Reflects well! A sixth print award nomination for Shine, our charity project

It’s been such a strange week, month, year, you name it, for all of us. Disorienting would be one word for it. Nothing has gone to plan but then, I was contemplating the other day, as an entrepreneur, does it ever? The best approach I’ve come up with is just to acknowledge (perhaps even enjoy) the present but aim for the future.

Then, now and again, amid all this strangeness, comes along something really wonderful. We’ve received a print award nomination for the sixth year running at the industry’s Solutions Awards. The nomination covers our work over the years on our charity project The Shine School Media Awards.

The news has delivered such a boost to us. At the end of a long, long year of work in the weirdest circumstances, here we are with a wonderful recognition and however things pan out at the (online) ceremony in November, achievement.

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Why ‘designed slide decks’ are the new corporate brochure

A few of my least favourite words these days: ‘let me just share my screen…’, whereupon a set of friendly (albeit virtual) faces disappear, only to be replaced with a green spreadsheet, set of moribund bullet-points or series of pictures of a city skyline somewhere I can’t visit. Usually the low point is the appearance of a dreaded set of Powerpoint slides. These are essentially brochures these days – albeit with the physical object sadly lost. As it happens I am a huge fan of the printed word, a medium dear to my heart, and I’ll come back to that particular topic another day.

But when it comes to these sad old slides, I come bearing happy news. Over the past year, I’ve worked with a few visionary clients who have agreed with me that there’s a lot further that the otherwise predictable Powerpoint can go. I speak of something beyond the standard corporate presentation.

Let me introduce the designed slide deck.

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Fresh branding for Belgian energy investment private family office AtlasInvest

energy investment branding

One of the most significant changes in our branding work in recent years has been the abandonment of what I call the ‘rabbit out of the hat’ approach. In the early days of my career, with a major project complete, the client would gather in a panelled boardroom. We would deliver a grand, momentous presentation, the entirety of which would be a huge and dramatic surprise. What then followed was almost a moot point because the board had got the grand moment they had got psyched up for. It was left to the designers and an often head-spun marketing team to figure out what to do with the feedback.

Suffice to say, it’s not how we work today – and here’s a fantastic example. During lockdown and thereafter, we’ve been working with Belgian private family office AtlasInvest on a ground-up identity review.

I’m really proud of the end result, a great example of an energy investment branding project.

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Bringing classical music history to life with a unique charitable foundation web design project

charitable foundation web design

To set the mood of an evening, you need the right music. I’ve a friend who enjoys playing Noel Coward on a Saturday night as he mixes cocktails. When he puts that tinkly piano accompanied by snappy wit on, everything just feels buzzy, chic – as though Princess Margaret is about to arrive amid a summer dusk.

The choice for some is jazz – others opera, I always admire a quirky choice I’m unfamiliar with. It’s intriguing how we discover particular music that’s from a bygone era, from amazing singers, long passed away. ‘Music never dies’ – these extraordinary voices, once recorded, are never lost.

We’ve just completed a piece of work which I like to think contributes to the recognition of just such an artist – a charitable foundation web design project for classic English opera singer Jennifer Vyvyan.

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Ensure the the maximum impact of post-merger rebranding

post-merger rebranding

As businesses evaluate the future, every company is assessing the landscape and making tough choices. For some, this will mean a fundamental re-think, often involving a merger or buy-out with former competitors. Restructuring is disorienting but requires fresh thinking, to really get creative – on every front.

With a blending of assets, perhaps following a capital raise and a reboot of how a company works, we’ve often helped with parallel visual changes in terms of how it looks, too. When two companies merge, the new blend of personalities means considering if that requires new branding. Often at speed.

So, now’s the time to start planning. Post-merger rebranding requires ingenuity, using budget carefully to ensure maximum impact.

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Redesign a consultancy website around your core services

Redesign a consultancy website

One of the unsettling aspects to working over the past months is that while some businesses flatline, others work flat out. For those working of us in a business consultancy, whether in the financial or marketing sector, there’s a further source of uncertainty – these fluctuations are client-led. With that challenge acknowledged, I believe if you’ve proved there’s a gap in the market for what you’re doing and it’s being managed and serviced well, it will grow.

But how best to promote and capitalise on hard-won success?

Put simply, we’re in the midst of a digital business revolution. If you haven’t paid attention to your online offering, now is the moment to redesign a consultancy website. No question, it’s the best way of exposing growing parts of your business to the marketplace and to build momentum.

In this article I talk about ways to achieve that pace of work, and how we worked with a client of ours to rise to these challenges.

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