Can you smell burning?

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Healthcare professionals are overwhelmed, time poor and firefighting

So why do we still need to give them a burning platform

Healthcare professionals have been exposed to significant industry changes over the last thirty years: budgets have increasingly been cut and resources have dramatically been stretched. You have probably been aware of it happening, but you may not have connected it with your own frustrations.

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Thinking clearly and imagining better

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Stephen Page has an article published in the September 2017 edition of Pharmaceutical Market Europe. What does this have to do with the Trojan Horse? Click below to find out.

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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.

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

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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 . . .


What’s on your to do list today?

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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?