Is your brand purpose led?

I recently had lunch with a Global Marketing Director of an International design agency. He had taken what was a national agency and opened it up into a diverse multi-national, global reaching agency with one of the most recognised names in the industry.

Contemplating on how he did it…  I reflected on the simplicity yet effectiveness of his strategy…

 

inspiration

 

He stripped it down to the core of its essence, ascertained what the values of the business were and implemented this value throughout the company, not just strategically on a Marketing level, but throughout the agency, incorporating it through their HR recruitment plans, staff initiatives and into high level pitching… until it was so entrenched within the whole company they were fully integrated and unified.

Once a slightly fragmented agency they were now moving forwards as one, as a force to be reckoned with.

Brand Marketing is not just about your website and business cards. When done properly it should be deeply ingrained into your ethos and values. It should speak of who you are, not just for your prospect consumer, but for your employees too, to bring unity and transparency.

We would love to hear your thoughts… Please feel free to let us know what you think?

How does being afraid of failure impact people’s ability to be creative?

Recently taking up a new dance form made me think… Are dancers born or are they made?

Clearly there were some naturally talented individuals in the class (some, I had a sneaky suspicion, may have been break dancing since birth!) but there were others who, after initially stumbling around, with persistence, hard work and some good old fashioned sweat and tears, soon had the moves down.

So where does talent come from, sheer hard work or a natural flair?

Recent research has found it is the mindset that we apply which plays an instrumental role in our learning ability.

10 years ago we believed the level of intelligence a person had was capped. However in 2008 a ground-breaking study discovered that intelligence is in fact fluid and the brain has a level of plasticity.

Mindset

 

This has had huge significance, but what does it mean?

The study believes that a person’s mindset can either be Fixed or in a Growth State.

Essentially it’s the difference between believing an individual can change and grow through application and experience rather than having immutably engrained traits.

For a growth mindset, a person will see failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Ultimately it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.

When you become concerned with what others think, you fall into a fixed mindset, which will stifle your creativity and innovation.

Adults in a fixed mindset also think that great effort or great struggle, means that you are not smart. There is the sense that if they were talented it would just come easily. However people in a “growth mindset” enjoy the effort and welcome the struggle. They understand that innovation requires it.

‘Instead of stretching for innovation, honest maybe a better servant of your skills.’

What do you think?  We would love to here your thoughts and views…

 

Why unrest is crucial to creativity and growth

As a creative or designer, it is not unusual to spend a lot of time in uncertainty… Creativity can be a complex and tangled process… The quicker we become comfortable with this and lean into the void , the more space we can create for innovation.

As in life the creative process teaches us far more in times of challenges… as it urges us to change grow and search for new answers and ways of doing things… the birth of innovation and origination is often found through dead ends and doorstoppers.

We as a species tend to shy away from the disorder and naturally lean in towards more positive times.  However ironically it is times of our unrest we grow the most.

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A little neuroscience….

A discovery in cognitive neuroscience is that of the default network of the brain (or “imagination network” as its also called). The imagination network, which is responsible for self-generated thought, is involved in about half of our mental lives and forms the very core of human experience.

Fundamental to the core of our being… it makes up the essence of healthy development in allowing us to be able to create meaning from our experiences, understand ourselves, daydream, build compassion and empathy. It also helps us to form our most creative ideas.

However, imagination network works in conjunction with the executive network, which supports creative thinking by helping to sustain focus by planning future actions, use various creative strategies, and evaluate ideas. The executive attention network also helps focus imagination, blocking out external distractions and allowing us to tune into our inner experience.

Most people go between the imagination network and the executive attention network; when they are hyper focused on the world, their inner stream of consciousness is ignored, and when they tap into their inner self, their executive attention is suppressed.

It suggests that creative people have greater connectivity between brain networks that work in opposition than most people.

This uncertainty in cognitive creative terms mirrors its real-life complexity. Both at the level of personality—which tends to be riddled with paradoxes and contradictions—and process, which is often nonlinear, experimental and serpentine means that creativity can sometimes be a messy process indeed.

In other words:

Creativity arises from our contradictions. Which exist to some degree in everyone. So go ahead—be large, embrace your multitudes, and contradict yourself. Embrace new experiences. You might just find that creative inspiration comes to you from unexpected places and happens when you step outside your usual perspective.

Top 10 alternatives to those nasty New Years’ Resolutions:

So your New Years’ Resolutions aren’t going so well. Your well-fed enthusiasm has dwindled. Your chipper commitment has turned into a feeling of dread and for those doing Dry January, February is a tantalizing, shimmering oasis, glimmering in the distance!

January 17th is regarded as the day most of us ditch those resolutions that were made with such good intentions only a couple of weeks or so ago!

With this in mind Network have come up with 10 alternative ideas:

  1. Do something a little different today. Take a day off and go to the Zoo, visit a gallery, book that course you keep saying you want to go on…
  2. Tell someone you love them, preferably someone you have not told in a while.
  3. Send someone a letter… Yes, write stuff down using a pen or pencil, not an email or text but an actual letter which requires paper, an envelope and a stamp (remember those?)
  4. Perform a random act of kindness, do something for someone else for no other reason than just to be kind. And here is the kicker… don’t tell anyone about it! Pay someone’s bus fare or Restaurant bill, give some food to a homeless person, offer to help someone carry a pushchair down some stairs, give up your seat to someone who needs it more…

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5. Make a commitment to your future, do something that you have been putting off for ages. Do it now

6. Read a book.

7. Turn off your mobile, avoid social media for a few hours and actually talk to people.

8. Be a Tourist for a day

9. Volunteer – do something that benefits your local community, a charity or those individuals that most need help

10. Learn a new word a day.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in our resolutions, fixating on what we want and think we need and the bigger picture gets lost. We often receive far more than we ever could have hoped for when we simply give.

We would love to hear from you. Please do get in touch and share those resolutions that have worked for you.

 

 

Risk… Just for the Superhero’s?

Risk… So do we leave it up to the Superheroes or should it be incorporated into our business strategy?

There is a lot to be said for playing it safe and being slightly risk adverse but when it comes down to it… It’s always the fearless and bold that reaps the reward… He who dares wins, Right?

That’s not to say they don’t suffer a few scraps and scratches along the way, but with every swipe an important lesson is learnt.

 

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Let’s clear a few things up along the way…

  1. Taking risks doesn’t have to mean you have to be reckless – In fact it should be highly strategic!
  2. Make friends with success and failure if you are planning on incorporating risk into your strategy.
  3. The path to freedom is never as smooth as one would expect be comfortable with the bumps along the way and the expected twists and turns
  4. Plan for the future – It may take a while for your plans to generate income so give it space and time.
  5. It’s fine to not take risks!

We would love to hear from you… Has taking a risk worked for you in your career or business?

 

Can you teach Creativity? Delving into Design Thinking!

With Innovation and creativity a demanding master to agencies, it pushes us to break the mould and inspire. This week Network look at whether Creativity can be taught?

We delve into the depths of Design thinking and look to see if this can be a catalyst for innovation.

So what is the crux of Design thinking all about?

Design Thinking attempts to inspire the essential element of creativity, the ability to take an abstract idea and create something with it. It is a social approach used to encourage depth analysis of a problem to collaboratively propose alternate and innovative solutions.

A big part of the Design Thinking concept involves empathy for those you are designing for. It’s often manifested through a series of activities, which attempt to create an experience of what or how your idea will ultimately be consumed.

By putting solutions into customers’ hands as soon as possible, it rapidly obtains feedback, and by refining prototypes according to customer preferences designers can get the products their customers want in the marketplace faster.

We believe progress starts with a deep understanding of the customers. That’s why Design Thinking is a go-to method for building the products and experiences that the customer’s needs.

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This human-centred methodology, coupled with a “fail fast” attitude, allows it to quickly identify, build, and test the way to success. It is a way to spend less time planning, more time doing, and, above all else, challenge it to see the world through the eyes of the customers at every step of the way.

A study by the London Business School found that for every percent of sales invested in product design, profits rose by an average of 3 to 4 percent.

One of the most notable examples of design thinking comes from FMCG giant, Procter & Gamble, who harnessed design thinking to inform product development for Oil of Olay.

After observing consumers in store, P&G realised that by targeting women over fifty, the skincare industry had overlooked a key segment: younger women in their thirties and forties. P&G then tested prototypes, pricing models and store displays with these consumers, ultimately leading to the launch of a new product range designed to meet consumer needs.

Have you had experience with Design thinking?  We would love to hear from you…

Want to Join Network?

Network are Recruiting!!

Do you want to work in the creative industry?  Do you have a passion for sales?

Network has a new position in their Client Service sector for someone to join their team.   This is a great opportunity for someone who is passionate and willing to learn.  Previous sales experience would be helpful.

You will have exposure to meet some of the most creative international design clients in the world and you will ultimately learn how to manage the whole recruitment process.  

 

recruiting

 

Network has been established for over 30 years and has one of the best reputations in the industry.

Your sector will cover Client Services, Business Development and Strategy in the Branding, Retail, Marketing, Experiential and Digital Markets

You will be working in a fantastic environment with excellent colleagues. 

If this sounds like a fit please be in touch.

Please email:  getwork@network.cc  

 

 

 

Dispelling the cliché of sales

The word ‘sales’ still conjures up images of fast-talking slicked back haired salesman , but the reality is we all use the art and science of selling in our day to day life in one way or another..

As a creative it’s easy for us to think that quality alone will be enough to promote the work. Yet we need to open the door to the outside world for our ideas and creations, because if we make something and nobody’s there to see, why did we create in the first place?

Many creativities face the bitter internal dichotomy of producing beautiful work but not wanting to appear over confident or too salesy in their approach. However not doing everything you can to get your work seen betrays your creativity.

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Most of us think that the’ ideal’ sales person is the extrovert… Confident, charismatic and outgoing… They are ‘the natural born sales person!’  Yet according to social psychologist Adam Grant discovered that the best salespeople are not extroverts but ambiverts — people who fall between the poles of extroversion and introversion.

‘Ambiverts strike a crucial balance between talking and listening, neither dominating nor dampening a conversation. Grant explains, they “draw from a wider repertoire of behavioral options to find the appropriate balance between selling and serving.”

This responsive engagement style of balancing assertiveness with attention is what Dan Pink calls attunement, or “the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in.” The best salespeople aren’t the most outgoing, they are the ones who can best “attune” to those around them.’

‘Life itself is a matter of salesmanship.’

Thomas J. Watson

 

Progressions and Advancement. But do we have time for reflection?

In today’s modern day life it’s all about progression and advancement.. Innovatively developing ways to break barriers, transgress into the new, but there is something to be said for the timeless beauty of the past… of reflecting and looking how far we have come.

We take a step back in the world of design…

 

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Harland & Wolff Drawing Office, 1912

This photograph shows naval architects and draughtsmen working on ship designs in one of Harland & Wolff’s two Drawing Offices, where the plans for Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were prepared.  Their high barrel ceilings and large windows made maximum use of natural light.

Both of the Drawing Offices have survived to the present day.

 

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Research Design Unit

Founded in London in 1943 (although photo taken early 70’s), The Design Research Unit was the first consultancy in the country to draw together expertise in architecture, graphics and industrial design within a single practice.

 

 

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Rows of drafts people working in a very bright, clear span studio- (ideally) a North-lit studio, diffused up lighting, any dark corners would typically house AO sized filing cabinets- chair optional but very much frowned upon. These drawing boards are fitted with a drawing arm or drafting machine which later gave way to the parallel motion and adjustable set-square.

 

We would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts, feelings, memories from your creative history no matter how long or short…

 

 

Experiential Marketing meets digital!

With more people spending more time on their phones than sleeping in today’s modern world the paradox lies that experiential market has never been so popular..

Music festivals are a perfect example of this shift in attitude. Digital natives love music but many do not buy records, preferring to stream music for free, or a small subscription. Instead, more digital natives attend music festivals, which over the last 25 years have grown from a handful to more than 200. Digital natives want unique, authentic experiences that they can share with friends.

 

DCIM101GOPRO
DCIM101GOPRO

Experiential marketing is all about creative authentic, personalized experiences to engage and connect… But is there room for digital in this world?

When done correctly the convergence of digital and physical bolsters the strengths of each while mitigating the other’s weaknesses. Enhancing the experience

The delicate balance is for brands to focus on the user experience and use the technology to enhance the involvement not to dictate it.