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Page & Page joins thenetworkone

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We’re proud to announce that Page & Page has become a member of thenetworkone – the world’s largest and fastest growing network of respected independent creative, media, PR and marketing agencies.

The agency world is changing fast so it was important to Page & Page that we became part of something where we truly felt we belonged. We had a few nail biting days, where we hoped they’d like the idea of us belonging to the network, but today we’re celebrating the fact that a bit of Page & Page is going to crop up all over the world – thenetworkone consists of more than 200 agencies in over 100 countries.

Could you tell a story in six words?

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Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest story tellers ever and a source of inspiration for anyone trying to communicate. Watch this short magical video to be inspired by Hemingway’s six word story, learn the secret of his narrative skills and take up the challenge to tell your own six word story by filling in the comment form below.

Creative Business of the Year

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We are proud to announce we won the Times creative business award, in and amongst a hot bed of creative agencies in the Tunbridge Wells area.

Seize the moment, now!

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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.

What are your ‘Morning Pages’?

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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?

Stephen talks to the Chartered Society of Designers

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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.

Innovation without risk

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What is it we really want?

Do we really want to be innovative and creative, or just play it safe?

Creating real brand standout has never been harder. Increased competition and availability, means audiences now have access to numerous competing brands, often with little differentiation between them.

And with features and benefits on an almost equal footing, the pressure is on for brands to be more creative and innovative, in order to build strong, meaningful and unique connections with their audiences.

But does this focus on creativity and innovation represent great opportunity, or a big risk, to marketers?

 

Are great ideas just too much of a risk for some businesses?

Breaking away from the norms, or previously tried and tested strategies and tactics, may open up new possibilities, but for many it equates to the feeling of being exposed within a business.

Pushing the limits to develop new ideas for your brand, can put you in the firing line – literally!

This can lead brands and marketers to view creativity and innovation as something desirable, yet also highly risky.

Yet these risks have little to do with the ideas themselves, and more to do with the confines, pressures and expectations that surround them.

But in order for brand marketers to have the confidence to creatively stick their heads above the parapet, they need the full support of their agency, their team and the business.

Better process to remove risk

They also need the right process and tools to underpin that level of support. The focus of this should be on inclusivity, clarity and engagement.

Getting buy-in at all levels ensures that creativity and innovation have parameters and measures that allow them to flourish while remaining within a framework which delivers the results needed for the brand and the business.

Being clear on measures of success may take different forms for different stakeholders, possibly meeting short-term tactical business objectives and longer term brand objectives. Having clarity and measurability on success, allows different stakeholder objectives to be understood, fostering greater levels of support for creativity and innovation within the business.

What really underpins this process of removing risk from creativity and innovation, is collaboration and engagement.

The essential ingredients for success

Creativity and innovation are not just the domain of the creative agencies. Indeed it’s the brand team within the business that are the long-term brand guardians and are an essential ingredient and catalyst in driving campaigns.

The focus of this drive should be the creative brief – which is there to stimulate and engage creative teams – providing ideas, insights, desired results and outcomes, as well as measures of success.

Inclusivity, clarity, engagement and a great creative brief

Bringing inclusivity, clarity and engagement into your creative briefs will ensure you’re getting the most out of your team and agency in terms of creativity and innovation, whilst also maintaining the support of the business at every level.

If you’d like to learn more about how to free your imagination and inject greater creativity into your campaigns, without taking a risk, you can download our free research report, which highlights the 3 most important questions you need to answer in your creative briefs.

You can find our more information and download this research report right here:

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DOWNLOAD NOW

 

Forget the Box shortlisted for the Drum Dream Awards

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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.

Your secret purpose

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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

Imprint

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Harness your secret purpose, build your brand and grow your business

You want to grow your brand

That’s not a secret – you’re probably quite open about that…

…but if you want to grow your business and you’re engaged in developing visual communication of some sort please read this short piece – it is our way of passing on some of the most important things we’ve ever learned.

We have three very valuable, practical bits of help to offer whatever you are working on, be it an integrated campaign, or something tactical like an app, website, sales material, exhibition or poster campaign. This practical advice will help you to find your secret purpose (and make you very successful…).

We’ve learned that if you want to win a share of your target audience’s busy headspace it is fatal for your brand to focus on the features, advantages and benefits of whatever service or product you are selling. We’ve also learned that without realising it, you probably ARE focusing on these things. This is because you haven’t found your secret purpose yet.

Brands clearly connected to improving people’s lives outperform all others

‘Grow’ by Jim Stengel, is probably the most respected business book to be published in the last five years. It’s based on data from a ten-year growth study of more than 50,000 brands which shows that brands with a purpose clearly connected to improving people’s lives outperform their markets by a huge margin. The top 50 Grow brands out-performed Standard & Poor’s 500 stocks and shares by 400 per cent.

We know, as you read this, you are nodding in agreement. These days everyone agrees that the best way to win a share of a chosen audience’s mind is to make sure a campaign is explicit in promoting a higher purpose. As Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start with why’ and the man listed within the top three TED talks of all time, makes clear – we are biologically programmed to respond instinctively to why something is being done, not to what is being done.

Simon’s methodology gets us all a little closer to our secret purpose.

Your last campaign

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So, why is it, if you review the last time you developed a campaign, you’ll see that most of the content is focused on the features, advantages and benefits of what it is that you were selling? How did your ‘great purpose’ and the way you were going to make a difference become so… …well secret and invisible?

At Page & Page we believe it is down to the wrong process and strategy being used resulting in an uninspiring brief.

Three steps to a better focus on purpose

(Or find your secret purpose and be very successful)

We’d like to offer you three attainable steps that will ensure a tighter focus on THE purpose: a better process and strategy and a more inspiring brief.

1 The process

 Establish a clear process. At Page & Page we use the one established by the Design Council: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. The Discover and Define phases are ruthless disciplinary aspects of this process. They demand within any project that we know ‘why’ we’re doing something.

2 The strategy

Work out how to engage a target audience in a meaningful dialogue. That means communication that reaches the top half of their ‘to do’ list – or at least proves a reasonable distraction from their ‘to do’ list. And it must be two-way communication. In other words, how to get people engaged in a dialogue.

To accomplish this we need to understand how our  target audience like to communicate. We think about the context and aim to be as granular as possible:

  1. What are their current media habits?
  2. What do they believe in?
  3. What is going on in the space they occupy?
  4. What might be the unmet need?

And now for the secret purpose you haven’t found yet but will make you very successful:

Once you understand your target audience a little better, introduce who you are and what you belive in into the equation. That’s the secret ingredient. Be clear about who you are and what you want to achieve. People buy from people because they share values, style and can relate to one another. Brand building is all about leadership, so developing campaigns that help businesses grow is not an academic exercise. When it is instinctive, emotive and authentic it is highly effective.

Warning: don’t do this at home, alone, without expert facilitation (from Page & Page), without collaborating (with other stakeholders) or without then carefully executing step three.

Collaboration and the art of it is really important. It’s where Page & Page can really help – we facilitate lots of workshops, helping clients build consensus with a wide range of stakeholders.

 

3 An inspiring brief

Take the time to write an inspiring brief. In a survey we conducted amongst writers, designers, art directors and other creatives 23% said they expected to see an inspiring creative brief, at best once or twice a year. The other 77% only saw an inspiring brief once in a blue moon.

In other words the people we all depend on to develop a great campaign generally don’t get very excited about our offering. Why would they if all we’re doing is banging on about the features and benefits of yet another competing product or service? And if the professional communicators aren’t excited why would your target audience get excited?

An inspiring brief has a cause at its centre, it has heart and personality, and it is structured around insights, values and beliefs.

(For further help on writing inspiring briefs visit www.forgethebox.co.uk or email me at stephen@pagepluspage.com and we’ll send you a copy of our book on brief writing.

 

 

We wanted to impart three very valuable, practical bits of help that will ensure you grow your brand. We believe the more closely you associate your beliefs and motivations (your secret purpose) with the brand you’re working on the more successful you’ll be.

 For more information and a free session that uncovers your secret purpose give us a call on (0)20 8617 8250.

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