Tag Archives: Advertising

Quietly beavering away

Its been while since we popped our heads out of the pen and into the blogosphere. With summer now finally arriving and a well earned holiday on the cards, it’s probably a good time to bring you up-to-speed with what we’ve been doing over the last few months.

We’ve re-branded ‘Broneirion’, Girlguiding Cymru’s outdoor centre in Mid Wales, as well as providing them with a new visual language and marketing collateral.

We’ve also provided promotional support to Hybu Cig Cymru with exhibition banners and marketing brochures as well as producing the latest prospectuses for Cardiff Business School.

But a large chunk of the work that we’ve been producing over the last nine months, has seen us focus on developing and growing on one of our long term clients; multimat®, one of the UK’s leading outdoor equipment manufacturers.

From the ground up, we’ve looked at brand perception on the high street and gaged the opinions of the end user, to how they are supported by the retail sector, which culminated in the production of a complete audit review of the market and their share in it and how their brand stacks up against the competition, together with recommendations for advertising and a social media strategy.

After approval of our recommendation, we’ve undertaken a complete redesign of their packaging, specifying new range colours and imagery to support their products. We’ve supported this by the inception of two new ad advertising campaigns, one for their ‘superlite air’ inflatable mattress, the other; for their family premium range of self-inflating mattresses.

We’ve also produced our first a short form video to promote the brand online via YouTube & Facebook and have just competed their 2013 outdoor & military collection catalogue.

This refocusing on brand profile is in anticipation of their launch into Europe next year, starting at the 2013 OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Where we recently visited the show to recce the venue and check out the competition.

This is my videoblog/visual diary/reference material from the trip.

OutDoor 2012, Friedrichshafen – a visual diary from Neil Asher on Vimeo.

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Never go back!

 

Cardiff employee’s have their say!

Our Brief was to design the Cardiff Employee Survey, a report that presents the findings from a research project conducted by Cardiff Business School and Cardiff Business Partnership, examining employees’ perceptions of Cardiff as a place to work and asked them what they wanted from the city in the future. Cardiff Business School asked Black Sheep to design a report that communicates the needs of those individuals surveyed, quickly, clearly & effectively to business leaders.

Our Solution:
Deciphering the information contained in graphs and charts can be difficult as well as navigating through it. We created a document that illustrates its findings as well as traditionally telling the story.

Where the reader can clearly identify the key messages without necessarily having to read the whole report.

Adopting a less formal, graphic approach to the report, we used large magazine style pull-outs for key facts, with iconic symbols representing the issues identified. Our main aim was to clearly place the emphasis on engaging the target audience, who are time poor.

Impact/Feedback:
Since the reports launch, it has been widely reported through TV, Radio and online media encouraging debate on it’s findings.

‘It’s great – we’re really pleased and it’s going to a lot of large companies and organisations in Cardiff, so I hope it brings you some work too! – Everyone who has seen it has been really impressed!’ Laura Davies of the Business School.

Click on the report cover below and you will be magically transported to Issuu, where you will be able to see it in all its glory.

Call, Email, Tweet – say hello today!

 

because we’re different!

As you’ve probably gathered by now we’ve undertaken a brand refreshing exercise, after taking stock of our own values and aspirations for Black Sheep. Early on in that process we realised it was time to make a few changes to the look and feel of the company as it has a renewed sense of direction, service offer and restored vision.

At the core of the brief we set ourselves, we wanted to achieve an authorative voice with a friendly, approachable face. ‘Dolly’ our signature sheep also got a little make-over for good measure.

Our raison d’être, ‘Because we’re different!’ also came out of that brief. Where we asked questions about our relevance in a crowded market and how could we differentiate our offer from that of our peers. It was quite simple really…

Part two. We’re back!

Part two

At the tail end of 2010, when the UK economy was at it’s lowest ebb, we found ourselves in a place that we didn’t recognise any longer, the phone stopped ringing, our clients went quiet and we’d lost track of our vision. That’s when we realised that if we were going to continue in this industry then we needed to go away and rediscover what made Black Sheep the success that it previously was.

It’s been 6 months since we decided to go quiet and fall under the radar. Precious time which allowed us to take stock of what we achieved during Part One. It was kind of like, taking a sabbatical from the company to concentrate on finding out who we are now and where we want to be in the years ahead.

We looked at what was good and bad about our company and how to improve its offering. We revisited our early vision, of not being the biggest, but striving to be the best at whatever we do. It’s an ideal that continues to drive us on, but with a new twist ‘If we can’t do it to the best of our ability, we won’t do it at all’.

In building the brand through printed matter is where our strength had always been, but over time became diluted by a work mix that evolved as our staffing skill set did. We dabbled with interactive game design, 3D architectural visualisation and media buying amongst other things. All of which we successfully undertook, as they were extensions of our core branding service, but were always supplementary services that we offered, but never actively marketed. This quickly saw our focus become blurred as we headed down the ‘Full Service Agency’ route, where handling every aspect of a clients work became the driver rather than taking on projects what we were suited to.

Another ideal that we still hold true, is that we’ve always wanted our clients to choose us specifically for the type of work we produce and that they feel comfortable working with us, not just because we’ve got a name and have been tried and tested over the years. Now it’s ever more important, with so many small agency start-ups and design buyers increasingly more happy to cut their costs by using one-band companies and freelancers working out of their bedrooms.

So, we’re at the mid way point of 2011 and if we are to compete with our contemporaries and these new kids on the block, then we must differentiate our offering from them in every way. Otherwise, how can we expect a client to choose us, in a saturated market place, where anyone with a computer who can assemble a page layout (not necessarily a good one) thinks they’re a graphic designer. As we’ve seen so many times, buying creative solutions as a commodity doesn’t work, one creative designer’s ideas are different to another’s and therefore, their worth cannot be solely bought on a cost effectiveness basis.

After some serious soul searching we realised that our offering needed to be clearer, concise and relevant to the market that we want to operate in.

So, in the future won’t be referring to our agency as ‘full-service’, as this doesn’t really mean anything! Well maybe that you try to do too much, without actually doing it very well. Which on occasion, we might have been guilty of.

Our offer is simple! We offer a consultancy service that specialises in building brands that are delivered through all print media channels.

We call it ‘Design for the Printed world’.

So, whether it’s; new brand creation, a re-fresh of your existing brand, advertising of your brand, product or service, informing stakeholders of your performance & values through an annual report or simply marketing your services through a leaflet or poster. Black Sheep has a relevant case study with tangible results that show you how effective brand building and awareness can drive your business forward through great creative solutions.

Where does that leave us in an evolving digital world? We’ll be there to help and guide you through the challenges of migrating your brand and its values into a digital space. We can advise you in the marketing aspects of implementing e-marketing in to the mix & how to integrate it with a social media channels strategy. Or simply, help you find the right supplier of such services and work with them on your behalf, we’re here to help you.

As for Black Sheep, we’re going to continue to strive for excellence in the way we operate and the standard of work we undertake and deliver.

Thanks for reading.

Neil Asher & Jack Bland

Here come the Men in…