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Bear and honey pot

Seize the moment, now!

July 22nd, 2016 Posted by News No Comment yet

There’s an opportunity for us at present. We’re living in a unique time for the providers of medicines, technology and healthcare solutions. Diametrically opposing forces are at play, with pressure on budgets commoditising markets. Yet, never before have we been so badly in need of true innovation. ‘More for less’ underpins almost all modern value propositions.

‘More’ is needed to make sure medicines are taken as prescribed. ‘More’ is needed to make sure conditions are better managed. ‘More’ is needed simply because the aging population is a growing demographic.

And yet there is ‘less’ money to go round and the purchasing powers that be are not always able to identify the solutions that represent value.

 

‘More for less’ underpins almost all modern value propositions.

 

The key to the future, where brands can honestly fulfil both agendas, is through brand building and a creative approach to communication. Brand building is all about winning a share of mind with an audience. This is achieved through having an authentic purpose. A pharma company with a better way of tackling asthma has an authentic purpose and one of the results of that purpose is the selling of an associated drug.

A creative approach to communication enables pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to help healthcare professionals build a better dialogue with patients. It opens the minds of the professional and supplies the necessary resources that ultimately lead to better quality healthcare provisions.

Brand building and creative communication can help with (for example):

  • Educational materials for patients and HCPs tackling disease states and therapeutic pathways
  • Awareness and progress as scientific innovation gives us better options in terms of biologics, drugs, devices and disciplines

Right now ‘more for less’ underpins almost everything in healthcare. However, the people we target: healthcare professionals, payers and patients are not always able to distinguish the solutions that truly represent value from those that don’t.

So the question we all face is not only what to do but how do we make it happen?

The first answer is, in fact, simple: through brand building and a creative approach to campaigns and communication that help healthcare professionals, payers and patients identify value.

 

The key to the future, where brands can honestly fulfil both agendas, is through brand building and a creative approach to communication.

 

However, to achieve this requires a clear, risk-limiting process. A process of Discovery, Definition, Development and Delivery, and that’s what we do at Page & Page Limited.

lady with open mind

What are your ‘Morning Pages’?

April 29th, 2016 Posted by News No Comment yet

Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way promotes the practice of ‘Morning Pages’ – a daily exercise involving three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, meant to be done first thing each morning as a way to ‘catch yourself before your ego’s defences are in place.’

Cameron calls it ‘the bedrock tool of a creative recovery’, which got us thinking. What are the ways in which we engage with our creative mind? How do we spark our imagination and promote creative thinking?

Perhaps you’ve taken a literal page out of Cameron’s book and committed to writing three sides of A4 first thing each morning. Or maybe it’s a long walk that gets your creative juices flowing. Some of us might find creativity in the most unlikely of places – soaping up in the shower, daydreaming whilst listening to your favourite Prince album, or going for a good old fashion people watching outing in the park.
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Here at Page & Page, we take to flipchart sessions, working out new ideas and concepts for clients, walks around our beautiful Eel Pie Island or (our favourite) a sunny daydream on our comfy brown leather sofa whilst playing Idea Spaghetti (although it seems our resident office cat Sidly finds his creative inspiration in the form of a sunny cat nap).

However you go about it, it is essential to incorporate some kind of creative outlet into your daily routine because without them, it’s hard to imagine we’re tapping into the full potential that creates beautiful, inspiring and imaginative work.

So we wonder – what is your creative outlet?

Chartered society of designers logo

Stephen talks to the Chartered Society of Designers

January 8th, 2016 Posted by News No Comment yet

Stephen Page FCSD joined the Society in 1992. After more than two decades working in the design sector, he and his wife set up design consultancy Page & Page based on Eel Pie Island inTwickenham.

Design was not always Stephen’s career of choice, as he explained to TheDesigner… “I was inspired by Jacques Cousteau on TV, the glamour of wet suits and turquoise oceans, I had decided I wanted to be a marine biologist and started studying all the sciences: chemistry, biology and physics.”

It wasn’t long before his science books were covered in graphic, stylistic doodles…

… It was his father who encouraged this talent by dispatching Stephen for some work experience in a glamorous London advertising agency: “I think my Dad was concerned that I would end up tending a fish farm somewhere dark and damp. At the agency I encountered even more excitement than  Jacques seemed to have enjoyed at sea!

From this point onwards, becoming a designer became inevitable: I used my imagination together with my knowledge of science and set about solving visual problems with an ever-deepening fascination for the connection between successful communication and the crafting of imagery, type, layouts and ideas.

After some time however, I realised that despite my growing passion, I wasn’t as good at it as some of the people around me. I was better at people (perhaps I got this from my Mum who was rumored to be capable of reading people’s minds). I adapted and used my design skills to focus on the science and art of winning a share of a target audience’s mind. In other words brand building.”

Stephen became deeply interested in gaining and using insights, how to get people to use their ideas and collaborate. Whilst honing in on these skills he met his wife Kate and together they founded Page & Page.

Case study: Alchemis Business Consultancy

One of Page & Page’s recent projects was for Alchemis business consultancy – with a reputation as the agency to use if you are serious about building your business. Stephens explains some of the challenges the team faced in this project.

“It would have been easy to give Alchemis a ‘serious’ identity, website and positioning but it wouldn’t have won them any new ground. Collectively we decided that the key to repositioning the brand and central to the brief was ensuring that Alchemis’ proprietary and complex processes were easily understood by even a layperson. Kate and the creative team took the identity from its serious almost solicitor-like appearance, to something fresh and surprising, revolving around information graphics and a collection of characterised animals. It is fun, informative and accessible and we’d argue more business like than the old identity. The identity was successful in finding the ‘sweet spot’ that connects real human goals with those of the business and the brand.”

Although Stephen has worked in many different countries he still thinks the UK is the best place to practice communication design, as he explains:

“There is a long history here of great graphic communication and a market that demands brands should have a higher human purpose – beyond wanting to assert product features or simply wanting to sell something. This means that the visual communication has to be intelligent, contemporary and the strategy behind it meaningful. That is why we find that the best marketers with the most progressive ideas are plentiful in the UK. It’s a hotbed of best practice.”

With design, and graphic design in particular, being such a competitive industry we asked Stephen to offer some words of advice to new graduates entering the sector.

“Looking back it is a privilege to have had a design education, designers are taught to look for the insight, to think about who they are designing for and how they might add value. The biggest challenge comes from the ferocity with which some of the business world and some clients are consequently forced to move. This pace means that many commercial organisations give up the quest to add value and replace it by selling something cheaper or doing it faster. It is a form of panic and the lessons we eventually learn is that these types of organisations never stay on course.

One thing I have learned is that if you want to do good work you have to put people first. Your motivations and therefore energy have to stem from caring about the people you get to work with. If they sometimes seem difficult it is because of that ferocious business world that they are fighting to survive in.

This means we need to employ that other skill designers are blessed with – the ability to adapt. We would define the design process as first discovering what is needed, second defining how it might be supplied, third developing creative concepts and fourth delivering something beautifully crafted: discover, define, develop and deliver. You can adapt this process to almost anything – I adapted it to brand building and Kate adapted it to creativity.

The key thing for any young designer to remember is to learn to adapt.”

Stephen and Kate went on to write their own book Forget the Box, a culmination of their experiences working with creatives and a guide to enable clients and creatives to work more collaboratively towards a better brief.

Dream awards logo

Forget the Box shortlisted for the Drum Dream Awards

September 9th, 2015 Posted by News No Comment yet

The joy of finding new people you really click with is pretty much unbeatable don’t you think? Isn’t it just the best surprise you can have in any given working week?

At the outset of setting up Page & Page, we knew if we were going to offer added value in the crowded design and brand space, we had to do something special. And, it was the joy of working with exciting new people that we really wanted. We wanted to enjoy the surprise of surpassing expectations on a regular basis so we felt we had to offer something of ourselves to prospective clients before we could ask for anything back.

This is why we wrote and designed our succinct guide to writing inspiring creative briefs, Forget the Box. It sits at the heart of everything we wanted to get out of our business. We wanted to put all we learned about process from the last twenty years into a short, enjoyable guide that would get people as excited about new possibilities as we do when we get a new brief.

So, we’re over the moon that Forget the Box has been shortlisted for the Drum Dream Awards. The awards aim to recognise the creative concepts and big ideas behind the best creative campaigns across all disciplines and media channels.

A big thank you to all who helped make it happen.

Bear looking in mirror

Your secret purpose

June 2nd, 2015 Posted by News No Comment yet

We all know best practice and the best brands are driven by a higher human purpose, but for most of us the very real commercial goals we have to meet can often get in the way.

So, we asked marketing and communication people if they’d kindly tell us their secret purpose. We were after that sweet spot connecting real, personal, goals with those of the business and brand. The stuff you often don’t get the opportunity to tell people. We got some great responses.  As one person put it, brand building is best when it’s personal which is why we wrote our three stage practical guide: Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business. This is what some of you told us:

Making superheroes of the team: I want to make my difference count. And I mean really count; not just on the end-of-month reports but in the way that people look at what we do and think “wow, this stuff really is phenomenal!” And I want my team to feel like they can wear their superhero outfits on the outside because they’re the ones delivering awesome to our business. And by day, I’ll continue to fill in the business’ spreadsheets and file the paperwork. That way, no-one will know our true mission…

Authenticity personified: I’m thinking about my own personal brand and how it will translate into the digital world. My secret purpose is to ensure I get it right, remain authentic to my personality but don’t come across as too narcissistic and ‘look at me’. The exercise is painful as I’ve recently watched a ‘car crash’ of someone asking their followers questions like ‘What words would you use to describe me?’. Cringeworthy and hilarious all at the same time.

A belief in great design: Always trying to frame parts e.g. ‘elements’ and ‘aspects’ and in terms of some sort of organising whole – not because everything is naturally ordered that way (according to some sort underlying and predetermined form) but because I believe that thinking in terms of connections and relatedness often makes the difference between mediocre and great design.

A focus on value: We spend a lot of time and energy at work and often the outcome or value is never defined, considered, captured or is just wasted.  My mission is to make everything I choose to do count, mostly in bringing and communicating greater value to our customers.

A higher purpose: My goal this month is to persuade my boss that we should do something to support the Shark Trust or something similar. Something that does good for this tortured planet. We’re an IT business and we’re doing very well but I’d sleep a little better at night if we gave just a little bit of our profit back to a good cause. I even think our clients would be up for it.

Very present: I have my bubble, it’s my way of surviving it all. I love the work and I take pride in doing a great job so my secret purpose is the project I’m focused on each and every day. I lock out everything else that is going on around me.

Seeing it from the external perspective: There are so many people here producing so much in terms of communciation. There’s not a single red thread running through it though. I’d feel like I’d achieved something if I could make it all hang together. My role gives me the remit to do this but I’ve found I have to be a bit discreet – otherwise people can get defensive or feel like all their motivation is gone.

An axe to grind: Last year, they let me develop a whole campaign here in my local market before they let on that they’d produced a new global campaign. This year I’m having my revenge because global just don’t do anything for this brand. (PS we recommended a consensus building exercise)

We’re in love with this person: I’m not so motivated by the commercial part of the business. These products aren’t so different really from the competition but I was a healthcare professional before and I’d like to use this role to do something more for the people I took care of. Also, I really like the team here and I want us to all succeed.

A big thanks to everyone for such superb insights. If you enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy: Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business. This pragmatic guide contains proprietary tools and thinking but can be accessed by simply entering a name and email address. We’d love to get your feedback.

stephen@pagepluspage.com

Fox sitting with shades

The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie! Page & Page?

April 20th, 2015 Posted by News No Comment yet

Could you benefit from our inspiration because right now we’re working slap bang in the middle of somewhere very special indeed?

This spring Page & Page, our growing design and brand business, has embarked on an exciting new phase.

More work meant we needed additional inspiring space so we’ve moved to somewhere very special indeed.  Our new office is on Eel Pie Island, the beauty spot in the middle of the Thames at Twickenham, the home of great British rock.

Blessed with a chequered history (its name dates back to Tudor times, as it’s claimed Henry VIII used to stop off here for eel pies), it’s most celebrated as playing an important role in the evolution of many of the 1960s and ’70s’ greatest British rock acts.

The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Yardbirds and Rod Stewart all performed at the island’s Eel Pie Hotel. Having started out as a major ballroom nightspot in the 1920s and ’30s to become an essential jazz locale in the ’50s and early ’60s, the hotel followed its late ’60s high by transforming into a commune and eventually passed into counterculture legend by mysteriously burning down in 1971.

Since then, rock royalty has given way to artistic aristocracy, Eel Pie now being home to a close-knit artists’ community, among them painters, sculptors and photographers. Like those incredible acts of the ’60s and ’70s, Page & Page’s meteoric rise has rocked the brand and design industry – and we can’t wait to turn it up to 11 and take it to the next level on Eel Pie Island.

“It was important to be somewhere that reflected our desire to be truly creative,” says Kate, our Creative Director. “A place where we could collaborate with brilliant people and take clients out of their usual comfort zones. Rest assured our rapidly growing team has no solo artists – we work in harmony.”

Me? Well I now have the perfect excuse to wear these diamond studded jeans everyday . . .

Stephen

Bear

What’s on your to do list today?

January 26th, 2015 Posted by News No Comment yet

If you’re anything like me your ‘to do’ list today is a long one. For me, it features eight phone calls to drum up more business, four meetings to rearrange, a workshop to scope, a piece to write for LinkedIn and that cohesive, beautifully imaginative design work we’ve just completed for some hospitality lounges I must to show to all our prospective clients.

For a client I’ve just been talking to, the priority on his ‘to do’ list is launching a new blood glucose monitor. He’s impatient to tell the entire global healthcare system about its benefits. For several months he’s been waiting to pounce on customers, to share with them this brilliant new product.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have similar imperatives? Is your ‘to do’ list driven by the need to get out there and inform the world what you do? It’s likely it is. Who doesn’t plan on charging out there and telling people how good their work is? And why it’s such good value for money?

But there’s a catch

The thing is, for the most part, we all know we’ll be ignored. It doesn’t matter what channels we use or even if we use all the channels – after all, our segmented target audiences have 24/7 access to as many devices, subscriptions, feeds and groups as we do and operate in many of the same environments. In the end, they’ll still ignore us.

Nobody will take any action beyond a quick acknowledgement. In our case it’s ‘Nice design’ or in our client’s case ‘Good device; great price’. Our target audiences are drowning in an ocean of new, cheaper and ever more relevant stuff. Like us, they’re subject to information overload and their list of ‘to do’s is as long as ours.

So I’ll own up. We’re a creative communications agency and we don’t operate like that. We’re all about collaboration whether with you – our clients – or a target audience on your behalf. We wouldn’t dream of simply firing off information about our lovely new design work and we’re not going to just ‘tell’ everyone about our client’s new medical technology device. It’s not what we do.

What do we do instead?

If you come to us, the first thing we’ll do is separate what’s urgent from what’s important. And then we’ll work out how to engage a target audience in meaningful communication. That means communication aiming to make it into the top half of their ‘to do’ list – or at least prove a reasonable distraction from their ‘to do’ list. How? It will be a two-way communication. In other words, we’ll be working out how to get people to respond and then engage with us.

To accomplish this we need to understand how audiences like to communicate. So we always start by learning to understand how an audience absorbs information and, using this, work to create a community with shared interests. We think about the context and aim being as granular as possible.

How do we do this?

We’ll ask about their interests and about their practice. We’ll share what people tell us even if it doesn’t directly help sell your work. We’ll do whatever we can to build a dialogue. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how energised and effective a dialogue can be.

And when we share the stuff we’re learning we’ll make it as creative and visual as possible. We’ll make it intuitive because we respect people’s time. ‘A picture is worth thousand words’, so the saying goes – actually, recent research suggests people remember only 10% of what they’re told and only 20% of what they read, but remember 80% of what they see.

Off the back of this, we’ll finally introduce your work to its audience, explaining how we and you think it will benefit them, but also ask which of its benefits are most important. Indeed, this is exactly what we’ll do for our medical technology client. We’re fairly sure of the answers (our client is the best when it comes to their R&D), but we know people like to be asked. And that’s important.

Opinion seeking

You see, while we produce a lot of promotional stuff, what really gets talked about us within any customer segment is the vast amount of opinion seeking we do.

For example, we were recently asked to promote a publication and, taking heed of its concept ‘physician heal thyself’, we started by asking our target audience their opinion. We got five replies. So we repeated back to the wider audience the things the five people had said. This time, we got 125 replies. Since then we’ve launched the publication and attended events where the brand’s been present, and it really causes a stir. As planned, it’s building a reputation for representing a segment of the audience.

I asked you what was on your ‘to do’ list today. Would you do me a favour;

would you add another item to your list – an answer to a question from us here at Page & Page? Namely, what’s your favourite form of communication? I mean what gets you to respond? What gets your fingers flashing over the keys with something to say? What does someone have to do to resonate with you, that makes you feel you just have to say something?