A remarkable rebrand for Investors in People (IIP) Scotland

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 15.52.54For some time now I’ve been working with IIP Scotland to help them on their journey through a rebrand that most people agree has had a pretty remarkable outcome. Along the way I enlisted the help of Front Page in Glasgow (website) Studio LR in Leith (identity) and 3X1 (PR) to help make the new brand for IIP Scotland truly remarkable.

IIP Scotland has been steadily growing its portfolio of services for some time now and is on the cusp of even more innovation. So, with an increasing emphasis on consultancy work, rather than offering only IIP accreditation, allied to the success of the Investors in Young People Award (a Scotland only initiative) and in anticipation of a slew of exciting new consultancy offers, the time was right for IIP Scotland to rebrand to reflect its growing portfolio of client-led services.

I was commissioned by the remarkable Peter Russian (if you know him you’ll know why I use that adjective to describe him) to conduct a comprehensive consultation process that sought the views of a cross section of staff, board members, clients and prospects to identify a clear new proposition for the organisation.

As an interim measure, the website was redesigned, after a pitch, by Front Page.

‘Love your business, love your people’ became the core communication and resulted in a far more engaging site.

On 20th June we witnessed the public unveiling of a new name, a new brand and a radically different look and feel.

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The result is Re:markable. With a colon. (But not in copy.)

The name reflects the fact that Remarkable (the new home for IIP in Scotland) delivers a world-class range of services. It helps organisations become more successful by developing and empowering their people to have increased control in their workplace.

It’s intended to be more dynamic, passionate and authoritative, with supportive and genuine Specialists (consultants).

The name reflects the fact that Remarkable makes a marked difference to the organisations it works with; and offers marks of quality (to include Investors in People in Scotland) and a world-class range of consultancy tools and services.

It’s a mark that recognises they are more able. And that’s remarkable.

It’s bold. That’s partly down to the board challenging us to think big, to be positive and to be radical.

But the marque itself is restrained, classical almost. That’s because we wanted to maintain a sense of authority and too much fuss with typography might just have been a step too far.

We commissioned a full new suite of photography using real people (clients, all of them) by Sam Sills that showed ordinary people doing their jobs remarkably.

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Working with a client that wasn’t willing to accept anything less than statement work was a real delight. And with agencies that gave their all was brilliant too.

An intelligent, thought provoking team that really walk their walk were a real pleasure to do business with and I believe they’ve been rewarded with an outcome that succeeds in completely repositioning their organisation.

And that’s been rewarded with tremendous initial results. The PR alone reached 7.5 million people (with 100% positive messaging), web traffic doubled, new visitors trebled, and I love this quote from the managing partner of one of Scotland’s largest law firms.

“It’s brilliant. It’s clean, fresh, and open to all sorts of innovative branding and marketing collateral. Great job and all the best as you all move forward to the next phase of getting the brand firmly established”


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This may seem a bit new age, but it’s not really, and the sense of it is spot on.

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(Photo Credit: My own)

It’s a quote by a guy called Zen Shin. (They’re all Chinese warriors and philosophers that come up with the best ones are they not?).

Anyway, I spotted it within a talk by Lucky Cloud Skincare at Creative Edinburgh‘s Talking Heads event last night.

What resonated with me is the vanity that pervades my industry and the comparisons we all make with one another for no real gain.

The simple fact is that great work will always stand out by being, great work.

This is my philosophy on how to achieve that;

  • Strong strategy/briefing (follow the ‘Garbage in, garbage out ‘principle as a starting point to keep you straight on that one)
  • Focussed messaging (Meies Van der Rohe nailed that one – less is more)
  • Thoughtfully targeted and placed in the right context
  • Work with (and hire) real creative talent and don’t be in awe (they are as nervous, inside, about any new brief as you are)
  • Enthuse them
  • Immerse yourself in the product/service
  • If it IS great and your client doesn’t bite; sell, and sell hard.  Do not give up.  Do not compromise.  If all fails put it in a drawer for selling later to someone else who has vision

Recent work.

Along with Art Director Doug Cook and Copywriter Martin Hartley (Sixtythree Creative) we created this campaign of 24 brand press press executions, 8 radio and one tactical subscription ad for Scotland’;s The Herald.

Targeted at existing readers the press ran in-paper and aimed to both complement their wise choice in reading their paper and encourage  deeper relationship with it by increasing purchasing frequency.  It dramatised a vast array of surprising facts about Scotland that we hoped readers might share with their peers.

(Photo research supported by Think Hard’s Head of Doing, Jeana Gorman.)

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(Photo credit: Doug Cook)

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A generation of Creative Greatness at Hall Advertising. The Grand Dame of Scottish Advertising.

I was absolutely blessed to start my career at Hall Advertising.

It was a true hotbed of creativity.

Many of the people written about in this post I consider to be not just my colleagues, but my friends; Mill, Downie, Farrell, Gumm, Taylor, Robertson, Jeffery, Atkinson, Cox, Lindsay, Stanier, Sutton, Gibsone, Wyper, Marr, Redding (RIP), Scott, Grassick, McCowan-Hill.

I met my wife of 28 years (and counting) there.

I discovered gratuitous hedonism there.

I realised advertising was more than just the best job in the world there; I learned that it has enough logic, science and passion-potential to rise above mere fun and can make a difference.

It’s a roll call of Scottish creative greatness and I am honoured to have served them.

Thanks Jim Downie (then Creative Director) for putting this history lesson together.

Enjoy.

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Creative Industries Federation shares psychological boost for the UK’s Creative Industries.

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Well, Theresa May has one priority right.
“Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May that the creative industries would be one of five named sectors in the new industrial strategy was a major step forward for a sector which has never been formally recognised in a national industrial strategy before. Only six years ago at the start of the coalition government, the creative industries were not formally acknowledged when it announced nine sectors of industrial engagement.”  (Source: Creative Industries Federation)
  • The government has launched a Green Paper/consultation giving a blueprint for a national industrial strategy.
  • Five sectors, including the creative industries, were named in the consultation as having ‘sector deals’.
  • Exactly how government support for chosen sectors will be offered is dependent on the result of the consultation process, although the key mechanisms for support are given in the 10 pillars explored below.
  • In order to attain its three goals, the government has identified 10 pillars that each sector deal should focus on. These are:
    • investment in science, research and innovation
    • developing skills
    • upgrading infrastructure
    • supporting businesses to start and grow
    • improving procurement
    • encouraging trade and inward investment
    • delivering affordable energy and clean growth
    • cultivating world-leading sectors
    • driving growth across the whole country
    • creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places. (Like Creative Edinburgh)
As the CIF states in its recent circular, not only is this a growing sector (as we have known for several years) but jobs cannot be automated.  Although I’m sure there are plenty of people trying to find a way.
Here’s a couple of efforts to prove my point.
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In Scotland we have been blessed to have a long term appointment in Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the shape of the enthusiastic and understanding Fiona Hyslop so maybe things are looking up for the sector.
The point is the sector includes not just corporate businesses like design, advertising, film and architecture but also hundreds of thousands of start ups, SMEs and increasingly overlaps with the rapidly growing tech sector.
My role as Chair of Creative Edinburgh is to support our Director Janine Matheson and her team, alongside our enthusiastic board in realising the ambitions of this ‘new deal’ by creating a thriving and increasingly vocal network of exactly those businesses in Edinburgh that can benefit from the strategy.
We are deeply grateful to our funders and sponsors who have made this possible so far, and this initiative can be a positive step forward for a city that can benefit more than most from both Holyrood and Westminster recognition and support.

Oops. Agency jumps the gun. Or was it the client?

Lorem ipsum… is the most commonly used marketing communications typography in the Western world, but the public have never heard of it.  That’s because it’s called ‘placeholder type’ that shows how the actual copy will LOOK but nor READ (obviously) once the design has been approved.

It made me smile to receive this email this morning. (Read the first para.)

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I put it into Google translate out of interest and it turns out I am being offered a live casino skirt vehicle.

In fact, multiple.

A fleet perhaps.

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