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D&AD shortlist

When those who aren’t in our industry hear about D&AD, they often think that it’s something which involves donning a cape in a basement and casting imaginary spells with friends in order to vanquish an evil warlock and his goblin hordes.

The truth is D&AD is a lot more difficult than merely rolling dice, although there is an element of luck involved. It is the pinnacle of our profession and to be recognised by the Design & Art Direction organisation takes an immense amount of talent, hard work and, well, a fair amount of magic. We are very proud to report that North have yet again managed to trouble the scorers at this prestigious awards show.

This year, with the Impact Awards, D&AD expanded their remit to include an awards show based purely on brands, companies and organisations whose ideas are looking to make the world a better place. Therefore, it was an obvious choice for us to enter our Packa-Ching work in collaboration with our long-standing client, Polyco. While we were only shortlisted (meaning we, unfortunately, didn’t receive a fabled pencil), it is still a supreme effort to everyone who was involved from both our studio and our clients’ side.

The more you think about it, it is a mythical quest for an elusive object undertaken by a ragtag group of misfits with unique and special abilities to repel the forces of darkness which seek to destroy our world. So whether you’re thinking of D&D or D&AD, think about our fine fellowship here at North.

Good day to you all!

Opinion

You won’t believe what your brand can do.

You won’t believe what your brand can do. This is the closing slide on all of our Brand Story presentations.If what we’ve just presented doesn’t tick that box, then we have failed at our job. 

Every great business starts with a single purpose. A product or service that adds value to our world in some shape or form. We work closely with our clients to find and articulate that purpose. It’s known as your Brand Story and influences every facet of your business. From button to billboard as we like to say.

One of my favourite podcasts is a series called “How I Built This”. It tells the stories of world-famous brands and how they got to where they are today. They often follow a fairly similar narrative. It starts in a dorm room, parents garage, or boot (trunk) of a car. These innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists stubbornly march on through a wall of uncertainty and adversity emerging victorious on the other side. The reason for their success is that they always stay true to their vision and purpose. Their story. 

A Brand Story gives your consumers a reason to believe; transforming a functional purchase into one that makes a statement about them. Don’t believe me? What shoes are you currently wearing? What brand of coffee do you drink? What device are you using to read this? Each of those items had an intrinsic story that appealed to you. A Brand Story can turn a consumer into a brand participant and your most powerful media channel. 

Quite simply, a Brand Story creates brand loyalty leading to repeat business and referrals. 

So how do we create a Brand Story? 

Be human. 

Globally 137,000 businesses start every day and as more players enter the game the market becomes a saturated battleground of products and services fighting for attention. The solution is simple. Don’t sell the facts, tell the truth. Provoke an emotional response. 

Be unique.

It’s not enough to have a quality product or service, you need to find your truth and articulate it in a simple way. A single-minded narrative that portrays the heart and soul of your business and differentiates you from the crowd.

Be everywhere.

Today’s Brands are part of our mobile-first lives and develop long-lasting relationships with their audience through constant engagement across a myriad of media channels. A strong Brand Story responds and engages across all touchpoints, consistently.

Your brand is not your logo, your brand is your business. Trust it and believe it, now more than ever.

You won’t believe what your brand can do. 

Thanks for listening and stay safe.

Mike Bond 

Creative Director and Founder

Opinion

Is your Brand Story permeating throughout the business?

Hello, dear friend of North

On a radio broadcast the other day, I heard that the Chinese word for crisis is a combination of their characters for “danger” and “opportunity”. It’s a wonderful way to view these trying times. Danger certainly abounds, no more than in the shape of disinformation. What makes people believe the source they’re trusting to inform them?

Brands.I recently googled some COVID-19 information and tried to make the search as specific as possible.After scrolling past the ads in the search results, I immediately began to scan URLs. I saw Time.com, the digital platform of Time Magazine (still the finest “I can understand what’s going on on the planet this week over a 2 hour plane ride” publication). I read their article because I believe Time’s Brand Story. They have framed a century, bearing considered witness to seismic shifts in our psyche as a species. And I trust them.

In this unprecedented chapter in the footnotes of our universe, Earth faces its most challenging time. Yet, caught up in this maelstrom of uncertainty together, we have been given the gift of reflection. To reflect on our place in the world and the positives: that our carbon emissions are the lowest they’ve been in decades in terms of our daily output; the canals of Venice run clear;and there is opportunity for us to extend sorely needed goodwill towards each other. While many companies at the moment, and justifiably so, will be all-hands-on-deck to stop the ship from sinking,someone must get into the crow’s nest and look beyond the horizon. Forgive the lengthy maritime analogy, but the lilting currents of the sea’s Brand Story is a powerful ally when one is trying to make a point.

This is a time to reflect on your business. How does it look? How is it perceived? And, perhaps more importantly, how does it feel to you and those you wish to entice? Is your Brand Story permeating throughout the business, getting people excited about the way you do things? As Brian Collins says,“Look, I define a brand simply: a promise performed consistently over time.”

While running the risk of editorialising, I would venture that the time Collins speaks of investing is as much within your organisation as without. When the truth (or promise) is believed internally and presented as a company philosophy, people are not being sold to, they are being asked a question about what they believe in and what they take from your Brand Story.“

Doing what it says on the box” has never been truer than in this day and age, and the having the correct Brand Story and philosophy in place allows you to be honest with your customers, turning them into participants.

As one of the partners at North pointed out, “We’ve been asking people to decrease their carbon footprint for a long time now and nothing has really changed. Now, maybe people will be a bit more considerate about which brands they consider and use. Do we need to buy imported goods or should we revive local industry? Do we need to travel so often when the world brings us digitally closer every day and where we live has so much to explore?”

In this unprecedented time of concern, North would like to assist you in finding your Brand’s Story. Please don’t hesitate to contact us so we may join you on your journey. We’re working remotely butare always available. At the risk of sailing a bit close to the wind, I would like to use a rather heavy handed example: Corona cerveza might want to take this time to reflect on their current brand story and payoff line: Corona: This Is Living…

GB Williams

Opinion

The Storeroom, a North Podcast.

Welcome to the Storeroom, a NorthVCA Podcast.

The Storeroom is a place where we keep everything that influences our ideas. In this season we discuss across a bewilderingly wide variety of topics the impact that brand stories have on our lives.

Welcome to the Storeroom.
Let’s go inside, and see what we can find.