idea, much less the perfect brand. That takes a lot more time and effort. We simply wanted to show entrepreneurs how branding is core to their success.

By the end of the session the room was buzzing with ideas. We had so many start up ideas in five minutes it was a scrap to narrow it down. The winner: an app that revolutionises buying or renting a home by helping to match you with a community you’ll love, while bringing transparency to the buying and renting process. Say hello to Birdhouse.

28 March 2014 / A well-filled stottie

Why should a bacon bap be the limit of your breakfast ambition? Welcome to Sunderland where they know how to do rather better than that. Hail the breakfast stottie. Yes we’ve heard of breakfast-in-a bun before but it is usually a sad and sorry disappointment. Not in Sunderland. Not when it’s a stottie.

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